Thursday, October 12, 2017


Last week, a classmate of mine was headed out to the opera and coordinated a photoshoot session for our cohorts.  I shared one photograph in my Sunday post from this week and figured I'd share the set of this girl who I will name Rapunzel!  She wanted some more glamorous photos.  Believe it or not, as graduate students, most of us don't wear our nicest clothing into laboratories.  (Sarcasm).  

We met up in a nice part of our city to do these photos and I provided only the necessary direction.  I would pick a spot, briefly describe the composition I was looking for, and let Rapunzel move to her own whims.  This was how I directed the other subjects I worked with that day as well and the feedback I received was that people felt very comfortable!  As I strive for natural, organic photographs, this is just the response I want.

Like other photo sessions, I provided as minimal direction as I could.  I asked the model to do what felt most natural and let her express the emotions she was feeling that day.  I wanted her to feel relaxed, confident, and able to shine which I think we achieved!  Does this translate across to you?

FYI, I once watched a docuseries called Tales By Light that showed the lengths photographers go to obtain their photos.  One photographer went to document a tribe, but directed the minutiae of every picture, from the posing, to the artifacts he wanted the subjects to hold.  It's interesting how he wanted to document the culture yet staged it to how he thought it should be presented, thus inserting his own cultural viewpoint into it.  To me, that was no longer a true or organic representation of the native people.  

What are your views on direction in photography?  What constitutes too much or just enough?


  1. These shots are wonderful, Alyse! Your friend is very beautiful as well.

    And in terms of photography, I think it’s always best to capture something/someone in their natural state, something that isn’t overly directed; truth be told, I think it’s so hard to do that these days. A little direction is fine every now and then to capture a great shot. I mean, that docuseries you mentioned shouldn’t even be considered a documentary - if that photographer really wanted to capture a real-life representation then direction of posing and what not should’ve been kept to a minimum.

  2. I love these photos! Everything looks lovely, and the confidence does translate. Personally, I'm pretty light-handed with the direction when I photograph others. People are more confident and less guarded if you have fun, maybe chit chat a bit, and keep the orders to a minimum. Photos usually turn out nicer that way. I'd say these photos are the perfect examples, eh?

  3. Her hair is so long and healthy! Yes I do think it has been translated into the photos, especially the one where she is turning in a circle.

    I think direction is needed when the subject isn't comfortable and is there to help them relax. However, when nothing is staged or intentionally posed, I feel that you can feel the emotion in the images.

    Nat ◇ dignifiable

  4. I love the photoshoot you gave to Rapunzel! I totally understand why you gave her that name XD. I love the shot where her hair was flared out.

    I prefer to keep things the way they're meant to be. E.g. asking me to do some traditional or elegant pose might be a bit too much because I'm wilder than that, haha. I used to avoid anything crazy because of criticism but you know what? Haters gonna hate, haha. I thought about that and being in a more natural state that aligns with the person's personality means more than trying to force something upon them.

  5. I love your friend's style! I feel like I would need some direction in photographs or else I would be suuuper boring. It's hard to act natural on command, you know? But some people who are super outgoing probably wouldn't need direction!

  6. Wow, her hair is gorgeous! Rapunzel is the perfect name for her. I would definitely need more direction because I usually look like a complete moron in photos. I don't know what to do with my arms!

  7. Oh my, she looks beautiful! I absolutely love the outfit and the crown/tiara/headpiece as well. It's a tough line between what is good direction and what is staged. I give quite a lot of direction to Ryan when I take photos of him, but that's about the only time I do take photos of anyone that's not myself so I'm not sure how I would be in a situation with a friend or something.