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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk 
Thread started 22 Dec 2013 (Sunday) 11:02
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Portrait Sequence

76 posts
Likes: 3
Joined Dec 2013
Dec 22, 2013 11:02 |  #1

Hello Board,

I have a question based on sequence or planning. I'm sure there is a ton of diversity, of which I'm looking to develop my own sequence.

Outdoor/Portrait shoot:
I go into the shoot with a plan, but as the shoot unfolds, the plan kind of goes awry or skews, or I find myself forgetting poses, which develops a sort of "what am I missing" mentality.

Do you start with close ups or wide view?
Start with full body, mid, head, front, back, into the sun, in the shadows, etc...
It's all about "flowability"

I could and will work it out, but I was curious how others plan and remain on plan.


I'm a Pro because I once did a 1099 and a W-9

78 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Dec 2013
Location: Los Angeles
Dec 25, 2013 23:17 |  #2

Hey Roodig,

These are questions I struggle with too.

For me, I like to plan the shot that I want and try to grab it up front. So, for a portrait, I'll start a little wide and work my way in to close with varying expressions. This is the first 20 minutes or so. With some technique- not photographic, but social- I can usually get the subject to relax a bit and most of the time I can land a few safety shots. These are shots that I know the client will accept, but might not be as creative as I want as an artist.

Once I get those shots in the bag, so to speak, then I start getting creative. That's when I start playing with angles, shoot wide open, bring more environment into the shot, work with props. This is the fun part of the shoot for me and the majority of the time the client picks one of these shots as opposed to the safety shots. However, you know you have them, so if you get too creative or they don't come out for some reason you have a back up plan.

Some tips:

1) If you're feeling like your losing your vision or the point of the shot, pull in. Simplify down as much as possible and then take a different route.
2) In order to make sure you're getting the expressions you need, practice "expression cycling". I just made that name up, but a buddy of mine taught me that you take them through a series of expressions rapidly- "Smile- dead serious, smile- halfway- big smile". This helps get people out of that snapshot face thing.
3)Show them what you want. There's no better way to make a shoot fun than to strike the pose you want them to hit yourself. Yes, you'll feel silly but it's worth it.

I look forward to seeing what some other people reply. The shot plan is something I would like to improve on too! (external link) (external link)
Vegan food
Portraits- People
Portraits- Animals

76 posts
Likes: 3
Joined Dec 2013
Dec 26, 2013 23:46 as a reply to  @ gsouder's post |  #3

Thanks for your thoughts.

I think my question has a lot of validity to it. It's a procedure that should be developed and followed, just like the editing process after the shoot. There are plenty of folks who have gotten editing down to a streamlined fine art.

I scour books and posing charts looking for unique views, angles, settings to compliment the person(s), I have a reasonable plan going in, but the plan shifts most times and I end up in a mini scramble to re-group, or remember what my plan was.

I hate "mannequin" posing. In other words, having a subject that will only move under your direction or manipulation. It's not their fault, they are paying me to direct them, but it sure does help having someone who has a pinch of flair to them and works with you rather than against you.

I like some of your terms, and it seemed to provide some clarity to my concerns. I will generate some names (for groups if you will). "Safety shots" would be the group just as you said. I think memorizing the group will possibly keep the shot on plan rather than "winging" it.

I think some of my issues are, I might neglect the "Safety shots" and try getting creative right out of the gate.

I'm a Pro because I once did a 1099 and a W-9

1,386 posts
Likes: 3
Joined Feb 2010
Location: Boston, MA
Dec 29, 2013 06:47 |  #4

I work under a completely different school of thought - go with the flow.

6D EF 24-70 MkI - Σ 50 mm 1.4 - Σ 15mm 2.8 Fishie - 430EX II - AlienBees -
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Portrait Sequence
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