Posing Sequence for Speed and Subject Comfort

The sequence of poses can affect both the speed with which you work and the quality of the expressions you get.

Many years ago I did the poses in a sequence that would require less adjustment of the equipment.  If I finished one sitting with a double exposure I would start the next sitting with a double exposure.  I thought it would require less moving of the equipment and thus would be more efficient.  I no longer think that is true.  Now I do all posing in the sequence that I think will be the most comfortable for the subject.  It gives me better results in less time.  Psychology is more important than physics.     Continue reading “Posing Sequence for Speed and Subject Comfort”

Hands in Pockets Pose

A younger boy standing with his hands in his pockets is one of the most popular poses I do.  It can be one of the easiest or a source of great frustration for the parents and the photographer.  I can’t remember when I first started doing it, but it has evolved over the years into one of my staples.

It can also a great example of what not to do.

I don’t do it as one of the first poses.  I do it as the last pose after I have done several simpler poses.  What could be simpler than a child just standing there?  Continue reading “Hands in Pockets Pose”

It All Starts with Babies

A child’s first portrait sitting is an opportunity to establish a parent’s expectation for future sittings.

If you have watched me work with children or have even followed my blog for a while, you may have learned that I would rather the parents not help with posing or getting expressions.  I do my best work when a parent understands and accepts this or in preschools and child care centers where the staff trust that in this situation, I can work with the children better than they can.

Children usually come accompanied with an adult, adults who have a relationship with the child.  If that adult Continue reading “It All Starts with Babies”

Making the Road

We Make the Road by Walking

This past week I was setting up to do a preschool in a church and I saw a book lying on a table, We Make the Road by Walking, by Brian D. McLaren.  The title caught my eye and I thought how much insight could be gained from this title or simple statement.

Throughout history paths and roads have developed in this way.  Whether we are talking about a game trail through the woods Continue reading “Making the Road”

Hire an Editor

Recently, I had an opportunity to work with one of the two people who do my editing and image enhancement. I was pleased to see how good she had become. She is much better than I am at enhancing images because she does more of it than I do. I still need to work with her to understand what she can do and for her to understand what I want. But having her do this part of our operation serves our customers better. They get better pictures at a lower cost to me.

Some photographers are aghast Continue reading “Hire an Editor”

Don’t Use Equipment You Can’t Afford

Or, Never Let Them See You Sweat

This week I dropped a camera with about 70-100 people watching me. I did my best to act like it was no big deal. It happens all the time.  My big concern was the football team in front of me and the spectators that were watching me.  The worst thing that could happen Continue reading “Don’t Use Equipment You Can’t Afford”

Don’t Hurry

I once told an assistant director of a child care center, “We don’t have time to hurry.” She liked it so much she kept repeating it to me and her staff for years.

When you rush a relationship with another person bad things will likely happen. That takes longer. My goal is to guide my subjects to what I want as quickly and smoothly as possible. That means I have to work smoothly and efficiently but hurrying is not efficient.

I photographed an 11 month old girl last week that illustrates Continue reading “Don’t Hurry”

Learning to Photograph Children

What’s an f-stop?

In 1971 I heard an experienced photographer state that a new photographer should spend at least ten years working with an accredited pro before they were turned loose on the public. One of the most highly regarded wedding/portrait photographers in South Dakota claims he worked for “Gene” nine years before Gene let him take a picture.

When I heard the first comment the business I was with had a three week training program. Actually, most people didn’t make it Continue reading “Learning to Photograph Children”

Making a Baby Smile

Yesterday a four year old told me how to make his two month old sister smile. “When you smile at her it makes her smile.” That pretty much sums it up.

There are a few more things that are useful if you want to make your living making babies smile.  But, that young man had figured out the secret to making anyone smile.

When you smile at people, they smile back. Age doesn’t matter. It really is Continue reading “Making a Baby Smile”