How sweet are these brothers? They are two of four! I have a feeling these two have a lifetime of memories ahead. Big brother was so proud to be with his little brother. And then he just looked at me and made these images happen. I’d say, he’s a natural. Not a “normal” two-year old session, that’s for sure.
The yawn. One of my FAVORITE newborn image. I love how it’s a whole body experience for them, and looking at the image brings back so many sweet memories.I shot this session in a WARM home (mom pumped up the heat before I arrived, my suggestion), and in front of a window with great light. I always bring a heating pad and warm up any place I am going to lay the new baby. It really helps them stay asleep and relaxed. Next time I need to remember how warm the house can be, and dress accordingly.
Capturing siblings together can sometimes be tricky depending on who close in age they are. It’s hard to get them to all look at you, and attend to the newborn safely. This time I skipped that and just had them draw their attention to baby brother. Mom was thrilled how this session turned out. A happy client, is the best client
Grandma was at the home taking care of mom and the family when I was there. I asked her if she would like to pose with the baby for a shot or two. She was reluctant, (since she was cooking and not really “ready” for pictures) but I love how these turned out. What special images to have for your children when they are grown. Note to photographers: Consider suggesting grandma, or other special family member be present during a in home lifestyle session. They are a great help with kid wrangling, and you might even be able to get them to step in front of the lens for you too.
During this long, long winter, I used my stuck inside time to take some photography classes! I had this on my to-do list for last winter, but it never got done. None the less, I am so glad I did it. One of the classes I took was THIS one on posing with Lindsay Adler. I really like the Creative Live classes and like to watch them live so you can get in on the chat groups happening at the same time, and ask live questions. Anyway, back to the point of this post. Posing. This isn’t something that was totally foreign to me, but the refresher and some new ideas really was just what I needed to jump-start my 2014 sessions. My biggest take away from Lindsay’s class was setting the foundation with foot placement – specifically with women/girls, shifting body weight to one leg/foot.
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of doing a session with this beautiful and talented high school senior. We had been waiting for a warm day (because like almost everywhere, winter has been long and brutal here in St. Louis). I am thrilled with the images we created, and based on the big hug I got from mom the other day, they are too. I’ll use them to share with you some of my new (and old) posing techniques and how I direct the client- because that’s usually the hardest part for most photographers.
A few tips on posing high school senior girls:
- DO STANDARD POSES- They are so easy to work with and willing to try new things- so get creative. But first- do the standard poses (because that’s what mom, dad, and grandma want and will BUY). Lindsay suggests these are: Standing, Sitting, Leaning, Laying. I found it’s not always possible to do all 4 of these at every location. It’s also not always the girls “style”. I like to be flexible with rules like this.
- FEET- Even when you are taking head shots, take the time to position the lower body. It will set the tone for their whole posture. Women’s body’s are not flattered by feet placed next to each other pointing forward. So, after you have your client stand where you want them to be, go with this, “Put your weight one one foot. Great. Now take the other foot and turn it to the outside and slide it out. Pop the hip of the foot you have your weight on. Perfect!” Now you are ready to set the upper body. (More on feet below in #9)
- HAND PLACEMENT- Pay attention to hands. Always. Fingers can get stiff looking, look like they are missing, look angry, show tension, etc. They can also be used to slim a waist line. It may feel awkward to the client, but when they have their hands on their hips, have them pull their hands closer to the middle. This is a great way to create a waist line, or shrink one. Another tip on hands- direct the client to move their hands when they start looking forced or tense. Say things like, “wiggle your fingers” or “Put your hand on your head, now slide it softly down your head and face.” (then have them stop when it gets to a soft place you like).
- CHIN DOWN- When people stand up straight, they usually lift their chin, and you lose the jaw and see too much neck. The other problem that happens is when you are very close to the subject (or a client is looking at another client), their tendency will be to pull their face back and away from you, which is never flattering. If you have trouble getting your client to keep their chin down (and out) try asking them to “Push your forehead out towards me.” This will actually get their whole face at a better angle. Sometimes I say, “Push your forehead out. Great. Now down a little bit.” This gets the chin down a little more if they didn’t do that already. CHIN DOWN is flattering on every woman, I think. You can eliminate almost any double chin.
