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Don't Over - Pose!
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Don\'t Over  -  pose!

My biggest complaint with many photographers? Over-posing. I've heard stories and witnessed photographers spend what seems like hours posing a picture just to take one or two pictures and move on to the next pose. This is horrible! You are going to miss so many natural looking pictures by doing this. Don't get me wrong, I am not condoning posed pictures. I just think way too many people overdo it at the cost of losing many candid pictures.

The trick to getting people to be candid is to get them to be comfortable with the camera. Many people get rigid when a camera shows up and tend to try to pose themselves or put on a front for the camera. Try to get them past this. Talk with them, have a good time, and take lots of pictures to get them comfortable with the camera. Do your job well and by the end of the photo shoot they will be having a good time and not even realize the camera is there! So maybe that is a bit idealistic, but you would be surprised how well it can work.

That's not to say you can't pose anyone at all. Go ahead and pose, but please take pictures of the people being themselves. There are two approaches that I use to avoid over doing it with the posing. Make minor adjustments on what your subject is doing anyway to make the picture look better, and doing away with posing and taking your subjects' pictures when they are doing whatever they want. I generally do some of both in a photo shoot.

The first approach can get good results. You may have to get someone to look a different direction or tilt their head a bit the other way. There are plenty of small things that will make the picture look good without making someone pose so much that they don't feel like themselves anymore. However, the amount of posing you do may feel awkward for them, but the goal is a good picture! I once heard someone say "It feels weird, but looks good." There are plenty of small adjustments to be made for the picture. Even if you are new to this, just try things out and the worse that happens is it doesn't work. Don't get discouraged if you are new to photography.

My personal favorite is to just allow people to do whatever they want. I did an unofficial photo shoot for someone's engagement, and when we started, they asked me what to do. I simply just said be yourselves. It took a few minutes for them to get over the camera, but after that I got many wonderful pictures of them being themselves! They had a "professional" photographer doing official engagement pictures at a later date, but told me that they liked mine more. They were more genuine.

Nobody wants a cookie-cutter photo. Take these two bits of advice and you will avoid the mistake of over-posing and will be well on your way to much more personalized pictures.


Street Talk

I completely agree with you Jon! The more natural the photo looks, the better. Sometimes you get the greatest shots just 'goofing around'

Reply
  about 9 years ago
  

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way! It always drives me crazy when I see a photographer not taking pictures when they should.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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