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The Benefit of Taking a Few Steps Back…And a Breath

The following post is from Krystal of Krystal Griffin Photography:

Source: Krystal Griffin Photography

I want to talk to you today about an important component in taking authentic photographs.  What I mean by authentic is an image that shows a true expression and posture, an authentic representation of the individual. 

We often tend to bring the energy level up when we are photographing an individual.  We raise our volume level, speed of speech and how much we talk.  When you want an image bursting with energy this may be a good idea.  But when you are looking for an expression that is iconic to that individual, it may be best to take a few steps back, take a deep breath and relax. 

Let me explain in more detail.

source: Krystal Griffin Photography

Take a few steps back.

Sometimes we need to remove ourselves from our subject’s space.  Taking a few steps back will allow them to relax and be in a more introspective, neutral state of mind.  You may have to crop the photo because you stepped so far back, that’s ok!  Give them some space, and you will see a change in their expression.

source: Krystal Griffin Photography

Take breath and let them take one too.

While you take a moment or two, tell your subject to sit and relax, take a deep breath and “chill out”.  While this sounds a little odd, the next few details explain how this will flow.

source: Krystal Griffin Photography

Stay quiet and calm.

Using a calm, low tone of voice goes a long way in setting the relax atmosphere you are after.  You don’t need to chatter the whole time.  If they are looking for direction, just explain that you are fiddling with some camera settings.

source: Krystal Griffin Photography

Watch and wait.

At some point you might tweak their pose and ask them to look in your direction.  But continue with your reminders to relax, explaining that you are adjusting a few things.  By this point I’m sure your camera is well adjusted, but the point in telling them this is so that they don’t feel uncomfortable under your watchful eye.

Here comes the important part, the part we have been working up to – just watch and wait.  Just wait.  And carefully watch for it!  Snap a few frames if you think looking busy will add to their comfort level.   But as long as your subject isn’t getting impatient just wait until you get that authentic moment.  Trust me; you’ll know it when you see it.

Authentic photographs are often some of our favorites.

What is one of your favorite photographs?  Or better yet, show us in the comments!

Krystal is a stay-at-home mom of four children, ages 4-9, whom she homeschools. She is acutely aware of how fast her children are changing and is passionate about keeping family memories alive through photographs. Now and then she gets to help other families’ bottle up their own memories at Krystal Griffin Photography.