Basic Posing Tips

May 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Articles

Basically, your job as a professional photographer is to make your client look good (or better than they actually do) in their portraits.

The first thing I typically do is a quick facial analysis to determine if the subject has one side that is better than the other. Many times this is very obvious, especially if they have a scar or blemish, but often times you need to make a point of doing a quick facial analysis before starting the session.

Here are a few common things to look for:
One eye smaller than the other – by putting the smaller eye closer to the lens it tends to create and evening effect so they both look the same size.

Crooked nose – put crooked side towards main light to avoid crooked shadow. Shoot from side to which the nose curves.

Facial blemishes / scars etc… – hide in the shadows

Crooked smile – put the highest side closest to camera

Part of hair – you typically will not want to shoot across the part. It has a tendency to throw a shadow across the forehead.

When doing head and shoulder portraits, proper shoulder positioning is very important. The shoulders provided a good base for the head… too little base and the portrait feels uncomfortable.

Football Shoulders – when the subject is squared off to the camera it tends to add weight to to the subject and creates a very masculine portrait. You will typically want to avoid football shoulders, especially with women.

To slenderize the subject turn them slightly sideways to the camera. I will typically position the subject’s shoulders at a 45 degrees angle to the camera.  From this position you can have the subject turn her head comfortably into a feminine or masculine position.

In addition, for most portraits,  the subjects shoulders should not be positioned horizontally level in the portrait. It’s best if the shoulders are position more diagonally in the portrait.


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