Portrait Moment – Natasha and Robert

On Saturday, I spent the day participating in a workshop organized by Kelly Redinger from Kelly Redinger Photography. I first met Kelly a few years ago when he was teaching Photoshop at NAIT and I really enjoyed his teaching style so when I heard that he was putting on a workshop focused on posing, I jumped at the opportunity to sign up.

Workshops are not only a great place to enhance your skills as a photographer, it’s also a great opportunity to work with other photographers, gain inspiration, and practice the craft. Kelly’s workshop was focused on posing which to most people generally has a negative connotation. When you mention the word posing, most people immediately drum up visions of photographs that you’d see turning up on sites like Awkward Family Photos but posing doesn’t necessarily have to be thought of as a negative thing. Posing really comes down being able to recognize certain details that can make a person look better in a photograph and then placing your subjects in a situation where they can be themselves. Then, as the photographer, it’s our job to watch for some of the common things that can be adjusted in the scene to make our clients look their best.

A couple of examples include avoiding resting arms or legs on top of one another so they don’t flatten out and look larger than they are. If someone is sitting in a chair, have them sit on the front edge of the chair rather than back in the chair and then their legs won’t look bigger. They say the camera adds 10 pounds but by simply turning a person on a slight angle, you can make them appear slimmer. Most of these things are probably fairly obvious when you think about them but he challenge is being able to recognize them when you’re caught up in the moment of shooting and it’s even more challenging in a time pressure situation like a wedding.

Kelly also shared some great strategies on how he interacts with his clients to get natural looking expressions and capture spontaneous moments so that his photographs look natural and relaxed.  Photography should be a fun situation and not stressful for the people in front of the camera or for the person behind the camera for that matter. It was reassuring to know that Kelly uses many of the same strategies and techniques that I’ve been using but he definitely taught me some new approaches and made me think about how I can improve my interactions with clients to get the best possible images when working with them.

Kelly shared one really great tip if you’re photographing children. Rather than having them say the often overused “Cheese” (which doesn’t look that good anyway), you give the child three jelly beans and have them put them in their pocket with the condition that they get to enjoy them when the shoot is done. Then, you can ask them how many jellybeans they have in their pocket and when they are saying “Three”, you grab the shot. You’ll get a much more natural looking smile and hopefully the jellybeans will be a motivator for them to get through the session.

After a few hours in the classroom, we were joined by three couples who volunteered to be our models for the day. Kelly demonstrated some of his techniques for a few minutes and then we split off into three groups to work with our models. Since it was so cold outside, we decided to stay indoors and shoot in the Robbins Health Learning Centre Building at Grant McEwan. It was a great location with lots of large windows and plenty of natural light. Our group paired up with our “models” for the day – Natasha and Robert. Both of them are students in their final years at the U of A and they met in high school. They were both so much fun and Robert had the curliest hair any of us had ever seen. Once we finished shooting, we headed back to the classroom where our models shared their thoughts on how they felt the shoots went. It was interesting to hear their experiences and get honest feedback after the shoot.

Here are a few quick takes from our shoot on Saturday.

Portrait Moment   Natasha and Robert

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