One of the essential things I learned in the beginning of this business, besides using manual settings and knowing basic editing techniques, was the importance of posing.
In certain stances, posing can make or break the image but it is not such a delicate task. It is so important to select your posing and styling techniques based on what feels more natural for you and your client.
I often found myself struggling with posing in the earlier stages of my career, as I was thinking more like a studio photographer and not a lifestyle photographer. These are two very different styles of photography. Studio photography is more of a professional approach to the art of artificial lighting and a more mechanical structure of posing where as lifestyle photography is the complete opposite. Lifestyle photography focuses more on the feelings created within the image. Freezing a natural movement as if you hit the pause button on a home video. Lifestyle photography could almost be deemed “unprofessional” by how much it breaks “the rules” of photography. Good thing for you guys, I am going to elaborate on lifestyle photography because there is nothing I love more than being a “rule-breaker”.
My focus in my line of business is, more so, couples than portraits. I love the emotion and chemistry between people because its what I cling to when the rest of the world is dark and ugly. What is it that makes you love romance movies so much? The intimate waves of emotion between the characters as they take on the story line from start to finish, right? When they’re riding in a car and the camera shifts over to his hand reaching for hers, as it sits idly in her lap, you instantly think back to a time in your own life where that happened and what do you do next? You smile. Because you felt the same feelings all over again. This….. is my secret.
Much like any photographer, I have a specific style and brand I want to represent. In order to achieve the genuine essence behind my brand, I give my couples direction and trigger those feelings they have for each other by recreating detailed moments in their relationship that would give me the responsiveness I am looking for. In those moments, you can literally feel the intimacy jumping out at you. In your thought process when you are making expectations for your session, you probably visualize a certain aura coming from your couples and try to stick to “poses” that will retain back to your original idea. This is what you can work off of in order to achieve the natural flow of movements in your images.
“It’s 3 months into your relationship and you have a date tonight. You’re eager to see each other again. You’re going to tell her ‘I love you’. You guys use your hands to replay emotions of tenderness when you first said these words to each other. Move slow. Really feel it.”
The couples are, usually, always more than willing to take direction. That’s why they hired you. They are trusting you. In the middle of regenerating their affections, slightly guide them into the next natural movements. Always keep it moving. You may feel like you are being a burden but honestly, they get so caught up in each other, they start guiding themselves and you become a voice of instinct, continuing to guide and direct them as you flow into different affectional instances. The most effective way to develop this process in your posing technique is to really connect with your couple/clients before hand. It does’t take much to ask some questions and get the ball rolling, and you will see that in time, your flow of movements become simpler and simpler. It will almost be second nature.
You, as an artist, tend to feel things a little deeper, a little longer than most. Utilize those feelings to bring your relationship with your clients to life. If they see how you cherish the bonds between humans, they will, too. Naturally, it becomes a chain reaction and your clients feel more of a personal experience versus focusing on the fact that they should smile for the camera. So many can fake a smile, but you can’t fake a bond.
I have broken this down into two parts, as Part 2 will involve a film of how I work with couples and give you a visual of how to get in those grooves with your couples.
(To see more from this session, click here! http://www.emandjacob.com/blog/2016/7/12/rusty-maury-a-modern-folk-sunset-romance-memphis-tennessee-wedding-photographer)