Without doubt, one of the hardest and most challenging things to learn in photography is posing. Not as in how to hold your camera and look cool, but how to bring out the best in your model and their features. Posing is hard because it involves a lot of communication between photographer and subject, and not all people are outgoing. As a photographer, it can extremely helpful to have good communication skills because you never know what kind of person your subject is, especially in the portrait business.
Another fact about posing is that it takes a lot of practice and study. They don't teach human anatomy in art school for nothing. Even if communication is not a problem between you and the model, you still have to know what you want to communicate. Posing has a lot to do with the inner state of the person you are about to shoot. Your subject should be relaxed on the inside and on the outside. Luckily there are a few simple things like motor boating your lips to relax them or just breathing deeply before the shot is taken to help.
As the photographer, you should always look for your subject's best angle. We all have one so all you have to do it is find it for each new person you photograph. Sometimes your client or model will already know which angle looks best and that indeed can be very useful.
Ultimately, posing is about confidence. A lot of people that are new to standing in front of the camera have difficulties finding enough of it. It is your job as a photographer to help them. Talk to them and do it calmly. Make a few compliments but don't overdo it because you don't want to be sending out the wrong message.(Helpful tips:Photography quick and easy here|Search for used lenses here|Retro Style Prints here)
Michelle Phan has made a very helpful video for both photographers and models. She explains relaxing techniques and how having the right attitude can result in great portraits. Enjoy!
Read more about posing from these recommended books:
- The Photographer's MBA: Everything You Need to Know for Your Photography Business
- Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer
- Living the Dream: becoming a professional photographer