Before you will start to take photos of your model it is important to have an idea how you would like the photos to look like. This will involve a research that on a simple level will include to look for photos that have already been created by someone else and create a MOOD BOARD for this special shoot. Pinterest is one of the best tools to help you do that. Have an idea of location, outfit, make up, hair, poses and overall mood that you will try to recreate. Pick 5-6 images that by your choice will be a guideline for this particular photoshoot.
It doesn't mean that your photos will look exactly alike. Here is an example of my mood board and actual photoshoot. We use those poses from reference, but I ended up liking more other photos that were created during the shoot, But it is always good to have to know where to start the session.
I also save the photos I like in different folders such as “Man Portrait” “ Blossom Photoshoot” “Story telling” “Colors” . So I can go back , pick one photo that I like and start looking for photos that will fit the same topic.
- On set:
Communication is a key!
Model will feel awkward if you will not go to talk to her during the session. It all starts from small talk. If you want your viewers to be interested in the model, you have to be interested in her/him. Simply ask what is your hobby, how is your weekend going or any other question that will start a communication and break ice between. Show the mood board again and talk about it more : “I like the dramatic mood or fun mood, I like that pose, let's start with it ” etc.
Try to encourage instead of criticize. Such as “I like how you put your hand on your waist, now let's try to move your elbow further…. ” “ Give me a nice long neck.” etc. Every time you look at the display of your camera to see the result, give an encouraging comment “ yes, we are getting there. I like what I see”. When You are being quit, your model starts getting frustrated. She may think that you don’t like how she looks (cause we are all very subconscious ). Don't just snap photos, tell her as well “ You look good, i am just gonna try different angles.
Now don't forget, body posing is important, but what's really making a portrait to stead out is facial expressions.
“Face posing” requires different techniques. You can’t just show a model facial expression she needs to make. If you will ask her to smile naturally , it may not work very well. So if you try to make a laughing and smiling face expression, tell her something that makes her smile. Sometimes I find that if you make people talk about their animal, they will naturally start to smile thinking about it. !notice , don't try to make a joke about the way a model poses. It doesn't work well!!!
Examples “Look, it is big fluffy panda coming to hug you”
“ It is a special someone who is looking at you and sayin “You are beautiful”
“Hey, Miss America Top Model, looking good”
So it all depends on emotions that you will try to get from the look. You can also ask a person to remember tough times, that she/he went through to create a dramatic look.
- Show the poses , Run your photoshoot.
Now, posing people.
Again going back to your mood board, you should remember a few poses from there and ask the model to take that pose. Don’t hesitate to show those poses yourself. You can make it fun and more understandable.
Your Model needs to trust that you know what you are doing (even if you don't, fake it !!!) Start with a pose, and slightly change the head tilt, hand positions and shoulder lines .