Expert Level Portrait Tips Series Part 01: Posing

Through this portrait series, we’ll dissect every detail it takes to compartmentalize the very component behind what makes excellent mobile photography.

Expert Level Portrait Tips Series Part 01: Posing
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Expert Level Portrait Tips Series

Posing

Greetings and welcome to Moment’s first ever article series debut. Featuring expert-level tips on creating stunning mobile portraiture (though, these rules can apply to any camera), we’ll dive deep on the ins and outs of what it means to capture a profile worth remembering. Through measures of unique posing, lighting, location ideas, and creative outlets for composition — we’ll dissect every detail it takes to compartmentalize the very component behind what makes excellent mobile photography. Let’s roll.

Differentiate Your Images With Unique Poses

Posing is the backbone to any visual depiction of a photograph, mainly speaking to ones with a human subject. Whether someone you know asks for a single snapshot or you're professionally hired to do so — it’s vital that you, as the photographer, know how to pose them properly. By understanding correct postures and body placements, you will be able to work more efficiently, which will ultimately benefit both you and your subject. Unless you’re working with a model, most people don’t like to be photographed, so you’ll want to move along this process swiftly and carefully.

Here are our tips on how to pose, fun ways to make your posing unique, and other means of portrait magic.

Star stunner.

Getting funky.

Standing Poses - ALWAYS Elongate

Make them think like they’re in a yoga class, but less stiff. Place an imaginary string attached to the crown of their head that leads high into the sky. Shoulders should be relaxed and away from the ears, spine elongated, and chest slightly puffed forward. When standing, be sure they shift their weight into the balls of the heels, as you don’t want them to resemble a sunken posture.

Crossed Arms - Crossed arms are an easy and popular choice for more professional poses, as it evokes a feeling of confidence and strength for the viewer. When arms are crossed, however, be sure to communicate with your model that they bring the chin slightly forward and down.

Drinking a Topo Chico.

What's up?

Sitting Poses - Dynamic Postures

Subjects that sit on either a chair, the stairs, the edge of the building, or the floor create a sense of wonder and place. When seated, have your model look slightly up towards the camera, as shooting at a slight downward angle can be very flattering for most. The first step when seated is to have your subject sit on the edge of whatever it is they’re sitting upon (if it is the floor, then have them lean forward ever so slightly). You do not want them to be uncomfortable where they lean all of the ways back and into the spacial abyss. You should have them place their feet on the floor with shoulders and chest squared to the camera.

Leaning On Their Knees - To add a spoonful of spice to the mix, have him or her place their elbows on their knees for a more powerful position. You can do this several ways; have them pout at the scene, have them look away, make direct eye contact, or have them brush their hair out of their face if applicable. Make the image better by having your model angle their face slighting to the left or right. Remember to tight these crops by focusing on the eyes and smile (or whatever look they choose to make).

Pouting at the knee.

Upwards angle while sitting down.

Lean On Something

Leaning on a wall or object provides an extra sense of intimacy and dynamic range. Curate their body position to move like an “S” across the surface of whatever it is that they’re leaning on. Same as above: have them pout at the scene, have them look away, make direct eye contact, or have them brush their hair out of their face if applicable. The most important thing is to allow your models to feel confident and communicative.

Sunrise light beaming through.

Melvin looking real cool.

Clear Communication

Establishing clear and open communication of what you want your subject to do/look like will make for a much more efficient image. Your means of words and direction will translate through your images and force you to position them exactly how you wish. If your subject looks off or confused, make it clear to them that they must change it up. Our entire goal is to position our clients that they look competent and confident in front of the camera.

Up against a Girl Scouts sign.

Read Parts 02, 03, 04, and 05.

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