How to get the perfect laughing shot

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I was recently commissioned to do a series of shots for the marketing and publicity campaign of a new show from Foxtel called Googlebox. That’s my pic above.

Gogglebox is a show about watching people watching TV.
It’s already a smash hit in the UK and is proving to be the same in Australia.

This is reality television so none of the people cast in the show had any prior acting or modeling experience and for most of them this was their first professional shoot.

The brief of the shoot was to capture realistic shots of the cast members reacting to footage they were watching on TV.

It’s a “lifestyle” shot, a photograph of a person or group of people that doesn’t looked posed and gives the vibe that I just happened to be walking past with my camera and captured this perfect moment in time, which just happens to be perfectly lit, styled and posed.

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This portrait Dannii Minogue is shot using the “I just happened to be walking past with my camera technique”

I’m using this portrait style more these days, particularly for editorial shoots and many of the TV publicity shoots I’m commissioned for.

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Actor Daniel MacPherson

I love using the lifestyle technique for shooting body shots. In this series above, I asked actor Daniel MacPherson to take off and put on his shirt whilst posing his body in a particular angle. This makes a body shot appear far more natural and less “hi look at my body” which always looks a little cheesy to me.

The way I achieve natural looking lifestyle shots is to always set up the shot the way I want it to look. I never leave a shot to chance. Giving a group vague instructions like “Just sit on the couch and have fun” tends to give me sloppy looking poses and shots.

I’m always really particular about where I want everyone seated, what direction they are looking and what they are doing with their hands. Once I’m happy with the pose I will work on expressions, which may involve laughing or smiling. I will get them to repeat their smiles or laughing over and over so the expressions always look as natural as possible.

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Shareena Clanton – who stars in the hit TV series Wentworth – was coached using my “madwoman laughing” technique and she loved the results.

Finally my best technique to achieve natural laughing or smiling shots is to laugh and smile along with my models. I’ve done many shoots where I have laughed out loud like a madwoman for 5 minutes straight until everyone is laughing with me. At first everyone laughs at me, and it’s kind of awkward but laughing is contagious and soon everyone can’t stop laughing.

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Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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