How To Pose In Portraits

Do you struggle with posing for the camera. Have self confidence issue's. Well in this guide I'm going to show you how to master them. Let us begin.

 

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How To Pose Friends Who Are Not Clients

 

The reason posing can create problems is because inexperienced models will look to you for direction. If your model is waiting for you to tell her what to do and you freeze up or don’t have any decent ideas you will struggle to create good photos. It’s up to you to take charge and tell the model how to pose.

The key is preparation – you need a set of poses you can suggest to the model.Look for inspiration online. Chances are you have a few favourite photographers you follow on websites like Flickr and 500px. You will find some good poses in their portfolios. Download your favourites to your smartphone (or use Pinterest to create a mood board, covered in more detail in my article How to Plan the Perfect Portrait Shoot). Then you have something you can show to your model. Don’t try and commit the poses to memory – you will forget them under pressure.

 Match the pose to your model. This is important. You’ll see some wonderful poses in fashion magazines. But many of them need a professional model to carry them off. Your model may not be able to do that, especially if she has a different body type than the people in the magazine.

 Buy the Posing App.It gives you over 300 poses that you can access on your smartphone. The best way to use it is to select five to ten and make them your favourites. Then you can show them to your model so she understands the what you’d like her to do.

Screen shots from the Posing App. The line drawings are easy to understand and follow.

The author of the app has written several articles about posing for Digital Photography School you will find useful (click the link to see a list).

 

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Get The Posing App

https://posingapp.com/ 

Beginner Tips for Posing People with Confidence


The reason posing can create problems is because inexperienced models will look to you for direction. If your model is waiting for you to tell her what to do and you freeze up or don’t have any decent ideas you will struggle to create good photos. It’s up to you to take charge and tell the model how to pose. The key is preparation – you need a set of poses you can suggest to the model

Before the shoot

Here are some points to think about before the shoot:

What kind of shoot is it? The posing requirements for a family portrait are very different than a fashion shoot. You can think about posing once you’ve decided what type of photo you are going to create.

Look for inspiration online. Chances are you have a few favourite photographers you follow on websites like Flickr and 500px. You will find some good poses in their portfolios. Download your favourites to your smartphone (or use Pinterest to create a mood board, covered in more detail in my article How to Plan the Perfect Portrait Shoot). Then you have something you can show to your model. Don’t try and commit the poses to memory – you will forget them under pressure.

Match the pose to your model. This is important. You’ll see some wonderful poses in fashion magazines. But many of them need a professional model to carry them off. Your model may not be able to do that, especially if she has a different body type than the people in the magazine.

Buy the Posing App. It gives you over 300 poses that you can access on your smartphone. The best way to use it is to select five to ten and make them your favourites. Then you can show them to your model so she understands the what you’d like her to do. you will find useful

The author of the app has written several Screen shots from the Posing App. The line drawings are easy to understand and follow.

During the shoot

No matter how experienced or inexperienced your model is, here are some tips to help you find the perfect pose during the shoot:

Build rapport. This is essential. If your model likes you and sees what you are trying to achieve she will work harder. If you talk to her about things she likes you will see more life in her eyes and get better expressions, including natural smiles. She will be more relaxed. If your model is tense, you are going to struggle to get natural looking portraits. Take the pressure off her and bring it back on yourself. Assure her that if the photos don’t work out that it’s your fault, not hers. Build her confidence.

 

Look for natural expression. As you talk to your model you will notice natural expressions and mannerisms that you can use. Don’t be afraid to say “hold that pose” or “do what you did just now again”.I noticed the model had a interesting mannerism so I asked her to repeat the gesture. This portrait is one of her favourites

Adapt poses. When you suggest a pose, such as one used in another photo or from the Posing App, treat it as a starting point, then adapt it to suit your model. If she looks unnatural in a certain pose, then adapt it so it suits her body and the clothes she’s wearing.. Keep everything as simple as possible. That applies to composition and the clothes and jewellery worn by your model. If she has too much jewellery on, ask her to remove some. It will improve the composition. If you’re struggling to find a good full-length pose, move in closer and shoot from the waist up, or do a head and shoulders portrait. The background will go more out of focus, and there will be less of the model in the photo.SimplifyThe pose on the left is one I found in the Posing App. For the second portrait I asked my model to drop her left arm so I couldn’t see it. Don’t be afraid to tweak poses, sometimes a small change makes a big difference. Especially hands, which often look better side on to the camera. Look at photos where the model’s hands look elegant or are otherwise well posed, and ask your model to do the same. Check her hair to make sure stray strands aren’t blowing across her face or eyes. Look at her clothes to make sure they aren’t wrinkled or creased in a strange way.Pay attention to detail.Simplification in action. The closer you crop, the easier it is to pose your model. This is a good technique to use if you are struggling to make a certain pose work.

