Monday, February 14, 2011

Tips on Posing for Photographs

One challenge I deal with as a portrait photographer is helping people feel comfortable in front of the camera. The majority of people do not like to be photographed and often complain that they never like photographs of themselves. I like to think that I can help those I photograph to overcome this by first making them comfortable with me as their photographer, and then posing them in a way that is most flattering for them.

What do you do when you are the subject and the photographer (professional or not) doesn't pose you? Today I thought I'd offer a little advice (to women especially) on posing for photographs - whether you are the one being photographed or if you are the photographer. There are no hard and fast rules to posing subjects but there are a couple of tips that usually produce a more flattering portrait, especially for women. Go ahead, try them out in front of a mirror and see what you think!

1. The first tip is to make sure your shoulders are pushed down and back. This action alone should cause you to be more aware of your posture and will elongate your neck.

2. Next, stick your neck out, just a little, so that your chin is pointed out slightly. Now, this probably feels very awkward but it will also elongate your neck, giving you a little more separation between your head and shoulders. The effect is especially flattering because it has a slimming effect.

3. Now, on to the arms - You will want your arms slightly out from your body so the upper part of your arm doesn't flatten out. You can try putting your hands on your hips, in your pockets, around someone, etc, but remember to also keep your shoulders back. Also, creating a little space between your arm (elbow) and body will allow the camera to see your waist.

4. Lastly, you can try angling your shoulders. This lessens the width of your shoulders slightly but can also give a nice angle in the photograph that leads the viewer's eye into the image. Sometimes you may want a photograph straight-on but this is just another idea to try. 

Now, go ahead and try them out! You can either stand in front of a mirror, or have a friend snap a few pics of you (or use the self-timer on your camera). Be sure to take a few images of how you would normally pose (without the suggestions I listed) and then a few incorporating the above tips in your pose.

What do you think? Did these tips make a difference for you?


Tessa said...

It is really good to see these tips actually written down, I find them very helpful!! I plan on trying them out here soon, potentially after my move to Seattle. One of my biggest pet peeves as a photographer is seeing someone's arm look way wider than it is in real life. NOT flattering and something a photographer should be very aware of, especially for women. Thanks Leslie!

Leslie McDaniel said...

Hey, no problem. You should try them out and then post the examples on your blog! :)