Directing A Shoot

DATE: November 18, 2021

Being a good photographer isn’t only determined by your lighting, or the composition of an image. In fact, the most overlooked ability of a photographer might be their ability to successfully direct a portrait session. There are as many different styles of directing as there are photographers. Some directing styles will lead to standard, boring photographs, and others will cause even the most disinterested clients to appear natural and having a great time and, subsequently, walk out of the session with their kids asking when they can come back! 

In today’s episode I’m on my own in the hot seat, and I’m going to share with you some of the most valuable tips and tricks that I have learned through sixteen years in the trenches of portrait photography, all in an effort to help you get those expressions that you’re looking for.

If you’re tired of using the same ideas and can’t stand the thought of doing another portrait session, this episode will be just the creative inspiration you need to make your upcoming shoots smooth and full of fun for everyone involved.  


[01:42] Why you need to be a good director on top of being a good photographer. 

[04:17] Descriptions of some of the numerous director profiles (from the “techno weenie” to the “queen of calm.”)

 of the “techno-weenie” director profile.  

[09:38] How my assistant and I balance each other out during sessions. 

[11:30] What you need to do to prepare before your clients arrive for a shoot. 

[12:57] My number one goal at the beginning of every photography session I do. 

[15:27] Why my camera is the only camera allowed in the room during a shoot. 

[16:31] The “time out” strategy that results in some of the best expressions. 

[18:04] Circumstances under which I will ask a parent to leave the session. 

[18:33] One of my very favorite parts of being a portrait photographer. 

[20:07] Ways that you can get rid of the cheesy smile that so many kids develop at a young age. 

[25:23] Why I always work with an assistant, and an example of a game we play to get the kids laughing. 

[27:33] The “fake laugh” strategy. 

[29:06] More tips and tricks to get the expressions that you are looking for. 

[30:35] How I use music to get my clients moving.

[32:05] The importance of taking into consideration how you say things, not only what you are saying. 

[35:14] How you can ensure that your clients walk away from their session feeling glad that they chose you. 

Links and Resources:

Do The ReWork

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Allison Tyler Jones

Website | Instagram | LinkedIn