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We have all been there before – fumbling with a client in front of us trying to figure out the next pose. Having to remember your settings, your focus, say something charming – make them laugh. You get back to your computer and you can’t figure out why every pose just looks blah. Today we are reviewing the most common mistakes photographers make when posing.
Before I dive into the mistakes, let’s talk about our approach to avoiding them. Every time I pose a client or couple, I have the basic pose in mind and then tweak it from the top down. I am honestly looking at my clients from head to toe making sure each of these items are in check. Let’s get started.
Think of the last time you took a selfie. Did you take it square straight on to your face? No. If you’re like me you hold your phone titling your head from side to side – up and down to capture your best “angle”.
The only photos with a straight on face are mug shots – and unless you are from the local PD, let’s try not to capture your client this way.
THE FIX – Fix this mistake by tilting the chin to either side and up and down. Asking your client to move their chin often works better than asking them to move the top of their head, making it easier for them to mimic the movement of your hand as you demonstrate.
There are two places on the face you need to pay close attention to. The client’s cheek line and the lip line. If in your pose you moved or tilted the chin too much either side to side or down you risk drawing more attention to the nose when it breaks either of these lines. Especially if your client has dislike of this feature of their body, having it stick out more will cause an automatic dislike of the photo.
THE FIX – Move your self to a better face angle or ask the client to move or tilt to keep this feature on the proper plane.
BREAK UP BODY SYMMETRY
Next in the head to toe check is the shoulders. Having straight on shoulders can make a subject look more broad, unrelaxed and, even threatening. This can often work for masculine poses however can cause a female to look less feminine.
THE FIX – Turning the belly button away from the camera can often give the illusion that the shoulder in front is lower or smaller in perspective. Placing a hand on the hip or shoulder of a partner can also cause just enough change so both shoulders aren’t matching in perspective.
Often clients have no idea what to do with their arms or hands. Not giving direction here can leave a pose looking lack-luster or not even posed at all. Additionally having arms straight to the sides often give the illusion of making a subject wider than they actually are.
THE FIX – Asking your client to bend their elbow will help create negative space between the body and arm. This negative space will help accentuate the waistline, thinning your subject. Also, keep in mind having the hands or arms do two different things can help provide the visual variety that is appealing to the eye. Having one hand on the hip and one playing with hair can help break the symmetry – probably have noticed we have been doing this with each of these fixes.
Working down to the middle of the body we come to the hips. Hips that are square to the camera often appear wider and unflattering.
THE FIX – Request that your client shift the hips away from the camera. This works the same as the shoulders. I often will tell clients this is a trick they can use anytime they take a group photo, they can lose a dress size and it’s true. Moving the hips away from the camera and tilting the chest slightly forward creates a flattering pose of the body.
The final part of the body we look at while posing are the feet. If you have gone through each of the above checks and two feet are still on the floor, I am certain it looks pretty unnatural and uncomfortable.
THE FIX – By now your client may have naturally bent a knee, which is exactly what we want. Either a slight bend to the knee or a pop of the toe can be the final piece needed to have a great pose.
We have two final big and important tips to share with you to ensure you are on top of your posing game. Want to get the final two posing mistakes and how to fix them? Join Education for Creatives to learn more.
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