How To Take Great People Photos

In a recent article, I wrote about how to take great images by taking into account the five human senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. That works well, except that it doesn’t take into consideration of shooting a life subject. If you’re shooting people, a human subject, be it fashion, glamour, wedding, event, family portrait, etc., another dimension comes into the equation – subject’s emotion.

great people photography

The Human Subject

Human subjects take up roughly 70% to 80% of all photos taken in the whole world. That’s not surprising, especially when you take into account the photos taken at birthday parties, family gatherings, holiday resorts, and all other human activities. But for the purpose of this article, let’s remove all the non-professional, spontaneous, holiday photos. We’ll concentrate more on the posed (for a lack of a better word) images of people.


Have you ever noticed that most of the studio (or outdoor) photos of human subjects are somewhat stiff? Well, it’s expected to anyway. It’s unnatural for humans to “pose” for their images to be captured. So when they hold that pose or smile, it’ll definitely turn out artificial. While most clients probably wouldn’t notice it, but a seasoned pro will see right through the stiff smile any time.

Secret To Capturing Great People Photographs

So instead of asking your subjects to hold a pose, and then count “One, Two, Three…” before you squeeze the shutter release, why not share a joke, or carry out small talk with them, and get them at ease with you? Just when you get them off guard, that’s when the smile is the most natural, and that the body pose is not a awkward contortionist’s stunt.

Great People Photo

And last of all, don’t squeeze off just one frame, when the subject comes into the perfect pose and smile. Keep squeezing the frames away as and when you think the subject come to different variations of the kind of image that you want. But at the same time, don’t stop talking to them. Let them know that’s you’re still continuously concentrating on an intelligent and meaningful conversation with them while shooting.

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