EPhoto 129 - Unposed Posing




I've had a few letters in the last few months about recent EPhoto articles and my portrait photo posing. Many of them, frankly, are not that kind. They basically ask me why I don't follow the formal rules of posing in all my images. My answer basically is because 'I don't want to.'

The expression goes something like 'Learn the rules and then break them', or something like that. I think that's a little strong, because there are usually good reasons for all those rules. So I think something along the lines of 'Learn the Rules and then do with them what you will' makes more sense.

I've studied with many great portrait photographers, including Don Blair, Monte Zucker and other great classic portrait artists. I've learned a great deal from them. But my photography is a result of inputing the information from Monte, 'Big Daddy', Fuzzy, Darton, and many others who may need two names, processing it through my gray (getting grayer!) matter, and outputting it with my name on it. I am influenced by others, but in the end, the work is mine.

And that's how it is with you also. We don't need clones, we need photographers who continually quest to improve themselves and do work that makes them proud to put their name on it, just as you do every day.


Much of this thought process stems from a discussion we've been having lately on EPhoto Elite. Clients call and say 'I don't want the photo too posed!' What do you do? Tell them to study the classics? Tell them to go someplace else? Maybe. But if you're like me, and many other photographers, you can show them work that is not so much posed as 'directed'.

I like a very casual style where I can put my subjects in an area where the light works (in or out), and have them interact with each other. I can get expression and capture emotion. I'm not going to stop it to 'fix' a bad hand. Let's look at a couple of examples.

The wonderful panel of images up top is from Nylora Bruleigh, http://www.photographybynylora.com, one of New Hampshire's top photographers. After taking the more 'formal' poses, she encouraged them to try these 'fun' poses. The result? She sold the 'fun' poses to the parents, and the more formal ones to the grandparents! The younger parents are very open to less rigid posing.

The brother and sister photo is mine. I just took it a couple of weeks ago. I took some pretty straightforward poses of them first, but once I knew I 'had it', I showed her what I wanted and had her put her arms around her younger brother. It's my favorite from the session and the one they purchased the most from. Are the hands 'bad'? You be the judge. But look at the faces first.

Let's talk about another saying: 'Knowledge is Power'. Absolutely wrong. The correct version: 'Knowledge is Power - But Only if You Use It". Learn all you can so you can make informed decisions that you are comfortable with.






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