Act like a Superhero
A great way to create expressive portraits is to use superhero stories. We all know Wonder Women fights baddies on the street corner.
She stands proud and tall facing an evil master mind. Head held high, hands on hips. A fierce gaze.
I guarantee we have the same carbon copy picture in our mind’s eye, in Technicolor glory. Raven hair, painted red nails and a lycra suit.
Go on. Stand like Wonder Women, right now. Try it.
Because we have the same picture in our heads (this one), it’s an easy stance to copy. The story creates an immediate connection.
A superhero stands tall and proud, with the legs strong and wide. Her face held high, looking into the sky. Just like Superman, but without the cape.
When playing with ‘characters’, it brings the moment alive. An immediate connection is made and an emotional response is generated. Translating into expressive portraits.
Example 1 – I used the ‘image you are …’ technique to create a strong, confident gaze here.
“Look sexy. Look confident. Look like you’re in the shower with your boyfriend”.
I’ve actually heard photographers say this.
As a character
“Picture this. You’re a superwomen. Standing tall and proud. Cross your arms, look straight into the camera like you’ve conquered the world.”
Make a joke. Ease the moment. Connect with the model.
See how I used in Anna’s session here.
Example 2 – I used the same game ‘pretend you are ….’ to create a connection with Angela here.
Why it works
1. We’ve all read the same stories and watched the same films. Through time immemorial there are goodies and baddies, heroes and villains, good triumphs over evil. Standing like Superman or Cat Women is something we can all do.
2. Our love of stories elicits different emotions, thinking about Super Women in her cheesy outfits generates a twinkle in our eyes naturally.
3. Use the story to tell a story. It takes the focus away from the camera and places firmly on your model.
Example 3 – I used the ‘what would you say to the fireman if he’d just rescued your cat’ game to create a beautiful smile here.
“You’re superwomen and everyone is cheering your name (happy).” CLICK
If you’re model is comfortable and plays along with the game. Carry on. If not, change tactics immediately.
“Oh no, the evil mastermind is wriggling away, put your foot on his stomach. You’ll both giggle at the silliness of this.” CLICK (laughter).
“Now pretend you’re about to face your nemesis, that’s it, stare fiercely into the camera (confident).” CLICK
Not everyone likes to play along, so choose your moment wisely.
Example 4 – I asked Molly to tell me what the people on the beach were doing in the distance. I nattered constantly, ‘Oh look over there, what are those people doing? They think you’re a famous model’.
When models book a photo shoot, I help them solve the challenge created by camera-shy nerves. And if that particular problem was an evil villain, it would be called ‘camera jitters’.
When photographers work with me, I help them feel in control of their portrait session to become stronger and confident. And if that stronger and more confident self was a superhero, it would be called ‘camera confident’.
Use my secret. Pretend to be Wonder Women of the camera world – standing tall, eager to help models overcome their camera-shy jitters.
Example 5 – I describe a powerful business women to Elisabeth (because she is wearing a jacket). “Now stand stall, confident. You’re in the board room and everyone is looking at you to lead the way”.
– Look like a president
– Imagine you’ve found a forgotten piece of chocolate in your pocket
– Clasp your hands together like you’ve bumped into a long lost friend
– Curtsey like you’ve meet the Queen
– Walk towards me like it’s your wedding day
Something for you:
I’ve never shared these with clients. They are plain daft. But I’ve keep a visual memory in the back of my mind. The silliness of the outfits helps me remember my ‘go to poses’ that work for everyone.
For more advice on natural portrait sessions or to book a natural portrait by an Isle of Wight photographer, get in touch and I’ll be happy to help.
Booking me for your coaching
Amanda Herbert | Isle of Wight