Connecting with the subject during portraits

Acereaux

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I've been doing a lot of college graduation shoots and portraits for classmates at my college in the past month, and I have really loved developing connections and relationships with them. I've noticed that my pictures turn out to be very different depending on what I say to the person(s) before taking a shot. The difference between giving them directions on how to pose versus calling on them to draw from a specific memory was huge.

In a recent wedding that I did, I sat down with the couple and asked them to tell me about their first date. Between talking, they would look at each other and give genuine smiles and laughs. Those shots that I got there were much more natural that the posed shots.

What are some things you say to the people you photograph to get genuine reactions?
 

dennybeall

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Never talk about me or my credentials to do the photos. Never talk about my photographic equipment. Always ask about them and LISTEN to what they have to say. Asking about hobbies can lead to some good shots if casual is what they want.
 

Antithesis

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I like the idea of a first date or another key, funny memory. I am good at getting candid looking stuff simply by keeping people talking, but have yet to figure out how to keep them laughing.

My usual routine is just making small talk about them as a couple/person, etc., and then a few other topics that are typical conversation makers. Travel is a great one, or if you can find out their hobbies or interests via conversation and just keep them going. Every shoot I do is basically a long conversation punctuated by clicks and encouragement that the photos are looking great (unless they aren't, and I start to change how I am posing and moving them).
 

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