Voluntary or Involuntary Expression

Never say cheese! When photographing a person, the “deer-in-the-headlights” look is a guarantee when saying “cheese” or asking the client to “smile.” To remedy this situation, there are two choices: catch the person with spontaneous/involuntary expression without them being aware of the photograph being taken. The other option is to pose the client and distract them with direction and meaningful, or not, chatter; the result is involuntary expression.

The devil is in the details – not the first time I have said that. Before the actual shoot, a number of things have already been done. Some of these include setting up the background, the lighting, choosing wardrobe, and someone being responsible for hair and makeup. Then the shoot begins.

Working with models and clients in a headshot or portrait shoot requires lots of practice – at least it has for me. I was nervous the first few times and found limited educational opportunities to learn how to direct someone I am photographing.  The online course taught by Peter Hurley (www.peterhurley.com) has been superb in doing just that. Once the client is in the “sweet spot,” he or she is distracted by chatter so they forget they are in front of a camera. And “SHABANG” as Peter would say, we have a photograph.  Simple, no, but doable. This is a self-portrait that was an assignment for the course.