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Details and Expression/Spirit - Step 9 & 10

Lesson 9 from: Children's Posing Guide

Tamara Lackey

Details and Expression/Spirit - Step 9 & 10

Lesson 9 from: Children's Posing Guide

Tamara Lackey

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Lesson Info

9. Details and Expression/Spirit - Step 9 & 10


Class Trailer

Day 1




Posing Rules


Clothing Review - Step 2


Location - Step 3


Mood Management - Step 4


Point Lighting - Step 5


Technical Settings - Step 6


Lesson Info

Details and Expression/Spirit - Step 9 & 10

All the details this is a big one all the details this is like all right you know what you you set the expectations you've got the mood you've got everything going you're right about there oh I'm framed and I'm ready to go now what was their hair look like what about their hands the hands shape right are there any face liquids with kids there so many face liquids that comes out of everywhere like how is there a liquid coming out of that part of your face I don't even know what you're doing it um gum I see gum and candies and little mints and stuff all the time I'm like have you ever tried to photoshopped green gum out of teeth uh don't do that to yourself removed the gun from the teeth uh zone out that something is really really common expressions you're with me you're with me you're not where we must bring you back um patterns in terms of like if I have a subject really close to something and I pull back and everything looked great in the last second I look at the detail and I realize...

d oh gosh she's like wearing a zebra shirt and she's against a zebra that's I'm gonna lose her let me move the zebra and the relationship of everything to each other that last kind of thing is just ok I've got everything going there the hands there the moms there everything's oh, wait. It looks like dad's about two inches off two inches is nothing in real life, but two inches in a frame. Looks like everybody's close. But dad's an outsider just stuff like that. Those were those little like little details. It's really easy to get hair in the face like anywhere you shoot. I combat this all the time. Hair, hair, hair is always in the face. Take a moment to that. You know what? I don't need to clean up every little speck of hair. In fact, the image I love you see here in it, right? There's hair come across the eyes across the face. This action in front of my, uh, facebook business page right now. My leg. Paige. What do they call it now? They don't call it fan pages like paige. Kind of all about doing the business. Have a profile. Okay, my timer. Like photography, but but in this image, if I were to perfect it and move every single strand and make it absolutely amazing, I would take too much time and I would lose spirit. If we were going to print this as a forty by sixty canvas, I would take the time and photoshopped to clean it up more, because those strands become huge. Um that's one of the huge the big reasons to print your work by the way side note if you're not doing a lot of pretty of your work you really catch little tiny technical things that you can fix um give you a really good example this little girl claudia um so cute love this little girl she came in this image on the left this is how she came in and she kind of wanted to little pose I found this out the story kind of came out in little pieces but she just got her braces off like that day came in it was so excited to show off her teeth and apparently the background story on claudia is that she's really shy and reserved and quiet and stuff and of course you know what I found is that she came alive about the fan we were getting all model e we're taking classes pulling her hair back and she was into it in fact her dad photographed us the photograph me what videoed me on his phone photographing her and he said it's his most favorite video ever because he just watched her blossom like you know, but in this image we've got we've got expression going we've got her confidence we've got the catch flights but the hair is going crazy I have two choices I can stop and keep correcting keep correcting I could I have three choice, like so many choices, but for the purposes of this, I have three choices. I can stop what I'm doing and go and clean, fix up her hair or ask somebody to go in and do it, but I lose the chance to keep expression. I can shut off the fan, but that was part of what she was reacting to. It was really fun and added a fun element to it, or third, I could shoot close in and not worry about all that stuff. That's always an option. Teo, if you feel like something extraneous to the scene is somehow disturbing, the scene go closer either in camera or later, eh? A crop. But by taking the option to kind of I had that scene, and then I just dipped my angle. Just a hair, huh? No pun intended and then zoomed in. And then I get the shot that I really do, like without the distractions that would have occurred that would've killed expression. Yes, make sense. So the other thing you're looking for for details is not just all the things about the subject, but it's. Also everything surrounded this surrounding the subject. So, you know, kind of take a visual scam, what skan what's in the back, what's in the front for background on foreground are you in front of some sort of table that's kind of