Slowing Down To Get Relaxed Face Shots
I want to get the best shots I can of a person, and to me that means spending time with them, working out which way they look best.
If you keep moving them to different locations before you’ve got them to relax, you won’t get down to the real “them”.
It’s also much more relaxing for them to realise they don’t have to do anything, while you observe and work out which angle they look best from.
To illustrate this, I’ve asked 8-year-old Bethany to stay in just one place, while I show you how I can get a variety of different shots. These are very subtle changes – but all the time I am tweaking things, so I see where she looks best, and because she does not have to move or pose she does not think about it, and I can control how she looks in the pictures.
Obviously I will move on to different locations, change clothes etc. later – but this is what I do at the beginning of every shoot – spend time working out where they look best.
Slow down and look carefully at your subject – it will make a huge difference to how they look on the pictures.
Check out the video below and then read the tips.
These pictures below look very similar, but they have subtle differences, which are achieved by changing something each time you press the shutter. Bethany has stayed in the same place – and I have either moved the camera to change the composition of the shot, or asked her to slightly move her head.
Note: Each picture also has a slightly different enhancement in Lightroom, to make them look even more varied.
The reason I am giving this variety is to give the subject more choice over the shots and decide how she likes herself best. With a child like this, it is not that necessary, but with an adult it would be.
Below: All three pictures are taken in the same position, but there are subtle differences between each look, by tilting her head differently, or asking her to look a different way.
Next, still keeping Bethany in exactly the same place, I have walked around her to the right, to look at her from a different angle, and gain more variety.
Then I keep her in the same place (and still with her arms folded), but move around to the left, and look at her from another angle.
Note: I told her to keep looking straight ahead (where she was looking at me a moment ago).
Shoot from above
The two shots below are to show you the difference it makes if you get down to the child’s level (left) or shoot from above – I much prefer shooting from above (right).
Now I’ve asked Bethany to lean down on her knees with her head on her arms (still folded from the shot before).
Advantages of slowing down and studying your subject
- Allows both of you to relax more.
- Gives you much more time to think about what you are trying to achieve.
- You will notice different angles to get more variety in your shots.
- The subject realises you are working things out and doesn’t feel they have to pose.
- Leads to more interesting shots.
Practise slowing down and you will find a big difference to the results.
For more ideas check out these blogs: