When it comes to taking visually pleasing photos, one of the hardest things for many people to learn is how to pose. It doesn’t matter if you are taking a picture of your kids in your family room or a professional photo shoot for someone else. Posing your subjects can be difficult to get right! I have spent quite a lot of time studying what is recommended as well as studying other photographer’s ideas and trying things out on my own. Since there are SO many things to think about and so many recommendations out there, I have decided to break these ideas down into a bunch of small “lessons.”
Today, we’re sticking with general posing ideas. Later, we’ll work on specific recommendations for hands, shoulders, etc.
1. My first recommendation is to go for what is natural. If your subject feels uncomfortable in a pose, it will show in the picture. Think about how unhappy and stiff everyone looked in photos back in the 1800s. (yes, think of that picture of your great-great grandma!) The stiff, un-natural poses sure didn’t highlight their most attractive features. Try to get your subjects to relax. Let them fall into whatever “pose” comes naturally to them, and then adjust as needed.
Remember that people will tend to feel and look more uncomfortable when standing. Either find something to lean them against or sit them down.
2. Study photos that you like and remember the poses that look good to you. There is no shame in re-creating poses that you have done or seen before. Think about what poses match a person’s mood or personality, or what you are trying to “say” in your photo.
3. Practice poses in front of the mirror. It might sound silly, but it really helps! And, if you lock yourself in the bathroom so no one else can see, there won’t be anyone to laugh at you when you try something out that just doesn’t work. Experiment with the different effects you get when you tilt your head, stick your chin out, square or angle your shoulders, etc.
Come back next week for more talk on posing.
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