- Have your subject place her hands softly on her body. Make sure she is not pressing them into her body or face.
- Avoid balled up fingers. We want to see soft, curved fingers. If your subject’s fingers are tense, ask her to “wiggle” them.
- Remember to create asymmetry. If you ask your subject to place her hands on her hips, waist, shoulders or face, make sure one hand is higher than the other one.
- When your subject places her hands near her face, make sure the hands are not hiding the jaw line. Try to hide her palm by turning it towards the face until only the pinky edge is visible.
If you master the principles of posing, you will not need to memorize 100 poses every time you photograph a subject. Instead, you can modify a few go-to poses by following some basic guidelines. Let’s analyze some of the principles behind the pose in the previous image:
1. Pose from the bottom up: Always start by posing the feet. They will direct the overall shape of the body. To create a dynamic pose, make sure the feet are uneven. Ask your subject to place one foot behind the other and place her weight on the back foot. Then, ask your subject to slightly bend the front knee and turn it in. (See the image above.)
2. Lean forward: Make sure your subject’s hips are away from the camera. Remember, everything closer to the camera will look bigger.
3. Create negative space with the arms: Avoid arms pressing into to the sides; it will make your subject look wider. Instead, try to create triangles with your subject’s arms. Triangles add visual interest to your photograph.
4. Let’s look at a few tips to pose hands:
5. Elbows down: When a subject brings her hands to her face, she will tend to bring her elbows towards the camera. Don’t be afraid to ask her to bring them down or to the side. While you are at it, watch for that armpit! Always try to hide it.
6. Elongate: Always be sure to elongate your subject’s body. To avoid a double chin, say, “Chin out and down.” Sometimes, it works better to say, “Bring your forehead forward.” Don’t forget to demonstrate how to do this.
7. Watch for raised shoulders: Shoulders should be relaxed! Don’t be afraid to tell your subject, “Relax those shoulders!”
8. Lips: Lips should also be relaxed. Ask your subject to take a deep breath. Then, when she exhales, capture the picture at the end of the breath.
(Success Tip #2:The secret to selling more photography with less effort)
9. Eyes: When posing eyes, avoid showing too much white.
10. Key words to direct the head: Turn and tilt! If your subject is looking straight to the camera, ask her to turn her head to the left or to the right. Then, for a feminine look, ask her to tilt her head towards the camera. For a daring look, ask her to tilt her head away from the camera.
11. Pay attention to posture: Always have your subject lean forward and never back. Direct your subject, saying, “Imagine a string that travels from your spine to the top of your head. Now, I want you to pull up that string until it's taut.” Always have them mirror you.
There are many things to learn about posing but by reading this article you will have a good start.
Written by: Sofia Di Trapani