People help... (updated 3-27)

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by Nwcid, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. Nwcid

    Nwcid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Shooting "posed" people is not really my favorite style of shooting. To my eye, the vast major of posed pictures look "fake", and I like natural. I have said for years, that I do not shoot people. The problems is that statement is not true. I love shooting people doing natural things, catching them going about daily life. Really outdoor, wildlife, landscapes, ect is my primary shooting.

    Like many others, friends and family have start asking me to shoot them. I recently did 2 shoots for family members and a friend. Of course one of the days it was snowing, the other one they wanted to shoot at noon.

    I am shooting a D7100 in RAW, I had a SB-700 on, to fill if needed. The "best" lens I have to shoot this style is my 70-300 f4.5-5.6. I did try a few with my 60mm Macro because it is a f2.8.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.

    [​IMG]


     

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    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
  2. Nwcid

    Nwcid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    [​IMG]
     

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  3. Nwcid

    Nwcid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    DSC_3161.jpg
     
  4. Nwcid

    Nwcid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  5. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper Furtographer Extraordinaire! Supporting Member

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    Having not shot a tonne of people myself the following is how I approach it.

    There are posing techniques that are tried and true. If I have someone that has a natural charm on camera and isn't shy I'll give them the idea of how I see the image and try to work with them to get the pose down. That's how I did the following.
    25438963_1976404345969271_4632194282842404910_o.jpg

    The next person..... not so much.

    She is what I would consider a typical client where they aren't really comfortable and surely not confident in front of a camera. She was quite nervous even though we know each other fairly well.
    Here I asked her to sit. her daughter was part of the shoot as well so I told jokes with her and her daughter, we discussed how our families were doing etc. All the time I had the camera framed on her lights ready to go and the camera remote in my hand.
    When the first shot went off she was a little startled and that was when she gave me her stern "Don't do that again look." Her daughter was chuckling and that was when the more natural smile came across her face. In the raw image she was actually leaning a little to the right which I corrected in post. In a studio this can be done easily but on location it would be something to watch for.
    Mom_final2.jpg

    Now I'll step aside and let real portrait photographers help with posing. lol
     
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  6. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Good points raised by zombiesniper. There are two main aspects to portrait work; posing and lighting. Invariably, people who refer to portraits looking "posed" are referring to ones which are not posed properly. Your first two images have a number of common erorrs: The subject is posed square to the camera, their expressions appear forced, and they are centered in the frame. By contrast, the third image is MUCH better. Why? First because the subject's body is inclined with respect to the camera (this is particularly important when posing females), also because their expressions appear natural, and because they're not quite so centered in the frame.

    People often ask me if they should smile, or how they should smile for their portraits. I ask them if they like their smile, if they feel like smiling, or if they want to smile. If they say 'No' to any of those, then I tell them NOT to smile. A natural expression (in 99% of cases) is always better than a forced smile (your image #1). The girl in your last two images has a lovely natural smile that you should take maximum advantage of, but if she didn't? Don't try and "make" her smile.

    As an example, this portrait of a gentleman I did a few months back has no smile; rather he has a natural expression which looks totally appropriate for him. Notice too that his body is angled and inclined with respect to the camera which eliminates straight lines and creates a more pleasing form:

    [​IMG]

    Posing is a topic about which tens of thousands of pages have been written and which has a great deal of theory behind it. You should spend some time reading up on posing techniques and gain an understanding of the basics.
     
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  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Feedback? I'd say that you need to frame with a bit more top-space above the people when photographing a seated or standing full-lngth shot in a horizontal camera orientation; your displayed shots of the ladies and the young man in the snow feel a bit cramped, with their heads too close to the top of the frame.

    As far as "natural" activities and posed or formal shots...it takes some experience, and you've already gotten in a few shoots, and have done okay. Allowing more space around the people is one option I think I'd immediately consider. As to the natural,genuine expressions you want: those expressions can often take 10 or 15 minutes, or maybe a bit more in terms of actual, real-time shooting, to come out of some people. Often times, people give what I call their "picture smile," for the first 10 to 15 minutes of a photo session. What I mean is tat at the start of a portrait session, many people, probably most people actually, well they project their practiced, life-long, "I am having a good time, this is how I always,always smile in a picture, dangit!" expression. SOME people never,ever get over this habit,and they project the same expression in photos, every single time. As in every, single photo. Teeth bared, smiling-in-name-only, their eyes belying nervousness or some other subtly negative emotion. But most people, after 10 to 15 minutes of showing their "picture-smile", begin to open up, to relax, to vary their expression.

