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01-02-2017, 08:26 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
I agree that working with some pros is a good exercise. You pick up a few tricks but they just kinda do their thing without your help and don't explain anything, so there's not as much interaction.

The best learning experience comes from working with the moderately experienced. People who need some help but aren't completely new and have no idea what to do.

Probably the best thing to do is find some reference photos and try to get your subjects to do those poses. Some poses, though, are deceptively hard and the girls won't be able to do them. You can, however, see what they do wrong in the process. While it won't make for great photographs, you will learn a lot studying the results afterwards.
Totally agreed. Picture Perfect Posing might also be worth a look, if you're looking for a book reference.

01-03-2017, 03:22 AM - 2 Likes   #17
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Hadi, everyone has insecurities. Models can hide their doubts by going through ritualized poses, non-models can't.

That's where you come in as photographer.

Stop fiddling with lenses and lights, they mean nothing if the expressions on your subjects' faces reveal discomfort.

Have food and drink available, put the music from their phone through your Bluetooth speaker, and reassure them you only keep flattering pictures.

They are going to be worried that their arms are fat, their hips are too big, their skin's bad.

But you are going to pose them so that their best features are closest to the camera (remember, you can shoot slightly down from a chair, too) or best lit (even overexposed by as much as a stop if there are skin issues) and the stuff they're not happy about is minimized by the pose (put side on or away from the camera) or by being in shadow, or even concealed by parts of the surroundings or even body parts (when a tog asks the chin to drop, it's often to make it distinct from the neck, etc).

This is your art as a photographer, and like a doctor's bedside manner, the onus is on you - not them - to establish a great rapport. Shooting adult family members can come with baggage ... you're not just a tog to them, so it's extra tricky I find. I'm proud of the ones I've taken, but it can be delicate. I prefer a complete stranger, to be honest!

Good female poses include leaning against a wall, and seated where an elbow or two can be rested on a table or the arms of the chair/couch, etc. Try and include in the shot (even head-and-shoulders) at least one hand doing something, like touching hair, resting on the collarbone, holding a cup, etc ... it will give a mind something to concentrate on instead of worrying.

Last edited by clackers; 01-03-2017 at 03:35 AM.
01-03-2017, 05:22 AM   #18
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Sometimes it might help to have some 'warming up shots' while having a coffee or tea to put everybody at ease.

It could also be interesting to split up the session in a staged and a sort of candid part e.g. while talking/discussing.
01-03-2017, 06:25 AM   #19
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Years ago I took a photo class with a NatGeo photogarpher who is really famous in these parts. In the studio someone asked about portraiture, so he decided to show a little bit about flash photography and portraiture, but he did not have a hired model, so he asked one of the female participants. She was a good-looking girl in her early 20s. The photographer set up a bunch of lights, used a top end camera (Nikon 3D-something), with great lens. He put a light behind her for the hair, two lights in front, etc. etc.
Everyone was impressed by the perfectly-lit portrait. This guy was old-school, he didn't do much in PP. He wanted the shot to be perfect in raw already.

..and the girl didn't like her photo. She was not enthusiastic about it. Even though this was the best photographer that ever took a photo of her, and she will probably never get such a high quality photo taken of her again. There is just no pleasing some people, and there is no reason for you to try. Take the best photo you can, take the photo you want. Do not ask about their opinion.

01-05-2017, 02:53 AM - 1 Like   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithedreamer Quote
Totally agreed. Picture Perfect Posing might also be worth a look, if you're looking for a book reference.
That's a Valenzuela, right, Jess?

Such a master ... he's persuaded me ... a portrait without at least one hand in it (such as a passport photo) can look sterile - I'm guilty of it, though.
01-05-2017, 11:42 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
That's a Valenzuela, right, Jess?

Such a master ... he's persuaded me ... a portrait without at least one hand in it (such as a passport photo) can look sterile - I'm guilty of it, though.
Yup! Speaking of, I should be studying up on that book myself. I have a shoot I'm nervous about shooting in a couple of weeks.
01-05-2017, 03:06 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
But in my experience, what shows up on the LCD always looks ridiculously awesome and it's not until you get it on a big screen that disappointment sets in.
My LCD tells me sweet little lies, too. It's a compulsive liar... habitual, even.

QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
I prefer a complete stranger, to be honest!
Me too, except if I mentioned the thought to my wife I would find myself suddenly wearing my camera like a hat and seeing starbursts.
01-05-2017, 03:50 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by hadi Quote
this isn't a technical issue, so i'm not really asking for assistance with gear.
what i'm looking for is tips and techniques to make a very specific gender happy.
as i take more and more pics of people (i used to be a landscape photographer), i'm finding it consistently that if i take a picture of a male subject, regardless of his age, one pic/click and i'm happy, as is the subject.
Well, as you've noticed we, middle aged men, always look handsome, no matter the setting, the light, the clothing... It's also why pro photographers don't hire us much. It makes their life miserable, with almost 100% keeper rate, it takes them weeks to PP a 15 minutes shooting!

01-05-2017, 04:24 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by hadi Quote
perhaps a cultural thing? i am from the south asian culture, thus a lot of my friends/family/network is usually from the asian continent
perhaps they don't feel comfortable having a photo taken for cultural reasons and the objections are just a show of nervousness?
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