Find something for your model to lean on. This makes it much easier to find a natural looking pose. If the model has something to hold or otherwise interact with, it gives her something to do. If she is having fun you’re more likely to get a great expression.Use props.Two different ways to use a wall to give a model something to do. The Posing App has lots of poses for leaning.The model in this photo is into hooping. Using the hoop as a prop gave her something to hold and added interest to the portrait.I suggested the model bring her horses along to the shoot. The horses are a natural prop and her interaction with them led to photos like this one

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I noticed the model had a interesting mannerism so I asked her to repeat the gesture. This portrait is one of her favourites

 

 

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It is a good idea to start your photo shoot with some very basic, easy pose. That’s why I chose this one to begin with. It’s easy to describe and easy to understand – “portrait shot from a side”. So you might start with saying to your model “Ok, turn with your side towards me, turn your head to me and look right over the shoulder at the camera. Straighten your spine and keep hands loose by sides.”

 

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 Photo 1 – With these instructions you should get something like the first picture. The next thing without changing the pose, is to “find” the face expression you’re looking for. You may want to try moving from very subtle smirks to stronger smiles or even laughter. And once you have the expression (or different ones) you’re after, tell and show it to the model. Thereby it will be easy for the model to learn and repeat it.

 Photo 2– After I got the simple and kind expression I was looking for, I slightly changed my position and asked the model to keep looking back over her shoulder to the camera. Exactly the same pose, just taken from another angle and you already have a slightly different photo.

Photo 3 – Also many different looking directions and head tilts are possible. In this particular example I asked the model to look back down her body. This look works very well in many posing situations, creating yet another variation just by slightly adjusting the starting pose.

 

 

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Seeing this sample illustration you should grab only the basic idea – “portrait shot with hands around the face”. That’s all you need for playing around with initial sample pose. Eventually you will come up with some nice variations of your own.

 

 

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 Photo 4– Before getting to the hands, ask the model to stand facing the camera and support her body weight on just one leg. This instantly curves her body and her shoulder line is shifted. After that ask her to gently move her hands around the face and in the hair. Generally look for asymmetrical hand placements, but as you can imagine – many variations are possible.

Photo 5 – In this shot the only difference is slight tilting of the head and putting one hand behind the hair.

Photo 6 – To differentiate the look and feel, I once again asked the model to look down her own body and cropped tighter around the face. And again with only minor adjustments from one pose we’ve got 3 different photos.

 

 

 

 

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Another easy pose with very simple idea – “hands connected on the chest”. Notice that hands are not really “crossed”, but “connected”. Also you should warn your model not to grip them too tight or press upper arms against the body. Simply put, the posture should feel comfortable and subtle.

 

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 Photo 7– Before taking this shot, I showed the model the sample illustration and she tried to recreate it. This is as close as you usually get if you recreate the sample pose.

Photo 8 – The outlines don’t and won’t match perfectly. In this particular example I took a shot from higher angle aiming slightly down because I saw that this angle works better for the model.

Photo 9 – Another simple way of transforming the pose is simply mirroring it the other way around. And to even more differentiate it from the first shot, I asked the model to lean against a wall.

And then I moved closer and took a head shot for just another variation of the same pose.

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This simple pose is again self-explanatory – “the model turned to the side with one hand on the waist”. That’s all I tried to recreate.

 Photo 10– Here I started straight away with mirroring the sample pose because this was the better looking side for my model. Remember that it is different for each person. If you are not sure, take both variations and ask your model which one she prefers.

 

Photo 11 – From side view I followed to 45 degree position and asked the model to keep looking to the camera.

Photo 12 – Lastly, I just moved farther away for wider frame. The same pose, but these minor variations provide you with greater choice of images to select from in post.

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