Photo session or reportage?

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I am wondering what is the difference between a photo reportage or a photo session… Maybe that in one its about capturing  the real emotion and the other is just posing for the camera? But that doesn’t satisfy me as an answer, I think to capture a nice portrait for a photo session you have to capture the personality of the subject and shoot in the right moment.

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Last Friday my new assignment for my photo journalism course was to do a portrait session like a photo reportage, so I met a friend and we agreed on meeting in a nice spot in the city, lots of snow and sun, to get the most out of her skin. In my head a photo reportage is like an interview of a journalist where there are questions and answers and also photos, those photos capture the emotions attached to those answers. But during a portrait session is not the same? During a portrait session, in general evoking memories of the emotions that you want in your pictures help to set the mood. So what is the difference?

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Maybe the difference is quite subtle, in the way the photos are made. For example in general when I do a photo session, I direct a little bit my models, asking them to stand in some specific places and under some special lights or shadows, I can ask them to turn their heads or to move one step back or turn their hips. But maybe in a photo reportage you don’t do that, you just capture what the other person is doing in a non-modification way, like street photography.

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So what are the similarities? I think that the expression of the face cannot be faked in any of the cases, happiness, love, excitement  or what ever, need to come from the soul, so in both cases asking the right questions to evoke the right emotions is crucial, get the questions, knowing the answers before hand, so you are ready to capture that expression that you are looking for.

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And in general people like to see themselves in the pictures, and if you are shooting a photo session of somebody (not from a model) you have to try to capture the essence of the subject, something that when they look at that picture they know that they are them.  So maybe the best is to learn a little from both techniques, the good things of the photo sessions (little directions) and then the good from photo reportage (get the real expressions).

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