Posing tips for photographs

(please select “hide reader view” for iPhones to see images)


Introduction 

I agree, the idea of posing for photos sounds awful but especially if you prefer the photojournalistic/ natural look of your shots there’s some tips in here that will make the final results and the day itself run smoothly. There’s a lot in here; my intention is not to confuse or worry you; these are just some things that if you can practise at home (and if we meet beforehand) will speed the process up and the results will be natural and beautiful.

But why?

For live interactions with other people, casual and slouchy is good enough. But in photography, we must take that acceptable posture a step further into a slightly uncomfortable state. It is much easier to look good to others when there is movement. The angles others see you from are always changing.

So if someone happens to catch a glimpse of you from a bad angle, it will be just a glimpse. That’s it! But in a photograph, that glimpse of time becomes permanent - which is why it takes effort to make sure we look our best in a photograph…


Standing:

Raise the back of your head towards the ceiling/sky. Slowly breathe in. Drop your shoulders down towards the ground and back by 2 inches. 

Straighten your spine, imagine a string at the back of your neck pulling you up. 

Turn your body away from the camera slightly and make sure there’s a gap between your torso and your arms ie let your arms be squashed against your body. 

Stand with one leg nearer to me than the other: put your weight on your back foot- use that to support and hold yourself. Bend the front leg just a little bit but make sure that your knee is pointing the same direction as your toes (ie not twisted). 

Your body should twist a little so you aren’t flat on to the camera (but you probably already know that trick) just make sure your shoulder isn’t closer to the camera than your face. 

Females: curve your lower back. 

Men: don’t point your toes towards each other, have them out in a non-exaggerated V shape. One leg in front of the other helps this.


Sitting:

Keep your back straight, sit on the edge of the chair not sinking back into it. Try to lean forwards so your face is as close to being on the same plain as your knees as possible. If you have your legs crossed, avoid 90 degree angles at the knee and ankle


Walking:

This sounds strange but…. walk as if you’re on a tightrope and let one foot cross over the other. (Walking is incredibly natural but a static photograph of people walking doesn’t quite look right without this suggestion)


Arms: 

Try not to let you arms dangle straight down nor form 90degree angles. 

Try to do something with your hands, and your arms will take care of themselves.

Hands:

If you hold hands, do so lightly, it looks better if one hand holds and covers all the fingers of the other rather than see a horde of fingers. Practise: male puts his fingers under the females palm, his thumb on the top/back of her hand. 

If your hand is behind someone’s back, even if it is affectionately around them leave that hand hidden from camera view (otherwise a few fingers appear around shoulders- it never quite looks right without specific posing or luck). 

Make sure your wrists are extensions to you arms not limp or tilted up or down but can be curled; we don’t want them to look broken.  

Try to show the side or back of your hand rather than the palm. 

Try not to have your hands parallel to each other: have one higher than the other. 

Females: Relaxed hands! Rest your hands don’t grab, use your finger tips to hold things. Elongated, gently curved fingers with small gaps between fingers and a slightly larger gap for the thumb. 

Try to show the side of your hand in preference to the back, but never the palm. 

Give your hands something to do: Perhaps lift your dress slightly, your veil, hair (if you can: use your thumb and middle finger). 

Males: you can curl your fingers more than females but keep your thumbs in closer to your fingers. 


If you only remember one or two things:

For some of the shots, only one of you needs to look at the camera, the other should (mostly) look at the other person. 


Match your emotions: if one of you has a big smile on their face it’s really best if you match their energy or it will look like an arranged marriage. 

If you put your hands on your face or body, do so lightly: rest your hand. 

Don’t make a fist with your hands nor let your thumb pop far from your fingers or you risk making the thumbs up sign. 


Most importantly:

Enjoy having your photo taken, ultimately I’m there to freeze moments in time forever and if you aren’t happy when I’m taking your photo I don’t think you’ll be happy when you look at them and I want you to be happy during and after. 


Notes:


Whatever is closest to the camera looks bigger and is the focus of the photo. 


On looking at the photos our eyes are directed towards where you are looking (even if we can’t see your eyes- like the bridesmaid in the photo below- we look at what you are looking at) so look at each other or something that’s also in the photograph (friends, dress, a glass, a bouquet) or the camera but don’t both always look at the same thing. 




 I always take some natural photos to go with the formal ones, have a look at the image below and consider where your eye travels and finally rests in the photograph.


Viewing photos, our eyes also take special notice of hands so be careful where you place them as the part of the body where you rest them or the object you hold or rest upon becomes a feature of the picture. 


Wow that was a lot wasn’t it! 

Most of the tips are things for me to worry about not you but I really think it makes sense if you know what I’m looking for before I press the shutter on my camera. 

Please get in touch if I’ve confused or worried you and I will think of another way of explaining these tips because that’s all they are: tips, not instructions. 


Using Format