One of the most frustrating things for a photographer who likes portraits (let's not fool ourselves, we are almost all at some time in our life) is to want but not be able, not know, not dare and see how the opportunity vanishes before Our stunned look. How many times have you missed a wonderful opportunity because of shame? How many times do you feel you have rushed? Or have you lost the essence of the person along the way? Have you never felt that you were too far away, that that smile was too forced, in short, that that was not what you wanted to show? Between you and me, how many times? Dozens? Hundreds?…! It seems that the time has come to put a solution If you follow me I will give you a few tricks to try to solve this crossroads, this want and not be able, this search and not find ... Let's do it
  1. Beyond the obvious
  2. Empathy is your best asset
  3. Find out who it is
  4. Break the ice
  5. Keys to overcome your own insecurity
  6. How to make your model feel comfortable
  7. Practice and patience


There are many reasons why a portrait may fail but, for me, the worst, much worse than a failure of technique, exposure, or even composition, is that the portrait is only one side on a paper (or on a screen ). That is, our portrait does not speak, say nothing, do not convey an emotion, a situation, a feeling, something. Beyond whether or not that person is pretty or ugly, young or adult, the portraits must speak (shout if necessary), they must explain themselves, they must move us in some way. That is the key to a portrait and, for me, the most difficult part. Think about it, when you stand before a portrait in which you say buah or uala, or wow, or whatever you say when something leaves you breathless, it is because that portrait goes further, says something else, shakes you, reaches you .
Portraits must speak for themselves


And now you will tell me, okay, I want to do that, I want to shake the one who looks at the photo, I want to reach it, I want to make my way of seeing the world yours for a few moments, but I have no idea where to start. Well, you are not alone (or alone) in battle, because getting it depends on you, but also on the person in front of you, and this is where you already get nervous (or nervous ) and this is where we get to the title of this section and that will summarize all the advice that I can give you next. Empathy is your best asset and not only that, it is the only way to achieve it. Because a portrait speaks equally of you and the person in front of you , and if you get both of you moving in the same direction, with the same goal, you already have half a job done.
Empathy is the key to everything going perfectly


And you will say okay, empathy, but how do I do it with this person that I don't know about anything and that I have to get photographed in a few minutes? Very easy, to photograph someone you have to meet him first , and with that I do not mean that you can only photograph your brother or your mother, I mean that you must find out even if it is a few strokes of that person, dedicate a few moments to make yourself a idea of who he is, what he wants, what he likes. Photographing someone without knowing anything is not a good idea in portrait photography .
Establishing ties with the model is essential, knowing who it is, and certain traits of its character will help you empathize


Many forced portraits happen because we have failed to connect with our model, it may be because of our own shyness and insecurity, or because we have not succeeded in having our model break with its own shame or suspicion. In order to solve it:
  • Smiles . Nobody likes to be at the mercy (photographically speaking) of someone with an angry face. We like kind smiles, relax us and make us feel confident and well-being.
  • Introduce yourself , talk a little about yourself, who you are, why you do what you do. Talking, sharing and relating are wonderful ways to connect with the other person.
  • Be kind , respectful and, above all, close .
  • If you're funny, take advantage of it ;-). There are few better ways to break the ice :-).
  • Save the camera for last. First the human relationship. The photos later ;-).
Breaking the ice is essential for a good job between model and photographer


It's normal to be nervous about a portrait session. The portrait is not easy, the looks are ephemeral and there are so many aspects that are beyond our control. We work with people and not objects, so there are many aspects to control.
  • Practice with someone you trust. Before embarking on any type of photography you must practice, and much. Before portraying strangers, try to take ease with someone you trust that you can lead without fear.
  • Do your homework before the session . This is: knowing what images you want to make , how you want to make them ... If you arrive at a portrait session with a blank mind and you can't think of anything, you may get a nervous breakdown, but if you already have a few ideas clear With which to start, they will help you to start and take security and ease.
    • Learn some poses that you like by heart and put them into practice.
    • There are pose applications that you can carry on your Smartphone (for example ( Posing App ) for inspiration and / or moments of urgency
  • The hardest thing is to boot. So do it. That is, take some photos without thinking too much, make the necessary adjustments, the necessary tests. There, you have already started. See how easy?
  • Practice a lot . The more you master the technical part, the more you can forget about it and you can focus on the artistic part of the 100% process. So you can get close to what you had in mind
  • Trust you . You can do it
Practice with someone you trust (children, partner, parents ...)


Surely you are not the only one who is nervous about a portrait. Therefore, do not forget the magic word: empathy , that is, put yourself in his place:
  • Integrate it into the session: that is, explain what you are going to do , what you want to achieve, what you need the other person to do. The unknown scares us, but if we have clear and precise information about what will happen next, we feel more confident.
  • You direct the session and it should be, that is, you are expected to do it and, if you do not, it is likely that everyone gets nervous.
  • If your model is somewhat shy before the camera:
    • Look for natural poses in which you feel comfortable.
    • Give him something to do with his hands , having his hands busy relaxes us (you have your camera, but does he or she ...?
    • I feel it . Do you prefer a job interview sitting than standing?
    • Propose to do some activity with which you feel comfortable. This way you will have more dynamic images and your more relaxed model.
    • Invite him to lean on the wall . Doing so also relaxes the pose and attitude in general.
    • Start with the more general plans and leave the first planes for when the session flows more naturally.
    • Be clear and concise in your requests (but without going over). That is, better a "look there and think of something that makes you feel joy" that: "look there, smile, lift your foot 90º to the right, shoulder 45º from the wall, chin angled ..."
  • Do not stop constantly to look at the screen , that slows the session and makes it heavy, in addition to that while you consult your screen, you can miss unique moments.
  • Be confident , if you are relaxed, you will spread it to anyone around you.
  • You know how difficult it is to be in front of a camera for most mortals, right? Well, again, I tell you: put yourself in his place :-).
Look for comfortable poses if you are looking for a model that looks natural and relaxed


Be patient, very much, and be flexible. Sometimes things don't go as we expected, sometimes they go even better. Inspiration often comes to us working, believe me. A million times I had an idea in my head that in the end has not worked, but in pursuit of that initial idea, another one has come up even better. The question is to persevere and not give up. Set goals and feasible results and gradually reach your milestones. Have you ever encountered any of these situations? In that case, I hope you find at least a couple of ideas that are useful to you the next time you have to "face" a portrait. Oh, and don't forget to share this article so that more people can benefit from your content. Thank you very much for reading here and until next time.
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