Tag Archive for: Expression

Tip : Expression really can make a difference

I’ve said it several times on the blog and online, but expression can really make or break a shot.
When I do portfolio reviews in fact most of the shots I see are well lit, have good styling, have a great location but…. it’s often the expression that kills the shot, I sometimes even think “was she waiting for the bus?” yes it can be that bad 😀

During the shoot always push your models for that real cool expression, the look where they go “WOW, SLAMBAM THERE I AM” well you know what I mean. I sometimes tell the more “shy” models that 80% of the expression is blown away by the strobes so they really have to push it over the top, and this often helps.

No most of the time the models will respond a bit surprised when they see a real expressive shots, some will love it and you are on a rollercoaster from there one, and some will start to doubt themselves, so in my experience don’t ask the model “what do you think?” but just TELL her/him “WOW look at this, THIS is amazing, your rock girl/man” you will quickly see that this last line actually works wonders.

Now when I do my testshoots the first thing I try to figure out is if the model is expressive, I’ll run him/her through different expressions and coach a lot less than I normally do (I’m a real talker during the shoot) because I know that if they do fine without coaching they will rock with.

Some models really surprise me during their testshoots and those are the models you often also see a lot during the workshops I teach :D, one of them is actually Poeka, and today some expression shots we did with Poeka during a recent small flash workshop.

 

Poeka May 28  2016 0355

Poeka May 28  2016 0335 Natural looking pop

Poeka May 28  2016 0317

Poeka May 28  2016 0313

 

It’s all about expression, especially with glamour

I’m not really a glamour shooter, but when I do I love to play with the expression of the model.
For me glamour always should have something that’s a bit “naughty” so working with the expression of the model is vital (as with all of photography I believe). In this case I choose a lower angle and had our model Linda on the floor lit by an Elinchrom Deep Octa with grid from the top. A very simple setup but very effective due to the fast light fall off (if placed correctly).

 

 

Camera : Sony A7RII
Lens : 70-200 F2.8 (Sony)

 

 

As you can see I always play with different expressions, going from rather subtle to a bit more extreme.
Remember that when shooting glamour you can very easily go over the border of glamour to erotic by a subtle expression chance, it’s up to you of course which way you like to go, but as you can see here, the same lighting setup and the same position/model and even retouching give you 3 totally different moods. So always remember to work with your model through different expressions, they REALLY can make the shot.

 

 

Oh and a nice BW conversion also helps sometimes 😀

Linda 0038

Linda 0031

Linda 0019 1

Expressions

I always try to scout my models not only on looks (also pretty important) but also on the ability to express themselves, both in their poses but also in their facial expressions of course. Having a very good expression in a shot, which actually can be very subtle, can literally make your image go from boring to WOW.

 

Now this next example is a bit extreme (:D) but I hope you get the point. It’s not the idea of course to make all your models shout and scream or make funny faces, it actually can be a very “stiff” or “Emotionless” expression that works for the shot, and those last few words actually are the key…. it has to fit the mood and look/feel of the series you’re shooting, for example check out the work of two of my heroes Erwin Olaf and David Lachapelle bit totally different style of photographers but both work A LOT with expression, in fact when you check out almost all great photographers you will see that 99% of them will use this, and it’s logical of course, emotion is what drives us humans, still in many of the shots of aspiring photographers or starters this is a key element that is highly over looked.

 

Model : Anna

Anna May 4 2015 1310

Read more

Go all out

Don’t be afraid to go all out during a photoshoot, always think about movies, when do we “believe” the movie?
When everything is right, the makeup, the acting, the clothing, the lighting etc.
In fact model photography is just like acting, only our models do it on 1/1000’s of a second instead of 24fps.
So when I want to shoot something I’ll try to push the model for the right expression, get the clothing right, take care of the lighting and the location. When this all comes together…. you have a story telling shot.
So the next time you watch a movie from (for example) the Asylum you will see that the acting is bad, the decors are bad, the SFX is bad etc. etc. so you don’t get pulled in to the movie. Now when you watch a well produced movie where everything is fitting to the story this is where you get pulled in.
So when you want to shoot something with A LOT of expression/madness don’t hold back on expression, but also make sure the clothing is 100% perfect, in this case we used a great stylist and as you can see he did not only used a straight jacket but he actually also made it dirty, damaged etc, it all adds that little bit of extra. Combined with a model that REALLY went for it, and there you go, in opinion a cool shot.
So for your next shoot, make the clothes a bit dirty, push your model for expression or in other words…. think movie 😀

Lizzy  July 16 2013-322 B2
For more tips to master YOUR photoshoot  get my book “Mastering the modelshoot”