- Portrait Photographer's Handbook
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- 500 Poses for Photographing Men
- Posing for Portrait Photography: A Head-to-Toe Guide for Digital Photographers
- Doug Box's Guide to Posing for Portrait Photographers
- Master Lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers
- Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It: Learn Step by Step How to Go from Empty Studio to Finished Image
A smile can light up a room, and as parents we want to see and remember our children smiling. However, an on-command-smile can be forced and plastic. So how do we get the real thing?
Babies' expressions make YOU smile.
Canon 5D MII; EF 70-200 f/4L: 1/60, f/4, ISO 640, fill flash with Gary Fung Cloud.
Here are are some tips for creating "real" smiles:
1. Initially, forget about the smile. Instead work towards building a connection between you and your client. Create an environment that encourages play. Help them forget about the camera.
2. Relating to the subject is essential and not as easy as it sounds. How do you relate to a one year old or an 18 year old? Different strategies are required for each group. Pay attention to your subject. Find a way to communicate regardless of the age. Ask a teen about music; ask a ten year old about skate boards or video games. Be silly with a toddler-make funny faces and sounds. A baby will respond to music, singing, and noises. Mom and dad can jump in and help.
As an ice breaker, this family did a little dance to the song (which they sang)YMCA. Canon 5D MII; EF 24-105 f/4L; f/8, 1/125 ISO 800, fill flash mounted on bracket, Sto-Fen diffuser.
3. Instead of saying, "Look here and smile;" loosely set the pose and wait with your eye on the viewfinder, and your finger on the shutter; wait for your subjects to relax and become their happy selves. Encourage play and silliness.
This 10 month old would not sit still, instead the three generations followed his lead. When the baby finally tired out (eventually), we got some group shots.
4. Don't just rapid fire the shutter to test its burst rate. Ironically taking a lot of pictures quickly rarely captures a good shot.
5. When children are uncooperative you have to improvise and act like you do not care. As Shunryu Suzuki said, "To give your sheep or cow a large meadow is the way to control them." So remove the barrier and let people be themselves. It's more difficult getting your own children beyond the "I don't want you to take my photo" mood. Concentrate on what makes them happy, instead of trying to get them to make you happy.
EF 17-40 mm fL/4; 60mm, f/8 @ 1/60. Fill flash (mounted on bracket),ceiling bounce.
6. Ask the children to help you think of a pose.
Canon 5D MII, EF 24-105 f/4L; 102 mm: f/18 1/50, ISO 125.
Cheryl Machat Dorskind
Cheryl Machat Dorskind is the author of The Art of Photographing Children and The Art of Handpainting Photographs. In addition to her work as a professional photographer and exhibiting artist, she is a photography professor and teaches three online courses at ppsop.com, Photographing Children:Rising to the Challenge, All About Color, and Painting Photos.
Please feel free to contact her, [email protected]