10 Posing Tips Used By Portrait Photographers
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February 26, 2013
By Cheryl Ridgeway
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This is the second post in the series, Putting You at ease about posing for your portrait. Whether it is for a senior portrait, and engagement session or a family session, everyone is always nervous about having their portrait made.

2036}Jacobs, KristenWhenever John starts a shoot, he always hears nervous comments about not knowing what to do for the photos. Most people are nervous that they are going to look dumb & the photographer won't show them how to pose & then others get annoyed when they perceive the photographer as bossing them around. So this discussion is going to try to explain how & why we do posing & why it makes the photo shoot more relaxed & fun. 

It's great to take a family portrait every few years, to document the growth of your kids, or to send out to relatives at the holidays. But some-

times family portraits can be so stressful, you're worried you'll simply be documenting a row of grimaces and dried tears.

Plus, there are so many questions and considerations: should you stand or sit? Should you smile at the camera or look more natural? Should you take a portrait outdoors or in?

If you work with a professional photographer, he or she can typically help with several of these answers and provide you with family portrait tips. If you’re working on your own, however, these choices can be overwhelming. 

Here are a few key family portrait tips that will help ensure that your family’s portrait is as beautiful and stress-free as possible:

First, everyone wants to look good in a portrait and knowing the proper way to position the body to look the best for the camera is very important.  

  • Relax and get your subjects to relax by telling them that you will direct them on how to stand or sit so they look great.

  • Straighten Up.  Tell your subject (s) to picture themselves as a tall and lanky model with great posture!  Stand up real tall and suck in the gut. THEN take a deep breath so they aren’t stiff.

  • Turn a Bit.  Be a ballerina, placing your feet in third position- one foot in front of the other then turn your body 45 degrees away from the camera, leaving your head and shoulders facing the camera! Sounds complicated, but it’s really not.

  • Weight on Back Foot.  Modeling 101.  Put the weight on the back foot and bend the knee of the front foot slightly.  This will make legs appear long and hips slim!  This is a great posture for everyday life!

  • Angle The Face.  Leaning slightly towards the camera will give the appearance of a long neck and tilting the chin down just a bit will help avoid too much chin in the picture!

  • Hand on Hip.  Place the subject's hand right above the pelvic bone or right about there.  Try to keep the fingers natural and pointed slightly upward….bring the elbow slightly forward. This pose helps underarms be less prominent, broadens the shoulders and narrows the waist!!!

  • Below the Camera.  Speaking of chins, get the camera above your subjects!  Be taller or stand on a chair or ladder! The best way to hide double chins is to shoot your subject from a few inches above their head.  They will be looking up just slightly which will improve their neck line and make the eyes more open. This is my favorite tip!

  • If it MUST Be Done.  If you’re taking pictures of your family or of an awesome landmark and the camera has to be shot from a low angle, use the legs!  Have your subject(s) point one leg into the center of the frame and shoot looking up the body…this works sitting down or standing up.  Trust me, it really is flattering!

  • Smile FOR REAL!  Fake smiles stink!  A couple of little tricks to suggest is to give a little giggle and then freeze it for a brief moment…another giggle…freeze!  It’s so much more natural that way…and it always makes me laugh FOR REAL hearing myself giggle at absolutely nothing! Another way is to think of something funny and keep it a secret only to yourself and think about it when it's time to smile.

  • Beware of Shadows!  And if you’re behind the camera, be sure to avoid shadows on the faces of those you’re photographing.  Shoot in great lighting and when needed use a reflector or a large white poster board to bounce the light!   27001}Anderson, Phylis FAM web

Contact always looks great.  Snuggle, hold hands, rub cheeks, wrap an arm around a neck (loosely), family portraits are intended to have warmth so enjoy each other. Hands can go in pockets, on hips, or crossed for a more natural look than just letting the hands hang loose on the sides.  When holding a baby or child, do not put them directly under your chin…looks odd in the picture. And my personal pet peeve, don’t push a child to the back row on their own.   If necessary for your positioning, have dad take the back row and position the child in a lap or on either side.

A few places that you can get ideas for kid's clothing are ZulilyMini Social and Guilt. A few of our clients use these sights and seem to be really happy with the merchandise. Also, try Rue La La and Hautelook.

Is there any other sites that you use that would be a great find for clothing? Let me know by commenting to this post.

Chat with you later!


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