1-2-3 DON’T SMILE – Thank you Canon Explorer of Light, Michele Celentano. Thank you for sparking a new enthusiastic view toward
Thank you for reminding me that portraits aren’t composed of just a group of people, but by their connection, their relationship, and their feelings. Thank you demonstrating the art of portraiture and how the person behind the camera is as much a part of the composition as the people in front of the camera. If I were to try to include in a blog all I learned from Michele at our last meeting, it would turn into a book. Luckily, Michele as already written the book (Photographing Families…Tips for Capturing Timeless Images). I’m sure if you asked the 60+ PAC Members who attended the meeting at the very cozy Epiphany Studios, everyone would have their own favorite take-away from the meeting. Here are my three favorites tips.
#1 Pick locations for the art elements, not the scenery How many of us have set up a family shoot and discussed what “pretty place” where everyone meet? I have driven throughout the valley in search of the park, the interesting building, the waterfall, THE SPOT, to plant the family figures for a portrait. Guess what!? It’s not about the scenery! It’s about the leading lines, colors, textures, and the light that are incorporated into the photo. This one nugget has freed me from the prospect of attaining the status Frequent Photographer at the Scottsdale Civic Center and has focused my attention on looking for the elements that will make my photography better, and not just another ‘pretty picture.’
#2 Show & Tell – The art of posing The day after this meeting, I walked around the office and made everyone pose. I told them, verbally and with hand gestures, to tilt their heads, to lift their chins, to move their hands, lean back from their hips. No one is talking to me in the office anymore, but realizing how much easier it is to show people with a hand motion of how much more to move their head rather than trying to instruct them only with words was an invaluable lesson. When you tell someone to put their jaw next to someone’s temple – point to your jaw and your temple. Move your hands as if there are rods attaching them to your subject. I am also spending a lot of time posing myself in front of the mirror (Michele’s suggestion) to see how different angles look. My family is not talking to me either. But I’m learning a lot.
#3 People Puzzles “Tall people in the back, short people in the front” is probably fine for class photo day in elementary school, but not so much for professional family and group portraits. Create shapes like triangles and diagonal lines connecting one person to another. And keep everyone faces on the same focal plane – as if they all had their noses against a piece of glass in front of them. If you have more than one person, this will probably require a certain amount of leaning, and tilting and squeezing together, which brings us back to the title of the article – Don’t tell them to “smile”….or say “Go Cardinals”… or anything else to ‘force’ the expression. Rather, have fun as you get them into somewhat uncomfortable positions. Get out from behind the camera and talk to them. Let them shine in their own way, and so will your photos.
P.S. GREAT SMUGMUG/PAC NEWS…. Our newest sponsor is Vivyx Printing, a local printer who is giving all PAC members a 10% discount (CODE: PAC10) and will be giving FREE Printed images to the winners of the weekly Google+ challenge!
Now…stop reading and go out and SHOOT!
PS Dont forget to look up and Buy Michele’s New Posing Book! http://www.michelecelentano.com/
To Join in and find out about FREE Seminars in your town sign up here: https://captureschool.net/