- CHIN DOWN (with glasses)- This IS my key to not getting the reflection off glasses. Well that and lighting. I have found when I am seeing reflection in a clients glasses, if they tip their chin down even a little more, but keep their eyes on me, I can get rid of it.
- SHOW THE JAW LINE- Don’t cover the jaw line with hands, or clothing. (You will see I broke this rule in a few of these images. Oops!) The jaw line give the face shape. When you hide it behind a hand or anything else, you lose that curve and shape of the face.
- NEGATIVE SPACE- This was something that was really hammered home in the class I took. Negative space draws the eye around the image and can be used to create curves and/or a slimming effect. Look in a mirror with your hands at your sides, now put them on your hips with your elbows out. See the difference?
- EYES- Most clients need you to tell them where to look. I love asking my clients to look deep into my lens. “See if you can see the shutter snap (I use the word butterfly when I’m shooting kids).” I also like to position faces so they are pointed off my shoulder or even a little farther, but then ask the client to just move their eyes to look at me. This will get you some great white in their eye, and maybe even some catch light if your lighting is perfect.
- SLIMMING the LOWER BODY- To create curves, or slim curves, cross the legs. Brilliant, I know. Picked this one up from that class too. In the image above, second on bottom, you can see this technique in practice. By having the client cross her legs, we created an hourglass shape with her lower half. I also cropped the frame at the knee to help this technique work best. If you use this technique, have them lean forward a little bit too, it will bring their middle half away from the camera, and minimize it more.
What are your favorite posing tips?
(Shot in Chesterfield, MO / St. Louis, MO by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography)
Recently a client shared with me some projects she completed using images from our fall photo session. I LOVE THIS! Only to be topped with actually walking into a client’s home and seeing my images hanging on their walls, email’s of the next best thing.
How beautiful is this calendar! I think I might need to have her make calendar’s with my pictures next year. The grandmother’s would LOVE that.
I haven’t yet figured out how she did it, but I think there was some glue involved. What a creative way to display family photos in just one frame. Perfect for those of you who don’t like to take last year’s photo off the wall, or are just short on space.
Thanks Beth for sharing these great final products with me. I’m so inspired to go do something with the zillion photos I have of my own family.
Have you done something fun with your photos? Or just got them out of the computer and on display? Share in the comments or on our Facebook Page.
(Photos courtesy of Beth L.)
Still catching up on sessions from last fall/early winter. These ADORABLE sisters were my last outdoor session for the year. We got an “almost” warm day in December to squeeze a downtown St. Charles session in.
Sometimes kids just show up ready to make the perfect images with you. This is SO RARE! But this adorable little girl did just that. These images of her sitting down were the first photos of the session. She just sat there and looked right at me and posed all on her own. This again is NOT NORMAL. Most kids need lots of encouragement and I use all my tricks to get great images. Even then, it’s not always as successful as you might want it to be. This is why I take LOTS of pictures. ((Even my own kids are not amazing at photo shoots, just so you know.))
Big sister was not as thrilled that day to have her picture taken. We bribed, played games, you name it. She just wasn’t feeling it. When all my tricks fail I back off. This can be tricky because your client might feel like you aren’t engaging or solving the problem of the situation. In reality, I feel like the child needs a break from being the center of attention, so I pretend I am busy doing other things (or taking pictures of someone else) and let the difficult child do their thing. With the equipment I have, I am able to stay far off and still get photos of the child who thinks I’m not paying attention them. Does this make sense? Basically I “sneak” pictures. In the spread below, she was walking down the sidewalk with some attitude. I also just focused in on her cute boots. I even got her being naughty and going around the corner to get away from us.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get a photo without a “smile”. My style and aim is to capture “personality” over a posed smile when it comes to children and families. This is something you have to work hard at overcoming if you are used to “say cheese”. I also like to take crying photos, because, well babies cry a lot. It’s real.
