- The Lost Art of Posing: How & Why to Pose Your Photography Clients
- Interesting Photo of the Day: The Orchid Mantis
- Complex Lighting in a Professional Product Shoot
- Documented: Unrest in the Ukraine
Posted: 25 Jan 2014 12:14 AM PST
“Posing” has come to be something of a dirty word in the present age, synonymous with “fake” and “structured” and all things dull and lifeless. Posing sucks the energy right out of a photoshoot—or so we tend to think. However, for photographer Jerry Ghionis, who is regarded as one of the best wedding photographers in the world, posing is critical to the success of any portrait.
In this lecture, Ghionis demonstrates posing techniques and shares insight into why posing is so important, what to do in difficult posing situations, and how to subtly pose clients who don’t want direction without driving them away (for those of you reading this by email, the masterclass video can be seen here):
Ghinois became sick of waiting for the perfect moment early in his career, and so he set out to discover how to create those moments through posing. Along the way, he discovered that most poses look fake because they are fake and that the key to masterful posing direction is connecting with a client’s emotions to create that “spark” that makes the client feel alive.
While the process is necessarily different for every client, Ghionis has developed the following general formulas for how to pose brides, grooms, couples, families, and bridal parties:
Posing Brides / Women
Posing a woman is all about making her look and feel beautiful. Even if a bride is resistant to posing, saying something like, “As beautiful as you are, I can make you shine brighter than ever before with a simple direction. Would you like that?” can help the bride to trust your judgment.
1. Be confident. Trust is key and you’ll earn hers by knowing what you’re doing and acting like it. Amateurish timidity will cause the bride to become anxious that she’s made a mistake in choosing you as the photographer of her special day—and that will come out in the photos.
2. Lead her with the mirroring technique. Instead of issuing commands that the bride may have no idea how to follow, show her what you want her to do by doing it first.
3. Speak softly and gently. If you do give verbal commands, give them quietly in a way that relaxes the bride and makes her feel soft and beautiful.
4. Encourage her. Praise her using words like “beautiful,” “lovely,” “gorgeous,” and “stunning.”
5. Understand the female form. Use flattering poses and lighting that emphasize the bride’s curves without making her look bigger. If you can bend it, then bend it, but keep it soft and relaxed. Repeating curves are wonderful to the eye.
6. Keep her hands soft and relaxed. Use them to frame her body, her face, or some detail like her ring or her bouquet. Always look for those feminine curves.
7. See the beauty in plus size brides. Learn to see the bride through the eyes of the groom and get to know her personality before you shoot. Then, amplify that beauty and hide weaknesses.
Posing Grooms / Men
In the excitement of photographing a beautiful bride, it can sometimes be easy to understate the importance of posing her groom. In actuality, posing a groom requires just as much careful attention as photographing a bride—and it’s all about making him look and feel cool.
1. Be confident, use the mirroring technique, and encourage him. Confidence in a professional photographer is important for guys too. If you can get a groom to trust you, he will follow your lead, especially if you use the mirroring technique with him for posing.
2. Understand the male form. While curves define women, the chest and shoulders define men. A groom should be posed in a way that makes him look strong. Emphasize his chest and shoulders by leaning them towards the camera and de-emphasize his waist by leaning it away from the camera—and use straight lines wherever possible.
3. Know how to button his jacket. If his jacket has one button, always button it. If his jacket has two buttons, only button the top. If his jacket has three buttons, definitely button the top, never button the bottom, and decide on a case by case basis about the middle button.
Photographing a couple is all about finding poses that suit the relationship and balancing the beauty of those poses with the natural energy between the couple to achieve both perfection and emotion.
1. Use the phone number technique. Just changing one tiny element in a pose (like changing one number of a phone number) can change a pose drastically and give you endless posing possibilities.
2. Pretend that the couple is standing on a turntable. Don’t overlook the value of different perspectives. Ask the couple often to change angles or move yourself.
3. Use clear, conscious directions. Vague directions like “turn right” are ineffective because to whose right is the couple supposed to turn—her right or his right or the photographer’s? Instead, get specific with your commands. Say, “Face me,” or “Face that building” or “Look over there at the top of that tree.” Instead of saying, “Kiss her,” say, “Kiss her like you’ve never kissed her before.”
4. Build and renovate. “Building” means allowing the couple to organically create their own pose by interacting with each other, with perhaps only a slight nudge from the photographer. “Renovating” is tweaking that organic pose so that it looks its best. The trick is knowing when to renovate the pose or tear it down and rebuild.
5. Shoot for emotion and perfection, but allow imperfection if the emotion is there. The ideal situation would be to create the pose and then evoke the emotion needed for the shot to seem real, but many times, evoking emotion creates imperfection in the pose—and that’s okay.
