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#1. Shoot Ordinary People.

June 15, 2010 | By | No Comments

When starting out in portrait photography, I shot the best looking people I could find, models and aspiring models and other members of that human minority who enjoy being in front of a lens.

It took me a while to realize that my beautiful models were carrying my bad photography.

Models not only look great just standing there, they usually know how to pose themselves and bend this and that without direction.

If you’re like most photographers who shoot weddings and portraits and high school seniors etc., the vast majority of your income will come from photographing normal people. Regular people have no idea how to pose themselves, and about 95% of people are just not comfortable in front of a lens. As a working photographer, it will be your job to get regular people comfortable in front of your lens. It will be your job to bend and pose them in the most flattering ways.

I can hear the purists now saying “well I don’t pose anybody – I’m a pure photo journalist, and I only capture what’s actually happening.” Here’s a bonus inside secret about earning a living as a photographer. People buy the photos in which they look the best. With zero exceptions, the brides who have hired me who tell me that they only care about photojournalism (pj) buy and ooh and ahh and share and make their avatar POSED DRAMATICALLY LIT PORTRAITS.I love pj and I do a great job of it. But, if you want to make your living selling your photography, you must learn how to bend and pose people to look their best.

Better to shoot average, awkward people as you strive to improve your lighting, composition, story-telling, scouting, banter, post-processing. Then when you get a photo that you and everyone else loves, the love you’re feeling is about your photo, and not your model.

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