These images were taken at my most favorite location in Vegas... Calico Basin. Its definitely not a secret spot, but, it's still my favorite! I always try to start shooting there before the sun has gone behind the giant rock mountain. I don't like it being too shady because then I start getting the gross skin tones and dark eyes. I would SO much rather shoot in too much light, than not enough.
Most of the questions I get are about posing... and since posing is one of the most important aspects to portrait photography - I thought I would focus on that! Here's just a few tips to make posing easier for you...
When we first got to Calico Basin for this shoot, we had my absolute most favorite light to work with. We had light whispy clouds acting as the most perfect diffuser for sun light. Her skin still had some warmth and her hair was reflecting the golden sun. Love it!
I think this first shot is all about the angle and the composition. Posing is not just about what their body is doing... a really boring pose can become interesting with a different angle, unique lighting etc This picture would not be nearly as interesting if I had taken it eye level with her. Nor would it have been as interesting if she was perfectly vertical in the frame. I feel like its simple things like that, that can turn a boring picture into something awesome. When I shoot seniors (and anybody for that matter) I tell them EXACTLY what I'm wanting them to do to achieve what I'm going for. I let them know what I want them to do with their hands, their head, shoulders, feet, even LIPS. In this photo, I told her to part her lips slightly. I even critique their "serious" face... which brings me to this next image dun dun dun...
I can't decide which way I like it better so you get to see both! In most cases, when you tell someone not to smile, or to give their serious face... they just look mad, or seriously unhappy. So everytime I'm going for "serious" face, I tell them to think of something happy.... (like maybe that knock-knock joke I just told them to get the candid laughs cause I'm so hilarious) or I SHOW them (by doing it myself) how I slightly turn up the corners of my mouth to look less angry. For this pose, you'll notice how asymetical she is. I told her to sit down. Then I placed her chin resting on her hand, her other arm relaxed and actually pulled one of her legs out so she wasn't stiff with both legs together - SO MUCH more natural! One last thing... I told her to FAKE resting on her hand! If she'd really completely relaxed her head resting on her hand, she would have smooshed her skin, pressed in her face... it just wouldn't have been so flattering.
One thing that is super simple that I always have girls do is play with their hair. Since I always want to have hands doing something... I can always fall back on this little trick. Tell her to play with the ends, tuck it behind her ear. I probably also told her to flirt with the camera like it's a cute boy! I know things like that sound silly but not only does it direct them, it also makes them laugh and get comfortable with me.
How about a smiling picture now? Usually I bust out my knock knock jokes. Usually they're really juvenile... and usually, I learned them from the other seniors I photograph. But its the best way to get a genuine smile... when they are genuinely laughing. Makes sense right?? Here's another trick to help you make your poses more interesting. I pretty much never let their head be straight on to the camera, I SHOW them which way to turn it. Down and to the side, up and to the side, just down and look kind of up at me, sideways... whatever! Its awesome because by the end of the shoot, they can work their head like a supermodel. Hopefully this post was helpful for you. If you liked it, stop by my blog and let me know. Maybe I'll do more posts on posing??
Cherie Hogan Photography