Briefing a model

The secret to a great portrait is a great subject. Whether it’s a professional model, friend, stranger or child keeping your subject engaged and interested is as important as your camera settings or where the light is coming from.

Subjects that have lost interest and confidence in the shoot are difficult to work with so it is your job to maintain a good rapport and keep the shoot moving along to avoid boredom and long silences.

One way to avoid too much time deciding on location and position is to visit your location beforehand and scout good spots for taking portraits. Note the time of day you visit, it might be different to when you plan to shoot, think about how the light may change.

Get as much done, such as hair and make-up, before you move the model into position. Having a model spend too long in the same spot can reduce the spontaneity. Encourage your model to relax as much as possible and keep moving, trying out new poses. Eventually one will come that you are happy with.

When shooting friends or children, prepare to shoot a few frames before you get the one you are looking for. Try to get them as comfortable as possible with the camera.

Your best friend is your sense of humour; keep the jokes flowing and the shots will come!

Laura, Karl Jordan

Karl Jordan has captured this model's emotions perfectly resulting in a lovely natural looking portrait. You can see the connection the model has with the photographer. This is likely to be because of their interaction prior to this shot. This is a great example a relaxed and happy model leading to great pictures.

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Coming next: Seeing the world without a viewfinder.

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