Take your images up a notch when working with non-pro models

If you’re like me then most of your portrait shoots are probably not spent photographing professional models. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have shot with an experienced professional model. I actually prefer to work with non-models, it’s a different challenge and with a slightly different approach you can create fantastic images.

In this video Irene Rudnyk walks us through some of her tips for getting the most ut of photographing a non-model.

  1. Start with easy poses: Sitting, leaning or interacting with props in the environment around them are all great places to start. Men especially tend to look more natural if asked to lean on something or sit down. If there isn’t anything around to use you can ask your subject to sit or lie on the ground as well.
  2. Avoid shooting straight on from the front: For women this often isn’t the most flattering of angles unless you try to help them create some curves. Ask them to put more weight on one leg than the other, pop a hip, places hand in strategic places to create diamonds and triangle shapes.
  3. Give direction: Non-models especially need a lot of directing. Anything from which direction to look, to what expression and where to place their hands will be extremely helpful. It’s not micro-managing, it’s helping your subject know what to do. Most people don’t have a clue how to stand so that it looks good in the camera, you need to help them.
  4. Be vocal and supportive, encourage your subjects: Constant communication is key, there is almost nothing more awkward than when the photographer is silent and expecting the subject to move by themselves, especially when the subject isn’t a professional model.
  5. Keep the best ideas for the end: Usually, the best images happen at the end of a session when the subject is more relaxed. It makes sense then to save your more interesting or difficult ideas until towards the end of the shoot when you can experiment a little more and you’re more likely to strike portrait gold.

Generally, Irene tries to create a fun and friendly environment so that the shoot itself is a positive experience, and the photographs just further emphasize this.

What are your favourite tips for photographing non-models?

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