How I plan photo shoots for portait photography courses
Angela waits a year for her portrait session (See her full story here).
Twins at home, a hectic lifestyle and the British weather strive to distract us.
I use them as challenges to excite us.
My first question to anyone who gets in contact – how do you want to look?
Happy, friendly, relaxed, spontaneous, warm, intelligent, welcoming, confident (and of course attractive)!
I’ll move mountains to make their dreams come true. I take time to listen, really listen to their ideas and design a cunning plan.
A straight forward, quick and easy, simple plan that guarantees success.
And it looks like this:
Why it works
People often arrive nervous, excited and unsure of what they want.
It’s my job to make it easy and fun and friendly.
Drawing a story board keeps it simple.
- where to go
- what angles to use
- where the sun light will fall
- the most flattering pose
- my camera settings
Leaving nothing to chance, I’ll be able to focus all my attention on my new friend, ensuring natural smiles and laughter all round!
I’d planned for the light to create a flattering pattern on Angela’s face through the gap in the tree line.
The bower of trees over head created a soft light in front and behind of Angela resulting in a luminous glow like a halo!
Receding tree lines are always beautiful. I was careful to place Angela between the trees so light could fall on her hair.
Frame 4 + 5 + 6
It was just too wet for the next sequence of pictures so I improvised! The photo below is the product of looking where the light fell and placing Angela on a low wall, with the sun behind her hair.
I didn’t like my attempt at frame 7 and it now lives in the rubbish bin. The next two pictures are ‘almost there’ but didn’t make the director’s cut either.
Angela is sat under a tree on a low wall. The light falls softly between the branches creating a soft feel to the image.
I always plan my locations according to the time of day. We are close to the end of our session and it is mid-day. Time to take cover and find the shade. Many people are surprised to know that bright, sunny days don’t create flattering photographs – it’s too harsh.
The best tip is to always put your back to the light and turn your face round, towards the sun. This creates flattering light which slims the body.
The tree stumps had been replaced with trees, so we carried onwards!
The secret to Angel’s beautiful countenance?
I’m stood on a litter bin to capture a flattering view point.
2 hours has flown by. We’ve had lots of fun and I hope you get a sense of Angela’s beauty, intelligence and grace.
Notice how I use a lot of seated poses. Reclining on garden furniture helps us relax. Standing in a open space can make people feel exposed and this is reflected in their expressions.
This area is surrounded by walls which means the only light is from the front. Perfect for a final beauty shot. (See her full story here).
On the story board I’d planned a laying down shot.
After taking note of what Angela said and how she felt. I vetoed the idea. Remember, I’ll move mountains to make people feel comfortable.
And lying in a pile of wet, soggy leaves isn’t my idea of fun. So we went home to have a nice cup of tea!
Amanda Herbert | Isle of Wight
Email: [email protected]