Portraits - Non-Photogenic People

Let’s be honest for a moment here when speaking about portraiture in reference to our craft from our side of the camera. I think I can speak for most photographers when I say that at some point in our careers we have come across some people who, to put it bluntly, just aren’t photogenic.

That’s not to say they aren’t good looking people, it’s just they don’t look good in photographs. They just are NOT photogenic. There are also people who don’t look the greatest in person but happen to look great in photographs. Perhaps even more so once we photographers have injected our magic touch into the image.

When we happen to come across these non-photogenic types in our work, we still have a job to do. We can’t say to the client, sorry you just aren’t going to look good in this photograph no matter what I do. We still have a job to do and the job is to capture a great image of this person and make them feel good about themselves during the process. We want them to be pleased when they see the final product. How do we go about it in difficult situations such as these?

What I tend to do is speak to the client as I am working with them. Help them to loosen up and feel comfortable in front of the camera, provide encouragement and direct them in terms of posing. Looking at it from their point of view, it’s uncomfortable for most people being in front of a camera so do all you can to make it easier for them and give them a boost of confidence. Secondly, use the tools you have at your disposal such as lighting. When it comes to posing your subject, use your experience in this area and of course your expertise behind the camera. Finally, use your post production tools, your editing program(s) of choice to ensure an esthetically pleasing end product for your client.

When all is said and done, as photographers the responsibility is ours to make the entire process an enjoyable one from start to finish for the client and of course yourself. If you aren’t pleased at any point during the process it will definitely show through in your work.

Image courtesy of www.zazzle.com