How To: Posing Guide

Posing people is a barrier that I see get in the way of countless photographers. A great pose can make or break a photo, and is a huge reason your clients will like or dislike their photos. From posing individuals, to posing large groups, here are some of my top tips that I have found useful. Don’t let it be a barrier, let’s master this!

Posing Guide For All Photo Shoots

Megan Kelly, Posing, Poses, How To, Ideas, Guide, Tips, Inspiration, Megyn KellyPinterest! Yeah! Collect ideas before the shoot even happens! Men, Pinterest doesn’t lessen your manhood! There is nothing worse than coming into a shoot, and trying to come up with a pose. It makes you look like you don’t know what you are doing, and I know from personal experience how embarrassing it can be. Having your Pinterest on hand, or a little book, just something you can look at and reference to in between shots so you can keep all your ideas fresh in your mind. I even pin my own images and poses that I have liked before as well.

 

Megan Kelly, Posing, Poses, How To, Ideas, Guide, Tips, Inspiration, Megyn KellyShow, don’t tell. Standing there and telling a client to turn their head, no the other way, okay a little more, no kinda like this… etc is awful. You want to be physically showing them what to do. And I also love to have a Pinterest on hand (like said above) to show them what it should look like so they know what to do. Do the pose with them, show them how you want them to be. Help them understand why this pose is great, and how good it will make them look.

 

Megan Kelly, Posing, Poses, How To, Ideas, Guide, Tips, Inspiration, Megyn KellyTurn One Pose Into Many. It’s great to be able to only position them once, and then for you to bounce around and get a few shots out of it. Get an environmental shot, then move in a little and get their shirts and up. Then move in even more for a beautiful head shot. This saves you time, poses, and lets you be creative by thinking of different poses and angles to shoot from. Don’t take every shot from eye level, and full body. Be different than other photographers. After all, that’s what we are trying to do here, isn’t it?

 

Megan Kelly, Posing, Poses, How To, Ideas, Guide, Tips, Inspiration, Megyn KellyGet a Variety of Shots. They dressed in those cute matchy outfit for good reason, but every shot doesn’t have to be a full body eye level shot. Get a shot of their shoes. Get a shot of their hair, their face. Get the environment in the shot, get them looking at the camera, get them looking away from the camera. Get them to laugh. Get the jewelry details. They don’t want a million shots of their full body in different poses. Variety will show your attention to detail, and to capture more of who they are. Also, don’t just vary the shots and angles, but vary the facial expressions and where they look! Don’t always have them look at the camera!

 

Megan Kelly, Posing, Poses, How To, Ideas, Guide, Tips, Inspiration, Megyn KellyGive Them Confidence. Being in front of a camera is intimidating. Most people stiffen up, and it’s so hard to get those natural poses. Break them out of that shell and make them feel comfortable! I like to show them images that I take right from my camera that makes them look good. It gives them confidence, and it will show in your images that they are more loose and comfortable. Also, TALK! Talk to them, they are human beings! Make jokes, as them about their lives while you shoot. Make it an experience, then it is more comfortable to shoot. This is an area I am great at, and I can’t tell you enough how big of a difference it makes.
Example: With a little boy, all he wanted to do was see the Ninja Turtles that were living in the sewage drain. He was screaming and crying, and his mother was frustrated. I took the boy by the hand, and we went and looked in the little sewage drain holes! I asked him about it, and I was able to get cute expressions and laughter as he talked. And then after, he was extremely happy again! It works!

 

Megan Kelly, Posing, Poses, How To, Ideas, Guide, Tips, Inspiration, Megyn KellyUse The Background. I pay just as much attention to the background as I do the subject. If you have a boring background, the images loses a lot of it’s interest. Try to not only pick a great background, but use it as well! Have them lean on a tree! Have them sit in a window, or on a bench. Have them lay in the tall grass or throw leaves in the air! Props and using the environment takes some pressure off of your subject, because they have something to work with, and it makes for unique shots.

 

 Posing Women

Megan Kelly, Posing, Poses, How To, Ideas, Guide, Tips, Inspiration, Megyn Kelly

  • If it bends, bend it. Bend the arms, bend a leg, bend the neck, there are so many things to play with on a woman! The more she bends, the skinner and the more interesting she will look. Bend as many things as you can, without it looking weird of course.
  • Leave gaps. When the body is hunched together, we look wider. Leave gaps between the legs, between the arms and the body, etc to make a woman appear thinner and more curvy.
  • Shoot from above. Women look very flattering when you shoot them from slightly above.
  • Use her outfit! Have her hold onto her scarf or necklace. Have her put her hand in her hair, or twist around and get her hair to be flowing in the air.
  • If she feels awkward, she probably looks awkward. Pose her, and then tell her to loosen up and make it her own. Relax into the pose.
  • Ask her opinion. Girls love Pinterest, and I’m sure she has ideas that she would like to try as well. She will appreciate being asked. Girls love photos of themselves generally. And even the ones that don’t will have some ideas that they will want you to keep in mind.
  • Look up lots of examples! There are so many good ones, and I can’t show them all on here, so go out there and look them up! Inspiration is such an important step.

