Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Raddy, Jun 20, 2007.
Stay away from cliche poses like forearm covering boobs. Start by throwing on a relatively wide-angle lens and get in pretty close-- it breaks the ice. Have plenty of film ready if you shoot it. Go over the shots a thousand times in your head if you have particular things you're looking for. Otherwise she can do her thing if she's a proper model and you won't have to direct quite as much. I had someone ask me last weekend..."well then how will I know if I'm giving you the pose you want?" and I said, "Because you'll hear the shutter fire." Keep a conversation going. Don't pause for too long, it will give the impression that you've lost interest. Pay very very close attention to where light falls...no splotchy shadows. No parallel shoulders. Extremities that are too close to the camera will look disproportionately large. Light boobs from the side to make them look bigger. Use a red filter to increase contrast and give skin a porcelain look (note: this will make blemishes stand out, if present). Use a green filter to make skin appear darker.
Sorry for the laundry list. Hope that helps some.
Your first portrait shoot and you are jumping right into nude/semi-nude?
Part of getting good portraits is creating a comfortable atmosphere. That may mean taking your time and maybe taking a lot of shots. The model (and you) may be nervous or uptight at the start but with the right atmosphere...you will both loosen up and be able to create better results.
For this reason, it might be a good idea to start with a clothed shoot and do the nude stuff when you are both more comfortable. (or jump right in if it's going well).
These are things that may be different for every photographer on every shoot. Not something we can just suggest to you...not without more info anyway. We could say to shoot on the beach in Hawaii, or up in Machu Picchu...but that may not be practical.
Honestly? Don't ask for a date until she is dressed and the camera is put away.
We are all of us creatures of light and shadow and love to see ourselves in print. Specific parts and those showing individual traits are fine but try looking for a line between the light and shadow, a curve leading the imagination into parts unknown (you can take that as a pun but it's not really, you should also be aware that for this to work there has to be something left unknown). Find a flashlight that gives a soft beam and explore for shadows to photograph. The human body is very much the same from person to person and as such can become uninteresting beyond the excitement gotten from looking when you aren't supposed to. So, you need to clothe her and to do that you will need shadow.
On a more practical note, find out from her how she wants to be directed to move around and agree on the terms you will use.
Mike, I'm sorry but with the exception of the "start out clothed" suggestion, there was little substantive response in your post. True, asking what equipment, clothing, poses, etc to go for may be a novice question, but it isn't one without at least some answers. Why don't you try answering some of them or ignore it entirely. Reminds me of a post of mine some time ago in which I asked people whether I ought to buy a new camera, or new glass for my current camera...everyone gave the same empty non-responsive answer, to the effect of "only you can decide what's best." It was terribly unhelpful. And I feel like that's what you've done here for the most part.
1) Never do photographs for friends, only do them for money.
2) If you are not comfortable working with a nude model then don't work with a nude model.
3) Expect to screw up. You will sooner or later (we all have) so if you expect the worst you are never disappointed, only pleasantly surprised. Besides, you'll relax so you'll be less likely to mess up.
4) If the person you are taking the pictures for is happy with the results NEVER say you are not (or point out flaws). If they don't like them then agree, make a technical excuse (the lighting was all wrong - sunlight is too harsh; the lighting was all wrong - the cloud made it too soft; etc) and arrange a reshoot.
5) Learn to bullsh*t. It's what the professionals do
First of all, there is absolutely no substitute for experience. Even with a great deal of book knowledge, my first portrait shoot was not what it would be today simply due to the unfamiliarity of the experience.
It really helps to make conversation, and if you're friends already it should be even easier to chat during the session. Chatting will make your model more comfortable and with that you will get more genuine expressions and poses.
If there is any "book knowledge" you should have when you start out in portrait photography, it's posing people. That goes double for theatrical headshots, which tend to have certain requirements. If you are going for an artistic appeal, you will want to experiment with your own posing, but it will help you immensely to have an idea of the pros and cons of different poses and the sorts of things you can do with light and shadow before you even get started.
Depending on whether you're shooting indoors or out, and what your studio setup might be, you may or may not be able to do full-body poses. Photographing your model's face only may be compositionally challenging and my recommendation is to include at least their shoulders unless you have specific plans.
I can't recommend a dual-strobe setup enough. If portrait/fashion/fetish/etc. photography is what you really want to do, nothing will move you along better than two nice studio strobes with softboxes and umbrellas. A vast array of brands are available in a large price range, but they will give you a tremendous amount of creative control. A reflector would be a good idea, too.
That's about it, I think... I should write an article about this...
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