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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk 
Thread started 14 Dec 2015 (Monday) 10:21
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Techniques for better interaction with subjects

 
D ­ 550D
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Dec 14, 2015 10:21 |  #1

I've been analyzing my portrait photos looking for ways to improve them. Portraits to me are mostly a hobby - a fun way to express some creative ideas, follow a theme or develop a technical aspect of photography.

There are many ways to improve my people shots like better control of light, better locations or better postprocessing workflow, but the main thing holding me back would be the interaction with my subjects.

What are some of your techniques for making subjects relaxed in front of the camera, so that they act like themselves or that their poses come naturally and don't look so stiff.
In particular the biggest challenge for me is the facial expression.
A blank stare or a forced smile rarely help a photo. What do you do when it comes to facial expressions your subjects?

Thanks for your input.


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airfrogusmc
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Dec 14, 2015 10:56 |  #2

Be yourself. You relax and that energy will transfer and that gives the photographer a sense of confidence. My advice is pay attention to your subject. Watch their natural body language. Don't twist and turn them into pre packaged positions that are probably not going to feel natural to them. Getting them to relax and let their guard down is the key.




  
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flowrider
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Dec 14, 2015 11:10 |  #3

Chat with them. Find a common interest or subject. Remember that portraits are supposed to be fun and getting them to laugh relaxes everyone and gets the most out of them.


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chauncey
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Dec 15, 2015 17:27 |  #4

Practice your skill at one-liners.


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Alveric
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Dec 15, 2015 18:00 |  #5

Don't tell them to smile.


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zoomguitar1
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Jun 07, 2016 19:45 |  #6

Does anyone know of some good fly-on-the-wall videos of a photographer naturally interacting with a new client, not staged. For me too, portrait photography is mostly a hobby, but if I was an apprentice I would probably learn the most just by watching a mentor at work. Seeing the interaction between photographer and client, and seeing what kind of manner and banter works best would be very useful




  
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nathancarter
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Jun 08, 2016 12:53 |  #7

I think Peter Hurley has some videos like that. Not really fly-on-the-wall style, but plenty of interaction with the subject and engaging, directing.


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Kliphe
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Jul 04, 2016 20:59 |  #8

I am watching a Chris Orwig video from Creativelive that is really good.


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Joker-USMC
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Sep 22, 2016 08:40 |  #9

i have been accused of being a bit too "up tight" at times! definitely have to learn to relax a little because when you're tense, the subject, who is probably already a little tense, is going to get even more tense. it can snowball into a horrible experience for both of you.

one piece of advice in particular ... talk to them like they're already your friend(s), even if you barely know them. i've found this very quickly helps them to relax and become more comfortable.




  
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kjonnnn
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Sep 22, 2016 14:44 |  #10

Look outside of photography for your answer. The skill you seek is not a photography skill but is a skill in relating to people. Find how to make yourself more relatable and appear more friendly and inviting as a person.




  
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flowrider
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Sep 22, 2016 20:04 |  #11

http://www.clickinmoms​.com …ions-from-kids-in-photos/ (external link)


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RDKirk
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Jan 25, 2017 08:45 |  #12

A tip from left field:

Use a tripod and get your face out of the camera while interacting with the subject.

I'm old school enough to have done my first portrait work with a twin-lens-reflect that had a waist-level groundglass. That camera was a natural for a tripod. I looked down at the groundglass to compose and focus, then did my photography looking directly at the subject.

People prefer to interact with faces, not with lenses. You smile, they smile. They can hear you better and feel more comfortable having a conversation with a face they can see.

This is 1000% more true with children, for whom at least 90% of the conversation is through facial expression.

Most photographers these days use a tripod if they must; I use a tripod whenever I can. I'll combine that with a radio remote control so I don't even have to be stuck with the camera. If I want the subject to look to one side, I'll actually go to that position and have them look at me while I continue to talk to them, then release the shutter remotely.

That is also a great technique to use with children. Put the camera on a tripod, then get on the floor close to the children just out of view of the camera and interact directly with them. That has the side benefit of making them more likely to stay in place. I can't take the credit--long time "Toys R Us" commercial photographer Jack Reznicki gave me that tip while waiting for a plane in Atlanta.




  
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Techniques for better interaction with subjects
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