messy take a chance to just take it up to you to pull the books off the shelves? I do that a lot I do book shop shelves I reek letter like I walk into a living room a word of this on day three I walk into a living room and it's it looks nice but in a shot it looks busy and this is really, really normal a normal family and a normal environment has a lot going on between books and toys and clothing and pets and answer stuff and so what I'm doing a lot of I'll take six or seven books off the shelf and just take it out of the shot I'll take two candelabras that look awesome there but now it looks like they're going to come out of somebody's head no matter what ideo I take them out of the frame and I get permission but I rearranged a lot that's what these details ours cleaning and straightening a certain section so that you can have a more uncluttered image so expression and spirit this is the clincher. This is what I really cares that I care about this is the connection this's the interaction showcase so to me clearly as I'm saying it's really tough to be able to capture authentic expression when you want your kid to not move in any way and do exactly what you want and in no way show their true personality like it does doesn't go it doesn't work so a lot of things that you confined little telltale signs we asked earlier about what about when you're posing the face or expression um one somethings I look for what I'm looking at the physical face of my subjects are that zone out that disconnect they're they're not there um a certain strain they're smiling everything's fine it's just a little like this just it's just a hint but in a close up gone big you really see it you really feel it? Um there's clenched teeth a lot of that explains teeth a smile that looks like somebody else's have you ever noticed that on a kid a smile that looks like something they're trying out or that they told was worked at some point and they just keep trying it out um things like that now that doesn't mean that you don't want imperfection in expression like something like this I love I love that like okay many well I don't have any catch lights cause fries aren't open but there's something to that a couple tips in terms of when you're thinking about expression right out of gate you need to just silence any sort of societal norms that tell you that you should be in any way the adult here you trying to hard to be the adult here will kind of damp in the mood, and so and it doesn't mean you're completely goofy, I think if you're trying to be, if you're trying to be goofy kids sense of falseness in that, you know, it's more like silence, the parts that usually tell you not to do that, you guys know to mean by that so doing more of that, um, and I really do want make distinction because I did a workshop once where I had all the photographers go out and practice certain exercises around expression and one of the ones she started kind of jumping, like, really crazy and kind of actually like a clown and like a gorilla and literally just saw that kid go like, are you okay? Do you need, like, some medical treatment? Uh, so you can't you can't kids have a really great barometer for falseness really great thean tenant is like tuned in on dh just like dogs can smell fear kids can smell fear, they can also smell falseness. And so when I say to silence that I may be naturally, who would you be without what society is I told you, is weird as that for some up. Um clearly when you're photographing kids you need to be patient very very patients are subjects don't move into position justcause we tell them to we need to give them hints and give them guidance and then wait for their turn um you know, one other thing on patients I don't have a separate slide for this so I'll speak to it now is a lot of people can get frequently rejected by a child on a shoot but you might say come here and then they run the other way that's part of patients part of patients is saying ok, maybe next time no worries you right away from me screaming around um recognizing that no rejection should be taken personally, it just has to do with how the kid feels at the time that's part of that patients so if I want to try four or five times and maybe the six time he'll run into my arms not that that I get a really good picture that way, but it was nice. Um sometimes the best expressions were nothing that you were going for, you know that that wasn't what I was trying to do, but ah lot of the times if you try to stay married to like this is the shot I want this is the siri's I'm trying to get you're gonna miss the best stuff happening in front of you so, yes, you're going to see when we do shooting, I try for something I haven't idea in my mind, I have poses that I'm referring to to give me a rough start, but I'm also going ahead of ineffectual says, well, what about this and it's? Something really silly, but with a couple small adjustments, it's awesome, and it was not my idea. I don't want to miss out on that, so being open to that happening a lot and here's another one. What matters most is how they look looking back, so it doesn't matter what you're doing for how you sound or what you're doing that's not getting captured except on this live video. Then it will all be captured. Uh, it's funny, like uncreative live on the fan page somebody I asked the question, so I put up the that this was