As a stay / work from home mom, I maintain two websites – this blog, and my photography website. I’ve been asked multiple times now why I don’t ever blog instructional photography related content here on Domestic Geek Girl, when it’s pretty much one my favorite things on the planet. I never really had a good answer to that, except for maybe it’s because I am the least technical photo geek that I know.
I don’t really get overly giddy talking about the technological aspects of cameras and lenses, but I’ll swoon away in a fan girl faint if you give me a lovely landscape or a willing model to go paparazzi on. It’s the taking of the pictures that I love, and that’s all from the heart. I wouldn’t know how to put that down in text without sounding overly poetic or abstract.
But I realized.. part of the reason why I blog is to gather my thoughts, learn new things along the way, and hone the few skills that I have been blessed enough to cultivate and indulge in. And photography really should be no exception! Amiright?!
So! Photography blogging it is! Since I know a lot of my readers are into cosplay, modeling and family photos, I figured I’d take the time to talk about posing for portraits.
I feel I must confess, intentionally posed portraits are not really my forte and when it comes to photography. I am a photojournalist at heart, and my best shots happen when I’m just hanging out with my photography clients, goofing around and taking pictures of natural body language, natural postures and natural interactions.
I always question my worth as a photographer when the family who hired me to make them looks beautiful says, “How should I stand?” I usually urge my clients to loosen up, and take a slew of casual shots, and by the time the formal portraits roll around, they are that much more relaxed. But some people (like me) are just so camera shy that “relaxing” (even while having a blast taking photos!) never happens. I quickly learned that if I’m going to be a good photographer, I need to be able to answer the “How should I stand?” question. So over the years of offering portrait and family photo sessions, I have picked up some tips and tricks along the way.
Five Posing Tips for Brides, Models and Moms
As a photographer, while I LOVE getting Pinterest-inspired clients that just KNOW what they want from their photos, ultimately it is the photographer’s job to come up with photography poses that are both flattering and creative. Part of taking flattering photos is letting your client know what is, and isn’t flattering! So here are some of the tips I like to share with women I’m shooting…
Tip #1 – Practice posing in front of a mirror BEFORE the photoshoot, and be aware of awkward or unflattering poses.
Okay, let’s be honest. Us women are a vain lot. Even when we love the camera, we (especially moms) are often a bit self-conscious of half and full body shots. So long before the planned photoshoot, PRACTICE posing!
Start with a basic, flattering pose and then you can make small changes with arms, head, and whatnot to get a variety of images.
A basic, flattering pose would be standing slightly angled to the camera, with the foot that is nearest to the camera pointing toward the camera and your weight shifted to the back hip. This puts the knees, hips, and shoulders at a pleasing angle. Then SLIGHTLY bend forward at the waist to minimize and flatter upper body features and the chin area.
Most women tend to lean away from the camera instinctively. Unless going for a creative or playful shot, try to always lean towards, not away from the camera. If you’re feeling saucy, stalk Pinterest, find a position you love, and practice it in front of a mirror.. seriously, it’ll pay off!
Tip #2 – Watch out for neck creases and the dreaded double chin.
First off, let me state in the boldest way possible: IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW SKINNY A WOMAN IS, SHE WILL HAVE NECK CREASES OR A DOUBLE CHIN IF POSING INCORRECTLY. The neck crease is no respecter of persons. It doesn’t matter if you’re old or young, if your body is turned away from the photographer and you turn your head to look over your shoulder, it is very likely you will be sporting a lovely double chin with that witty smile.
Neck creases aren’t inherently bad, and I’ve seen some beautiful, emotional and amazing photos of women in mid-laugh or looking down at their beautiful children, and they happen to have a wrinkle on the neckline… but for the majority of models, it’s not something you want in every photo. Or any. Luckily, there are some easy fixes.
1) Lift your chin, or turn your upper body and shoulder (the one closest to the photographer) toward the camera, so that it opens up the neck area and minimizes the likelihood of creases.
2) If you are looking back over your shoulder, move your position more to the side of the photographer, rather than directly in front of them, so that you don’t have to crank your head so far to see the camera.
3) Use your hair to strategically hide any unwanted creases along your neck that may crop up.
Tip #3 – Don’t square off your shoulders to the camera.
There are some awesome, facing the camera square on type shots out there, and they aren’t a bad thing. But for the majority of portraits, as a general rule, avoid standing or sitting with your shoulders straight on toward the camera.
Shoulders are the widest part of the body, and it’s hard for a photographer to flatter wide parts of bodies with creative posing when shot straight on.
Instead, angle your shoulders slightly. Pictures taken at this angle help to lead the viewer’s eye into the shot and towards the face in photos. Again, this is a rule that can easily be broken with beautiful results, but as a general rule, it results in some natural, flattering poses.
Tip #4 – Straight joints are generally not your friend.
There is an old saying in photography, “If it bends, then bend it.” Straight arms, legs, head, and torsos generally look stiff and unflattering when photographing women. The natural tendency when camera shy or nervous, is to stiffen up… (overly straight posture, locked legs, etc.) which does NOT photograph well.
So whether you are sitting, standing, or laying, try bending your arms slightly at the elbow, tilting your head, leaning slightly forward at the waist, relaxing your fingers, and bending a knee, or both knees.
#5 – Avoid the “arms glued to body” phenomenon.
Never let your arm to hang so that it is pressed firmly up against your body. It’s just not pretty. Especially if you are wearing short sleeves or no sleeves. Again, this has nothing to with weight. It’s just a sad fact of nature. As I’ve said before, there are always exceptions to the rules, and this case is no different. The key is being very mindful that this posing rule applies to the majority of the female population.
If you are worried about looking frumpy or lumpy in your photos, then do everything in your power to avoid large and unshapely looking arms caused by poor posing. You can avoid this by slightly bending your arms at the elbow and pulling them away from your body, and either putting your hands on your hips, holding an object (bouquet, a piece of your clothing, someone’s hand, etc.), or placing your hands in your front or back pockets. If you’re feeling adventurous, try clasping your hands behind your back, resting against a wall, or even putting your arms over your head!
Do you enjoy modeling for the camera? Are there any useful modeling tips I forgot? Share below!