December 2020 // The How-to Edition

So many elements and considerations go into the physical aspects of posing, from facial expression to the point of the toe. It’s all important, but that’s not what I am going to cover in this article. I won’t bore you with the usual posing tricks and principles taught in most basic photography blogs or tutorial videos on the internet. I want to talk about some not-so-obvious aspects to posing that every photographer should be aware of, but no one ever talks about. These will be the drivers and underlying factors as to how your subject will physically pose. The way your subject poses can mean the difference between your shoot being a huge success or a big flop. I’ve been shooting for eight years now. Over the years, I have seen a vast difference in the flow and success of a shoot based on how well the subject poses or how well I pose the subject. At the beginning of my photography journey, I mostly photographed everyday people. They always needed help with posing, and I would spend most of the shoot just getting them to feel comfortable in front of the camera. I did this for years before making the transition to where I am now. Now I shoot mostly models and celebrities, but even celebrities aren’t models and sometimes need help posing. Knowing how to direct your subject is a critical part of being a photographer at any level of your career. Most beginner photographers only look at the obvious physical and visual aspects of posing. Still, once your clientele elevates from everyday people to brands and businesses, your focus and eye for posing also have to elevate. There are three significant factors in posing that you may be overlooking but should absolutely pay close attention to: lighting, mood and purpose. Let’s get into it.

1. LIGHTING

Lighting is everything! This is my absolute favorite subject to talk about because it makes such a huge difference in an image’s mood and feel. It also drastically affects how a model should pose. Tyra Banks from America’s Next Top Model always told the models, “Find your light!” This may seem obvious, but it won’t be to most people in front of your camera. I love shooting outside in hard light when the sun is high. Most people don’t like shooting at that time because it can create weird and unflattering shadows on the subject’s face. When shooting in this light, I direct the model to keep her head slightly up towards the sun. This small posing adjustment will be the difference between taking unflattering photos with weird shadows and taking amazing photos with very editorial lighting.

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