Wish Photography is back this week with the second installment of her Infusing Fashion into Your Portrait Photography series. You can find the first tutorial here:
Do you remember how I was telling you about my addiction to America’s Next Top Model? Well it’s paid off in the posing aspect. I also have a massive rehab-worthy addiction to collecting fashion magazines. I pour over them looking at the pictures of the models and the photography techniques used. In the beginning when I first started looking at these photos with amateur eyes, I didn’t notice everything there was to notice. Then I started dissecting the photos and started to notice trends in what makes something more fashionable. So I took some of these ideas and incorporated them in my sessions to infuse fashion even further.
Now if you’re anything like me you’re a portrait photographer or hobbyist who photographs real clients, maybe on occasion shoots a working model or a model who is just starting out. But for the most part we photograph clients: normal, average, awesome people. When my clients come on a session with me I want to make them feel like a rockstar, I want them to get photos back that makes them, their friends, co-workers, husbands, family, dogs…possibly a pet dinosaur say “Yabba Dabba Do…WHAT A HOT BABE! You should be a model.” Photos that make my client say “Dang, I’m hot!” So I am going to share with you some tips, tricks and ideas to make your portraits have that fashion flare edge to them.
Session Tips for Infusing Fashion into Your Portrait Photography
1. Expression Tips
Have you noticed during run way shows the models never smile…like never..in the history of never do they smile….Unless they are modeling for Betsy Johnson or something….but they really don’t smile. Or when you are looking through a fashion magazine, unless it’s something super commercial they don’t smile. For reals..go look. NO SMILES. Now I’m not telling you not to ask your clients to smile because at sometimes you should and even a smile can look fashion-ish. Most of the time though, if you want to put a fashion flare in….ask them NOT to smile. (We will talk about smiling in a minute.)
So let’s be real, it’s not as easy as saying to your client: Don’t smile, because then they feel awkward and they can look like a deer caught in the headlights, so here’s some ideas and suggestions to help your clients get that fashionista top model look in their expressions.
- Have them look down with their eyes or close their eyes, and then tell them on the count of three you want them to look at you. This is what I say “Okay doll, I want you to look down with your eyes. Don’t smile for this one ‘k? Okay so look down just with your eyes and then on the count of three I want you to flip your eyes up and look right in my lens. Ready? One. Two. Three.” MAGIC!
- Put a thought in your clients head. Sometimes they will have a blank look on their face if they don’t know what to think about. Then they will be thinking about something like “I feel like I should be smiling, and I bet I look like a doofus and I don’t want to look like a doofus.” They won’t be feeling it. So if you ask them to think of a memory or even sing a song in their head you will get power and passion behind their eyes.
- Sometimes when I want to get a really passionate, fashion, edgy look from a client and I’m not getting it. I have them say a negative word like; stop, don’t, no, and I ask them to say it like they mean it but not to shout it. There is a split second that you will capture that fire in their eyes.
Now not all fashion-like expressions need to be angry…you can do smiling or laughing too. Most likely they will come off more commercial instead of editorial, but hey, it still works.
- Just like using words in acquiring more serious expressions, you can use words to capture fun and lighthearted expressions that are real, and commercial. Have them say positive words like “Hey, Yeah, Yes, Hi,” This will capture light in their eyes, even a giggle.
- Ask them to laugh. REALLY. At first they won’t find anything funny and they will feel silly, but then you will get them to really laugh. I pose my client when doing this. If it’s a single client I may have her clasp her hands to her chest and tip her head backwards and laugh. That’s just one example of the many I ways I use this technique.
2. Posing Tips
When I first started trying to infuse fashion into my photography I found myself saying “hands on hips.” And while it works for seniors, it doesn’t always work for fashion. Now there is an exception to this if it’s posed a little more awkwardly but let’s face it…hands on hips is an easy out when it comes to posing.
If you are wanting something a little more edgy, when it comes to fashion or infusing fashion into your portraits, think “slightly awkward”.
Here are some examples:
- Arch the back. Have a female arch her back like the letter C. That is exactly what I say to the client: “Arch your back like a C.” It give you a nice little booty pop and body shape.
- Another example would be a rounded back and awkward shoulders. Dropping one shoulder lower than another will offset the pose just enough to strike a more fashion vibe.
- And lastly use the arms and hands. So many times we get stuck on what to do with hands and arms and that is why we go to the easy hands-on-hips or thumbs-in-pockets poses. But there are so many more things you can do to make it look fashion-like.
Some of my favorite things to do with hands are:
Playing with hair.
There are so many ways you can have them play with their hair.
– You can ask them to pull it in a ponytail (high or low).
– You can have them tuck their hair behind their ear or brush it out of their face.
– You can have them twirl their hair in their fingers or straighten their hair down the front.
Another pose I love to do is hand to the chest. (Not a boob grab.)
I love doing this pose when I am trying to emote a specific feeling. You can use this pose for laughter, peace, and romance.
See what I mean in these images:
Those are just a few of my favorite things to do with hands that can help to give your images a little more of a fashion flare.
3. Shooting Tips
This tip could actually go on forever because there is so many things that I could cover in this one subject alone, but there’s just not enough space or time….so I decided to pick one area of shooting that I think will help you out. Take a variety of shots.
Switch your lenses. I know, I know we have our favorite lens and we never EVER in the history of never take off that special heart throb lens. We have a connection with it. You may be addicted to your prime lens or love your zoom lens with fabulous compression, or maybe you love to shoot super wide or super creative with a tilt lens. But honestly if you never try and switch to other lenses you will not be able to create a full spread that is worthy of a fashion magazine (This is simply my own opinion…some of you will say..whateves…Kandis..whateves.)
But think about it, you want to get up really close and get that beauty shot, but then you need to pull back and get the shot of the entire set, and look.
It is important when you are shooting more fashion and editorial that you get equal beauty shots, meaning close up and tight and full length pull back shots.
I’m seriously talking from experience. I love my 70-200 2.8L. She’s lovely and I named her Lily. Her compression at 200mm makes my heart melt. I was always using this lens and shooting at 200mm until I realized that I never had enough images and different images to submit to publications. It wasn’t until I took that beaut of a lens off and slapped on my 17-40 or my 24-70 that I was able to really start seeing myself as more of a portrait photographer with a fashion flare. This is when my fashion-ish side came out.
Shoot just as many portrait/vertical photos as you shoot landscape/horizontal. Just do it…it will help you if you are wanting to submit to publications and for portfolio reasons.
Well my lovelies. I could go on forever about this subject, but I can’t. SO SAD.
But I will be returning for my last session in this series next week. You won’t want to miss it!
Kandis is the owner of Wish Photography where she finds joy in photographing everything lovely and fabulous. She thinks she has an inner granny and it manifests itself in floral dresses, red lipstick, knitting and afternoon tea. When not photographing, Kandis will be found at the mall which gives her the same feeling as ‘going home’. You can follow her blog and become a fan on Facebook where she loves to make new friends.
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