by Emily Potts
When I photograph sessions, I always want to ensure I create as much variety in my imagery as possible. Having a lot of different looks to show my client means that I have an increased opportunity to sell products like canvas collections and albums. Being able to maximize each pose helps me create many different looks… even if I’m working on a tight schedule. In this post, I’ll walk you through how I take one pose and use my camera angles to create several different images in a short amount of time.
This first pose was used when I photographed this sweet senior in a downtown location. I started by asking her to simply sit on the stoop with her knees together, pigeon-toed and with arms crossed over her knees.
After creating this first image, I asked her to look down the street and laugh like there was something really funny going on down there.
* A quick little side tip: ask your seniors to laugh like something is really funny. They’ll almost always fake laugh first. Then they typically crack up because they feel silly, and I snap my portrait during that real laugh.
As soon as I had that image, I moved in. I photographed a vertical head-and-shoulders portrait with a serious expression.
Immediately after, I changed to a horizontal composition, took another step in and created the very close-up image.
Had I wanted to change things up even more, I could have taken a few steps to the right and shot along the wall to her side to create an image like the one of this senior guy.
And then I would simply flip my camera to a horizontal orientation and fire off one more to create the close-up. I would have created six images in a very short amount of time.
This practice isn’t just for seniors – it works beautifully for families and children too. It’s especially great for little ones because it allows me to create a variety of images in a short window of time… perfect for tiny attention spans.
I always start with the traditional full-length of the child looking at the camera and smiling.
Next I’ll work to create a sweet, serene pose. (It’s easier to rile a kiddo up than calm one down, so I save the craziness for later in the session!) In this instance, I asked this little guy to look and see if he saw anything on the trunk.
* I could have also quickly moved in and snapped a head and shoulders profile image while he did this for more variety.
After I have that softer image, I’m going to work on getting full-blown laughter. (My assistant making faces behind my back did the trick here!)
Then I’ll move closer and tell my subject to look in my lens. I’ll ask if he can see my eye in my lens. When I do this, little ones lean in and peer to look. That’s when I create my image.
As I photographed each of these images, I also took a photo any time my little subject did something sweet, silly, funny or cute. Having this wide variety allowed me to create this canvas collage, which is a fantastic seller in our studio.
Whenever you’re photographing a session, try to think about how you could change position while your client(s) stay the same. Stand up, get low or move a few feet in either direction. You’ll be rewarded with a larger number of different images to present to your clients. Use the variety to create products they simply can’t live without!
Emily Potts, Oklahoma
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Emily Potts is a portrait photographer based in Bartlesville, OK who specializes in working with newborns, families and high-school seniors. She is also the creator of and writer for Moms With Cameras, a site dedicated to educating and inspiring mothers who are professional photographers.