Verbal Cues for Better Portraits

I used to be very intimidated by the idea of working with people when I started. Working with inanimate objects was much more appealing: they didn’t talk back, or so I thought. But, they also didn’t add much to images either. Portraits can be impactful when you develop a rapport and capture the person’s essence. Successful posing cues help bring it together quicker.

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Useful Photography #177: Have a Portrait Subject Lean Forward from the Hips to Make a Chin Look Better

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Photographer Peter Hurley and many others tell portrait photographers to instruct their subjects to stick their chin out. When someone sticks their chin out, they elongate the area under their chin and therefore make their jaw line look better when it comes to taking a portrait. So in order to take it one step further without making your subject visually uncomfortable, you can also tell them to bring their chin down just a tad. But then what do you after that?

Here’s a tip: when the chin can’t be moved any more and you’re shooting a relatively tight portrait, have your subject lean forward from the hips. It’s important to not do this from the back–have them keep their back straight because otherwise this can throw off stuff like shoulder and the chest. So instead, make it also like the equivalent of bending down a bit from the hips; but instead just bringing the body forward a tad.

What this effectively does is brings the chin and neck down even more. These photos of Byron from Sony Mirrorless Pro show this off perfectly. You can check them out after the jump.

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Peter Hurley on Taking 10 Pounds off of a Headshot Subject

Video thumbnail for youtube video Peter Hurley on Taking 10 Pounds off of a Headshot Subject - The Phoblographer

Peter Hurley is without a doubt an incredible photographer–and the magic is all in his technique. He recently did a class with creativeLive on shooting better headshots, and of course he brought with him his signature techniques. Hurley says that if you want to talk 10 pounds off of a subject in their headshot, you need to work with their jawline. It has to do with imagining that there is a hook in your head, straightening up, and putting more distance between your earlobes and shoulders. Then you need to bring your neck forward and out. This thins the jawline.

But after that, you need to find a sense of connection with the person and get an emotion out of them to capture and to create a beautiful photograph.

Hurley’s video tutorial is after the jump.

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