coming on, and someone wrote, is that the one who, like flaps around, goes crazy or something like that? And I wrote initial back, I don't know, and then I talked to steve husband and he's, like and on, and then I thought about like, how it looks and I go well, you know what? When the situation calls for it, yes, so recognizing that you need to just take yourself out of worried about how you look or how you feel and when we do this urban shoot and you hear my voice, I just sit there and, uh but it works. It's a tool it's a mechanism. And what matters is how they look looking back, freckles. I have freckles. Um, choose riel and in process over the package. Smile. I love organic. Not just the directive posing, but also the food and the at riel raw foods versus cheetos and such and it's the same way with expression. You know, I a child like this whose nature is a little more quiet and soft reserved if I like this to her it's not gonna work, it's not realist, not that can't get her laughing later, but don't miss the opportunity of what you see right in front of you that's. Really genuine. How much do you love? Freckles, freckles. And then, uh, this is from, uh, the park shoots that you'll see. So life is a game. He wanted to play a whole game, and you'll see it wherever there were snakes everywhere. And then they were going to eat us, and we had to kill them. And they were ten feet tall and so you know, play along, let them set the game you said the game um often when you're losing a child's interest, you could do things like contest how many cardinals can you do in ro? How many rocks can you threw at me before you hit me? How many this or that turning things into a game here's a great example of expression, so I'm photographing this beautiful little girl um and uh, we're in the studio and I'm doing little kind of tweaks and fixes as we go and we're starting out with her there and I'm almost at the shot I want the final shot and then I make the mistake because I still make those everyday of tweaking her a hint and I see her going you see, you're going, we're going backwards do you see the big difference is and where she is with me and where? She's not with me and then she's totally gone. She's left the planet she's not there, she's physically there, but she's not there s so then what I have to do is a refresh and I have to do this all the time she's a million miles away and I basically have to start from scratch, all right, all right and it's, not like the refresh isn't like, okay, let's, try that again because that isn't for adults, maybe I could say I didn't work let's do it again for kid, I have to say, all right, you know, and I've gotta find them where they are, I've got to take their hand, like, emotionally it's technically, and I have to bring them back in through a story or a recount, or just physically showing them what I see and asking them where they are and what it looks like there and what the weather is or whatever, um, and then you slowly move backwards to where you were, where you started from and where you wanted to be, but that kind of thing happens so often. It's it's, you know, I started out this workshop by talking about the parallel between trying to control light versus influence. You can't control light, but you can influence through knowledge and tools and understanding and how you can't control kids what they're going to do, but you can influence them and try to make it work. You khun, take that parallel one step further and think that that light is either in them or it's, not it's on or it's off its not that children don't always have a light inside them, but it dims. Because they're bored or they're checked out or or I'm just taking too long to do something for their attention span and so just recognizing that that's one of things you're always looking for with the spirit expression is bringing that light back in um this is another look I see a lot too it's not that they're gone they've just maxed out there trying hard but they've done a lot of this or that are gone around. One other thing that I do often the question came up do I bring parents into a shoot I will bring anybody into a shoot it helps me get expression back and that means people walking down the street on urban shoots I will do things like well stand next to you real quick you know um I wouldn't recommend that always depends what street you're on but uh so I'll literally grab someone nearby in this exact situation we were in the studio my husband happened to be in the studio that day and I just I saw her gone I pulled him in for reinforcements just walks in this random person he's gonna hate that I showed this picture thiss random person making a really, really silly look and then I just called her back to me and I get this you know? But I didn't earn this I just was on the receiving line of getting it after I helped create it by using reinforcements I piggybacked off another and I do that a lot with parents tio um and then the game thing you know, uh this little girl was just I was trying to get her up in the air and fun and just, you know, not interested and so we make it a game. I told her that that the flower up there was a magic flower and if you have it's funny because I wrote in the posing playbook that glad there wasn't an audio version to it because I was trying explain that I told her the flower when she squeezed it