As a photographer, I often get told “But I don’t know how to pose in photos.” And while I do provide guidance on poses during my sessions, what about when you’re out and about and don’t have a professional photographer with you? I get it, I feel just as awkward in front of a camera, I never seem to know what to do!
So whether you want to update your social media photos, or you’re going traveling, or you want to take photos just because, here are some of my tips and tricks to help you create photos you’ll love. (Please feel free to show this to your husband/boyfriend/friend that may help you take these photos 😉 )
A big thank you to Sharon for being my model in these photos! She is one of my colleagues and not a model – this is just to showcase how these poses can work for anyone.
Full body position
In the first image, Sharon is assuming the position we all take when we pose in front of a beautiful landscape, building etc. Trust me, I have enough photos like this from my travels! It’s a full frontal, arms next to the body, just beaming from ear to ear. And while it’s not a bad pose, with some minor tweaks, we can make it better.
By positioning your body at a 45 degrees angle, you automatically create a more flattering profile, as in the image below. Very often, you’ll find that your one leg will bend right away, creating a beautiful S-curve in your body and this makes you look more relaxed.
It’s all about the angle
As quite a tall person, I usually encounter clients that are shorter than me. If I shoot from eye-level, as I did in the first image, you’ll see that Sharon looks quite small:
In the second image, I shot from hip level, as I was down on one knee. What this does, is it makes Sharon look taller in the image, and as a bonus, we got alot more of the skyline in the image for visual interest:
What to do with your arms
Arms always just seem to get in the way, am I right? But just leaving your arms hanging, as in the first image, it creates a “box” silhouette, and doesn’t show off any curves. By simply placing a hand on your hip, or playing with your clothes, you create space between your arms and your body, highlighting your curves and creating an overall more pleasing image.
An alternative for what to do with your arms during portraits, is to play with your glasses, or a cup of coffee. As you can see in the first image, the hands are just placed next to the torso, really creating a square shape. In the second image, a more pleasing silhouette is formed when Sharon started playing with her glasses – but the arms are still next to the body, held firmly against it.
In the third image, the arm holding the glasses is pulled away from the body, really showing off her curves. The arm closest to the camera is bent in a relaxed position, making it look smaller than in the second image.
What is closest to the camera?
We all have parts of our body that we’d prefer not to have enlarged in photos. For example, if you are conscious of your hips, it’s best to place your weight on the leg that’s away from the camera. This will help to make your hips look smaller, as in the below photos:
Similar to hips, the same would apply to arms or shoulders if you are taking a portrait image.
Elongating your legs
A quick tip for longer looking legs, is to stand on your tippy toes, placing one leg in front of the other. As you can see in the images below, it elongated Sharon’s legs, but also changed the positioning of her upper body, improving her posture:
One of my favorite things during a session to create a natural look, is to do a walking shot. But when you’r walking somewhere with uneven ground, or obstacles in your way, this often results in alot of images looking down, or concentrating really hard on not falling flat on your face (not the type of action shot I like to capture!). As in the first image, you can see the tension in the face, as Sharon was walking on an uneven ledge. A simple way of combatting this, is to only take 1-2 steps back and forward, or even rocking on the spot. This will still create a walking shot, but as you can see in the second image, it’s a lot more relaxed looking.
Where is the light?
Depending on the time of day, the light can really affect the quality of your image. And while I will upload an article dedicated to light, one tip I wanted to highlight, is to always be aware of where the sun is. In the below images, Sharon was standing in a beautiful big shadow, but even when taking photos in shadow, it is still important to check where the sun is positioned.
In the first image, the sun was behind me. While there is nothing wrong with that, it is important to see if there are any spots where the sun is coming through. If you look close to her feet, the sun was peeking through, which does detract from the second image. In the second image, the sun was behind Sharon, which creates a beautiful glow around her body and just adds more depth to the image.
These are just a few tips of the many that exist, but I hope that these are helpful to you and that you create gorgeous images of your own that you love.