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No posing, but too awkward to be candid?
  
 
ZachOly
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


I had a bride over the weekend who really didn't want to be posed at all. She wanted more natural, "candid" shots of her and her husband.

But when left to their own devices, they'd get awkward, stand there, and eventually yell out "what should we be doing?"

I did the usual go-to candid stuff we all do. Walking, sitting, moments alone, etc. but there's only so many times you can ask a couple to hold hands and walk.

Am I misinterpreting what they wanted? What do clients expect in candid portraiture?



Sep 25, 2017 at 02:44 PM
LeeSimms
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


I think those folks want more of a lifestyle session with them doing what they would normally do. Washing the dog, painting the house, sitting with a beer watching football (joking. not really).

Give them an activity so they're not camera aware.



Sep 25, 2017 at 03:22 PM
TheyCallMeJ
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


If the context is within the client's actual wedding day (not engagement session), then I need to exert some amount of control during portrait session, yes that involves posing.

Those asking for no posing usually lack confidence, in my opinion, and that is understandable since we are dealing with regular folks, not professional models. They expect to look great without making any effort to learn basic poses or listening to the photographer's instructions.

Explain during consultation that your portraits are posed, no matter how candid they may seem. If they keep pushing back, as in just wanting someone to push the shutter with zero intervention throughout the day, I would just ask why and what are you hiring me for? It would be pointless to be attracted to my portfolio, then hire me without letting me do things my way, therefore not being able to deliver what's promised.

During actual shooting if they ask for cheesy stuff (ex: jumping in the air shot), the way I handle things is to take turns such that they aren't upset but I still get the opportunity to shoot my way.

My preference is to start with basic poses to help build their confidence, then go gradually while explaining why. For example, I will tell the bride to avoid overstretching her arms (ex: groom is much taller), because we keep seeing her armpits or the way she throws her head backwards when laughing, showing the double chin. I want them to feel that "yeah, our photographer is really trying to help us look good."



Sep 25, 2017 at 03:58 PM
flash
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


When clients say they want all candid and no posing I assume that's how they want the images to look, not what they need to do to get there. So we tell them that people don't naturally walk into the best light and stand in a way the camera likes and that we need to help that process. We say we *direct* rather than *pose*. I think some people see posing as a selfie with pouting lips or an anorexic catwalk model with the face of death and zero emotional content. Others think it's going to not be fun and that they're not models so they'll look like crap. Directing seems more collaborative. Us and them working together.

Then we just go and do the same shit we do with every other couple and they think we're awesome.

Gordon



Sep 25, 2017 at 08:20 PM
glort
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


flash wrote:
When clients say they want all candid and no posing I assume that's how they want the images to look, not what they need to do to get there.


This is the key. They have probably seen 100 cheesy crap pics where the shooter ( or Aunt Fanny) had no idea and they understandably don't want their shots to look like that.

There are a whole bunch of things clients say which incorrectly describes what they really want. As shooters, we have to understand this and that the clients are not versed in the terminology and meanings we use and allow for that. When they say they " don't want to pose" what they really mean is " We don't want to stand there looking like a couple of dorks with a carrot up our nether regions or be doing something totally unnatural and contrived looking. "

Another similar thing is reading between the lines of what they say they do want.
I have had people bring in lists of pics and on the day, nothing was appropriate. I remember clearly many years back one couple this happened with. The day was really miserable, Cold, pouring rain, wind.... awful. I made the best of it, we shot in an arcade in the city instead of the park and changed everything on the fly.

After the dancing shots I asked if there was anything else they wanted before I went as they had booked a limited reception and there was nothing much else to shoot anyway.
The groom was so excited and was shaking my hand saying thanks so much, you did exactly what we wanted, we got everything we hoped for and more.
I'm thinking of the list in my pocket, we got NOTHING on it!
I had to say to the guy, Mate, we got nothing like you told me you wanted, I couldn't do it, wasn't practical but I got the day as it happened and although different to what we planned, I think they will be great shots that showed your day.

