3 – Help your model help you
Let’s be honest, it’s quite unlikely that you’ll take portraits of Kate Moss or Cara Delevigne. In general, you’ll be taking photos of amateur models, such as your relatives. Faced with expectation, it’s difficult for the subject to remain natural and spontaneous. Keep in mind that they may be affected by the objective.
If they aren’t your relative, take a moment to get to know your model, but not in a formal way. Ask funny questions and tell your own funny anecdotes to get them to relax and open up, this will subconsciously open up their body language too, allowing you to capture an honest side.
Make them laugh! By allowing your models to smile and laugh, this creates an exciting challenge for you as a photographer, but also means the photo takes a different turn.
Reassure them! Before starting the photo shoot, put your model at ease, talk to them, try to earn their trust by complimenting them, make them forget the presence of the camera.
If you feel your subject isn’t fulfilling their full potential, don’t hesitate to guide them by getting them to try different poses. Don’t force them to focus on the lens because it will stiffen their features. To maintain the spontaneity of their expressions, you can also ask the model to look away for a few seconds, then turn to you just in time for the shot.
In this video, the photographers of Mango Street explain how to succeed in posing non-professional models:
4 – Let your model move
No one likes stiff, obviously posed portraits, they make even the viewer uncomfortable. Let your model move around to capture the most natural movements and real moments. This may include extravagant, out-of-the-ordinary poses if that’s something your model normally does.