Reflections : Mistakes + Previsualization


I took a break this morning from packing for our upcoming trip to Texas and I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about posing. Having respite from intensive weeks of shooting allows me to think of poses and creating situations for my clients to be comfortable and have fun. Most of the time I’m not thinking of poses, necessarily, but actions that will lead to a picture that was, yes, posed, but natural in its formation. My clients aren’t models, so in our short time together on an engagement session, I have to–essentially–teach them how to move into poses without the Stand-in-front-of-this-brick-wall-and-kiss directive. Because, really, the posed kissing shot is just never fun.

If I see an advertisement or photo I like, I ask myself how the photographer might have directed the models into such a position. No, like, really I make the conversation in my head…so I can later use it if I’m put in a similar scenario. It’s not enough to simply like a picture and then assume I’ll be able to do the same thing. It’s called practice because I’m practicing.

Often times, if I think of a pose I want to create, I try it with JD. At home. Yes, it’s totally weird…but I’d rather be weird in the confines of my home than make my clients feel awkward at a shoot in the future. I previsualize because I want to move confidently at a photoshoot and explain with precision the vision in my mind and it comes easier if I’ve done it before. Now, that’s not to say all my idea are awesome. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Just last month–when our friends visited and we ventured to the beach–I asked Amy to snap a photo of me and JD while I did a pose I’ve been working on for a while in my mind. I explained to her what I wanted, but she stood with a big question mark above her head. I shrugged my shoulders and just told her to shoot away.

Well, the pose didn’t really work. At all. In fact, nobody understood what I wanted to do and it ended up being a communication disaster. Clearly, this was NOT the photo I had in my mind:

Oh well. It didn’t work. I’m still trying to refine my directives to see if I can bring my idea to life at a engagement session in the near future, but until then, I’ll keep thinking of ideas and having conversations in my head.

I might sound crazy, but I promise I’m totally normal. Seriously.

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  1. Amanda

    January 24th, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. Posing the hardest part of a photoshoot for me!

  2. carlotta

    January 24th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Seriously, that photo is a total keeper. Love it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Brandi Lyon

    January 24th, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Hilarious! Although you think the shot didn’t work out for you it is a really good idea! Hope it works out for you next time. You are the best, girl!

  4. lentie

    January 24th, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    hehehe. That photo is so funny

  5. Life with Kaishon

    January 24th, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I sort of like it : )
    Extreme happiness.

  6. Melissa

    January 24th, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I’d love to hear some examples of how you dialogue with clients. Posing is one of my biggest struggles!

  7. Isabel

    January 24th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree. Previsualization and practice, albeit corny and crazy at times, is sooo worth it and beneficial when it comes time to an actual shoot. Know that you’re not alone in your "crazy" antics ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Stephane Hachey

    January 24th, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I’d say the pose kind of worked, you can tell you guys where having lots of fun. You could say the moment was captured, even if it wasn’t the "intended" moment. Great work Jasmine, you are an inspiration to us all.

  9. Joe Anna H.

    January 24th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Totally funny image ๐Ÿ™‚ took me a few glances to understand what was happening here. Ha! Thanks for the morning giggle!

  10. Sarah Danaher

    January 24th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    lol!!! oh, I love y’all.

  11. Carrie K

    January 24th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Maybe the directive for that picture could be, "Play airplane!" lol. Thanks for the laugh on a Monday morning. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Jill Swank

    January 24th, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Raw Emotion = Love it!
    J*, what are a few of your favorite poses that clients just seem to fall in love with over and over at engagement sessions or weddings? Thanks so much, have a blessed day!!!

  13. Kare

    January 24th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I think it’s totally normal. Totally.

  14. Chelsea Patricia

    January 24th, 2011 at 2:24 pm


    I mean, seriously, I think I may fall out of my chair.

  15. Krystal

    January 24th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    First, I don’t think you can be normal without being a little crazy. I mean, aren’t we all.

    Second, I love that picture. You were laughing and having some kind of great time. It’s what a picture should be, a sweet memory.

  16. Kate Douthwright

    January 24th, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Okay, that might not be the pose you had in mind but that is hilarious and portrays you and JD to a T. Did the original pose include a flying superman move? If so, I need to steal it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Jim

    January 24th, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Yeah, but did you stick the landing?

  18. LEOLAK

    January 24th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    You are more than’re awesome! lol This gave me a really good chuckle that I desperately needed. Thanks! Keep up the practice posing b/c clearly you have more successes than failures!

