Tutorial - Posing Techniques

February 08, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Posing Challenges

Posing a model can be a bit daunting for new photographers. Your telling people what to do, and photographers typically like to just capture the scene, rather than be the director. If you're going to work with people, portraits, models or fashion, then, at some point, giving some simple directions to your subjects can be very helpful. 

First of all, its important on a shoot to make a connection with your subjects and models.  If you can, make sure you spend some time before the shoot talking to your subjects. Get to know them. Help them feel relaxed around you. Talk about them first, before the shoot, about them, about their day, their expectations, etc. Do this before you talk about what's going to happen during the shoot. Make sure, though, that you do talk about the shoot. 

Keep plenty of good music on a handy iPod and speakers nearby if you are doing a model shoot as music can help set the mood. Ask your model if'd like to play their favorite music. When posing models, make sure you don't get touchy-feely. Respect their space. Have them fix something, or have an assistant, the subject's mom, or a stylist fix the hair, or outfit. Which brings up an important point... You do have a stylist, assistant, or chaperone present when working with children and teens, right? Again, make sure the model or subject feels comfortable. Having a female assistant working with you can make the teen or child feel safe and more at ease. 

Show your model how to pose, whether you do it yourself or have pictures or a posing card nearby. Sometimes it's easier than trying to talk your way through a pose. 

Once you have a good pose, take some shots. and then, you should move. Get a few shots from different angles of the same post. Use your zoom and move in our out. One good pose can have many good shots in it, if you change your perspective. Get zoomed in tight! Frame them up closely, and avoid a ton of background! 

During the shoot, feedback is important. Don't forget to keep reinforcing the good that your subjects are doing. Compliment them, genuinely, and not just idle "That's nice.." Keep directing and keep positive reinforcement throughout. Make your subject feel good and you'll get better results.

Common Posing Techniques For Women, Teens and Girls

Turn, Turn, Turn

Try to avoid posing people facing flat to the camera. Flattering photos of women often have the model posed with her shoulders slightly turned, one way and the head turned slightly looking back at the camera. If you see many creases in the neck, lessen the angle of the turn, and use the woman's hair to hide any creases. Shoulders and hips are the widest part of the body, and it is more flattering to slightly turn these parts and get a slimmer subject. Her foot closest to the camera can be slightly pointed to the camera. 

Arms To The Left, Arms To The Right

Many women and girls are self conscious about parts of their body. Believe it or not, upper arms are one part. Try to avoid having your models pose with their arms hanging flat against the body. Have your subject bend their elbows, and possibly have one hand on her back hip (she is posed slightly turned, right?) Have her hold a flower, or a book. The main thing is to try and get her to pose with a bend in her elbows.

While we are on the subject of bent arms and elbows, this should apply to knees as well. Have your subject slightly bend her knees. If she is slightly turned at the hips and shoulders, have her lean a bit into the photo. Have her tilt her head as well, and point her chin slightly towards the camera. All these small bends may feel awkward, at first, for your model, but they can help to get a more relaxed look and less uptight or stiff appearing subject.

If the model's face appears stiff, have your model take a deep breath and then let it out a few times. This often relaxes the face.

Posing Keys: Slightly turned shoulders and hips, arms and knees bent, weight on her back foot, and her head tilted to the side and slightly forward, leaning into the camera. 

Camera Placement

When shooting try to shoot at the subjects face level or above. This is just all that much more flattering for your subject. Just don't get too far above, or the head will look distorted and like a giant melon on a distended body! Shooting from above, besides getting better angles, is more natural. Our eyes and brain are used to seeing certain shadows. Odd black eyes, hollows and the dreaded up the nose shot can occur of you get too low.  A small step ladder can help.

Common Posing Techniques For Guys

Guys are both easier to shoot and more challenging. Guys are always trying to be cool and masculine. Avoid going overly artistic and making the guy look ridiculous. Most of the tips are the same, with the caveat that you can get a bit lower than eye level with guys. They appear to be bigger, more masculine, and more powerful when shot from below. You can have guys stand with arms on hips, legs apart and more straight on. Guys have have their arms crossed or have more attitude instead of simply relaxed. 

Remember, these are photography rules. Master them completely, and understand them.

Then go Break the Rules!

Posing Tips Tutorials http://www.bluefinstudios.com/blog/2013/4/group-posing-techniques


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