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10 best photography prompts

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by David Em
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Photography prompts are key to capturing your subject in natural and genuine moments because they make your subject feel more comfortable.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Person wearing sunglasses and leaning against the front of a van.

What’s a photography prompt?

Photography prompts provide instructions for your subject’s to move. Instead of focusing on a still pose, prompts capture action by encouraging interaction and genuine emotions.

Related: How to capture sharp portraits

When you use prompts, your photos will look more natural because your subject will have more freedom to move around instead of being stuck in a pose.

In fact, it’s easier for your subject to be comfortable in front of the camera when you use prompts because it’s based on a feeling. Share with your subject how you want the image to feel and you’ll be able to capture great portraits.

RelatedLoop lighting guide for portrait photography

Before taking the first photo

Before you pull out your camera to take the first photo, spend time talking to your subject, making them feel at ease.

After interacting without the camera, begin with less awkward poses such as a standing pose. Then move forward to prompts that’ll help your subject feel comfortable with the photo.

It’s important to lead the conversation and help your subject relax to get natural-looking photos.

Related article: Candid photography tips and examples

10 unposed photography prompts

Use the following unposed photography prompts to take portraits that capture true emotions:

  • “Pretend to be the person who inspires you the most.”
  • “Take 3 steps forward and 3 steps back.”
  • “Think about your most embarrassing moment as you were growing up.”
  • “Tell me your favorite dad joke.”
  • “Pretend to adjust your shirt.”
  • “Adjust your watch.”
  • “Look at the nearest sign and give it your best smile.”
  • “Run your fingers through your hair.”
  • “Twirl yourself in a circle.”
  • “Who’s your favorite actor or actress? Smile for them.”

Prompts for couples

The holding hands pose is a classic for couples. However, it’s important to capture their connection and expressions. The following are photography prompts for couples:

  • “Softly snuggle your noses.”
  • “Find your partner’s most ticklish spot.”
  • “Hold each other’s hand and run.”
  • “Do your first dance.”
  • “Give a hug from behind.”

Conclusion

Photography prompts are helpful because they quickly and easily evoke emotions. Since they’re a great starting point, it’s best to use them to understand what your subject reacts positively to and build on that.

Remember to always use positive feedback because that’ll make your subject feel more comfortable and willing to try different poses.

More resources:

Featured photo by Unsplash.

About David Em

David Em.

David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.

About Portraits Refined

Portraits Refined (PR) is a media company that publishes the latest expert-backed portrait photography tips, in-depth camera gear reviews, and helpful advice to grow your photography business.

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