They both fired up some more and said THAT is exactly what we did want! Our day the way it was. They said they had a great time, the weather made their day different and that was perfect for them. They explained the shot list was what they thought it would be but when it wasn't, the day as it happened was what they really wanted.
Thank heavens for that!

from then on I always did what I thought best suited the day and the couple, not what was necessarily on the wish list.

So we tell them that people don't naturally walk into the best light and stand in a way the camera likes and that we need to help that process. We say we *direct* rather than *pose*.

I say I'll just " guide" them a bit which they always seem to appreciate.
The other thing I'm big on is watching what they naturaly do. the way they stand, body language etc. *most* people have a cool looking move in them somewhere, you just got to spot and recreate it. Sometimes positioning them, taking a few pics and then faking technical difficulty's or the need to make adjustments works well. I have won awards from this technique.

Get them where you want them background wise then let them think you are no longer taking pics. they will relax, start interacting normally and you stand there firing away. Tripod helps with this but once they forget about you taking pics, you could pretty well roll in a marching band and they still wouldn't notice.
If they stay a bit stiff, make a joke about camera difficulties etc so if they hear the camera they aren't worried and keep their attention on anything BUT you.

Don't know how many times people have come back, looked at the pics and said we didn't know you took all these. Yep! That was the idea because every time you were aware you stiffened up like an old board. First couple I won an award doing this with came back in and Complained about how many times I had to stop and fix the camera and the time wasted.
Opened the proof box and showed them how many pics there were and explained, every time I pointed the camera at them they froze up so I had to do something to get them to relax.
Couple of months later when I rang the girl and said you remember when I had all that trouble with the camera on the Opera house steps and hardly got any pics, well one of them just won a national award.

The technique has been successful for me even if it caused a bit of temporary consternation till they saw the results and knew the truth.

Then we just go and do the same shit we do with every other couple and they think we're awesome.

Gordon


Yep!

"We want something Different and natural"

Then they go on to describe the exact same thing the last 10 Couples told you they wanted because it was " Different and natural" or tell you about the pic their mother and father had for their wedding pics which every couple had like it's never been thought of let alone done before.

Same routine, personalise it much as you can and you're a legend.
This game ain't rocket surgery.



Sep 25, 2017 at 11:34 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


Why did they hire you?


Sep 28, 2017 at 01:07 PM
ZachOly
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


ricardovaste wrote:
Why did they hire you?


Don't know. I never ask.

I don't post much if any candid couple portraits. They may look candid, but it's all posed for the most part.



Sep 28, 2017 at 01:14 PM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


The bride's opinion was based on having seen stiffly posed and cheesy shots that were taken of others. Very few wedding photographers know how to pose their clients. The ones who do have a background in studio portrait photography.

Couples do not instinctively know how to sit together or even stand together of a picture. They are used to snapshots taken by friends where the quality is unimportant. I use the engagement session to educate them and to have them more comfortable both with being photographed and with me as their photographer. I will make a point of showing them pictures on the camera display during the session so they see that they do look good and not goofy and this helps them to relax.

Women are influenced by what they see in the women's magazines and the bridal publications. Review these to get an idea of what is being done and whether you want to do the same.

I can tell from the poses in most bridal albums when the wedding took place as there are trends and many photographers who duplicate what they see other doing. If their clients are happy then I have no problem with this but I avoid these types of shots.



Sep 28, 2017 at 09:19 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


ZachOly wrote:
Don't know. I never ask.


Try asking this in the future, with every single client.



Oct 09, 2017 at 12:57 PM
 

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glort
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


ZachOly wrote:
Don't know. I never ask.


Once again,



This comment would be hilarious if the connotations were not so very sad.

You must be one hell of a shooter and produce incredible images to be able to stay in business.
With such a demonstrated complete and utter lack of any business skills or knowledge what so ever, there is no other explanation unless it's a hobby and you make zero profit.
THAT would explain a lot however.



Oct 09, 2017 at 03:28 PM
ZachOly
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


glort wrote:
Once again,



This comment would be hilarious if the connotations were not so very sad.

You must be one hell of a shooter and produce incredible images to be able to stay in business.
With such a demonstrated complete and utter lack of any business skills or knowledge what so ever, there is no other explanation unless it's a hobby and you make zero profit.
THAT would explain a lot however.


