One thing you can do to improve your portrait photography
Possibly the most clichéd photographer’s phrase next to “say cheese”, is something about being more comfortable behind the camera than in front of the camera.
We’ve all been there – that moment of discomfort when you have to be photographed. But I say it is time to confront this. You need to own it and become used to being photographed. Seriously. I would even go as far as saying that you have an obligation to your subjects and clients to be comfortable about being photographed. You need to know how to handle yourself in front of the camera. How to pose, and how to feel at ease.
I feel so strongly about this – that you have to discard that deflective thing that you’re more comfortable behind the camera. Even if you are, no one else is finding it amusing. Suck it up, and happily appear in front of the camera and be photographed.
How can you possibly draw the best from someone you are photographing, if you yourself aren’t okay with the presence of a camera? You can’t possibly instill confidence in your subjects if you whinge about being photographed.
You’re holding yourself back with that excuse. If you’re not comfortable posing or positioning yourself in front of a camera, take some time in front of a mirror to regularly see how you can improve your posture and stance in front of a camera. This is a valuable tool in learning how to pose someone – pose yourself in front of a mirror.
Another way to consider this – do you dislike it when people drag their feet to gather in a group for your camera? Well? Then don’t be that person yourself. Again, that silly excuse of being more comfortable behind the camera, doesn’t amuse anyone. Just never say it again. You owe it to yourself and your subjects you are photographing.
Become used to being photographed – I am convinced it will help you improve your portrait photography.
There’s an important side benefit to this, which is one of the epiphanies I had while attending a workshop by David A Williams – there need to be photographs of you with your family. It is important to your kids, and their (eventual) families. Photos which include you, are part of your legacy. Your kids and grandkids would want to see photos of you some day. Make sure it happens.
A little bit of homework
A few questions you might need to answer for yourself. (Or post it there as a reply.)
- Photographers – inspiration, and overcoming fears
- When was the moment the magic happened for you?
- Make your personal photography more than just snapshots
- A passion for photography
- Photography clichés
Articles on posing people
- Posing normal, everyday people for portraits
- Posing tips – the leaning pose
- Becoming more confident in posing people
- Adjusting a pose with incremental changes