Photography Posing Tips for Photographing Men, Women, and Groups
Remember the time you photographed your model? You set up the photograph, make sure your background is appropriate, the light’s great and you click the shutter. And then you look at the back of your camera and your subject looks heavy. You look at it on the computer and it is still not flattering. “How did that happen?” you wonder.
Posing is important. It is a way to capture your subject at their most flattering while making the image interesting.
Model Posing Tips: The posing rules differ between men and women and, most of the time, you never want to use male poses on women or female poses on men. However, if there is a specific reason to cross over the poses, it can create an interesting photograph.
So here’s a few additional Posing Tips:
- Ask your subject to bring their chin down, otherwise the neck will command the attention of the photograph. Most often people will unconsciously lift their chin when being photographed. If you ask them to bring it down a little, they will usually respond that they are afraid of double chins. To remedy the double chin fear, have them push out their chin (I call it “turtle neck”) and that will take care of the double chin.
- Posing Tips For women:
- Photograph her from an angle. Unless you have a very tiny woman, no woman looks her best when her shoulders and hips straight on to the camera. Pose a woman with her hips at the camera and then turn her shoulders and face back toward the camera.
- On a woman, if it bends, bend it. A Women look more feminine if you bend her elbows, wrists, curl the fingers a little (maybe even grasp her collar or necklace with her thumb and pointer finger), have her shift her weight on to one leg and then bend a knee.
- Ask your subject to tilt her head a bit, and again, drop her chin.
- Avoid photographing crotches, underarms, and up noses.
- If you are photographing a heavier woman, find them a prop that is flattering, for example, have them cuddle a cute pillow.
- Posing Tips For Men:
- Keep them square to the camera. Men look better with broad shoulders.
- Have him make a fist with his hand and put his thumbs in his pocket or have him cross his arms with his hands on his forearms and thumbs tucked under the arm (think Aladdin).
- Keep their weight evenly distributed on both legs.
- Remember to have him drop his chin a bit.
- For groups, try to arrange your subjects so they form a pyramid (either with the high point at the top or an inverted pyramid). Make sure you can see all the faces and if you can separate your subjects heads vertically by at least 3 inches, so the heads are at different heights. For example, pose Dad and then pose Mom so that her eyes are level with Dad’s mouth. It is always fun to have them cuddle in tight together if they are family.
One Last Posing Tip: Learn Classic Posing
The last of my tips would be that not all poses look the same on all people. Don’t be afraid of trying different poses and props until you find something that works. And don’t be afraid to learn classic posing. When you photograph using the classic rules of photography, your images are timeless. Once you master the classics, it is easy to add your own flair for images that are popular and that are still well photographed.
Don Blair is the granddaddy of posing. His book, “Body Parts” is considered one of the best books ever written on posing and provides lots of great tips. If you would like some classic posing tips I suggest his book.