What are your biggest challenges photographing children? -Resa
STEP 1: I laid the blanket out in an area of the yard with even light. This session was purposefully schedule towards the end of the day. I usually allow 2 hours for family sessions. In the fall it’s tricky scheduling them because the later in the fall it gets, the shorter the days get. One year I made a HUGE mistake and forgot about day light savings time and schedule all my sessions after that day at the wrong time. I won’t do that again! NOTE: I faced their chins toward the sun. I did this because I didn’t need their hair lit as much as I wanted their faces lit.
STEP 2: I put the littlest head in the middle. Well relatively in the middle, since there are four kids. Then I planned to put the “biggest” head on the outside, and well I didn’t want the boys and girls together so I staggered them. I wanted the littlest head in the middle so I could get a little bit more angle and pull them closer together by differing the hight a little big. I also didn’t want her head to fall off the side and throw off the proportion of the composition.
STEP 3: Squish them together. You can see there are a few shoulders overlapping. My goal was to get their heads together as close as possible. This will feel uncomfortable, so if your clients are not into closeness, save the squishy part until the end.
STEP 4: Stepped behind the kids heads. I know! You thought I was right over their bellies right? Tricky, tricky. I was standing behind their heads (see my toes here). Why? 1- no chance of any shadows on their faces. 2- I got them to look a bit more because they almost had to look backwards. 3- it’s more comfortable for the clients, usually, if you aren’t standing “on” them.
STEP 5: Photograph! I took quite a few pictures in this pose. Them looking right at the camera smiling. Not smiling. And finally I got them to laugh. I’m not sure how, but a fart joke usually does the trick with kids. Also, threatening to tickle can do it sometimes too. Honestly, I usually start with, “Give me your best fake laugh.” If that doesn’t work, I move to the previous suggestions.
STEP 6: Rotate in editing software and edit as needed. In this case I had to take my toes out of most of the images. I also brightened them up a little bit and applied my favorite filter, all in Lightroom.
Cheers to happy posing! -Resa
What a BEAUTIFUL girl! I had such a great time with Anna Maria during our fall Senior photo session.
She styled herself for this session and, as most girls her age, did a fantastic job. Don’t you think? I wish I had been so stylish when I was a high-schooler. (Please DO NOT dig up any old photos of me please!)
She had her makeup done for the session, and although she is gorgeous to begin with, I can’t encourage my clients enough to take the time to have professional hair and makeup for their portrait sessions. It makes such a difference in the final product. Natural makeup is what I most highly recommend. Keep the colors neutral and most-true to your daily routine.
We had one of the windiest days I have every experienced in St. Louis. We didn’t get to shoot exactly where we wanted because we searched for cover and escape from the wind, but I think we ended up with great images. I know her mom was thrilled.
Happy Graduation Anna Maria!
Please share with your clients, but you may not sell or take creative rights for the layout and image.
Download this Lightroom Print Preset – FB-Valentine-2image.lrtemplate
Download the Heart Love Background - facebook_background_valentineLOVE_byResaTroyer.jpg
Leave a comment if you download it and what you think.
Happy Editing- Resa
I have been playing with photography for years. My parents always had a camera around, and they now have thousands of photos. As a child I loved looking through my parents photo albums. There were some standard photos of people smiling, but there seemed to be a lot of “real life” photos. People singing, cooking, cleaning, playing, sleeping… Those are the ones that always kept my attention.
As a family photographer, I try to do this with my clients. It’s sometimes difficult in such a short time period, to capture a story of a family. This sweet family is always so much fun to photograph. They have so much love between them, and now with a new sister, even more joy.
The better you know a client, and the more comfortable they feel with you, the easier it might be to get the emotion you want out of a session. With this family, we had worked together before and were very comfortable together. I did bring along some props that I thought would engage the children.
When they arrived at the location I was all set up and ready for them. After we met in the parking lot and adjusted some clothing, we got right to it, playing! Sometimes parents are concerned the children are “messing things up” but I try to assure them it’s fine. I let them explore the toys and props and actually try to get some shots right away.
Newborn photography is not my specialty. There are so many amazing professionals out there that do AMAZING work. BUT newborns are so yummy, and when a friend has one, well I run over as soon as possible to cuddle them up. This little guy was no exception.
And what a pretty mama! Four boys in tow, she is one of the best mothers I know. (I was so not trying to rhyme there.)