  19. Marcie Jessee

    January 24th, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I do that too ๐Ÿ™‚ Especially before a senior shoot …. I shut the door to my room and stand in front of the full length mirror and practice a few poses. My daughter will come in and ask what I’m doing (like I’m a complete weirdo) but that’s ok too ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Laura

    January 24th, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I actually like it….I would print it for my wall ๐Ÿ˜‰ But, I am all about the laughing too and you have a great smile… ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. LaRiche

    January 24th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    This was exactly what I needed to read today! Fun candid shot..even if it wasn’t what you wanted ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Kathleen Frank

    January 24th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    It is so helpful to have a glimpse into your thought process! I can directly relate my success at a shoot to how much previsualization and planning I do ahead of time. When I don’t, I will still get good shots at times, but solely because of luck and the awesomeness of my clients!

  23. brianna

    January 24th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    that’s quite the contagious laugh. i’m chuckling myself just looking at it.

  24. Alicia

    January 24th, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    It may not have been what you were going for but it’s an adorable photo! I love it. Glad to know I’m not the only one who talks things through in my head before I get on a shoot! I’m going to show this post to my husband and maybe he won’t think I’m so crazy after all.

  25. Hailey

    January 24th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    LOVE it! hahaha. I have totally done the same thing. One good thing about new, crazy poses is that if they don’t work out you usually end up with some great, candid, laughing shots ๐Ÿ˜‰ Like yours above! haha

  26. Annetta

    January 24th, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    too funny!! you look like you are trying to fly!

  27. Melissa Roe

    January 24th, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Simply hilarous!!

  28. Rich Park

    January 24th, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    still turned out to be a great picture! thanks for sharing!

  29. Claudia

    January 24th, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    It didn’t work but I am sure you will enjoy that image forever!…. funny! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Lorelei

    January 24th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    After I stopped laughing and choking on my maple oatmeal, my immediate reply to that photo was, "JD, watch your back!"… yeah I know totally bad pun/joke haha… and I know it wouldn’t have applied anyway since you’re so tiny it was probably like picking up a feather! (I can only imagine how even more funny your directions to achieve this particular pose sounded, btw) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  31. Stark

    January 24th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Great insight. The photo of you and JD is priceless. You look very comfortable in this naturally derived pose! hee hee!

    Bummed I won’t be at your workshop. The company my husband works for is headquartered in College Station. I was really hoping he needed to go there on business so that I could tag along with him, and attend your workshop. No such luck. Have a good trip!

  32. Neha

    January 24th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    You’re coming to TX? Where? For what?

  33. brittani

    January 24th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    love it. haha.

  34. kayla :)

    January 24th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    that’s awesome. thanks for the laugh! I’m glad I’m not the only one who does what you do!! =) thanks for sharing, as always!

  35. Lyn Ismael-Bennett

    January 24th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Failed posing or not, you and JD still looks cute together!

  36. kristin brown

    January 24th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    this was just what i needed to read today! i did two engagement shoots this weekend and decided i want to be better at directing and posing and have been brainstorming ways to do that. this really helps! thanks! have fun in texas!

  37. Ashli Elizabeth

    January 24th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    LOL Jasmine.. JASMINE. I make this mistake so often, and that’s usually my clients in that position.

  38. Jessica Frey

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    That photo really is fabulous for an out loud belly laugh! Awesomeness ๐Ÿ™‚ I just got back from Texas, enjoy your trip and keep having a blast!

  39. Erin Davenport

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Perfect advice, I loved watching you direct Laura and Billy that way on CreativeLIVE ๐Ÿ™‚ Cute pic, anyway! lol

  40. Adrienne

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Thanks so much for the tip! I’ve been taking photos for awhile, but I’m just now building a more professional photography portfolio, and posing has proved to be quite challenging for me.

  41. Becky Lew

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Oh my goodness this picture just makes me LAUGH out LOUD!! I LOVE IT & I love that we have pictures in our head that we are trying to create, which no one else might be able to see, but when it does work, it feels like angels singing ๐Ÿ™‚ xoxoxo thanks for the inspiration!

  42. leilani

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Oh Jasmine… that shot is too funny! Thanks for sharing!

  43. Derrick

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    It’s always great to think outside the box. Thanks for you action-filled inspiration!

  44. Maggie Fortson

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    This is freaking adorable!

  45. Dawney

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    LOL! This is a great picture of the two of you! It just shows your personalities off so well!
    ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you had a fun time at the beach! ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. feuza

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I so struggle with this, I feel I say the same things over and over and when I do give a direction, they give me the deer in the headlights look and I try and remember poses I have liked and seen and they all go away when I shoot but I like the idea of thinking how another photographer got that pose, thanks

  47. traci

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    hahaha! love it. and love how you are so free to talk about how we all need to practice, it doesn’t just happen all the time. not even for jasmine star. ๐Ÿ˜‰ but you do create magin. however you get there, you definitely do!

