Posing people in your pictures can sometimes be a nightmare. The simple act of pointing your camera at a person can often make them feel uncomfortable. Here are some simple things you can do to make the process easier.
The key to successful posing is in having the subject appear as natural and as comfortable as possible. Have the person relate to an object in the scene rather than stand alone. Only professional models know how to stand in a scene. Leaning against a wall or tree or the back of a chair in a comfortable manner often removes tension and appears more natural.
Avoid a “straight-to-camera” position. Angle the subject’s shoulders and body away from the camera with the subject’s face turned slightly toward the camera. This is more dimensional and complimentary, especially for women. However, be careful of creases in the subject’s neck.
When photographing faces close-up, don’t let the outline of the person’s nose cross the outline of the cheekbone unless you are photographing the person in profile.
To avoid double chins, have the subject lean forward slightly or photograph from a higher viewpoint and have the subject look up at you.
Smiling is not always necessary.
Avoid having the person’s knees pointing directly to the camera. Swing them to one side for a less confronting, less distorted and more complimentary position.
Avoid showing too much of the hands and arms. Long sleeve garments are preferred for this reason. Keep arms close to the body, avoiding extremes like accentuated “hands on hips’ shots, unless this is your aim of course! Hands can be placed comfortably in pockets, against the body or comfortably clasped. When all else fails, props can come in very handy!
If people are together as a couple, have them pose closely, but comfortably together at an angle toward each other and not the camera. Have them tilt their heads slightly toward each other also.
When posing groups, avoid space between faces as much as possible. Place each person in such a way that their faces naturally cluster together. Then ask them to move even closer to one another. Form a triangle or a pyramid with the faces.
Finally, don’t contrive your poses too much. Be natural. Remember that each person has his or her own physical dynamics, grace and movement style. What works for one person may not succeed for another. Take time to achieve the most natural, complimentary and comfortable pose for each person or group.
Check out the free simple posing tips video tutorial version of this story on our sister site.