A few weeks ago we talked about how important it is to find an interesting perspective when photographing your subject. These simple posing tips will make sure that those INTERESTING perspectives are also FLATTERING ones!
Whether you're anticipating a session in front of the camera, or snapping your own photos of your life, these tips are for you!
I don't know about you all, but our household just wrapped up an EXTRA gluttonous Girl Scout Cookie season. Trust me. My hips don't lie. These flattering (and slimming!) tricks sure come in handy!
Do the "Twist"
Very few among us can face the camera square-on. In fact, this angle makes us look as WIDE as possible. (Who wants that??) Even fewer women pull off shots from the side. (Nothing draws attention to a curvaceous hiney or belly faster!) Instead, try twisting your body at a 45 degree angle to the camera. Next time you're flipping through red carpet photos in your dentist offices' magazine stash, note how many celebrities dip one shoulder or hip further from the camera than the other. Instant photo slim down!
Use your hands
I talk about this at every session I have: WHAT to do with your hands?? Use them! They are a fantastic tool to draw attention to the parts of your body you are most comfortable with.
- Little waist? Put your hands there to accentuate that figure, you lucky duck. Not-so-little-waist? Try the hourglass fake-out: Instead of placing your hands on the SIDES of your waist, narrow yourself by placing them slightly forward on your torso (towards your belly button).
- Strong arms? Softly lay a hand on one of those tone biceps!
- Envy-worthy derriere? Slip those hands in your back pocket, or tuck your thumbs in your rear belt loops.
- None of the above? Place your hands closer to your face. Tucking your hair behind your ear, playfully holding onto a necklace, or running fingers through your hair will each bring the focus away from your figure and towards a beaming smile or welcoming eyes.
If it bends, bend it!
Limp limbs look lifeless, and stiff ones just look plain uncomfortable! If you find yourself getting stiff in front of the camera, shake it out. Bend your arms (and pick your hand placement based on the list above!). Don't neglect those legs! Faux-hourglass trick: bend your knees inward, or even cross one leg in front of the other. If you've been blessed with the gams of a racehorse, you can always pull an Angelina and strike a more dramatic leg-way-out-to-the-side pose. (Though this translates best to individual portraits and senior sessions. It's a little over the top for an updated family photo on your mantle, don't you think?)
As for you Men-folk...
The Broader the Better
Unlike your lady friends, you DO want to face the camera straight-on. Men are naturally built with broad shoulders, which we want to accentuate. Why? Because it gives you a commanding, powerful presence in an image. BUT, since we're photographing you at your widest point, it's super important to remember to...
Stand up straight!
Nothing makes a midsection look flabby faster than the forward-shoulder-slump. Lift your chest and pull your shoulders back to give yourself the strongest, leanest torso possible.
Shift Your Weight
It's so easy to stiffen up after a few frames. Smiles look strained, and limbs get locked in place. When you catch yourself falling into a rigamortis-like pose, an easy trick to remember is to take a deep breath and simply shift your weight. Try leaning on your opposite leg, or even crossing one leg in front of the other. Keep it casual! If it feels uncomfortable to you, it looks uncomfortable in the image.
In fact, we can expand this tip in general and suggest you find a way to lean into your surroundings. Are you seated in the grass? Shift forward and rest an arm on your bent knee. Or, shift backwards and lean on an arm beside you. Maybe you're standing by a wall or a fence you can lean into. Or even lean on your family! Other people make the best "props" in any photo session, so take advantage of your friend, parent, sibling, wife, or child and wrap an arm around them. Any and all of these poses will keep you from taking rigid photos.
Remember your hands!
Follow the same rules I listed for the ladies. Use those hands to draw attention to parts of your body you're confident in. A reliable pose to remember is simply putting your hands in your front or back pockets. (If your pockets are tight, try just hooking your thumbs in.) You can always cross your arms too (great way to bring focus to your arms or pecs) - just make sure it's done casually, or else it looks very "genie" of you.
Everybody, every age, will take better pictures if they're laughing. You don't need to show tonsils, but a little silly banter during a photo session will keep those face muscles loose and the rest of the body along with it. Not to mention, the facial expressions are 100% genuine and will look the more "you" than any "Cheeeeese" smile will ever be.
Alright my new army of models, go forth and conquer, one photo at a time!