Read the comments below social media posts from successful portrait photographers and you’ll almost always find aspiring photographers asking the same question: “What gear did you use for this?” Sure, gear plays a role, but it’s arguably a minor one. If you really want to capture portraits that your clients will love, you’ll need to demystify and master one often overlooked element: posing. The question is, how? In the middle of a shoot, it can be difficult to recall specific poses that you tried to memorize on Pinterest. Even for experienced photographers, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of repetition and produce the same old look for every session. While your clients may still enjoy the photos, falling into such a rut can deflate your creativity and take some of the artistry out of what you do.

Luckily, there’s an app for that. We recently stumbled across the Unscripted App for Photographers while searching for helpful resources, and this app delivers on multiple fronts. Whether you need creative inspiration or business tools, this app can help. What started as the world’s largest library of poses and prompts has expanded to include client management software (automated workflows, invoices, online payments, and e-signable contracts), customizable and password-protectable galleries, and a job board where you can list your services for free, browse open jobs in your area, and find more work. Alongside a growing community of photographers, we found that we could use the Unscripted App for Photographers on the go to streamline sessions, diversify our portfolio, and effortlessly run our business.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at this surprisingly powerful tool that comes wrapped in the convenience of a user-friendly app that you can keep on you +at all times. Here’s a list of ways to use the app to boost your creativity and business.

Tip #1: Add New Poses to Your Portfolio

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Example pose with Direction & Prompt Suggestion from Unscripted (left) with a similar example from a family session I photographed.

In portrait photography, knowing how to pose your clients is key to finding success. After all, a high resolution, perfectly lit capture of an unflattering pose and expression is no more deliverable than a point-and-shoot smartphone picture.

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Screenshots from posing sections in the Unscripted Posing App

The Unscripted App for Photographers provides thousands of posing options with new poses, directions, and prompts added weekly. This is especially helpful if you’re used to shooting only a specific genre (such as wedding and engagement photography) and you feel uncomfortable with posing families or other clientele. In that sense, the app provides a valuable resource for exploring new territories and offering additional services.

Tip #2: Become a Better Director with Easy-to-Follow Prompts

The more you get into photography, the more you realize that perfect posing relies on clearly communicating directions to your clients. Over time, you’ll likely build a repertoire of prompts and cues to give your clients to direct them into the pose you’re looking for. When you’re just starting out, however, it can be hard to know what to say.

The “Prompts” feature in the app will take the guesswork out of how to speak to your clients when posing them. For example, a popular family shot is one of the family holding hands and walking together, whether on a beach, in a park, or wherever. It’s one thing to say, “Okay, now let’s line up, hold hands, and start walking,” but where should they look? At you? At each other? Should they smile? And so goes the list of unknowns. Help put your clients at ease and give them clear instructions. Here’s a sample action “pose” and prompt from the app to illustrate my point.

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Prompt suggestions simplify communication during shoots and they can be easily modified to suit the occasion.

If your client continues to struggle with following directions, you can also use photo examples in the app to give additional guidance. Just pull up an example image and show it to your clients so that they can mimic the pose. There’s absolutely no shame in that.

Tip #3: Create a Moodboard Directly in the App

It’s helpful to talk to your clients beforehand about what kinds of poses and looks they’re interested in. One of the best ways to get on the same page and understand what your clients are looking for is to send them one of Unscripted’s ready-made questionnaires and ask them to collaborate with you on a moodboard.

A moodboard shouldn’t be confused with a shot list; instead, it’s more of a visual guide for capturing the look and style of imagery that your clients appreciate. In the Unscripted app, you can create a collection of poses and prompts within a feature called “My Photoshoots,” which basically keeps all of the information regarding your shoots in one place (see Tip #7 below for more details). And that is the beauty of creating a moodboard in the app. You don’t have to separate out the details of keeping your contact information in one place, your moodboard in another, and your session information in yet another location. Just put together a photoshoot in the app and then share it with your clients via text message or email. All they’ll need to do is browse through the galleries and click on the “+” over the images (see the example below), which will then populate the moodboard with their favorite images.

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Create a Photoshoot profile, share it with clients, and ask them to choose their favorites by clicking on the “+” over the photo.

I recommend meeting with your clients before the shoot and reviewing the images they’ve compiled on the moodboard so that you can ask what it is they like about the images. While you may notice the lighting or pose, your clients might be focusing on something entirely different, like the editing style or the subjects’ wardrobe.

