Help Your Photographer
Make Perfect Sales
royalty paid, Tale Wins

� copyright 2004 Tom Ray 

dec:  There's nothing more embarrassing than to produce an obviously incompetent professional character.  Here are secrets that help real professional photographers earn more money.  Use these secrets to make YOUR photographer appear far more professional.

This article is taken from "Professional Photography: Success Without School".   The author, Tom Ray is a Certified Professional Photographer through the Professional Photographer's of America.  If possible, credit his information in your book or articles. 

Making Portraits That Sell

You can make the transition from amateur photographer to professional photographer by knowing less and not more.  Rather than going to photography school, I was fortunate to have a mentor whom had worked as a portrait photographer for a major studio. He reduced the vast mystery of photography techniques down to just the most important elements to sell a picture. One important tip area received from my photography mentor had to do with the elements of body positioning: 

First, you should rarely photograph anyone straight on.

This advice, I believe, is partially responsible for our recently signing our ninth school for their pictures this coming fall. 

While other photographers seat the children straight-on as in a police mug shot, I turn their shoulders slightly toward the side at a bit of a 3/4 angle so they don�t face straight on with their body.

The resultant pose is a slight head turn which comes off fabulous and makes every child look like they are getting a professional portrait and not just a typical school picture. 

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Now, when you�re not just photographing a head and shoulders close-up, 
you�ll have to understand other aspects of body positioning that will make 
people want to buy their pictures. 

Hands. They should always be turned slightly so they are seen from the edge with fingers together, or hide the hands altogether behind your subject or somebody else next to them. Never position hands straight on with open fingers.

Simply put, anything that minimizes how much hand you see works to make it a better portrait. This is always more flattering in a portrait and you�ll see they are the ones people buy. 

When we get down to the legs and feet it�s something I noticed on my own: they are almost always crossed at the ankle. 

Crossing legs at the ankles refines the pose and minimizes this area of the body -- making it more appealing.

When standing, one cannot simply cross their ankles unless
they have something to lean against, so I will have one foot
in front of the other in such a way that they taper into one
general unit. Have them place their weight on the back leg
(remember, they are at a slight 3/4 angle) and bring the
front leg forward and slightly tilt the foot to face out
toward the camera. 

As I began to look for these simple things during my portrait sessions, my pictures got better!

I can�t stress enough how basic, but important, it is to watch for these details.

My mentor taught me a term professionals in the industry know, that term is salable. It is the point at which a portrait will find a ready and willing buyer. Much of the perfecting in the art of photography goes beyond what is necessary to the common client.

These techniques for salable body positioning are what you need to produce a portrait good enough to please your client. 

When photographing people full body standing, seated or reclining on the ground, noticing body angle, hands and feet is the way to �fine tune� your portrait and distinguish it from just a �snapshot�.

Lastly, I must share my favorite salable tool that makes it easy to produce a better portrait than many photographers whom don�t really know what they�re doing: the head tilt.

A woman alone tilts her head just slightly in either direction to make a more stunning portrait. A man�s head can stay straight up or tilt slightly away in the opposite direction from his most forward shoulder but never back towards his most forward shoulder.

I�ve had exposure over the years to many different photography educational venues such as classes, workshops, conventions, guest speakers, lectures, teaching videos and books but never have any of the teachers been willing to simply say �look, there are just a few rules to follow and people will be happy with their pictures�. You don�t have to be a master photographer to know what sells; I now earn a
living from the helpful advice that I received from my mentor. 

the end

Bio  Tom Ray is a Certified Professional Photographer through the
Professional Photographer's of America. This article is
taken from "Professional Photography: Success Without

No advice on this site should be used
without first contacting a professional in that field.  

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