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! Attention custom car and bike fans out there: a new show is coming to the Velocity channel April 13, and it features a new shop with a familiar name.
Joe Martin got his artistic start in middle school in the Dallas suburb of DeSoto as he drew everything from Conan the Barbarian to cars to parent signatures on progress reports for classmates. Soon Joe realized he had to expand his operation from the back of his little pickup truck, and he found a house with a large shop out back where he could handle the workload that was coming in.
His work was soon getting national attention as they won some EZ Rider shows that rolled through town, which led to features in the magazine. Within a two-week period, Joe and Jason Martin were fielding calls to be featured on two new shows on the Discovery Channel a€“ Biker Buildoff and World Biker Buildoff.
Joe and his new bride Amanda found themselves in the town of Dripping Springs, Texas, just west of Austin where everything is meant to stay weird but is a hub of culture in the Lone Star State. Cars, bikes, boats, trucksa€¦Joe has built and customized them all, and thus Martin Bros Customs was born. When asked if he considers himself an artist, Joe humbly hesitated at first, and then described himself as if he was reading the Webstera€™s Dictionary definition of an artist without actually calling himself that.
Joe says he is not just going to do a€?populara€? cars but some of the ugly ducklings from over the years as well; he wants to give every old piece of iron a second chance.
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009.
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.
To be clear, Gear Diary is not the company doing the restorations, and we can not forward your requests to Martin Brothers. He moved on to painting helmets, skateboards, and bicycles and eventually found himself working at an aftermarket accessory store. It was about this time he also brought younger brother Jason into the operation, and Martin Bros Bikes was born. Getting the OK to do both, the pair enlisted the help of some friends as their little shop south of Dallas built some of the wildest custom bikes the TV audience had ever seen. Disposable income was drying up, and Joe was forced to do some soul searching as he downsized his operation and his crew. He already had a base of friends in the greater Austin area and coincidentally another top customizer, Jesse James, had relocated to that same area as well. Trouble is, now he needed a new shop large enough to handle the workload a€“ and he needed projects. Some of the classic iron to be featured includes a 1962 Chevrolet pickup, 1964 Cadillac convertible, 1953 Ford Ranch Wagon, 1973 Pontiac Firebird, and a handful of others that includes some custom bikes. 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.
There he learned the mechanics of vehicles, and his co-workers learned of his talents as they gave him side work doing custom paintwork on their rides. While Joe loved working on cars, he realized motorcycles were much easier and faster to work on and his clients never haggled about price. Newfound fame led to the expansion of Martin Bros Bikes, and eventually building custom exhaust pipes and offering other aftermarket accessories including custom wheels. But he says this was a welcomed time, as it forced him to refocus his priorities; he got back to doing individual custom work as he went from the limelight back into the workshop. One look around the a€?gallerya€? that is his new shop, and you see the proof of his work in the iron canvasses occupying nearly every square foot of every bay.
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! He got so much work that he found himself taking a leap of faith and venturing off on his own doing custom work he was getting by word of mouth. About the same time the Martin brothers got the attention of a couple of producers for the Discovery Channel.
Over the next few years a seed was planted in his head that he needed to relocate, and what better place than the Texas Hill Country where he loved to go on road trips? And then his former Discovery Channel producer, who was now working with Velocity, came calling. As Joe built a new shop just outside city limits, Amanda and Shag scoured the Texas Hill Country for old classics that needed new life. When questioned if he had a favorite vehicle he listed nearly every car designed by the late Harley Earl, legendary GM designer, who gave the world classic Caddys a€“ and the Corvette.
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.
Those vehicles saved from the automotive graveyard are taken back to the shop where Joe and his crew (Mike Z, Shorty, Pompa, Manny V, Dirty Grande, Jason, and Cato) go to work on breathing new life into these old iron hulls. 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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