Developing a Concept
By having a clear idea of what is the purpose of your work, you’ll be able to portray things in a more efficient and good looking way. Jot down all your ideas first, and then look for some references. This will give you a clear perspective of how facial expressions have been directed, and you’ll see that they do serve particular purposes.
You need to remember that posing is very similar to acting, but in a still format. The purpose of the photograph will be your guide along the way, and you need to listen to it closely. Otherwise you’ll end up creating cookie-cutter shots for different shots. It is not the same to shoot a session for a client that wants institutional images, than a loving couple that wants a photo-shoot for themselves.
As long as you remember that you are interacting with other human beings, you’ll be able to do a splendid job. Keep a high level of respect towards personal space, be patient, and try to flatter posing achievements in a friendly way.
Work on your Social Skills
Many photographers have a hard time doing this, and they know it. If you are one of those, then don’t worry, the solution is extremely simple, hire an assistant that has those social skills that are giving you a hard time. Try to look for a person that fits the role of an art director, someone with which people will feel less stressed out when given directions.
This last one is a pro tip that very few professional photographers will ever share with you. Thankfully for you, we are moved the desire of rising the overall quality bar in photography, and we know that this sort of sharing habits are a great way of doing so.
Capture the Natural Expressions
This is easy to say but pretty hard to accomplish, unless you use some trickery. What I do is that I shot the image in the in-betweens of posing, because personally I really like to capture natural expressions rather than static ones.
- If you are working just with available light, then this is even easier to achieve. Artificial lighting can give you away, so if you can work with available natural light, it could be pretty useful for you.
- Move forward and use a mirrorless camera system. These cameras are way more silent than chunky DSLRs, and the trickery maneuver is easier to fulfill.
- Try to keep a conversation with your subjects, and don’t start shooting right away, keep a slow paced photo-shoot and you’ll get better results.
Ask for References
It is true that you can have your own references at the concept stage, but that works best for personal projects. Every time you work with a client, you should ask for references. You’ll have clients that will tell you that they want “simple looking photographs”, and you notice that they aren’t that simple at all when you ask for references.
By doing this you’ll be guarding your own back, and you’ll have a clearer perspective of what your clients’ expectations are. This way you’ll reduce improvising at the shoot, and everything will go as planned.
Booze Things out a Little
Working with people is always a challenge, and as long as you keep practicing these tricks and tips you’ll eventually find your sweet spot. Professional photography isn’t just about reading recipes, is about finding your own method, and as long as you learn from your own experiences you’ll eventually develop a method that will work right for you.
Whatever you do with photography, never forget to have the time of your life. Enjoy what you do, otherwise it will be pointless.