 

Posing Men

Megan Kelly, Posing, Poses, How To, Ideas, Guide, Tips, Inspiration, Megyn Kelly

  • Be understanding. Men don’t normally enjoy having their picture taken.
    Make sure you can work quickly, make it entertaining, and let them know you understand if they start to complain.
  • Square Up. We want men to look like men. Have them broaden their shoulders, have their feet shoulder length apart. Man up! =)
  • Bend the arms. Men’s arms look great bent, as seen in the examples on the left. Cross them, put one up on the wall or fence, put one up to the face. It broadens them up.
  • Use what they like! Men don’t have the cute accessories, so use what they like to do as props! Bring a basketball or their car. Have them hold their jacket over their shoulder. Use what they love in their photos to reflect who they are.
  • Shoot from slightly below. This makes men appear powerful and cool. Guys just want to look cool in photos, let’s be real. =)
  • Vary the smiling and the serious faces. Get that smolder going! If I can’t get a guy to smile, I will say “Come on, where’s that ‘I just saw a cute girl smile'” They always perk right up. =)
  • Look up lots of examples! There are so many good ones, and I can’t show them all on here, so go out there and look them up! Inspiration is such an important step.

 

 

 Posing Couples

Megan Kelly, Posing, Poses, How To, Ideas, Guide, Tips, Inspiration, Megyn Kelly

  • Let Them Be In Love. Couples are naturally cute. They out of everyone you shoot will naturally fall into poses and just be in love. Let them! If they are giggling and laughing, capture it! Those natural poses they will treasure, because it’s their real candid relationship.
  • Vary where they look. Have them both look at you, both look away, both look at each other, one looking at you and one at the other. You can get different emotions this way.
  • Tell a secret. Sometimes I will secretly tell the man to sweep her off her feet when I lift my camera to my eyes. Then the reaction for both of them is real and sweet.
  • Have them interact. Tell them to talk for a little while, or to hold each other and tell a story. They relax, and almost forget the camera is there. Capture it!
  • Watch for Awkwardness. If one couple has a tall woman and short man, see if you can plan for ways to minimize that without embarrassing them. Or if one is wider than the other, plan on ways to fix that as well. Also, if they just feel awkward in front of a camera, get some music going and ask them about how they became a couple. Involve them and help them to loosen up enough to kiss on camera. =)
  • Look up lots of examples! There are so many good ones, and I can’t show them all on here, so go out there and look them up! Inspiration is such an important step.

 

Families

Megan Kelly, Posing, Poses, How To, Ideas, Guide, Tips, Inspiration, Megyn Kelly

  • Triangles! Without a doubt the hardest type of photography. Family poses look better if you create triangles. Use the location of their heads to create triangles with where the different heads are. Varying the height and location of heads does wonders every time.
  • Don’t be afraid of candids. The entire family is hard to get perfect every time. Have them talk for some photos, do a group hug, or have a tickle fight. Those are sweet and natural moments that can be tender.
  • Vary the groups. Get the entire family, then sub groups of the family. This will give some members a break, and you can even involve them in the fun! Have a little kid help push the button, or see how they look on the camera.
  • Go with it. Just like my story before of the little boy who wanted to see the Ninja Turtles, just go with it. Don’t stress to get perfectly posed shots. Take a second to make sure each family member is comfortable and happy, especially the children.
  • Make Mom Look Good! The one person that will really care about your photos is mom. Make her look great! She is more likely to feel fat, or posed weird. Try putting children in front of her, or to pose her to look thin. She will care the most.
  • Give general poses. It’s hard and not time efficient to pose each person individually. No. It just doesn’t happen. I put everyone in the location that I want, and then I tell all the boys to either fold their arms, hands in pocket, or to bend their arms if they are crouching down. Then I tell the girls to always bend a knee, hands on hip, on scarf/jacket, or hands in pocket. This is great with kids. Then they all can pick what they want, and all you have to do is minor tweaks before you take the shot instead of taking a minute to pose each person perfectly and hope everyone will stay there.