We all need to get a professional portrait done at some point in our career. Some of us handle being in front of the camera better than others. I thought it might help all of us if I interviewed a famous portrait photographer, Trevor Paulhus, who puts his subjects at ease and turns an environmental portrait into a work of art with his talents and skills. His work appears in major magazines, currently in Sports Illustrated. Learn a few valuable tips from the expert in the interview with Trevor.
Question to Trevor Paulhus, famous portrait photographer:
Please share pointers for people who are getting their portraits done – your advice to the subject. i.e. what to wear, makeup, pose dos or donts, flattering poses, mindset, backgrounds, shyness, etc… This is huge. And god knows, I could’ve used this very advice before getting my portrait taken!
This too is really dependent on situation. Where the photograph is being used, where the photograph is being taken, who the subject is. Sometimes certain portraits will require a particular look that others may not. One thing may look horrible in one situation and work perfectly in another. I wouldn’t recommend the same things to a CEO wearing a suit and being photographed in his office that I would to you being photographed in your home or a model being photographed in a studio or a basketball player in a gym.
For someone who is not used to being in front of the camera I would say that the biggest advice I could give would be to simply try to relax and have faith in your photographer. Let them direct you towards what they feel will look best. Some people are naturally more comfortable in front of a camera than others. It is the photographers job to sense that and do whatever it takes to make them at ease and guide them in the right direction. Sometimes this can take time, so patience is important too.
In a situation like my shoot with you, because we were shooting on location in your home and because of the publication we were shooting for, I would advise on keeping your wardrobe very minimal and casual but classy. That way it wouldn’t get too busy or clash in the environment. No crazy patterns, super bright colors or anything too “fancy”. Same with makeup, minimal. But again, these recommendations may not always be applicable. If I were shooting you in an all white room, I may want you to have a loud outfit on to stick out more.402