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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Portrait Photography Tips continued . . .

Simple garments with clean lines photograph best.

Turtle necks and V necks are flattering provided that neither is too exaggerated in style. Avoid wide or particularly deep V neck garments as well as bulky cowl neck sweaters that completely hide the neck.
Long sleeves are best for teens and adults, as bare limbs tend to call attention to themselves and overpower the face.
Women photographed in full length should usually wear longer skirts, pants, or dark stockings to keep the viewer's eye from being directed toward the lower extremities and away from the face.
If feet are to show in the portrait, make certain shoes and stockings are in keeping with the visual intent of the portrait. Don't be afraid to kick off those shoes and go bare footed.
Men should ususally wait at least a week after a haircut before being photographed. Women should be photographed whenever they are happiest with their hair in relation to the time it is styled.
About Posing
Photography is actually painting and creating with light, and the position and quality of that light is the difference between an uninteresting shot and great, memorable shot.

Additionally, the proper use of the basics, equipment, props, environment, and composition either adds or takes away from a photograph.

One of the first goals of any photographer should be to get the subjects as relaxed as possible, both before and during shooting session or snapshot, especially children. Even though your subjects are posed, the pose should never look obvious in the final portrait.

Expressions must be spontaneous even though they are in response to a grand design. A trained actor can certainly simulate genuine expressions of emotion, but the untrained subject cannot, therefore you must make it happen, and be ready to catch those fleeting rmoments. A good photographer knows how to create a situation and atmosphere that will evoke natural expressions.

Perhaps the most common and successful method is to craft what playwrights call business. When actors are on stage but have little or no dialogue, they must do something. If they were to stand like a statue, they would ruin the illusion of reality on which the play depends. So the scriptwriter creates some small actions or business to keep the actors occupied. This same illusion of reality in a still photograph can be maintained in the same way. By giving your subject something to do, it gives the photograph meaning, a reason for being, and it tells a story.

On the stage, business is created with the aid of stage props. In photography, the same concept holds true. Give your subject something to work with, and you will likely create a memorable photograph or portrait. A prop may be anything from a stuffed animal for a child or single sunflower for a young lady, providing it is in keeping with the character of your subject. An athlete senior would certainly look more natural holding a football than a bouquet of roses. Even when photographing extreme close-ups, it is good practice to provide the subject with something to engross their attention. Whether the prop shows or not, it serves the purpose of creating a natural and easy expressions.

Additional Posing Tips

Setup your camera and lighting before you introduce your subjects. 
Focus on your subjects eyes as they are the reflection of true emotion, not to mention windows to the soul.

Take command of every situation. Your subjects will surely be looking to you for instruction.

Look for natural and easy expressions.

If you position your subjects at a 45 degree angle, they'll thank you for it later, as this angle is the most flattering and slimming. Weight on the front foot will create a more slimming appearance as well.

Senior Portraits

What do you wear?

Well, variety is certainly the key. When choosing your clothing, be aware that the most important thing is that you feel comfortable in the outfits. Most seniors select some casual clothing for a more laid back look, as well as some dressy outfits for the more formal look. Usually sleeveless or very short sleeves are not recommended, however it doesn't hurt to toss in a few fun shots of seniors in tank tops or t shirt.


For a classic look that is sure to satisfy your parents, bring a well fitting suit or sport coat and tie. Medium to dark sweaters also photograph well. For casual and outdoor photos, comfort is the main rule, so consider jeans, long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, sweaters, and perhaps some shorts and sweatshirts.


Select the colors and outfits you feel and look best in. Dresses or formal, sweaters and lace for a more traditional look. Casual clothes include bright colors, skirts, jeans, a long sleeve shirt, short sleeve shirts, cut off jeans, shorts. All White is good for the high key effect. Blonde or light hair looks great with white clothing and white backgrounds.


More often than not shoes will not show, but make sure that you have a couple of pair to go with some outfits just in case. Many prefer barefoot poses.


Try to have your haircut or perm at least one week before the session to let it fill in a little. Don't try a radically different haircut style and don't cut your hair until after you have seen your previews.

Additional Senior Tips

Props are great, so consider using your favorite hat, musical instrument, pet, sunglasses, letter jacket, car, uniform, sports activity like ski out fits and ski's, or ANYTHING else you feel will enhance the portrait and reveal your character.

Express yourself. The point of a senior photo is to capture your youth and personality, so think fun, and grand. Take a boyfriend or girlfriend to join you in some pictures! Have a horse? Use it.

Do not let skin blemishes dampen your spirits. Photos are easier now than ever to retouch.

General Tips and Suggestions

Basic Positioning Tips
Position torso and head facing different directions.
Masculine pose, try tilting the top of the head toward far shoulder.
Feminine pose, tilt the top of head toward near shoulder.

Please Note, Women can easily pull off either of these two poses.

Shooting Groups of People

As a rule, the image should express a tone that all in the group are unified,
either touching each other physically, or visually overlapping.

Clothing Choices

Everyone should have the same toned clothing, either warm or cold.

Brightly clothed individuals should be placed in the middle.

Posing Tips

Make men a little taller than women.

Stagger head heights.

Pose groups one person at a time, in relation to each other.

Pose men to the right of the frame, women to the left.

Open Poses are defined as images with physical or visual space between

Closed Poses are defined as images where individuals overlap each other,
with no visual space between them. Note, Mixing Open and Closed Poses
works well for large groups.

Posing Couples

Front to Front Pose, fronts of both people facing, or touching the other.

Fronts facing forward, fronts of both people facing forward, possibly at an
angle, one front to the other's back.

Avoid space between heads to create intimacy.

Use lots of negative space around couples in the frame.

Suggestions for Lighting

Match the mood of image to lighting.

High key often relates a happy emotion

Low key often relates a dramatic emotion 

Kevin Winkler

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