The brief for this session required a portrait session with at least 3 poses in different basic positions. I have shown the results below with a self-assessment of how effective or attractive they have been after each image.
This is a quite straightforward pose for a 3/4 length portrait. Asking the model to rest one hand over her arm makes it easy for the model to know what to do with her hands and also portrays the fingers and nails in an elegant way. However there is a risk in an image with relatively few highlights, that the ‘bright’ hands pull the viewer’s eyes away from the face – which after all should be the main focus of a portrait. I think that this pose is comfortable for the model to adopt and increases the confidence of both the model and the photographer.
Using the back of a bench as a ‘perch’ enables the model to adopt a relaxed pose. Interestingly, I note that this pose seems to accentuate the length of the model’s back, (she is tall). I asked the model to rest one hand over the other and this seems to work reasonably successfully with the relaxed stance of the resting leg. Overall I am quite pleased that this pose works well and will be repeatable on future assignments.
I tried to be a little more innovative in this shot and asked the model do lie down on a bench. I think this worked particularly well in the prevailing bright lighting conditions and an attractive portrait is the result. It could be argued that there is relatively little posing evident within the image itself but I think that is a good thing and this happy confident portrait speaks for itself.
Here the subject is positioned just in front of a textured background. The shot is relatively unposed – I simply gave the model verbal instructions on positioning herself and to look directly into the lens. I think the shot looks natural but perhaps I could have improved the pose. The body looks slightly round shouldered and it means that the subject ‘projects’ herself much less in this image than, for example, in P8-B. Overall perhaps this shot, although reasonably well executed technically, is a little too like a ‘snap shot’ – it depicts the subject but doesn’t add as much as it might.
Leaning against a tree with the sole of one foot resting against it is a fairly well used pose. However, it’s relaxing and easy for the model which increases the chance of a successful shot. I find full length images much more difficult to compose than more tightly composed shots and so I find this type of pose very helpful as it means I’m fairly confident of my end result as I shoot. I tried to use the shadow from the low October sunlight as part of the composition – it worked well with the legs but the shadow of the face is poorly defined and much less successful. Overall a simple shot but an improvement upon the unstructured pose of P8-D.
Reflecting on this project
Thinking back over this project, I have become a little better at keeping to the images I imagine as I write my plan. In this instance, I didn’t scout the location, which I know well, but was therefore slightly caught off guard with distracting backgrounds, difficult shadows and harsh lighting in some of the ‘settings’ I had intended to use. I’m getting better at being able to juggle communicating with the model, visually checking for distractions in the background, and choosing the right moment to press the shutter. I have also learnt a little more about the use of light in the context of portraits – definitely more to do on that front though!