    It is the people photographer's job to elicit the desired expressions, and then to shoot photos of the expressions, and to help his subjects project the right type of expressions. Eliciting the desired expressions might involve coaching, describing, modeling and showing, and so on, what is desired. I think that pre-shot setup and pre-shot coaching, and describing the desired end photo and expression, and being encouraging, and then shooting plenty of frames and praising the subject's efforts, goes a long way. Do this on every pose, and shoot 15, 20 frames at least, of each of the desired, "final" poses. You need to describe the desired expression, and help the subject "play-act" in such a way that they feel FREE and encouraged,m to move away from that awful,awful "picture-smile" type of cheesy expression that most people use. Getting away from the "picture-smile" feeling can take 10,15,20 minutes for many people. Some people take longer.

    The really genuine, amazing pictures often come about a half of an hour to 45 minutes into a real photo session. Unless the person is especially outgoing and pliable and malleable in his or her expressions, you're going to have to shoot and shoot and shoot, until the person loosens up. After an hour, or so, almost any non-model type subject is done for. Unless you shoot at least 30 minutes, or have a very developed way of photographing people, and can really,really "work people magic", your best bet would likely to tell people you'll shoot pictures for about one hour, and tell them,literally, "Not every shot's a winner, so there's no need to worry about every shot being perfect, and we do NOT want you to be smiling with a big and toothy grin in every single shot."You must prove that to them, by posing them, coaching them, encouraging them, and snapping plenty of photos, so that they can see for themselves that they do NOT have to project that same-old-same-old "picture smile", that you will snap them in different types of expressions.

    Don't,don't,don't shoot ONLY smiley faces! That alone, shooting less-than-a-smile, demonstrates to real people that they do NOT have to be smiling, in order for you to shoot a photo! That is a message that needs to be understood, and many people do not think that way.

    With nervous or less-than-great subjects, I think that a newcomer to posed people pictures should shoot 300 to 400 frames, at least, in an hour, if he or she wants to have 15 to 20 real,genuine,excellent frames at the end. Many regular,ordinary people are not all that great or all that comfortable in front of a camera. I'm describing a way that's worked for me when photographing nervous, sort of uptight people. To make a pizza, it takes time for the dough to rise.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
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  8. Nwcid

    Nwcid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thank you for the long, detailed posts.

    I am in the situation most find themselves in. "Hey, can you take good pictures of me, tomorrow.....", not to make excuses, but that is why I am here trying to learn. Like any other skill this is not one that can be mastered overnight, and I do plan on learning more. That is why I am here asking.

    The first two pictures were from my first ever attempt to do this kind of work. I had the 2 parents involved in "posing" the kids as it is not something I do, and that was the caveat I gave them. That day was under 20* and we did a couple of 15-20 min shoots at my house.

    For the second 2 pictures I had watched a few videos on "how to", and I think I did a bit better. The outdoor conditions were a bit better and the model was also more relaxed. I got some great candid shots, but not ones she would want to use for senior photos. We spent about 1.5 hours shooting in a few locations in park area. I took just over 300 shots, and kept 38 main and 23 candid.
     
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  9. paigew

    paigew Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I am a full time "people photographer". I go for the natural looks as well. What works well for me is to talk and really connect with my subjects. I compliment them by telling them the unique ways they are beautiful and I joke and laugh, just like friends :) paigwilks.com.headshots.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
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  10. Vtec44

    Vtec44 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    We all have our preference. I'm too much of a detailed person to leave anything up to luck on a paid shoots, so I generally prefer posed photos. Each photographer will pose people differently. I just tell people to do the things that they always do and observe :eek: Here are some of my posed photos. I call these posed candids :D

    _D757760.JPG _D758042.JPG _D758118.JPG 20160925_Big-Bear-Engagenemt-photography-session-Salma-Luis_01231.JPG 20170211_Yosemite_Winter_Engagement_Photography_Lisa_Richard_00228.JPG 20170506_Barrels-and-Branches-Wedding-Layne-Connor_01521.JPG 20170611_PineRose_Melissa_Daniel_01614.JPG 20170811_Pine-Rose-Cabins-Stacey-Andy_01719.JPG 20170831_SanMoritz_01222.JPG 20170831_SanMoritz_01237.JPG 20170831_SanMoritz_01271.JPG 20160808_Yosemite-Engagement-photography_01195.JPG

    20171023_LakeGregory-engagement-session_01218.JPG D8C_1553.JPG
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
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  11. Donde

    Donde TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I take a lot of pictures of a girl who absolutely will not look anywhere but straight at me when I take her photo. I like them but I see her in so many other poses that I would love to catch but never get the split second I need before she turns to look at me. In terms of carefully deliberated poses there is a generous helping of that in the above.
     
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  12. Nwcid

    Nwcid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Awesome comments and help.

    While this is not primarily the type of photography I want to do, it is a good skill to have.
     

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