I'll admit I'm not too adept at directing people when it comes to portraits taking which directly explains why I generally allow my subjects to bring their own personalities to the shoot, encouraging them to choose their own poses, facial gestures, wardrobe, etc. I've discovered that my favorite photographs stem from quick shoots, often of only 5 to 10 frames in under 5 minutes.
There's several elements that constitute a good portrait but leaving all the technical jargon aside, I have to say that it always comes down to finding a comfort level with the person you're photographing. I love reading articles that are able to express what I feel, but can’t put into words. On a recent interview for the Internation Business Times, Chris Arnade says what I feel perfectly:
I never want to take a portrait of someone who doesn’t trust me because the picture will reflect that, and to be able to see into the person, you really need to have their trust.
I continue to rely on friends to be active participants for me so that I can reach a much higher level of confidence taking portraits. Howard bares no relation to Diana Jang. We all just happen to be friends.