  48. Salwa

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with talking to yourself. Or is there? I don’t know, I’ll ask myself later ๐Ÿ˜‰

    But really, I like the idea of seeing a pose you like in an image, and thinking from the perspective of what the photographer might have said to make that happen. I will definitely have to try that!

  49. Liz Kausteklis

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    LOL, you two are so cute! I always see poses that I like, but never really ‘think’ of how that pose was achieved…and then I always end of forgeting what I wanted to try…so I just need to remember to practice, practice, practice!

  50. Brianna

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I think this is great advice! I always wondered how you worked your clients into completely natural "posed" positions.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. Lorrie Prothero

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    funny – I think it does work because it’s real – it’s the reactions to feeling awkward and "weird" that make for the best photos – I tell my clients to EMBRACE the emotions they’re really having, so if they feel embarrassed, shy, awkward, etc let it show – it lets them know that it’s OKAY to feel weird.

  52. Sarah Austin

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Still a great photo! Whatcha coming to Texas for? I’m in Houston. Anywhere near here?

  53. Adriana H.G.

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    You guys totally rock! Great photo ๐Ÿ™‚ and Jasmine, thank you for your very useful advice. I usually DO tell people to stand in front odยกf the wall and kiss ๐Ÿ™ gotta learn how to be more dinamic! thanks again! xoxo

  54. EBPitcher

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Love it! Even if it didn’t work for you. Can you write a post or do a Shooting Star on the basic poses you use all the time to set up what you want to get? I know that kinda lets loose your ideas, but I’m having trouble getting an idea about how you’d do this. Thanks!

  55. Katelyn James

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Love this! JD… oh the things you do for her:)

  56. Mioara Dragan

    January 24th, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    "I’m totally normal. Seriously." I laughed so hard at that last line Jasmine! You’re hilarious!

  57. Shane

    January 24th, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    That is so insightful and helpful. I am fairly new to photography and posing is an issue. I understand the technical side of an image but still working on that also. But posing is another issue all together. But what you have said makes a ton of sense. Its not just stand over there and kiss… its giving the couple a directive or an action that they can understand… then snapping the moment when it is just right.. Thats got to be it.

  58. Mindy Metivier

    January 24th, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Hi Jaz!!! Thank you for this post, because it’s very comforting to know that you walk in the same shoes that other photogs do!!! You are AMAZING at what you do and I’m very grateful that you are so open and willing to share your tip, tricks and advice with the world!!! Good luck in Texas!!! Hugs!!!

  59. felicia gwen

    January 24th, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Such an cute pic though!!!!

  60. Stephanie Stewart

    January 24th, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Great post! And I totally understand about practicing poses at home…especially in front of a mirror…it can make for quite an amusing afternoon! Love your photo here, it may not be what you had envisioned, but it is so fun!!!

  61. Michelle Carrillo

    January 24th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    This post had perfect timing. I had a shoot yesterday, for myself, to practice my skills and test out some ideas… and I fumbled at some points. I realized that I can’t get through ALL my ideas in a short amount of time. I realized what I need to do more to get those less-posey-poses. And I realized that, no matter HOW I see things in my head… sometimes the body just doesn’t BEND that way. Ha! It was great to practice like this in front of non-clients so I didn’t feel like a fool. Thanks for the inspiration, as always. And for making me feel like LESS of a fool. ; )

  62. Natalie

    January 24th, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    I like how you said that you don’t think of poses you think of actions. Great piece of advice!

  63. Yuliya

    January 24th, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    This was so much fun to read! Thank you for sharing yourself on the web, you really push me to keep it real ๐Ÿ˜‰

  64. Marissa Nicole

    January 24th, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I am really interestd to see what this pose is supposed to look like when you get your directions down…because I am just not seeing it.

  65. Kevin Wrenn Photography

    January 24th, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Very true Jasmine. Pre-visualization is very helpful for me too! And Seattle weddings can be rainy as well, so having more shots that one can pull off in-doors is good. Sometimes being outside just lends to more shot scenarios, but when inside its important to have a good posing repertoire to use with the couple.

    Thanks for the post! Great pic of you guys.

  66. Amy Arrington

    January 24th, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Always enjoy your posts! Your humor, tips and ideas!

  67. damara

    January 25th, 2011 at 12:07 am

    hahaha! I totally NEED to do this! I always come up with random things and right while they are trying to figure it out…I realize it is NOT going to work and either have to just go with it to fake confidence or laugh and say that it is NOT working how I thought! We need pre-planning sessions with friends to lead them through our ideas!

  68. Thallen Alves

    January 25th, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Jasmine, thank you so much for helping me! Saying these things i feel so confortable to try new things! I’m a babe in the photography world and you are my reference! I hope to work hard to achieve my goals! God bless you ever!

