Meaning in Photography
I try to encourage two things to happen when making a portrait. People touching, and acceptance.
To support closeness, I say 'reach and touch someone you love.' Playing music helps, because it is natural for people to touch, forget themselves, and even dance together when listening to music they love.
Relaxed portraits flow from our being. As photographers, when we get to know and enjoy the people we photograph, it helps to have acceptance flowing both ways. Without acceptance, the poses look stiff, annoyed, or worse. With acceptance, the photograph is the relationship. Compelling portraits are other-centric, they are about the subject. They are soulfies not selfies.