sounded a bit like a magic flower sound and then of course I had to make the magic flower sound uh but when she grabbed it you know you make the sound and you get to make up whatever you want but you have to stick with it and you have to keep doing it. And so it's like a puppy meets like a wash but at a flower decibel which is hard to dio like when you're outside and so it's like and I did that really grifting minutes or ever long it took but this is she's hiding start god, we live in a room with um but that makes all the difference it totally brought her in and that and again it's what what looks like on the other side that matters um and then the golden moments these are the moments that again are the shots you frame, but the lucky stuff that you get, you know, photographing these two children together what I wanted to dio this is like the shot for the classic there together and smiling it's adorable. Then she gives them this really fun kind of kiss and this is an upgrade. This is for mom. Mom loves this one, the first one's great for grandma this one mom loves and then the shots over, and then there how they really are, which is she's tackling him rick, for she sits on his head. Um and that's like the golden moment that's the one that it's not classic it's not framed it's not you know, but it's what they do, you want a lot of these? I rarely do not move these if they're not big prints, they're always in albums. They're always five by sevens. They're always like, I don't know much longer they're gonna do that before he hits her back. So, um, those were fun tohave all right, good. We're gonna dig deeper into composition and framing later, but not right now. Those were the ten steps did you get him, like done right downloaded in, so the system opposing is start out by setting expectation that everything is going to happen and that's everything like how what the style of the show will be like how what you expect for ups and downs where you'll be just the process and set set expectations because when you said expectations, that means that's the truth of what will happen and there's often no question it's just like okay, thanks for letting me know um clothing review we talked about clothing and how would it impact it makes in a chute location how location could matter significantly how now you can't look very different in a frame, but people can respond differently based on different locations and how some locations could be incredibly meaningful and assign a lot more value to the experience for a family than it would have otherwise um mood management or energy management this is something that doesn't happen here or there it happens the whole way through and you want to start at the very beginning and be conscious of the fact that what you want is engagement mood will shift and change happy will come and go. What you want to do is make sure you keep engagement and energy management minimum three point lighting you want to constantly think about my main my fill my my hair light if it's in the studio we have three different lights if it's in a bedroom set it's like did I separate them enough from the wall? Do we have some light coming from behind them to separate them from the wall? If I'm in a park and they're sitting on stairs, can I scooch them to the very edge of the stair and have them lied for it a little bit? So it doesn't look with stairs coming right out of their head and the stairs a little out of focus and I'm shooting with a shallow depth of field you create your hair light or your rim light by positioning and in consideration of composition, um, technical settings you want to make sure that you're using kind of this orchestra of eso shutter speed and aperture so you can truly show as much feeling as possible in an image on dh sometimes that means an extremely limited field of focus and other times it means everything's it's extended field of focus, sometimes everything's frozen and really vibrant and sharp and other times it's this flowing sense of movement um, composition, of course, is how everything is positioned within the frame that you shoot and its relationship to each other, preferably organized in a really interesting way that's compelling and decluttering andan framing, of course, is how you're going to shoot that composition, which angle you choose, how if you're going very close if you shooting very far back what lens choice you make um all the details last minute what kind of face liquids air happening? You know where the heads how is everybody relationship to each other it's a foregone what's the background just let me cross check it right before I go and then lastly is expression or spirit whether you're creating that to create a great game whether you're responding to your subject in a way that influences them tow have more life in the spirit life in spirit in the shot or if you're pulling in reinforcements whether its parents are random street people or, uh spouse that happens to be around you know whatever it takes to be able to utilize and piggyback off somebody else's newness to bring the subject's fun look back to you let's go ahead and start with one that is from both filtered light photography and photo andrea how do you deal with the client that can either smile a million watt smile or keep their eyes open but not both at the same time? Interesting? Um okay, so million watts file