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Five Steps to Powerful Portraits

©2011 Justine Ungaro

Within every man and woman a secret is hidden, and as a photographer it is my task to reveal it if I can. – Yousuf Karsh

It can be as simple as a photographer, a subject and a window. Or it can be as complex as a photographer, an art director, an entourage of assistants, a gaggle of stylists and multiple strobes.

Portraiture, in its varied forms, is one of the most powerful genres of photography. Perhaps it’s because humans love staring at each other? Perhaps it’s because creativity and curiosity go hand-in-hand? Regardless, humans seem hard-wired to engage with compelling portraits.

Since Spring’s seasonal shoots are often fueled by portraits, lifestyle shoots and engagement sessions, we wanted to share some words and images that will inspire and illuminate your work. Over the past year, a few seasoned pros from the Pictage community have shared their secrets to successful portraiture. Their real-world experiences and technical expertise could save you hours of trial-and-error and remind you why portraiture is playful and profitable!

1. Let There Be Light 

Veteran portrait photographer Frank Simon has spent over twenty years photographing portraits for high-profile (and sometimes high-pressure) clients like American Express, Hypercom and Westcor. His photographs have graced the pages of publications such as Vogue and W. All those accolades under his belt, and Frank still considers teaching one of his most fulfilling accomplishments. In his recent guest post, Creating a Soft, Romantic Portrait, Frank dissects a classic portrait and teaches you how to recreate a similar look for your clients.

2. Seek Signature Poses

Wedding and portrait photographer Justine Ungaro isn’t afraid to name those signature poses! In fact, she encourages photographers to keep it simple and name poses that are most comfortable for clients. She says, “It can be called anything. But the point is that you want them to remember it for the wedding day because it will be an easy go-to, and you and your clients will immediately feel comfortable. They might even just do it automatically.” Learn how to apply this tip on your upcoming Spring engagement sessions.

3. Capture Authentic Emotion

Boudoir photographer Christa Meola knows a thing or two about eliciting a response. She’s passionate about helping women “honor their bodies, emotions, choices and impulses through photography.” And her photographs are a conduit to authentic emotion. But those beautiful photographs begin with an honest, honoring process that she describes in detail HERE.

4. Learn the Power of Projection

Orange County portrait photographer Paul Gero is a true believer in the power of projection sales. In his post, he outlines his step-by-step strategy for projecting photographs for maximum impact – and maximum sales! Learn how you can distinguish yourself from your competition, create higher levels of service for your clients and “increase sales to make the work that you do both fun and profitable!”

5. Take the Next Steps

As you incorporate these portrait tips and tricks into your Spring shooting strategy, don’t forget to opt-in to Pictage’s Portrait Promo.  It’s super simple – just opt-in so Pictage can invite your clients to book a shoot with you!

The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!
The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!