After a tongue lashing like this, can we see your website? Facebook? Proof that you even shoot weddings?



Oct 09, 2017 at 04:15 PM
glort
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


ZachOly wrote:
After a tongue lashing like this, can we see your website? Facebook? Proof that you even shoot weddings?


Grow up mate! This isn't kindergarten, it's real world stuff that directly affects your life and that of your family.
Realise that although the method may not be too impressive, the underlying message is trying to help you. I'll probably be dead before you have your mortgage paid off and your child is of legal drinking age. Trying to take me down for pointing out things that have a real bearing on your potential quality of life and those that depend on you hurts only them and you, not me.

Childish attempts to try and deflect responsibility for your shortcomings onto others in juvenile attempts to make them look bad are not going to work or help you in any way.
Instead of trying to deny and remaining ignorant to the problems pointed out, you would do much better by yourself and your family by being mature, taking comments on board and seeing if you could improve what you are doing.

Up to you but don't expect me to play your silly and Immature games.



Oct 09, 2017 at 08:49 PM
pasblues
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


I was among the early photojournalism wedding photographers...because I was an actual photojournalist. What I explained to couples was that portraiture is part and parcel photojournalism. This information was often a relief to couples who "feared" that they wouldn't have the photojournalism wedding they wanted. I have a very relaxed style of making portraits developed from years of working with people in environmental portrait situations.

The main thing people don't like about "posed" photography is just what you said: It's awkward or they feel awkward - and it's the photographer's job to give the subjects something to do within the frames.

You are going to have awkward moments try and develop so I tell photographer's trying to do this style, to stop worrying about having a little awkwardness seep in. It will be overcome as you become more experienced.

Negative things can get into your brain about what couples are asking for and you have to fight those voices. I have very, very few weddings I shot where it was a mismatch - where things happened that just made me want to walk out.

I had a bride's mother - 30 minutes before the ceremony - tell me she didn't want me shooting the ceremony. She hadn't been in on any of the planning or the meetings or the pre-shoots or the scouting I did with the couple.

Yeah.

However, I pushed myself to understand her. She, herself, was singing an aria during the ceremony and she didn't want any sounds from my camera to be heard while she was singing. Okay. Breath. Understand the other person.

So, quickly, (and this was no skin off my nose - because the bride's mother is the one that nixed the ceremony pictures - not my lack of ability)...I asked her how could I get what the bride wanted and do what she was asking me to do. I put in calmly in the form of a genuine, non-threatening question.

She said (not kidding): "Couldn't you just sort of float above?"

I took a breath and could see she was seriously not going to allow photography during the ceremony and the bride was looking at me helplessly...

So, we stopped shooting when the bride went down the aisle and my assistant and I went to the balcony. I couldn't fly or float but I could get "above" and far enough away with my long lenses that I could shoot the entire ceremony - and satisfy both the couple and the mother.

They were all extremely happy.

My point for you is that, in this business of wedding photography, it's really important to be confident in yourself that you have the experience and this may be their first or ONLY experience. The burden is on you to suck in a lot of deep breaths and move with optimism to the next moment. Your confidence, good mood and professionalism will be the thing remembered.

So:

1.) Photojournalists take portraits.

2.) Stay positive and if something doesn't work out, say to yourself: "It's not supposed to happen" and WORK. IT. Get the portrait to evolve. Don't give up.

3.) Always get the bride and groom portrait FIRST.

4.) Plan your TAIL off with yourself and with the couple. Know your sequences. Scout your potential locations ahead of time so that on the wedding day, you'll look like a freakin' calm, jovial genius.






Oct 10, 2017 at 12:22 AM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


The problem is that most of the "PJ" photographers are people who use that as an excuse to have no posing skills and not ability to use flash effectively and most are the shoot and burn folks that hand over a DVD to the B&G.

Photographing head shots or an executive is not the same as working with a very large bride and knowing what tricks to use to produce flattering images that they put a smile on their face a decade or two later. In doing executive portraits of women I was initially surprised at how many had painful memories of their wedding and the wedding photographer that they had used. 20 years later the memory was still fresh in their mind.

