When people think of portrait photography, I think there's a tendency to think that it's a lot simpler than it actually is.
I mean, besides needing to have the fundamentals of lighting, camera settings, and composition down pat, for a great portrait, you also need to understand how to pose people for portraits. That's the hard part.
If you aren't sure how to go about posing for portraits, consider the following portrait photography tips to help you out.
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Make Sure Their Legs Aren't Locked
Little Fredericksburg Photography
A common occurrence when people are self-conscious or nervous about having their portrait taken is for them to lock their legs.
Not only is this uncomfortable to do, but it also looks uncomfortable - your model will look stiff as a board with very little in the way of liveliness in their body.
Now, this isn't to say that your model should be all loosy-goosy, but simply helping them to unlock their legs will result in a much more relaxed pose.
In the image above, asking the model to bend her right leg and shift her weight to her left leg helps her entire body relax. The result? A natural pose that has much more visual appeal than if she were standing there with stick-straight legs.
Help Them Sit With Style
Neidy Parra Photography
There's a senior photo of me floating around out there in which I'm sitting in a chair that's turned backwards with my arms draped across the top and my chin resting on my hands. That pose was typical of 80s and 90s senior portraits.
When I suggest that you help your clients to "sit with style," that's not what I mean...
Instead, the goal is to make them look comfortable and natural, as though they're just relaxing.
To do this, have the model extend their legs (but not lock them!) and shift their weight towards the back, with one hand extended behind them for support.
As you can see in the image above, doing this helps prevent static-looking limbs in favor of something that has gentle curves (and looks great, too!).
Of course, if your model is a woman, having her wear a fantastic gown with color, volume, texture, or all three, certainly won't hurt.
Editor's Tip: Taking a great portrait requires you to think about styling. Find all the style you need right here.
Find Ways to Portray Intimacy
Becca Rillo Photography
When photographing a couple, you don't just want them to be in natural poses, but you also want them to show a little intimacy that allows you to portray their love for one another.
When posing for portraits, having the couple touch one another is a great way to make the shot a little more intimate.
There's the common option of holding hands or having one person wrap their arms around the other.
But you can also be a little more subtle and have them touch their foreheads, as shown in the image above.
Doing so brings the couple physically closer, which gives the image that intimacy we're going for.
So, the key here is to focus on relaxed posing and finding ways to make your portraits more meaningful. Do that, and you'll be able to improve posing for portraits.
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