I don’t want posed portraits

Blog Post by Rob Wilson: NJ Family Portrait Photographer

This is something that I have heard my whole professional career. People call and the first thing that they often say is that they don’t want posed pictures and they want candid type of portraits.  What I have learned over the years is that our potential clients indeed have a vision of what they want but they aren’t necessarily sure how to explain it. I have learned is that it’s not so much they want more of a photo-journalistic approach as much as they just want authenticity.

They also want more of a relaxed feel to the portrait instead of a stiff studio type of portrait. You often see stiff type of portraits with studio portrait photographers. In fact, I have found that my clients essentially (this may sound obvious) want something great regardless if it’s posed or candid.  Furthermore,  a lot of the portraits most people think that just happened in fact didn’t. A good photographer understands how to orchestrate a reaction in a way that looks like it just happened.  Even though it just didn’t happen doesn’t mean that it’s not genuine. Most of the time, the subjects, regardless of their age, subjects need a little coaching to get their personalities out. The portrait of the three kids laying on their stomachs is a great example in what I am talking about. It has a very casual feel even though it’s a posed portrait.

It rarely works when you let children do their thing

A photographer rarely captures a great image when they let the children do their thing. I am not saying this doesn’t happen. However, most of the time it looks like a bunch of snap-shots that you probably can take with your iPhone.  However, with a little coaching and placement (posing) a photographer should be able to capture the type of image that you are envisioning. If a photographer has the type of images on their website that you like then they are the photographer for you.

Connections is what many potential clients are looking for

NJ Family Portrait Photographer

NJ Family Portrait Photographer

When people say the want candid portraits most of the time I have found that they want a portrait where their family or children are making some type of connection with each other. These connections although authentic are almost always orchestrated by the photographer. A little coaching is needed to get the subjects to interact and as a result great natural expressions happen.  An example of this is the fact that people aren’t necessarily use to looking at each other. Whether it’s five year old twins or a couple that’s been married for fifty years. When I ask two people to look at each other I am still surprised of the reactions that are created.  Sometimes it’s a look of love and sometimes it’s the biggest belly laugh that I have ever seen.

The portrait of the five kids is also a good example in what I am talking about. This portrait is a casual portrait and not candid.  Although this is a posed portrait there is such a casual and authentic feel to it that someone would interpret  as a candid portrait. The way they are smooshing together didn’t happen by accident. It was orchestrated. Prior to this image I also captured many without them leaning into each other.  This one happened to work and this is the one that is hanging over my client’s fireplace. It’s been fun being a NJ family portrait photographer for over twenty years and I am looking forward to twenty more.

NJ Family Portrait Photographer

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