Real content

Thinking of all the photos in your gallery…, how many of them do you love because you didn’t know they were being taken at the time? The fact is that when we hear the cry of “photo!”, many of us find our smile tightens, we get a twitch in our eye and we stick our necks out like turtles. This is known as the “ID photo effect”. What’s more, paparazzi photos are usually taken in everyday moments, showing the real person, in the most natural version of themselves, and that’s precisely what we’re going to talk about today.

We’ve often heard comments about how unnatural stock images are becoming, and this term is even used to refer to those photos that look too artificially posed. But that’s all over now – or at least it should be! 

Prepare the session

When you plan your subject, think about how the situation could be adapted to an everyday environment. Look for outdoor sessions that already offer a natural “set” and adapt the rest of the elements yourself instead of the other way around, and for indoor sessions, try to use real places. 

Direct the models

Even if they are professionals, your models need to feel comfortable and relaxed for everything to flow. 

Talking to them before the shoot about something other than the work and the shoot itself will create a climate of trust. 

And while you are taking the photos, try to create a situation that makes them naturally give off the emotion you need. Make them laugh (there’s nothing worse than a fake laugh or smile), help them experience an emotional moment, use music for each occasion…

If the session has more than one model and they have to interact with each other, let them have a moment to get to know each other. Encourage them to talk until they’re ready and create an atmosphere in which they feel comfortable.

Minimal retouching

It’s easy to get obsessed with trying to achieve what you originally had in your head instead of trying to get the best out of each photo. Analyze each image and try to edit just enough so that it doesn’t lose that natural and authentic look you were looking for when you started prepping each session.


This may seem like a bit of a buzz word lately, but be warned – there’s still a way to go. Because if life is diverse, why should images only reflect one reality? Look for models of all types, races, ages, sexual orientations, queer, disabilities…diversity is authenticity, and authenticity is the secret to getting your best shot.

These are just some general tips, but everyone discovers their own tricks with practice. Discover yours and share the results with us!

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