Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 13: Posing 101

DSC_6254 by mylla7777
DSC_6254, a photo by mylla7777 on Flickr.

(Hint: start at the bottom of today and work your way up post by post)
Knees and feet: although lots of times with portraits you don't have to worry too much about the lower regimens of the body, it's good to know what to do with them when you have the chance.

Knees: try having one or the other bent. Having a knee bent gives more depth to your picture. As with shoulders, you don't really want your subject's knees and feet facing you. A bent knee gives a more relaxed look.

For Guys: Do NOT have knees together, but rather apart (this goes especially if your subject is sitting).

For Girls: Try having your knees together--it gives a cutesy feel.

Feet: Just avoid a Sasquatch look. If feet look large to you outside the photo, they will inside the photo.

For Guys: Feet flat on ground is probably best.

For Girls: Get creative! Have one foot extended, a knee bent and foot daintily poised (imagine wearing heals).

And we've made it all the way from head to toes! Let me know if you come across any more posing tips or problems! I'd love to know what works/doesn't work for you.


  1. Awesome photos! Thank you so much. One of the things I struggle with most is human subjects and this helps a lot. ;)
    I do have a two questions.
    The first one is about more dramatic poses like looking off into the distance or down at the ground, what would your recommendations be for that?
    The second is about the surroundings, What do you suggest the photographer use for back ground, and such, for indoor and out?

  2. Thanks, Air! Good questions.

    When posing for dramatic shots, the first thing you want to address is the mood you are looking for. Thoughtful, intense, dreamy, sad, angry, hopeful, etc. Taking a picture like that is similar to writing a story. What just happened to this person? What are they going to do next?

    Once you have answered those questions, you are ready to set the pose. For each mood, your pose would be slightly different. Thoughtful, for example, may have a hand resting on the chin, head tilted, eyes upward (most likely a sitting pose). Make sure, from whatever angle you take the photo at, that the face draws the most attention, without a lot a background distraction. Profiles can be very dramatic, although personally I haven't done a lot in that department. I'm not sure if I answered your question very thoroughly... there are so many different poses out there! It's very helpful to do some browsing--internet, magazines--to get ideas.

    Second question! Backgrounds. Extremely tricky. When taking portraits, it's vital that your background does not distract from the subject. But that of course doesn't mean totally get rid of a background! A well-composed background adds a lot of meaning to a picture. Forest, farmer's fields, mountains... ;) ... all make excellent backgrounds. Even taking pictures in the middle of a street (not recommended on well-traveled roads) or on a sidewalk can work just as well as any other background.

    So how do you figure out what's distracting? Run your eyes around the subject, looking for anything that might look wrong. Light poles are a stereotype in this situation, sticking out of people's heads, but you also have to watch out for trees and lamps and such. Next, you want to make sure the horizon on the photo (like a picture on the beach where the sky meets water) doesn't slice through the neck of your subject). Of course I'm pretty sure you'd have a harder time doing that one where you are, but you never know.

    Finally, a huge thing to remember for backgrounds with people is that you should try to use a wide aperture (portrait setting works well), so that the deep background blurs some.

    Indoors - I have a lot of trouble inside. My house has a lot of windows, but it's very hard to get the lighting right if I'm not standing right in front of one. Main idea is to not have your subject stand right against a wall, but at least a couple feet out (that way it doesn't look like a mug shot). But if you want your subject leaning against the wall, make sure you're taking the photo not straight toward the wall, but rather at an angle so you achieve a sense of depth. If the wall has actual texture, you might be able to get away with a straight-on shot (as long as you follow the rule of thirds in some way). Inside, I usually try to zoom in on the subject enough to crop out excess background. This is not the case, however, if you're trying to communicate a story (such as, my grandpa, reading a newspaper with his feet propped up and the TV on at his house--then I'd probably want to capture more of the scene).

    Personally, I am always on the lookout for old benches and stone walls, wooden fences, etc. I like these elements because they create leading lines toward the subject (again, emphasizing the subject rather than the surroundings). Lines can be obvious or subtle, small or large.

    Hope that helps and doesn't confuse you! If I need to clarify something, let me know. :)

  3. *wants to see you do a photoshoot with props* :6:

  4. Thanks Myls!
    *agrees with Hood* ;)

  5. Thank you Myls for all these tips! It is very helpful, especially since Air and I enjoy having photo shoots done together(and have one coming up that we want to do), We will have to send you some of our photo shoot pics and get some critique sometime :) That is if the photographers *pointed look at hood* Is alright with that.

    *would also love to see you work with props*

  6. Yes, you definitely HAVE to send me photos of your shoot!

    You know, I haven't done a lot with props. :6: Any suggestions?

  7. I would LOVE to see a photo shoot with Sunglasses! :D

  8. Headphones. Ear buds and the big ear covering headphones would be pretty cool.
    Also what could be interesting is someone writing, Pens, Pencils, Quills. (obviously on paper) =D