Jun 6, 2011

PhotoTips: Posing

Hey girlies!

I thought I'd kick this blog off with some posing tips. The only problem is that when I went out on this mini shoot the other night, I didn't have the forethought that this is what I'd be posting about, so I'm essentially doing the same pose in every picture. Ha!

SO, here are the only tips I have for you that include pictures of me (ya ready for some brilliance?):

1. Make sure you touch your chin or someplace nearby, like your jaw line...in every. single.photo. :)

2. Shake it up, and touch your chin with the scotchbroom-- while crisscrossing your arms. Tricky!

3. If you can't touch your chin, don't walk off, just reach for your hair.

4. Take a little break, and then get super fancy and try to touch your chin with two hands. Give me a little shoulder while you're at it. Ow-ow!

Yeah, kinda lame, I know. But I'm not normally in front of the camera, and husband normally isn't behind the camera, so we were both a little bit out of our element, hence the lack of variety here.

Anyway, doesn't the scotchbroom photograph beautifully? Crazy that this obnoxious weed that grows ferociously up here in WA could be a photographer's dream. I swear, I bought the yellow shirt and shoes just so I could have my picture taken in front of it. Normally I hate yellow! I'm not sure it was really worth the $40 I spent at Target, especially when Husband shook his head at "the doilies" on it.

Oh, and get this. When I praised Husband for keeping most of the pictures in focus, he said,

"It's kinda like a video game. I'd just make the red dot point at your head and then fire."

Made me laugh!

Back to business, though. Here are my top ten posing tips:

1. My very first tip would be to not pose people to a T. Instead, fill your mind with pictures you like--whether it be in magazines or a photographer's website that you admire. Look at them, and look at them some more. Then, when you're out on a shoot and someone naturally does something you like, you'll notice, and you'll start to learn how to get people to do "poses" without ever necessarily telling them where every limb should go. I'm actually not huge on posing, but I know how to get people to move into positions that are flattering and natural.

2. Have people look different directions. Again, I kind of do this every few seconds, and I usually use my arm to point to the direction I want them to look, especially if it's up in the sky. If you give a person something to do, even if it's just changing the direction they're looking, it makes them less nervous.

3. Variety is key. Have people stand up, sit on the ground, sit on a chair or step, lay on their backs, lay on tummies, squat...mix it up! Props, like bikes, suitcases and blankets can help here, too.

4. When posing a family, make sure they are comfortable. If they're not, you're probably going to have an uncomfortable looking picture. I usually tell a family to get cozy, and then I adjust them from there. I rarely tell people who to sit next to or how to sit. I also like families to look connected, so I usually tell them to make sure they are touching the people around them. Whether they've got their arm around someone, or they're holding hands, have everyone be touching somehow.

5. Have your subject keep moving. It helps bring life to a photo. I usually tell them to sway, spin, dance around---whatever they need to do to move. And then I have them sneak me a peek every few seconds.

6. Angles are so important. Legs crisscrossed, spread out, staggered. A shift of the hips. The last thing you want are a bunch of sticks in a picture.

7. Go with the flow. If I had a formula and did the same poses every time I photographed people, my pictures would start to look identical. And while I want my style to shine through, I think a large part of my style is recognizing another person's great idea or natural way of moving. I take lots of breaks and make people feel like they're not getting photographed at all. I often get my best pictures that way.

8. Do something with your hands: put them in pockets, play with hair, cross arms, hands on hips, holding hands behind back, holding one elbow behind back. Do anything but let your arms dangle to and fro.

9. Okay, so I'm sure there are lots of photographers out there who are naturally hilarious. I'm not one of them. So, here's my little secret. Tell them to laugh and you'll get a nice fake laugh out of them, and they'll feel so embarrassed and awkward about it that you'll get a genuine laugh right afterward. Works like a charm.

10. Don't amputate your subject. Make sure you're not cutting off their hands in camera or posing them so they look like amputees. I also don't want my portraits to look like mug shots, so if I'm getting a closeup of a face, I like to somehow get their hands up by their head. That's why I was so good at the "touch your chin" pose up top. Right?


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