Monday, December 6, 2010

5 Questions with Lou Jacobs, author of The Art of Posing


How can one master the art of posing?

Posing skill grows with experience. Your own personality reaches out to subjects. During a portrait session a subject tends to move frequently between shots, and successful images depend on friendly rapport and your ability to say “stop right there,”to get great poses. Being able to recognize poses the client will like includes shooting some that you will discard before you show the full take. Success also depends on enjoying portraiture and having empathy with the man, woman or child you see in the camera finder.

How did this book come about?

I have written a number of books for Amherst Media for more than a decade, and sometimes I suggest a topic, and other times my publisher, Craig Alesse, comes up with a subject he feels would fit into the many titles the company lists on its website. The Art of Posing was Craig’s idea, and I learned a lot more about posing as I worked with the 10 talented photographers whose pictures are featured.

What’s the man theme in this book?

It’s that you can’t take posing for granted. The subject of a portrait may fall into terrific poses spontaneously, and that’s a blessing, but there are many people who freeze in front of a camera. The way you cajole reluctant clients leads to successful pictures that both you and the person(s) like- and pay for. 

How can one improve their photogenic-ness?

All egos are not equal, so some sitters are quite at ease and give you wonderful expressions easily, and some need to be directed. Classy photographers know how to flatter people without sounding phony, and they also know how to see and capture the best expressions and poses, the ones that most people love. One doesn’t have to be greatly photogenic to have angles that the camera enhances to make clients surprised about how attractive they look.

What’s next for me?

Like an actor who is between pictures, I’m an author between books at the moment. I may be writing a new book on photographing children, but my publisher and I are still choosing a topic. I have written 37 how-to photography books in my long career, and I like finding new approaches to tackle.

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