The goal…whether you shun typical posing or embrace it…is to have your portraits look as natural as possible and allow your viewers to see your subject without much thought given to the “pose”. Posing encompasses much more than just the positioning of your subjects body…it also involves the attitude that you want them to project and the facial expression that you want to capture. One of the main things that I strive for in posing my seniors is to convey movement and fluidity in the image.
If you like a particular pose, try to change it up a bit by having your subject look a different direction…off to the side, down, up…all can give very different looks to the same pose.
Shooting at a slight downward angle, particularly for close-ups, helps to slim your subjects face. Be mindful of limbs…a slight bend at the elbows and knees in every pose will always make the image look more natural. Avoid shooting heavier people straight on…in fact, it’s typically not flattering even for thin people. For guys you want to help position them in order to make them look strong and confident in their images. Something to watch for with guys is the position of their hands when their arms are relaxed…you want to be mindful of hand positioning that appears feminine. One of the most helpful things you can do to improve your posing ideas is to create a posing journal for yourself. Another thing that can be helpful as you start to build your own portfolio of shots that you love is to take advantage of your phone if you have image library capabilities on it. Inspiration is plentiful online…but, do be careful that you are being inspired to create and not inspired to copy. Many of you have become subscribers to my blog since this series began…so I just wanted to say thank you and welcome! AND…a HUGE thank you to the spectacular Jodi Friedman for inviting me to do this series…it’s been a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series which will cover more of the business side of working with seniors. Thank you so much…this is great stuff that I can use for more than just senior poses! I am a senior this year and i really want my senior pictures and your pictures really stood out to me many things i have wanted pics by that you have in these photos! Use these simple photography portrait tips and your group shots will look super!This article is going to focus on group portrait tips. Notice how there are no gaps between the individual family members in this family portrait.
One tip to remember is to avoid the mistake of having your subjects' faces hidden from the camera's view. Finally, here is another posing technique to use when you want to show the love and affection family members have for one another. Some photographers are naturally gifted at pulling this off and others have to study and learn techniques that will aid them in this, but posing and giving direction to our clients is a huge part of our job as professionals, whether we like it or not. This doesn’t have to be as technical as it sounds…but, it’s important to think ahead of time about what you want a particular image to feel like.


That doesn’t mean that they need to look like they are in motion, but rather just convey that they are a living, breathing, moving person…not a static creature! Most people tend to slouch when they are comfortable…and while you want your subjects to look comfortable you don’t want them to look slouched. It helps to reduce or hide any double chins and is a very flattering angle for most everyone. Also…in standing positions, direct your subjects to balance their weight more on one side that the other since that is the way that we naturally stand.
Folding arms across chest, squatting in some variation of the catcher’s position, leaning forward with elbows on thighs in a sitting position, and hands in one or both pockets or belt loops are all standard ways of positioning a male senior in order to give that appearance. As long as you are steering away from static posing you can really do well with images that show a genuine part of who they are. It will take time to build up a library of posing that appeals to you, but it can be an invaluable tool to you as you prepare for your sessions. You can upload some of your favorite shots to your phone and if you find yourself in a creative rut during your session just flip through your portfolio…you’re juices will be flowing again in no time!
It’s so hard, particularly when you are starting out in this business, not to copy the work of photographers that you are inspired by.
I like to have a lot of options so that I can choose my absolute favorite image in a series rather than have to settle for one where I’m not happy with the expression or attitude.
I have just opened up registration to the fall FOCUS 2009 photography workshop in August of this year.
The individuals are spaced fairly evenly, at similar distances from each other, but they are connected by overlapping their bodies in the pose.The other posing technique that is often used is to to have the pose wider at the base and narrower at the top. Their mother reminded me how much she still enjoyed that portrait, so we re-created the pose.
I instructed the older brothers to slightly turn and lift their heads so they were at least partially viewable from the camera's perspective.Here is an instance where I did not use a pyramid pose. You can use this portrait posing technique for groups of three or four people as well as much larger family portrait poses.One more little tip is to pay attention to your subjects hands.
For most photographers, posing seems to be one of those love it or hate it aspects of what we do. Sometimes you can capture drastically different moods in the same pose just by a change of facial expression. We’ve all seen the chain store poses that are so stiff that the subjects almost don’t look like real people.
Position arms on hips, up against a wall or fence, overhead, in pockets…front or back…anything that shows movement. Have one or both legs bent at the knees, at differing heights to show more fluidity in the pose. Just make sure that you don’t get stuck in the rut of always shooting from that angle when shooting close-ups. Some of the best images for your posing journal can be found in trendy catalogs and magazines.


We all have those whose work we admire and when we see an image that resonates in us…we naturally desire to create the same thing that we see. So…on average, I shoot around 200 frames at a typical senior session…sometimes more if we are shooting at more than one location. If you are interested in learning more about my shooting techniques and my post processing, as well as the ins and outs of running a successful photography business then please visit my blog for more information. The third group photography portrait tip is to use geometric shapes in your family photos.You can build your family portrait pose by using triangles.
It is usually a mistake to have everyone in your pose doing the same exact thing with their hands. This often results in great natural smiles because the family members are truly enjoying their close connection. They are not hard fast rules of photography that cannot be broken.Following any of the digital photo tips on this web site should be a fun growth process.
Whether you are a very traditional-posed-portrait type of photographer or all the way on the other end of the spectrum as a lifestyle photographer…you will always have to at least give direction to your clients as to how to situate themselves so that they will look as natural as possible.
You want your viewers to engage with the subject of your images…and the first step to achieving that goal is for YOU to be engaging with your subject. Just cut out images that appeal to you and jot down what it is that you love about the images and refer to it often. It’s widely accepted that it’s hard to be unique in this business…especially now with the internet being a virtual showroom for every photographer’s work…but your unique style will develop as you convey your connection with your subjects and through your post processing methods. I’ve subjected my poor clients to some pretty gross stuff all in the name of getting great shots!
These are not equilateral triangle with equal sides, but will vary in shape and dimensions.
Occasionally I will direct one or more of my subjects to change their hand position to improve the pose as well. Your camera is an extension of your eyes…and if you are engaging with them and making them feel comfortable in front of the camera that will come across in your images. Even if a particular pose has been done before…and it most likely has…you can make it yours by not focusing so much on the posing itself, but more on connecting with your subject in a way that draws your viewers in…and makes them want to keep looking.
Particularly in urban settings, which are obviously my favorite, you definitely have grunge to deal with.
Triangles create an opportunity for the viewers eye to move from one face to another in your pose.
I happen to be a HUGE germaphobe…I can’t even begin to tell you how true that is…yet, somehow when I am shooting I can overlook a myriad of things that on a daily basis would make my skin crawl. I’ve never had anyone complain and I do make the safety of my clients a huge priority, so I would not put them in a situation that would be dangerous…but, dirty…yes.



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