Super Quick Tips for Intimate Portraits

 Jim Austin Jimages has made portraits for fun and commercially, for over 30 years. Join him to ask: “Can we make more compassionate photos of people?”

Portraiture is a rewarding endeavor. Treating people with respect and listening are much more important than gear. Here are 20 quick tips to get us thinking about more compassionate photos of people:

START #20. Build trust quietly over time.

Build trust over time and be still, and people who trust you will let you make compassionate portraits of them.
Build trust over time and be still, and people who trust you will let you make compassionate portraits of them.

#19. Put their hands in the picture.

#18. Let them play. This works with adults also.

jim-austin-jimages-19a-hands
Try to keep your subjects hands in the photo, because if you cut them off on the edges of the frame, you lose the power of gestural expression.

#17. Photograph them with a friend or sibling.

#16. Invite them to discover something new.

jim-austin-jimages-sibling-chinatown
A brother and sister in San Francisco’s Chinatown prepare for school on a Saturday morning.

#15. Get in a boat.

#14. Visit the sea.

#13. Light a candle.

jim-austin-jimages-13-candle

#12. Shake their hand.

#11. Let them show you one of their hobbies or skills.

jim-austin-jimages-show-a-skill

#10. Join their music.

It's always fun to meet new people when you ask what music they are listening to. This woman shared her music, when we met on the beach, Easter morning in Florida.
It’s always fun to meet new people, and striking up a conversation, I sometimes ask what music they are listening to or like. This woman shared her musical choices on her CD player, when we happened to met on the beach, Easter morning, in Florida, USA.

#9. Get cold together.

#8. Get wet, in rain or at a water fountain.

jim-austin-jimages-get-wet-fountain

#7. Walk with them through a forest, greenway, state park or national park.

#6. Catch em walking a pet.

When people take their pets for a walk, I usually find a good opportunity to make a portrait.
When people take their pets for a walk, I usually find a good opportunity to make a portrait.

#5. Hand them your dog.

jim-austin-jimages-debra-book-barrows-5-dog

#4. Slowly move closer and you chat with them.

As RA and I talked on Lincoln Road Mall in Miami Beach, I slowly moved in close, and waited until he was trying to recall a memory.
As RA and I talked on Lincoln Road Mall in Miami Beach, I slowly moved in close, and waited until he was trying to recall a memory.

#3. Tickle them.

#2. Reassure them it will be OK.

jim-austin-jimages-reassure-them-mrs-hanson

FINISH #1. Love them.

Thank you for your comments. Jim

All written content (and most images) in these articles are copyrighted by the authors. Copyrighted material from Apogee Photo Mag should not be used elsewhere without seeking the authors permission.

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