The day of the wedding most brides and their family members are very tired and very stressed. I find that my role as the wedding photographer includes getting them to relax as much as possible and help them with the time management aspect of the day (both before in the planning and the day of the wedding).

I view myself as a visitor in some respects and do not want my being at the wedding to unduly impair the experience of the wedding party and the guests. I make sure that I and my second photographer and my assistant, interfere as little as possible during the ceremony. I see having a camera with an electronic shutter option for quiet exposures during the ceremony as a very worthwhile investment.



Oct 10, 2017 at 04:34 PM
pasblues
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


"The problem is that most of the "PJ" photographers are people who use that as an excuse to have no posing skills and not ability to use flash effectively and most are the shoot and burn folks that hand over a DVD to the B&G."

I've heard the above negative commentary many, many times and I would suggest that you are right if you adjust the statement to say: "most of the INEXPERIENCED PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO BILL THEMSELVES AS "PJ" photographers are people who use that as an excuse to have no posing skills and not ability to use flash effectively and most are the shoot and burn folks that hand over a DVD to the B&G."

In reality, actual PJers who are applying their skills to wedding have a wide range of abilities in lighting, composition, speed and interpersonal people skills. These are requirements to do photojournalism well - so they translate because...

... weddings are largely unpredictable events. Where's the light, where's the composition? It's a true skill to be able to follow this in real time, stay cool and collected and move with the action. Anybody can get lucky once in awhile...but a skilled PJer gets lucky more often.

Photographers who set everything up have my eternal admiration. These photographers also do great jobs at weddings - and partly for the same reasons a true PJ does...we are both really, really good at keeping the subjects at ease.

Jerry Ghionis does a ton of setting up but his images are great and I admire him a lot. Monte Zucker, although his style is now dated, could make his subjects look their very best while feeling like they are having a great time doing it.

I do agree with you that there are a ton of photographers out there who have no or little experience in professional shooting who go out with that inexperience and just start shooting and have, in the past and present, used "I'm a photojournalistic-style" shooter to cover for themselves. I guess if you don't know what you are doing, hanging your lack of experience, skills and ability on SOMETHING helps boost credibility.

Where there is lack of skill, or experience, the key word I see a lot is the word "passion" - which, if I was a bride, I'd avoid any and all photographers who put this in the first paragraph of their bio. For me, I don't need to tell somebody why I shoot. I just need to shoot well and produce - the proof is in the images.




Oct 10, 2017 at 08:08 PM
eephoto
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


I think maybe the only place you may have "dropped the ball" was in explaining to them how you work and what to expect during the shoot. I usually have a pep talk before we do the engagement just letting them know the expectations. I let them know that the first few minutes are awkward for us all as we get to know each other but then once we get more comfortable with each other things tend to lighten up. Jokingly I tell them by the end of the shoot they will be pro models! I let the couple know that I will direct them but if I'm not speaking to keep doing what they're doing and that most photos during the engagement shoot require some type of direction, whether it's directing them towards better light, better positioning, better location, better interaction. Like an above poster said, they hired you for a reason, and maybe that's something to gently remind them of too. To trust you. That you will get them the photos they want, it just might not be the way they think it should go, because they don't really know. They hired a professional photographer for a reason.


Oct 28, 2017 at 06:48 PM
pasblues
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · No posing, but too awkward to be candid?


eephoto wrote:
I think maybe the only place you may have "dropped the ball" was in explaining to them how you work and what to expect during the shoot. I usually have a pep talk before we do the engagement just letting them know the expectations. I let them know that the first few minutes are awkward for us all as we get to know each other but then once we get more comfortable with each other things tend to lighten up. Jokingly I tell them by the end of the shoot they will be pro models! I let the couple know
...Show more

I think people choose (or should choose) their photographer based on an actual body of work by that photographer. I have about a dozen duplicate albums from actual couple albums produced that show what real people of all sizes and shapes actually got. That really helps match photographer-to-client.



Oct 28, 2017 at 06:57 PM







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