I've been photographing people for a long time, and one thing that always baffles me is how many people say they have no idea where to look when posing for a portrait. It's just the most basic rule of portraiture: look into the camera! But there's more to it than that (and after all these years, I've become obsessed with figuring out exactly how much more). Let's dive into some common questions about eye contact…
Ok, so what do I do if I have no idea where to look?
If you're having trouble figuring out where to look, try one of these options:
- Look at the person you're talking to! It can be easy for the camera and subject to feel like separate entities in front of your lens, but when it comes down to it, they are both there with you. If someone is sitting across from you and telling an anecdote about his childhood dog named Jebediah—don't just stare at him as he talks. Look him in his eyes while he tells his story (and don't blink too much). Then after he finishes talking, tell him how much you enjoyed hearing about Jebediah (even if this is not true). Your resulting photo will be more personal than if either one of you had been staring off into space or sitting stoically straight ahead.
- Look at something behind the person's head! There's nothing wrong with taking an off-center portrait every once in a while—in fact, it can give your viewer a sense that this isn't just a snapshot but something more deliberate or artful than that. Just make sure that whatever object or wall happens to be behind your subject's head doesn't have any distracting elements on it (like windows) because those might draw attention away from what should really be happening: looking through someone else's eyes into their soul!
Being thoughtful about your subjects' gazes will give you more dynamic poses and create more interesting photos.
So what is direct eye contact? Direct eye contact involves looking directly at the camera, usually with a smile. This can be a natural way to pose people and helps you create a more vibrant image. You may find that posing couples with direct eye contact works well as it helps them look like they are interacting with each other.
Direct eye contact can be tricky if you're shooting groups of people or families because there's less chance of everyone looking at one person in particular (unless you want them all staring at someone). If you want to capture some dynamic poses for your photo shoot, try using indirect or subtle eye contact instead!
What does “overt” mean?
Overt eye contact is when the subject’s eyes are looking directly into the camera or at the person they are posing with. It is considered a good thing to have in photos because it creates a sense of intimacy, which can be good or bad depending on how you want your photo to come across. You may want your portrait to look soft and dreamy, but if you want something more edgy then overt eye contact could work better for that photo as well.
What does “subtle” mean?
Subtle is a word that is often used to describe how you should pose, but what does it mean?
Subtle means not looking directly at the camera.
It means looking in the direction of the camera, but not directly into it.
It means avoiding eye contact with the camera as much as possible (especially if you're making a big smile).
It means looking down when you don't want to make eye contact because your eyes are too close together or your nose is too big or whatever else might be distracting about your face. It also means keeping your chin up and shoulders back so that people won't think you have an ugly neckline or saggy boobs from wearing those tight sweaters all winter long (sorry). If a girl has these problems, she'd look better with her hair up so no one can see her chin and neckline from below because they'll only see her eyes and nose from above!
Subtle also applies if someone has really small lips so posing sideways helps make them look bigger without using lipstick tricks like lining them first before applying lipstick over top—or even better yet: use brown pencil instead of red because then there will be no evidence left behind afterwards either way!
What about direct eye contact?
One of the most common questions I get is "how do I look at the camera?" People who pose for photos often seem to think that they need to stare directly into the lens, but this can make your subject uncomfortable and it can make you very uncomfortable. If you want to keep eye contact with your subject, you can look at them as long as it seems natural and comfortable. You may need to practice this skill when looking at family or friends who are used to a more traditional way of posing for photos!
You might find that looking directly into the camera isn't necessary when taking pictures because we have so many digital cameras with auto focusing now! But if it's important for your personal projects or work projects--I recommend trying different angles before deciding on one pose where everyone looks perfect!
Are you sure it's not as simple as making eye contact?
It’s easy to think that making eye contact with the camera is enough, but there are many things you can do to make your photos more interesting.
Make sure you're looking in the right direction. Sure, you’re looking at the camera, but what about those other people in your photos? Are they looking at each other or giving each other a thumbs up? Is there any motion or energy in the photo? It's all part of telling a story with your photos!
So how does this affect a session with a couple or group of people?
In the case of a group photo, keep in mind that you want to be sure everyone is aware of where they should be looking. Try this:
- Look at each person individually and make eye contact with them before starting the photo session. If they are with someone else, they will turn toward them because they want their partner’s attention, but you still need to look at him or her to know where his/her eyes are focused. It is not enough for one person to look at the camera; everyone needs to do so!
- Once everyone has made eye contact with you, then go ahead and start taking pictures (or have your client take photos). If people aren’t paying attention when you start shooting pictures, it can cause confusion later on in post-processing when deciding what looks best among all those shots. This makes things easier for both parties involved—you don't have to guess how many shots were taken during an event like this since all images will be consistent with each other across different poses throughout a shoot . When possible try placing yourself between individuals who aren't facing each other so that it doesn't become awkward when trying different poses .
If you're struggling with posing and eye contact, remember that it's a skill that you can learn. Practice makes perfect! And don't be afraid to experiment—sometimes the best results come from happy accidents. So if you're feeling lost in your photography practice, just keep taking pictures, keep learning new things about your camera (or ask for help!), and most importantly: keep shooting!