Direct Address v. Off-Camera - Where The Hell Am I Lookin???
Q: When I’m having my portraits taken, where should I be looking - directly into or away from the camera?
A: Do both - each option has it’s own benefits!
When I conduct portrait sessions with my clients, I have their heads on a swivel, capturing a variety of options for their content image needs. Entrepreneurs and thought leaders alike have a daily need for images and they can benefit from a variety of options.
Looking directly into the Camera
Think about an in-person, one-on-one conversation; when someone is telling you a story, what is your engagement level when the person talking is looking all around, making little to no eye contact? Now, how does that engagement level change when they lock eyes with you?
Direct addressing the camera attracts viewers attention in a similar way. And while you have their attention, make a great impression!
That’s why it’s paramount to capture facial expressions that illustrate confident, approachable and likable aspects of your personality in order to present you in an authentic light.
When strategizing with my clients, I often suggest leveraging direct address portraits in several ways, including profile images for social media and professional websites, speaker submissions and for sales vehicles - online ads, landing pages and targeted posts.
Although direct address portraits provide enormous value to your portraits, that doesn’t mean the alternative is a waste of time. In fact, looking off-camera is just as valuable.
When not looking into the camera, this disconnect between subject and viewer creates a unique, candid feel to the portrait. There’s less formality involved with an off-camera gaze, leaving space for the viewer to wonder, “what is he or she thinking?”
Bearing that in mind, this is why I suggest to my clients to use these off camera, candid portraits for social media posts and write compelling captions that punctuate these candid expressions.
What if you want to place text on the image itself?
Although you can incorporate text on both types of portraits, you can leverage the off-camera option to draw more attention to the text.
One of my clients, Ruschelle did just that with this image.
With Ruschelle looking left, we want to follow her lead and look in that direction. She leads us to the text, bringing our attention to the most important information in the frame.
So remember for your next portrait session that there’s no one way to look - look everywhere and get the most variety that you can!
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I look forward to creating the magic with you!