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Language prompts for better portraits

When I first began, I used to be quite terrified by the thought of dealing with people. Working with inanimate items was far more intriguing to me since, at least in my mind, they didn’t communicate back. They didn’t improve photographs much either, however. When you establish a rapport and capture the person’s soul, portraits may have a significant effect. Posing cues that work make things come together more quickly.

Most individuals are worried about how they will seem in photos and want to feel relaxed. But if we know how to engage with them and gain their trust, we can make them feel more at peace. Here are some pointers for increasing set confidence and creating better portraiture. Everything is achievable if you have their confidence.

Summary of Contents

Establish a waistline
Head toward the Lens
Bring It All Together for Better Portraits by Setting the Mood

In general, women are more apprehensive than men about the famed idea that the camera would make them gain ten pounds. A fantastic, easy reference for both men and women is the following. Get them to pose asymmetrically and put their weight on their rear foot for the camera. Encourage them to retract their shoulders. To check where it appears the most attractive, I prefer to ask them to roll their shoulders back a few times. As our shoulders often carry strain, it is also restorative. Tell them to gently bend their elbow and draw it back an inch or two. Having them put their hand on their hip, in their pocket, or softly on the side of their thigh is a fantastic place to start.

Better photographs are made as a result of these verbal cues since they naturally lengthen the neck while also emphasizing the waistline. When the style calls for big apparel, turning the elbow back may be very useful for defining a waist. The other hand may be held in a more relaxed position, such as at the side or in the pocket. Even when both hands are doing the same task, I prefer to direct asymmetry since it often produces the greatest outcomes. Regardless of style, this stance is effective. It will always seem more natural if you keep it subtle. Ask your client to gently shift it from side to side if they are adept at following instructions and moving. On the other hand, if it begins to feel too static or stiff, have them shake it out and start anew.

If the angle is off, both men and women might seem to have a double chin. It doesn’t matter whether they are heavy or light. I’ve found that telling people to move their foreheads toward the lens is the best signal. It took some time to reverse the pigeon-like behavior when I used to guide their chins.

This always works whether you are shooting low, from a high vantage point, or directly ahead. Every time they establish eye contact, have your customer put their forehead to the lens. It’s simple to have them go on from there to giggling and gazing over their shoulders.

When guiding our customers, we commonly utilize linguistic signals like fun, playful, flirtatious, sexy, or gloomy. But how does it appear? What kind of mood exactly? Is it imposing and strong, kind and calm, or all three? Is it more sexist or feminist? Have a clear vision of what that means to you.

Create a moodboard that is relevant to and simple to grasp for your audience. For instance, I often ask people to picture their significant other if I want them to be a bit playful. Sometimes it’s the notorious smize, when the eyes smile and the lips is soft.

To elicit a sincere grin, start making jokes and laughing with them. No matter how ridiculous it seems at the time, laughter is contagious. You may fake chuckle at them and then swiftly switch to blue steel to elicit a gracious grin. After the changeover, they nearly always chuckle and give me what I wanted.

Pop culture allusions often work nicely here. A plus is if you are familiar with the customer. To influence people into your ideal frame, connect with them at key points in your common past.


My photo customers have responded best when I give them instructions in this sequence. I begin with the standard position and the right head position. Next, we control the mood. It is quite simple to design your own flow and patterns from here. The magic always starts to happen near the conclusion of the shoot. In those final few seconds, don’t be hesitant to bring it home; just go for it. Pose every few frames, vary the atmosphere, and have fun. You’ve gotten their trust and established a rapport. Make use of it to your benefit.

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