Like with anything, there are things that you need to know in order to succeed. Some are secrets. Some are little known facts. Some are just rules. Whatever you call them, they are something you should know if you want to get it right. Photography is one of those things. Photography has rules and secrets that will help improve your photography. The difference between rules and secrets is that once you learn the rules, you can break them. Experimentation helps you grow. Secrets, on the other hand, a truly meant to enhance and bring more life to your portraits.
One of the secrets I use for more engaging portraits is creating a connection with my subjects. Yes, even the little bitty subjects. Connection can happen on various levels. The way that I create connection is usually through humor. Depending on the age of my client will determine what type of humor. Humor allows people to let their guard down and be more themselves. Cameras have a tendency to make people nervous and laughter makes them forget about it. Take my client’s headshots. She was a little stiff and nervous and needed some guidance.
The secret to making your client give a genuine smile is to make them laugh. The smile that comes after they stop laughing is the best!
Children are terrible smilers on cue. Have you ever asked your child to smile for the camera or, heaven forbid, told them to say cheese? It never comes out well. The boy in the picture below was adorable and so sweet but I couldn’t get him to stop smiling like that. There were a few images where I made him laugh, so that was good.
Another secret is to establish trust. When people trust you, yes little people too, they relax and more of their personality comes out. How do I gain trust? With children, I usually play games with them, sing or play music, let them ask questions or even assist me while I set up. Of course, that last one can only happen with children of a certain age. Eventually, they warm up and are more amenable to me taking their photo. For adults, I usually ask questions and we have fun conversations. I love learning more about people.
Lastly, let people be themselves. I do provide direction but I still allow people to interject their own special sauce into the photo, like these of my dad.
Letting my clients add real emotion is also a plus. Even a little silliness works well.
So, I guess the biggest secret for a great portrait is allowing my clients to truly put themselves in it. I would love to capture the real you and your children. It all starts with a consultation, which can be scheduled here.
“It’s one thing to make a picture of what someone looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.” ~ Paul Caponigro