I have been a professional photographer for 10 years, and confidently directing models with ease is one of the most important aspects of the job. Yet, so many people struggle with this! So, I'm sharing some of my best tips to help you draw out emotions and authentic expressions from your models!
From the start is important to be vocal with your models about your vision for the shoot and what you expect from them. A photoshoot is a collaborative process, so it is important to set expectations and build a rapport with your model. I don't ever stop talking during a shoot. I like my models to know that I am there with them in each moment.
Tell them when they are doing something well or request an adjustment when a pose is not quite right. When my models are nailing poses and expressions, I go crazy for them. I am their biggest cheerleader. The more confident and comfortable they feel, the better the shoot will be. If a model is not delivering the results you want, try to give direction different way.
Before any creative shoot, I like to make up a loose storyline about my vision for the shoot. I share this with the model before we begin shooting. I touch on the emotions I want to evoke and the different things I will ask them to do during the shoot. It makes the model feel more like they are playing a character than being themselves, which usually leads to more authentic images.
If I am doing a shoot that requires big emotion, I get emotional with the model. I'll pretend to cry behind the camera or scream with them. I talk the model through every step of the emotion I am trying to portray and act it out with them; so that they don't feel silly or alone. I am always the loudest, goofiest person in the room and I genuinely believe that makes my models trust me more. When people trust you, they will push themselves harder for you.