The Line Guaranteed to Make Portrait Subjects Laugh (And Other Tips from On The Road, Atlantic City)

By // June 3, 2013 // Posted in Events & Workshops, Industry News, WPPI News

Rangefinder and WPPI are in Atlantic City this week, for the second installment of WPPI’s On The Road series 2013.

On The Road 2013 Atlantic City photo

Having fun in Atlantic City © Karen Seifert for RFWPPI

In between strolls down The Boardwalk and eating fantastically authentic Italian food at restaurants like Chef Vola, there’s been some great photography tips from the likes of Bob Davis, Kevin Kubota, Vanessa Joy & Rob Adams, Doug Gordon and Peter Hurley.

Jason Groupp, Kevin Kubota, Jerry Ghionis, Bob Davis photo

Jason Groupp, Kevin Kubota, Jerry Ghionis and Bob Davis chill in between sessions at On The Road Atlantic City. © Karen Seifert for RFWPPI

In Easy Answers to Things I Learned the Hard Way, Kevin Kubota gave us a short list of some of the mistakes he made during his 20-year photography career—and the quick solutions. Some of our favorites?

  • Make your studio space appeal to all five senses: Serve nice things to drink and eat (including alcohol), make the atmosphere cozy, set the ambiance by lighting candles and making it smell nice.
  • Create 100 percent original images by simply talking to your clients. Ask what they’re into, what are their hobbies, etc. Make the portrait unique and personal.
  • Show clients LESS photos. Kubuta shows no more than 400 images to wedding clients. His reasoning? Scarcity adds value.
  • Don’t skimp on design and branding. Your logo is your identity; Kubota has gained clients, not only because of his portfolio, but because his logo appealed to them.

Peter Hurley, our New York City buddy, presented The Art Behind the Headshot. In the seminar, the king of #SHABANG spoke about having a “Shtick” to keep clients’ energy up, how eyebrows can make a world of difference in portraiture, and why he slows way down to gets it “just right” before shooting.

Peter Hurley Shtick photo

Peter Hurley says to have a "Shtick" when trying to keep the energy up with portrait clients. © Jessica Gordon

One of Hurley’s best tips was his line for getting genuine smiles from portrait subjects. The line? “Don’t look at me so miserable!” Hurley says he uses it every day, and it works every time.

Doug Gordon tied up the afternoon with The Posing Project in which he demonstrated poses with a live couple. Some of Gordon’s best tips:

  • Don’t practice on the job; Dress up your friends and family and practice constantly—but before you get to the shoot.
  • The foolproof bride/groom height ratio: his lips should be at the same level as her eyes. The last thing a bride wants it to look bigger than her groom.
  • Think square. A good portion of Gordon’s revenue comes from selling prints in sizes that traditional printing outlets don’t have. This is particularly true of square prints, and framing offers another upsell. “By offering different sizes, you stand out from everyone else,” Gordon says.

We’ll be here tomorrow too, reporting behind-the-scenes on the live, hands-on shootouts. Follow us @rangefindermag or on Instagram @rfwppi for more updates.

Lunch at On The Road photo

Lunch is pretty good at On The Road 2013, Atlantic City © Moneer Masih-Tehrani

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Jessica Gordon

Jessica Gordon

Jessica Gordon loves discovering new photographers, and learning about historic image-makers who’ve helped evolve the craft. As senior editor for Rangefinder magazine, she’s passionate about clever copy and great design. On the weekends, you can find her biking around Brooklyn and downward dogging in yoga.

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