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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Work It Baby, Work It!

Posing to me is as much the art of photography as is editing. They all work together and without precision and detail to each area, the image doesn’t come together. When I went into business I began to pay special attention to this area because suddenly I was no longer photographing just people I selected but a wide range of people – many with body or facial attributes that required different posing techniques than I was familiar with. And posing men, women, children, high school seniors, elderly people, models, etc., all require different techniques and skills.

There are some simple techniques though that everyone can follow and like everything in photography, you can then take these and build upon them and make them your own. To keep this article relatively short, I’m just going to mention some techniques I use for photographing women.

1. This is simple technique that I find esthetically flattering – I always note what side someone’s hair is parted on and will typically pose them with their parted side faced away from the camera. I like hair to frame the face – depending on their hair length and style, I typically find this the most flattering.

2. Stand on a stool or have your subject on the ground and photograph them angled down. This narrows the image and provides a slimmer view. However, be aware of women with thin or long faces – this will elongate those features even more. This image is an example of both steps 1 and 2.

3. Use strong directional lighting to slim. If you’re working with studio lights this is easier to achieve but if you’re working with natural light there are a lot of ways to do this too. Strong natural sunlight can be used to highlight only the features you want to showcase while letting the rest fall into dark shadow. The image below shows how late afternoon sunlight can be used to do this – I didn’t use any reflectors for this image and let the shadows go dark. This is a very dramatic example – typically, I’d use a reflector to cast some light back into the shadowed areas.

4. Angle your subject 45 degrees away from the camera and have them bring their chin back toward the shoulder that is closest to the camera and slightly angled down. This is a simple technique that works especially well for headshots and close ups.

5. Have your subject bend and pull the arm that is closest to the camera slightly away from their body. This breaks up the “mass” of their body. Have them place their other arm along side the part of their body that is faced away from the camera and let it ‘disappear.’

6.No slouching! I always tell my subjects to give me a ‘tall spine’ – that just reminds them to stand up straight!

These are good tips for us to remember when we’re in front of the camera too! My pet peeves in pictures of myself are slouching and lifting my chin too high which widens my face. See? We all need reminders! Even things that seem inherent are often forgotten when a lens is facing you! Gently coax your subjects with the above tips and reinforce how great they look and you’ll be amazed how small details can make a big difference!

- Laura

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