This month’s photo assignment, Creative Posing, is a little different than normal! Instead of asking you to photograph a concept or come up with your own interpretation of an idea, this assignment is to photograph something specific. Very specific! So specific, in fact, that it will require you to study provided example images, observe little details in specific poses, and then replicate those poses as precisely as possible! To see what I mean, watch this demonstration video I had fun putting together with the Bennett family….
As you can see, the purpose of this assignment is twofold.
First, it’s to help us introverted photographers break outside of our box and start getting used to photographing people! We tend to be all focused on camera settings and taking our time getting things looking just right. And this is good. We need to do this. But by doing this assignment, it gives us the opportunity to take our time with people as our subjects! We can begin to learn what needs to be said to get things just right with people. Take your time to get it right. Your subjects won’t feel awkward. You’re just doing an assignment. It will help you start getting comfortable working with people now, so you’ll be more comfortable working with people later when you’re not doing a Lenspiration assignment.
Secondly, whether you’re already comfortable photographing people or not, shooting this assignment will train you in the little nuances and intricacies of a single pose. Hopefully, it will help you start thinking about what you are saying, so you can learn to say better the things that will make your subject do more accurately and less awkwardly exactly what you want them to do. How is a hand, an arm, or a head positioned in the example photo? What will I say to get my subject to do just that, as clearly and precisely as possible, without them really thinking about the fact that I am posing them?
This was a really good assignment for me!
Of course, in order for me to provide the example images for you to replicate, I had to replicate other photos that I found on the Internet. There were plenty of posing ideas to choose from, so I narrowed them down to the ones that I really liked and shot those. I can’t wait to see your replications, though, because those are the ones I really want to use for the Pro Posing Database!
Anyway, here’s a little behind the scenes of the photos I took for this assignment.
I really took my time with this first shot. I wanted to make it perfect! I had a hard time positioning myself to include the interesting secondary element of the birch tree, and had to move the couple around to make sure there was separation between their heads and the background. But in the end, I liked how it turned out though.
As we were finishing up the first set up, it start sprinkling. We had to move along quickly! Thankfully the couple was underneath the trees, so it didn’t hinder the photo shoot from continuing.
This second pose was simpler than I thought it would be. The main thing that needed tweaking was the hand placement. I liked how in this pose all four hands were (or at least, should be) doing something unique and special. The husband’s hands are placed intentionally and lovingly in a gentle hug from behind his wife. The wife’s left hand is reaching up to rest on her husband’s arm, showcasing her ring, while her right hand is (supposed to be!) cradled below the baby bump. I was in a hurry so forgot this last part, but if you are reading this blog post and decide you want to shoot the three photos for this category, then, hey, you know how to make your photo better than mine.
I also wanted to make sure there was foreground and background blur, so I introduced the leaves in front to help fill in the foreground. There was no beautiful birch tree in the background from this perspective.
Then we moved to the third photo. What made this one fun is that it was definitely sprinkling at this point! At first, I just told the dad to play with the child in the field at the proper distance. This gave me time to perfect the shot before creating the moment I really wanted to capture.
To perfect the shot, I positioned Kathryn, checked that I was focused properly, made sure the background was not distracting, and checked the edges of my frame to verify only everything was in the frame that I wanted. It wasn’t until after everything was set up that I told Joel to pick up Rachel and spin her around!
I already knew ahead of time that this was the moment I wanted to capture. So, once everything was ready, I made the moment happen and then simply took the photo! I asked him to spin her around a second time, just in case one of the photos from the first burst didn’t turn out.
Now, let me encourage you to learn from my mistakes while you’re out shooting this assignment! Perhaps you noticed not all the example images are tack sharp? There are many factors it could be. Maybe I still need to perfect my back-button-focusing method. Perhaps the AF Mode was accidentally set to AI Servo instead of One Shot. Or maybe I just still need to work on being more accurate when I focus-recompose. However, I'm pretty sure I've narrowed it down to the lens I was using. I haven't been using that lens for very long, and recent testing shows that there is a significant softness in focus (more than normal, from the reviews I've seen online) when the aperture is stopped down to f/2.8. It will require sending it back to the repair shop again, but the lesson I learned from this is, it’s never a bad idea to regularly double check your focus while you’re out there in the field.
The idea for this assignment is learn how to pose people in very specific ways. To observe how a subject responds to the various instructions you give them is your training on what to say or not to say in “real world” situations. Learning how to pose a specific number of people in three different ways is a good start. You now have three ideas in your back pocket! But what happens when the surroundings change? the subject’s height’s are different? the subjects look stiff? you are faced with a challenge you hadn’t thought of before? You need more than experience with just a few ideas. Good portrait photographers saturate themselves with many good portrait ideas! How do other photographers do it? What do they say? How do they organically arrive at a relaxed pose? a relaxed expression? Let’s learn from the experience of others. Let yourself be inspired!
And since this is what the Pro Posing Database is all about, for this month’s Premium Training we’ve added a bunch more photos to the database and assembled the best 80 photos in the database into a new, “Best of Pro Posing” collection! For each photo in the collection, make sure to click on the “information” icon on the right side of the screen so you can read the captions associated with each photo. The tips and ideas the photographers share in those captions is unlike anything else you’ll find on Lenspiration.
Now It's Your Turn!
You've seen me shoot the assignment. Now it's time to get the details and go shoot it yourself!