6. Shift the energy toward the bride. Lean the groom into the bride, tilt his head toward her, bend his leg slightly toward her. Do whatever it takes to create energy and lead the viewer’s eye to the bride. Remember that every body part communicates something about a photograph—make sure each one tells the right story.
7. Know how to solve the tall & short dilemma. Ghionis provides a number of posing solutions to this problem, but he also reminds us never to undervalue resourcefulness or forget that we can simply tilt the camera to make the shorter partner appear taller and the taller partner appear shorter. ”It’s just problem solving,” Ghionis said.
8. Know where to position their hands. Just a simple shift of the hands can change a photograph’s message from “I don’t care about you,” to “I love you.” Use hand-held props sparingly.
9. Complete the jigsaw puzzle. Think of each partner like a jigsaw piece in a puzzle and fit them together. See how many combinations you can come up with.
Many photographers experience anxiety about photographing larger groups of people, such as bridal parties or families, and rightly so—group shots are keen at exposing inexperience. Ghionis’ recipe for curbing that anxiety is thinking about posing a group one person at a time.
1. Pose the anchor(s) first. The anchor is the most important aspect of the photograph. Pose the anchor—or in the case of a full bridal party photograph—the anchors first. Then add in the other individuals to the scene wherever it makes sense to lead the eye to the anchor(s).
2. Eat your vegetables. While photographing the bride and groom and even bridal parties is like eating candy, considering all of the space you have to play and create, photographing families is often treated like that grit-your-teeth-and-just-do-it practice of eating vegetables. Not so.
Ghionis closes his lecture by recommending his invention called the Ice Light, a powerful lightsaber-shaped LED light designed to mimic the warmth of natural window light, but ultimately reminds his audience that gear, while essential, is not what makes a photographer.
Based in Beverly Hills, California and Melbourne, Australia, and having won numerous awards and honors, Jerry Ghionis is truly a master of his craft. He travels internationally to shoot weddings, fashion, and portraits, and is known for his empathetic shooting style and his knack for making his subjects look and feel beautiful in his work.
Go to full article: The Lost Art of Posing: How & Why to Pose Your Photography Clients
Posted: 24 Jan 2014 04:05 PM PST
Today’s interesting photo shows us a beautiful insect predator from the rainforests of Southeast Asia: the orchid mantis. With petal-shaped limbs and coloration mimicking that of a pretty flower, the mantis finds a suitable bloom in which to camouflage itself, then lies in wait for its prey:
In this video, you can see an example of the orchid mantis’ deadly strike on an unsuspecting bush cricket. Would you have seen that coming?
Posted: 24 Jan 2014 01:11 PM PST
Photographs in advertisements can be deceptive. Though an ad may appear to be a simple image of a product on a solid background, there is often an incredible amount of work that goes into making the product look perfect. Take, for instance, this four-day shoot for Baileys Irish Cream, which photographer Rob Grimm guides us through (for those of you reading this by email, the video can be seen here):
Grimm is one of the top names in his profession, and he’s no stranger to the effort that goes into making food and beverages look alluring. However, even he must admit that the Baileys shoot is singularly complex.
What about this shoot is so challenging? The bottles themselves are a super-high-gloss black, and they are shot on a black background. The glossiness of the material means that any light shone on the bottle will be exactly mirrored in it, creating ugly highlights and reflections. To solve this problem, Grimm and his team assemble a tent of sorts, using nine different lights and various filters. The two key lights, for example, though used with strip bank diffusers, must be diffused even further so that the rectangle shapes will not be reflected in the bottle.
The black background also presents its own set of challenges, since every edge and contour of the bottle must be defined well enough to stand out from it. Grimm has a light reflecting softly off of the background itself to make it “glow,” as well as a light specifically aimed to glint off the cap of the bottle.
Watching this video makes one wonder at how much equipment and finesse goes into every advertisement. The next time you see a polished product photo, try to imagine how it was lit–perhaps even more than nine lights were used!
Posted: 24 Jan 2014 10:58 AM PST
Billowing black smoke, leaping flames, charred wreckage, explosions–it looks like a war zone. And it certainly is a battle. One that has become deadly in recent days. Violent protests have been spreading out from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev since November, when the government pulled out of a treaty with the European Union. The situation has since been aggravated by new legislation restricting political dissent. The following two albums document some of the unrest occurring in the region (for those of you reading this by email, the albums can be seen here):
The photos above were captured by Ilya Varlamov, who said:
Protestors throw rocks and Molotov cocktails, and they burn tires to keep a thick smoke screen between themselves and the authorities. Police respond with their own Molotov cocktails, flashbang grenades, tear gas, and water cannons.
The following album shows more scenes from Kiev:
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