Today I want to talk about the need to add variety in your portolio when handling a photo session.

Some ideas on how you can achieve variety that come to me are:

  1. Changing your scene. Simply moving to another / better room.
  2. Vary the 3 S’s Subject, Scene, Situation (whats going on in scene=actions, emotions, secondary people, props etc)
  3. Stage/Direct your actions once you get there. You can get some canding moments but its best you try and direct something you have previsualized
  4. Art Direction. Mostly means cleaning up the clutter of the scene and selecting a smaller area of the scene to work in. Better Light & Background.
  5. Lenses. Wide or Tele
  6. Depth of Field on coltrolling how much is in focus.
  7. Angles. Perspective and Viewpoint. Low, High, Behind stuff, On ground, etc
  8. Add a secondary subject for story, Balance. Context. Wider
  9. Lighting. High key, Low, Backlit. Off camera flash, Silhouette.
  10. Movement that we talked about in our previous post
  11. Emotion
  12. Far and Near
  13. Placement in frame. Left, Right, Middle, upper left, lower right etc.
  14. Find your scene, find an open shape/space in it and stick them in there
  15. Crop size. Full, MS, CU, no head, feet, hands, half face, etc
  16. Frontal, 3/4 face, Profile, From the back
  17. Single, Double, Group shots
  18. Details and Establishing shots
  19. Graphical: Frames. Shapes, Lines, Color, Layers, Shadows, Texture, Pattern etc
  20. Posing | Body: Chest to chest, her back to his chest, apart, her behind him. (+ walking shots)
  21. Posing | Eyes: Both look at me, both look away, at each other, one at me one at the other etc (combos)
  22. Microposing: Head Eyes Hands
  23. Featuring one with parts of the other
  24. Go in Close for their headshots
  25. Natural poses by eliciting geniune feelings. | Whisper, Sniff the other, (=laughs), Dance
  26. Backlight and Shade
  27. Neutral Flat Perspective – Fer Juaristi type
  28. Skies, Trees, Walls
  29. Standing, Leaning on Wall, Sitting on chair/sofa etc, Lying on floor/ground
  30. Reflections
  31. Add something in the Foreground
  32. Off camera flash
  33. Subject and Scene variation (Content)
  34. Crop slices of same scene. Mini scenes
  35. Simplification & Negative Space
  36. Add seperation between them. Front person Back person

Scenes – Photo Ideas

  1. Open field.
  2. Flat against wall with some color or texture. Light must be good (shade)
  3. Thru slit-opening.
  4. Bride: dancing, chin to shoulder, half face…
  5. Doorways, entrance to building (rectangles)
  6. Windows
  7. Walking, kissing, laughing, emotional
  8. Focus on guests reacting
  9. From behind
  10. Small in frame
  11. Only heads (in hands kissing etc)

Create subscenes (light/background) within the same location

Many uses of the window/door light.
Subject facing the window light, side, 3/4,  backlit.
Their pose can be square at you, chin to shoulder, arms away etc.
Your shooting angle can be, frontal, profile, side etc

Every location you should try and get Details-Establishing-Portraits.

Emotion trumps composition.

Go wider and include context for story, balance, contrast.



  1. Flat to us
  2. Shoulder pointed at us (open or close it a bit or up or down)
  3.  Over the shoulder (we are at her back)


  1. Flat to us
  2. Turned , Chin to Shoulder
  3. Tilted to or away from us


  1. Down but away from body
  2. One hand cusping other arm low or high
  3. Crossed arms low or high
  4. Hand on dress, chin, hair, cheek, top of heat etc etc


  1. To us
  2. Off camera/frame
  3. Down
  4. At groom next to her
  5. Closed eyes

Head and Shoulder (waist up), 3/4 and Full


Shooting Down at her (from a higher position or she could be seated)
Shooting at eye level
Shooting below eye level. Epic Hero shots usually with a Wide lens. Full body or 3/4 size pointing at ceiling or sky as b/g



The LIGHTING, the POSE, the EXPRESSION, the EYELINE (look direction) and the COMPOSITION should all match to the MOOD of the specific image.!!! ***


More tips June 2017 addendum:

Outdoors with great blue skies and white fluffy clouds go low and wide angle lens (15mm t0 30mm) with off camera flash.
I have seen Ryan Brenizer do this as well as Jason Lanier alot.

Devise scenarios for them to act upon and catch them mid action. (ie Jumping from one rock to another)

Hold hands apart and look at each other. ( They will laugh or smile with emotions on their own)

Use windows, walls, mirrors, stairs


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  1. Pingback: Couple posing tips

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