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I've been doing photography for the last 3-4 years and I can say that I know how to use my camera, lighting, etc.. etc...
I've been very successful at shooting landscapes, wildlife, architecture... everything that doesn't involve me interacting with them. The one type of photography that I can't seem to get comfortable with or know how to learn is people photography. I seem to be at a loss when I get to shoot people (not models, just ordinary people). I don't seem to know what to tell them to do, where to place them or pose them, or even how to get them to relax and smile naturally. Of course, most people will look to me to tell them what to do... or somehow make the magic happen. What comes out at the end of the day is always something awkward, albeit properly lit and exposed.
I've seen many wonderful images on this website with many seasoned photographers. I'm sure you've had that early learning hump of trying to figure out what to do with people. I'm just trying to get some advice at gaining some experience so I can go from this insecure photographer to a confident shooter.
Are there any go to poses... or setups you know will always work so that at least you have a safe shot when posing people? Maybe what to say to them, that will make them look natural or smile?
Or maybe some constructive learning process... like try doing this technique first... then move on to this etc.. etc...
Just any suggestions to learn how to shoot people to come up with natural, real expressions and not feel like they look awkward with a forced pose or smile.
If you gave me a model to shoot right now... I honestly wouldn't know what to do with her, besides tell her to smile...
Anyways... your thoughts are much appreciated... I'm just rambling.