Red Bridge Photography
Let's face it, not everyone that gets in front of the camera understands how to pose. And that's okay!
We're not all supermodels, nor do all of us have extensive experience in having our portraits taken.
Yet, when you're the one behind the lens, you better have a few portrait photography secrets up your sleeve that will help you position your clients in a way that makes them look amazing in their portraits.
To help you in that endeavor, here's a few portrait photography tips to help you pose your models.
Editor's Note: The photos used in this article were shared with us by Sew Trendy Fashion & Accessories and are used with permission.
The Basics of How to Pose for Portraits: Posture
Judy Host Photography
At the heart of great portrait posing is good posture.
That means a straight back, shoulders pulled back, and a straight neck.
Of course, for many of us, slouching is pretty much the norm in everyday life, so it might not feel natural or comfortable for your model to pull their shoulders back and straighten their neck.
Yet, when they do this, they look more powerful and more confident, too, as you can see above.
Chelsea Haworth Photography
And you don't have to get crazy with the posture, either...
Often just having the model bring their shoulders back an inch or two can make a huge difference!
The key is finding a good balance between proper posture and the model feeling comfortable. When you can do that, you can get gorgeous portraits like the one above.
Find Ways to Create Space
Sometimes you'll encounter people that get nervous in front of the camera and clam up with their arms tightly at their sides (or even worse, crossed in front of them).
Not only is this not a good look, but having the arms squished into the body can make the person look bigger than they are.
For a more natural and relaxed pose, find ways to create space.
As shown in the image above, simply having the model raise their arms above their head can create that much-needed space while also giving the portrait height and indicated motion (the beautiful gown the model is wearing helps in that department as well).
Art For Life Photography
That same concept can be applied in a more subtle way, too.
In the image above, you can see how having the model extend her right arm away from her body to hold her gown creates nice space. That space is especially important when photographing expecting moms because it can help slim their figure.
This also serves to create interesting angles in the shot that gives it more fluidity. Instead of a linear pose, we now have something that has much more visual appeal with both lines and curves to delight the eye.
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Help the Model Develop Go-To Facial Expressions
Of course, posing for a portrait isn't just about posture and creating space. You also need to consider the model's facial expressions.
A lot of people freeze up in front of a camera, which can go one of two ways - they sport a very forced, very cheesy smile or they don't smile at all and look angry that their photo is being taken in the first place.
To avoid those extremes, advise your portrait subjects to practice a go-to facial expression before the shoot.
They can practice by looking in a mirror or taking selfies. The point is to have them think about how they want to look, practice it, and commit it to muscle memory.
That way, when you show up with your camera, they've got "the look" down pat!
Add to that this trick: everyone feels better when they're outfitted in awesome clothes, so suggesting a beautiful gown to your female clients will not only put a smile on their face, but it will also make them feel like they're the belle of the ball.
That, in turn, will give them more confidence in front of the camera, and your photos of them will be the better for it!
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