Posing Tips, Part Two: Our posing tips continue from yesterday’s blog. (If you missed that entry, please go back and read it for the complete list of tips.) Here is the link to that post: http://foxfoto.ca/blog/index.php/2012/02/18/posing-tips-taking-better-photos-part-1/
Remember that all the posing tips are suggestions only, and not something that you accept as hard and fast rules.
-Fingers, Arms and Hands. This is where you can really shine. First the fingers. Normally we spread our fingers apart. This may be comfortable in real life, but when gazing at a portrait for some time, fingers spread that way begin to look like claws. Have the fingers closer together, but not tight. You want your subject to look relaxed.
-The posing of the hands can be difficult and often photographers appear to be obsessive about this. Try placing your subjects hand on their hips, partially draping them in pockets, or even having the arms crossed. A good idea is to have the hands at different levels, as this will put the elbows at different levels. The greater the difference (within reason) between one side of the body to the other, the less “stiff” your subject will appear in the finished portrait. Women have the advantage here, as they can run they fingers through their hair, and strike all sorts of model-like poses. Whatever the pose, the image will look more dynamic if the hands are not together.
-Chins….here it is! This is what we fear most. Hey, even a 20-year-old can have a double chin, and photographers can make it worse by how they pose. By the time we hit a more mature age, most of us have several chins, and we just don’t like to look at them in photos. What on earth can a photographer do? One international photographer tells her clients that she wants them to stick out their chins just before the shutter is clicked. She hollers out, “Chicken Necks” to remind everyone to stand/sit tall and elongate the neck. But sometimes people end up pushing their faces and shoulders in an odd way while they stick their chins out. A better way is to discuss the reason why you are doing this. You don’t want to tell them directly that they have too much fat rolling around in their neck area! Believe me, we already know. Just state that it is very important that you capture a strong JAW LINE. Have them sitting or standing tall. First, ask them to “Push your chest out.” This makes them lean toward the camera more and hides a bit of weight around the stomach. Then request, “Keep your shoulders in place, but push your forehead out” The rest of the face follows. You may want to practice this yourself with a mirror so you can show your subject what you mean. It really feels odd, but it works well and does a great job removing the extra chins. Again the key is not to overdo it. Do this only when your subject is looking TOWARDS the camera. When you are doing a profile shot, see if your subject can elongate their neck by pushing the side of the head and hence their shoulder, towards the camera.
-A quick review of one of the posing tips from yesterday as this one is so important. Make your heavier subjects look MUCH thinner by not allowing them to have their arms/hands dangling down on their hips. If you have them standing or sitting correctly, as previously mentioned in yesterday’s posing tips, just gently move the elbows out so you can see background in between the arm and the body.
-Groups can be posed in various ways. The most common is having a single line. To make that line look more polished, be sure to follow the suggestion in yesterday’s posing tips regarding NOT having anyone facing square to the camera. Another great way to pose groups of three or more is by building a triangle.
Another four people could easily be added to the above triangle, by seating them on the floor. Triangles can be built around big easy-chairs that have the overstuffed arms. People can be posed in the chair, on the arms of the chair, sitting on the floor and standing. Keep in mind that it is best to have heads at different heights if you can manage that. Another good area for posing are steps. When you have a fairly large group, consider standing on the steps with the camera, or even just standing on a ladder, and photograph your subjects looking up at you. That way you will get every face upturned to the camera, smiling.
-Photographing close up images of two people who are naturally affectionate, such as parents and children, people in love, etc, is easy. Just line them up so that the eyes of one are approximately near the lips of the other. Make sure that no shadows are cast over either face. Tipping the heads, as suggested yesterday, takes the image up a notch.
-Look around for natural posing props, especially outdoors. These can be fences, stairs, and branches. This is a tremendous help in making your subjects look relaxed while shifting their weight.
-Sometimes you get the best photos by forgetting about posing and using only suggestions. This works well with children. “Hey, look at those dandelions. Why don’t you blow those things at each other?” Or “Do you guys like to rough-house with each other?” Another good thing is to ask the kids to go a bit ahead of you and when you give the word, have them run towards you as fast as they can.
-Along that same line, consider having your subjects involved in a much-loved activity. You as the photographer can document what they are doing without even speaking. This type of photo-journalism is now called life-style photography and can result in some very meaningful images.
There are more suggestions for posing tips, but this blog along with yesterday’s posing tips, pretty much covers the basics. Later I will have a entry on composition.
But for now, thanks for dropping by our blog. Have a look at our website at: www.foxfoto.ca Feel free to send any comments or questions. If you want to get our blogs as we send them out, there is a subscribe button to the right of the entries.