My friend Bambi Cantrell says there are only two things that matter in a portrait – pose and expression. The reason she says that is simple. She’s sold thousands of photos in her career and she’s noticed that often times the client picks an image based solely on pose and expression – sometimes even disregarding other technical imperfections.
In the portrait I made above, my subject was nervous and in a hurry. I got her talking about her baby, her work, her life and she eventually became relaxed.
I saw this fun, mischievous smile in her. She didn’t flash it often or willingly. I had to earn it. I worked at building rapport so I could find the real “her.”
Then it happened – she flashed this million-dollar smile and I knew I had it. This is my favorite picture from the session because I think it shows a side of her that is amusing, cute and entertaining.
When you’re working with people – remember the expression is everything. If you don’t get a good expression, it won’t matter how beautiful the bokeh is or how sharp the eyes are. Pose and expression are the things matter most.