Conversation: The Pressure-Free Portrait Session

maternity-54The portrait session. I love portraits to really reflect the relationship between people.  My goal during a portrait session is highlight the love, closeness and intimacy between a couple or family members in a light, sometimes funny and sweet way.  There have been many times that I have been forewarned by a given client at the onset of a session that, and I quote “I don’t know what to do” or “I  am really stiff so you’re gonna have to help me out” or “I don’t know how to pose” …need I go on?!   The thought of being photographed for an hour or even a half hour can be unnerving some; but it doesn’t have to be.  I tell my clients to come to the session with the view in mind that we will be “hanging out”  My approach to portraiture is less posing more conversation. Even when working with props or setting up a posed concept shot, if the conversation is flowing  it minimizes the camera aware awkwardness.  Offer some direction, set up a natural pose if the setting/mood calls for it but keep your portrait subject engaged through conversation.  Sincere bursts of laughter, quirky expressions, sweet eye contact, REAL hugs, kisses, impromptu sibling noogies and the like will be induced through conversation.  I start by asking a few “How did you meet? – What’s your hobby?” ice-breaker type of questions; but honestly there are so many interesting people with wonderful personalities and a story to tell that it really isn’t hard to find things to talk about.   We keep the conversation going for the entire session breaking only to offer the occasional “Stop there” or “look at me” or “Check out that ___” direction here and there.  So here is a photo recap from a recent maternity portrait session that started out with one of those “I can be stiff in front of the camera” type of warnings. They look so comfortable in front of the lens and Dad-to-be knew exactly how to make mom-to-be blush! So sweet working with these two!

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