tell me if you think I'm really in the question right? What I believe the question is saying is that well, the question is either one of two things they're either saying that they can't focus and be happy at the same look happen sometime or they're saying when they smile we lose the rise I think it's the second no more physical like they opened their chiefs and their cheeks press up right? So a lot of that is delayed shooting so it's a couple things if you saw one of those shots I showed the little girl laughing so hard her eyes closed she also then would have more of that kind of look what I'll do is I'll shoot a couple frames one which is the big megawatt smile and then one that's a little softer I say that a lot too children I'm like I love that smile can imagine that smile a little software like it's just it's just like cotton it's just like so soft you know can you try that and then that'll dim the smile a little bit but you still have smile in the eyes because of what you're saying because of how you're interacting and that's really what you want is the smiling eyes um joanne lobo had I asked a question she's from homa louisiana and she noticed that you crop some of your images you crop some of the heads off and she's had instances where her clients have asked her to give her the image without the head cropped and she's asking how to fix that if you present them with an image that they're not as crazy with because of the car why did you take this head cropped heads often and I kind of love that look it's a very contemporary kind of modern look, I'm it also allows you to go really in the frame one of the things I see sometimes when kids aren't cropped but it's a full frame image is that the eyes of your subject or halfway in the middle of your frame that's really common when you go up here and here for the eyes to be in the middle of the frame and that's actually an awkward place for eyes to be often that's. So what you want is them to be in those access points in terms of one third up or one third down, you know the rule of thirds esso and cropping in at the head allows for that more striking composition where you go right into the eyes. If I have a client who says cash, I really wanted the heads the head not to be cropped I will of course have taking in multiple variety of shots in terms of distance so that I can find another one if I if I cause I shoot a lot of that in camera, you know, so I can have another one that I can show them that will be similar and usually in the same thing and that's part of the upside of shooting a lot of variety is that you have things to pull from, but I will also absolutely explain why I shot that way what I love about it think about it for the perspective of when you're sitting down and you're like I don't really like that very much and then somebody passionately and very interested lee explains to you why they made that choice and by the end of it you might be like I see it I kind of seen it I like it we need to give our clients that that opportunity as well as offering them something else uh michelle mcdade says when changing settings for different scenarios do you sometimes find the kids move off and do something awesome that your camera's not set up for and do then ask the kids to do it again yes and yes but instead of saying okay you do that again I'm calling my god you that again like what you have to do is make them kind of like I'll do that again for that you know you have to inspire them to want to do it again so it's in a very natural kind of fun way versus oh I think I just did this yeah I'm kazan photography would like to know when do you decide that it's time for the kid to take a break or that they're just done for the day when how do you make that choice so it depends on how long the shoot is and where we are often part of that mood management setting expectation is getting kids to show up in an optimal mood and I will choose my time of day for that with kids it's very much the early morning or a certain time early evening but not right after school when they're pretty gone and not right before bed when they're pretty gone eso so sometimes you lose a little bit of lighting for mood but since we're working with optimum mood and we have time then I will expect there to be breaks and as we go you know there's no time limit on it it's just kind of how it's feeling if I felt I had to fight against a strained look five or six times in a row it's time to take a break you know if I feel like they're just on and there with me and we're going then then we'll just keep going and I've definitely done shoots where we're shooting the whole time there's no break there's no stop and on and then and so I'm just going with it that but it is a feel like when you're fighting against infighting and a few times you just say you know what let's give this a break because I feel like I'm working really hard just to get you here a little bit more instinctual thing yeah yeah but it but it's something you read like you you read a strange expression you read like their zoning out way too much in a row it's not just instinct there visually giving you accuse that says okay we need to stop and get a drinker hasn't food or something or let the sugar crash going away and then have you slowly build back up just write it through yeah way questions here in the audience about this kind of any of