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Top 6 Tips in 2024 To Expression Coaching For Photography From Marina LaBaff and Duane Furlong

Top 6 Tips in 2024 To Expression Coaching For Photography From Marina LaBaff and Duane Furlong

| Duane Furlong |
Top Advice For Expression Coaching

Looking for expert advice on expression coaching? Look no further! 

Portrait photography is an art form where the ability to capture genuine expressions is a defining factor for success and your clients happiness.

Two notable photographers, Marina LaBaff owner of A Million Monarchs Boudoir and Duane Furlong, have each mastered the art of expression coaching in their respective specialties with Marina specializing in Boudoir photography, while Duane focuses on professional headshots for C-Level clients.

In this article roundup, we will take a closer look at each photographer’s practical advice and techniques for coaching subjects to achieve the perfect expressions in their portraits, no matter what the application of use is.

Understanding their expertise will help photographers of all levels and professions improve their ability to guide and capture authentic emotions from their clients.

Marina LaBaff’s Tips:

Facial Muscles to Match the Aesthetic Goal:

Marina LaBaff emphasizes the importance of aligning facial muscles with the aesthetic goal of the portrait. Whether a client seeks a relaxed or tense expression, Marina ensures their comfort by carefully selecting poses that minimize unnecessary forehead wrinkles. To create a relaxed atmosphere, she plays the client’s favorite music and engages in meaningful conversations, building a connection that results in softer and more natural facial expressions.

Lip Part & Breathing:

Another crucial aspect Marina addresses is guiding clients on how to part their lips and control their breathing. These seemingly small adjustments can significantly impact the overall look and feel of a portrait, making it a key part of her expression coaching process.


Marina reminds photographers not to overlook the power of a subject’s eyes. The direction in which a client looks can convey different emotions and narratives. Whether gazing directly into the camera or ahead at their future, Marina believes that eyes play a vital role in storytelling during a photography session.


Duane Furlong’s Tips:

Duane Furlong, a professional headshot photographer, shares his valuable insights on coaching authentic expressions during portrait sessions:

Create a Relaxing Environment:

Duane believes in setting the stage for a comfortable experience. He begins by providing a calming atmosphere with soothing music. Moreover, he conducts a pre-shoot consultation to outline the session’s flow, alleviating any anxiety clients might have about being photographed.

Engage in Authentic Conversations:

For Duane, authenticity in expressions starts with genuine interactions. He engages clients in casual conversations throughout the shoot, asking about their interests, experiences, and future plans. This creates a relaxed atmosphere, allowing the client’s true personality to shine. Duane also uses humor, such as telling jokes, to divert the client’s attention from the camera, resulting in more authentic expressions.

Capture Micro-Expressions:

Duane’s final tip is to focus on capturing micro-expressions. By creating a relaxed and enjoyable environment, he encourages clients to relax, laugh, and reveal their best expressions. These subtle movements, like a slight elbow raise or a subtle closed smile, add depth and captivate viewers, resulting in captivating portraits.

Final Thoughts About Expression Coaching

In conclusion, the art of expression coaching is not just a skill but a transformative element in the world of portrait photography. Marina LaBaff and Duane Furlong have generously shared their expertise, shedding light on the nuanced techniques they employ to coax authentic expressions from their subjects.

By focusing on Marina’s insights into aligning facial muscles with aesthetic goals, guiding clients on lip parting and breathing, and harnessing the storytelling power of the eyes, you can enhance your Boudoir photography sessions and create captivating portraits.

Similarly, Duane’s emphasis on creating a comfortable atmosphere, engaging in authentic conversations, and capturing those subtle micro-expressions takes headshot photography to new heights.

Incorporating these invaluable tips into your own photography sessions will not only help you overcome the challenges of nervous clients but also empower you to create exceptional, emotionally charged portrait images that resonate with authenticity and depth. Remember, the journey towards mastering expression coaching is a rewarding one, where every captured emotion tells a unique story through the lens.

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