Tip #4: Use the Sun Tracker Feature to Help Schedule Your Outdoor Sessions

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When you’re set to schedule a session, be sure to check out the sun tracker and choose the best time of day for the lighting you’ll need. The feature includes exact times for blue hour, sunrise, golden hour, sunset, and back around to blue hour again. You can quickly dial in the date and location of the shoot and the app will breakdown times and lighting conditions in an easy-to-read format.

If you’re shooting for a specific look, such as with golden hour lighting, be sure to consider the terrain of the location. In other words, in an open park with no mountains or tall buildings nearby (see the image above), you’ll pretty much get the full run of golden hour as listed on the tracker. However, if you’re shooting in a city location with tall buildings, you might have to plan ahead to shoot in a specific location where the sun will still be visible, as the length of time you have for shooting golden hour lighting may run shorter than that which is listed on the tracker.

Tip #5: Use Camera Settings Guide When You Need It

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If you find yourself shooting in an environment that is less familiar, such as capturing a sparkler exit at a wedding after dark, it can be difficult to dial in your settings without experience. Wedding timelines are notoriously tight and offer little room to experiment, so having a feature that gives you a solid starting point for a range of situational possibilities, such as a sparkler exit, can prove exceptionally helpful. Other camera settings guides in the app include the following:

  • Full sun
  • Shade/Natural Indoor Light
  • Golden Hour
  • Blue Hour
  • Candlelight/Reception
  • Dancing/Dragged Shutter
  • Flash Portrait

Tip #6: Use Educational Resources to Continue Growing as an Artist

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Editing Workflow represents only one of several educational paths offered in the Unscripted Posing app.

When we seek inspiration, we often look to the work of those we admire or browse through curated “best of” collections. Or, perhaps we join photography groups to shoot alongside our peers on stylized or group sessions. These are great and recommended if you’re interested. One of the more overlooked and yet effective sources of inspiration, however, comes in the form of education. Most serious photographers are also serious about education, and they’re always pushing themselves to learn (and sometimes create) new techniques. Like several elements within the app, Unscripted’s Education feature is one that continues to grow to provide helpful tips and tutorials for photographers across all genres. The Education section currently contains several guides, podcasts, educational videos, and mini-courses on a range of topics, including the following:

  •  Authentic Posing
  • Understand Your Camera
  • Light & Composition
  • Business & Marketing
  • Editing & Workflow
  • Diversity & Inclusion

Simply pick a topic, such as Editing & Workflow, and then scroll through the list of available articles, guides, and podcasts. In the images above, you can see what each section looks like as you pick and choose topics and articles. The writing is concise and includes helpful tips and images to clearly illustrate the concepts being taught. Perhaps one of the best parts is that you won’t have to take out any loans to work through this curriculum.

Tip #7: Use the “My Photoshoot” Client Management System to Navigate a Shoot from Beginning to End

The “My Shoots” client management system inside of the app alone is worth the price of admission. It’s a super convenient way to store all of your shoot details in one place for easy tracking from beginning to end. The tools included within this feature, such as contracts, invoices, and email templates, will eliminate a lot of busy work from your schedule, let you focus more on the shoot, and support you through every step of the process. Personalize the available templates, create an automated workflow, and ensure everything is running smoothly with their done-for-you system.

From e-signable contracts and online payments to delivering your images in a way you’ll be proud of via Unscripted’s online gallery, the features you’ll find in the “My Photoshoot” tab are life-changing.

  • Questionnaires, contracts & invoices, all sent to your client via a weblink
  • Digital credit card processing via Stripe
  • Pre-crafted email templates
  • Booking info (date, time, location w/ a map, sun tracker info, posing & direction examples to add based on the client, etc.)
  • Checklists
  • Timelines

You can send each of the above elements directly through the app as well, further simplifying the process of sharing information with your clients.

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You’ll find countless guides waiting to take you along the path to developing as a photographer, but they’re not all equally helpful. Some are too costly while others may come in at a bargain price but fall flat in content. Neither is the case with the Unscripted App for Photographers. The app is free to try and the features give you a formidable collection of tools that will allow you to level up your photography on both the creative and business side. Unscripted offers payment options (subscription or a one-off payment) to best suit your needs. Check them out here to find more information.