the ten steps there yes first when you say you schedule it for two hours do you have such a number off shots and mind like you will get twenty shots off twenty five fifty, sixty hundred like do you have that I haven't emerges yeah like for when you say you scheduled for two hours with breaks for three years with brief visit for certain number of shots are is it at home like you it's an open choice if I get five shots five forget then it's ten um so is it that I don't ever think about how many shots I'm taking like ever but what I tend to do is deliver something around sixty images or so purr purr normal shooting finished images of of course I'm shooting a lot more than that probably close to three hundred um but in terms of what shots happened at what period during the shoot you know just pens and how things were going so I'm just talking about the final thing or like do you like is there consistent number that you you like after three other shoot you would get sixty shots you deliver sixty shot truth is she never to a certain count I know some people do that like you'll get exactly twenty five years I don't know what exactly does it open it open it open it open it's about that number what I will dio is manage how many shoot shots I deliver because if I deliver too many shots I overwhelm the client and it's a very hard thing to choose now s o giving too many images actually hurts my sail giving too few images actually hurts my ability to to put images together in really cool configurations to do framed pieces and compilations on campus and albums you know so that number that around sixteen has worked for me very well and when you say that you know you are ignoring our you're overlooking a rule for a kid any room but there is posing or clothes or anything and you say like you know this is a rule that I don't care about it for a fortune like that baking regular sheik line yeah course yeah wrong place yes oh if you include the parents in the frame for a shot yes do you ignore the same rule for the parent to you now now I'm a little more conscious of that for adults ok yeah so the rule that you break for the kids you don't break them for when the parents are included it depends on the situation is like so when it comes teo and part of it too is reading what people are self conscious about like while you're on a shoot but like I talked earlier about hands, you know, if I'm posing just a woman by herself for a personal portrait of any sort, then I'll be a little more cautious of all these little things because I think it has an impact because she's filling the frame so every part of the frame is a part of her and you have to pay attention to it if she's one of five people in an image and the emphasis is on how they belong to each other and how they feel about each other that they love each other me stopping a great moment to adjust her hands with its the edge versus I won't do that yeah so it depends on what we're going for and another one can I ask you one more and then wait so when you asked say you knew and you said that you know, for the location you ask if there's a special location for the client yes like is there is there a location that might significantly dutch for each and every single blind? Probably not I should I know what I mean, you know that really like when I'm engaged with a client and I'm having that conversation I'll say we'll try to choose location is there a location that has hold special meaning for you in any way and and again, most of what I find is the first go around, whatever you choose, and then I have to get them to think about it because I understand that most of my clients, like all of my clients, have the same lifestyle I have, which feels like busy, busy and knowing I do that. I know that I want to do that I know will matter to me when I'm there, but I had eight seconds to talk to you, so let's, just knock this out, let's, get it done. I know that my clients feel similarly in terms of just a lot of pressure, and so I want to be able to give them a moment to say I understand, but is there and get you know that second round and that's where you should get the answers and I say I don't do it all the time because sometimes I just don't get a chance to have the full dialogue that I want too often we have, but I do see over and over and over again that when I do it has a big impact on everything.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

System of Organic Directive Posing.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Judi McCann

I really loved these videos and am grateful to Tamara for her clear teachings and her ability to relate her ideas in an instructional setting. She's extremely thorough in her explanations as to the how's and why's. She's got a super sense of humor, too, which is nice. I would very highly recommend this class.

Charlene Goldsmith

This is my first creative live course, and I was really sceptical that I would be getting my money's worth. But I can honestly say that this has been a brilliant investment. Not only is Tamara amazing, but the content is fantastic. I feel like I got more than I bargained for as I even learnt some things in Photoshop I didn't know. Big double thumbs up!

Mari Sierra

Tamara is so good at what she does... Plus funny! This class was great and I learned so much from her... It's one of my faves and in my wish list!

Student Work