Goal: Improve your communication, posing and directing abilities.
Posing is one of the most intricate aspects of portrait photography. The most subtle change in a pose can distinguish the difference between your subject feeling confident vs. extremely uncomfortable. Often times our clients say "we're awkward, but we want to be natural, fun, & romantic" but that doesn’t simply come from placing them in a pose and photographing them. There is an art involved in directing and communicating with your client to get them to trust you and be comfortable in front of the camera. We're going to break the art of posing down into 4 steps and link you to some of our favorite tutorials on each subject:
Remember, when it comes to posing, the principles apply to any subject. We always get questions around, "how do I pose larger subjects" or "is it the same for LGBTQIA+ clients?" It's the same process because what you are learning throughout our education are frameworks. When we discuss men's posing, we are showing you how to create poses that convey masculinity, strength, and presence. However, these poses can apply to any subject/gender. Similarly, when we demonstrate how to create curves and femininity. These techniques can be applied to any client, your job is to understand which techniques/approaches best fit your subjects.
Know your subject's goal for the photos – does he want to look tough, friendly, or have an executive presence? Then put him in positions that will yield that look and make sure his posture gives him that feeling.
Learning the subtle variations in hand placement, expressions, and body language will diversify your portfolio and give you a better understanding of the nuances of feminine posing.
There are times when you’re at a shoot and you feel like you’ve run out of posing ideas and struggling to get a certain look or feel, and this is why we’ve developed an entire framework for posing that we call the Foundation Posing Framework, which teaches you what you need to know.
Around 97% of poses come from 5 different positions of the feet. This was how our Foundation Posing Framework was created. By learning these 5 poses from the ground up, you’ll be able to place your couple in any pose and then tweak to your liking with micro-adjustments. The framework also allows you to get in and out of poses quickly.
The key to perfecting your posing skills is by studying the nuances. When focusing on the bigger picture you often miss out on the small details that could have made the image 10% better.
We can apply the same rules we've established above when it comes to the foundation of group posing, however, it gets complicated when working with multiple people and when we switch up the styling and context of the shot.
For a standard symmetrical group pose, you’ll want to make sure that the bride and groom are your centerpiece and then build the pose out from there. Watch for height and symmetry across the group.
Editorial balanced group portraits can take longer to direct, but this style of photography tends to wow viewers and often garners more online shares. Instead of taking the traditional route, don’t be afraid to try asymmetrical placement and direct your subjects to give serious expressions.
In many ways, handling large groups while taking group portraits closely resembles public speaking. You are trying in equal parts to entertain the group and get them into a pose.
Mastering the concept of “being a director, not a photographer” takes a photographer’s client-service to the next level by using cues and direction to create images that tell consistently authentic stories.
Advancements in camera technology minimize the skills needed to operate a camera, but what will never replaced? YOU. Hone your posing, directing, and communication skills to help you become a director and not just a photographer.
Now that you've understood how to direct the action, learn how to compose and capture these moments as they unfold. Although there is no such thing as a posed journalistic moment, once you've placed your subjects in ideal light it's just a matter of capturing the action as it unfolds.
Pathways are short, topical guides to help you navigate our large library of content. While we recommend that you watch our full workshops in their entirety, we also understand that you may want a quick step-by-step reference to our best videos related to your specific needs.