  69. natalie

    January 25th, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Didn’t work? This is a fantabulous moment captured. You look truly joyful and like your having fun!

  70. David - Raleigh Photographer

    January 25th, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Great point! We work so hard not tell a couple to kiss or grab his new wife and hold her tight. Some photographers might direct the picture, and make a perfect picture for their portfolio, but every time that couple sees that picture in their album they may think "Man, I never thought we would get it right!" instead of thinking about what an amazing moment they had and how for a few seconds they were the only ones existing. Great post, and something we can all strive to perfect!

  71. Ryann

    January 25th, 2011 at 2:49 am

    Ha! I love it!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  72. Matt

    January 25th, 2011 at 3:09 am

    "Okay you hold her like a roll of carpet. That’s it, just like that. And you, lady with the scarf. You pretend like you’re learning to swim. That’s it, that’s it. Hold it. (click) Got it. That totally works."

  73. Simone Anne

    January 25th, 2011 at 5:57 am

    I do this ALL THE TIME. I swear, talking to yourself is awesome. And so educational. ha ha. No but really.

  74. stephanie

    January 25th, 2011 at 6:49 am

    hahahahaah. seriously. i LOL at your posts. so awesome. hahaha.

  75. Kira

    January 25th, 2011 at 6:52 am

    I’m thinkin… 30×40 CANVAS WRAP!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  76. Lydia

    January 25th, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Awesome tip, Jasmine! So now I have a good reason to have little conversations with myself… ๐Ÿ˜€

  77. MichelleSibley

    January 25th, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Was this the let’s do the superman only without the green screen? Too funny! My favorite part is theat one little foot that shows up in the backgound. Also, the total silly ‘well, this is awkward’ laughter is great too.

  78. Brian Davis

    January 25th, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Some great advice in this post. I’m always trying to find a way to put couples at ease and get those natural beautiful moments on camera. By the way, this shot may not be what you were hoping for, but it sure is hilarious. That look on your face is priceless!

  79. Laura Murray

    January 25th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Haha- I practice poses with my husband at home in front of the mirror too!! ๐Ÿ™‚ But, have to say that they don’t quite look like that!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ Can’t wait to see what you come up w for it in future engagement sessions.

  80. Emily Dobson

    January 25th, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I’ve never even considered practice poses with my husband…LoL He’s gonna LOVE this idea!

  81. Josephine

    January 26th, 2011 at 12:38 am

    I JUST LOVE IT when it feels like you’re that voice inside my head! Totally can resonate with you!!!

    Love the hilarity of this post….!!!!

  82. Kelsey Anderson

    January 26th, 2011 at 2:56 am

    Great post and seriously hilarious photo!

  83. angel

    January 26th, 2011 at 4:55 am

    this is exactly why i want to get my grubs on Jesh de Rox’s book! i wanna see how he explains getting people into those "poses" naturally. but private schooling for the kids prevails for now…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  84. amanda thiessen

    January 26th, 2011 at 6:18 am

    i love this photo. it’s so….real ๐Ÿ™‚ and i totally have the pre-converstation in my head too! haha

  85. michelle gunton

    January 26th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Even though this was not the picture you had intended, after reading the story and then a scroll down to see the picture, it made me giggle out loud. This post was perfectly written. Thank you.

  86. Odalys Mendez

    January 26th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Jasmine, you crack me up! This shot is priceless. I can’t begin to imagine what exactly you were set out to accomplish with that, it looks like JD is launching you towards the camera. But the shot is so REAL! and so much FUN!

  87. Bobbie Brown

    January 26th, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Love this post, love this picture! And I know whatever you are working out in your head will probably be awesome!

  88. Diana Lupu

    January 26th, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    You two make even your "photo flops" look cute!!

  89. Paul

    January 27th, 2011 at 5:54 am

    Really glad that you mentioned looking at the ad from the photographer’s perspective. I often look at magazine ads for inspiration, but I’m always looking at the models and what they’re doing or the angle that the photographer shot from. I don’t think often enough about the direction that the photograpehr may have given. Great insight-thanks for that.

  90. Timothy

    January 27th, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Would have been better if you removed the foot in the back. Would have looked like she was popping out of the picture. Interesting shot though.

  91. nicole Blumberg Photography

    January 28th, 2011 at 3:55 am

    OMG this is the cutes ever!!

  92. Jenna Danelle

    January 31st, 2011 at 6:32 am

    Rotflmao! The expression on your faces say it all! Thanks for sharing Jasmine – you’re amazing!

  93. Sandra

    April 5th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    thanks so much for this post! for someone just starting out, it’s really encouraging to hear how engagement session strategies develop over time.

  94. Manya Keseloff

    June 9th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I LOVE this photo!