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In this course, Pulitzer finalist Natalie Fobes shows how to capture engaging portrait shots of couples, families, and other groups using a variety of posing and composition techniques.
The course discusses how to plan for a portrait photo shoot and how to make stylistic decisions regarding props, clothing, and makeup. Next, the course reviews the essentials of posing women and men, starting with a single subject, moving on to a couple, and then working up to large groups. The course also demonstrates how to pose and compose a group portrait in ways that highlight the relationships between group members, whether they're family members or business colleagues. Lastly, to illustrate the time constraints photographers often face, Natalie works against the clock to shoot a group of people she's never met.
The course also covers various postprocessing techniques geared specifically for portraiture, such as working with wrinkles and skin textures.
From my newspaper and magazine background I know that it's important to always get a photograph in the bag. After I'm sure that I've covered the assignment then I allow myself to play a little bit with the lighting, with the poses, with just try to breakout of the creative box and get something kind of cool. It might work, it might not, but unless you really try to expand your vision, you might get kind of stuck in rut.
Earlier in this course you saw me photographing the Rotary Club. As they were walking out the door I noticed this beautiful streak of light coming down and hitting the wall. So I asked a couple of the women if they would mind coming back and posing for me. It was a beautiful shot and a lot different from what I really expected to get out of the Rotary Club group shot. During the family shoot the mom asked if I would get a picture of her and her baby. Well, by that time the baby was distracted by something that was going on in the field behind him.
So instead of just packing up my gear and leaving, I picked up my camera and walked around to make those really beautiful shots of that little boy. With children you just never know how long you're going to have their attention, and I can remember one time a couple years ago that I had two children who just were not interested in posing for me that day. I mean they were kids. It was summer. Why would they want to be inside posing for me? So I was just about ready to call it quits when I saw them climbing up on the stools.
Part of me was a little nervous as as they climbed up, but it was the perfect moment, and it summed up their personalities so well. Their mother was just thrilled that I captured that moment. I like to find different ways to tell stories. I had one assignment to photograph a landscape architect. After doing a safe shot, I noticed that there was a beautiful line of trees up on the hill. So I had him go up there and stand next to them. It turned out to be a very interesting composition, but not one that the editor had expected, but he liked it and he ran it.
The bottom line is that you should be open for opportunities that might be unexpected and unplanned. Often these images are some of my favorites.
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