One of the biggest parts of giving your client the best experience is knowing how to pose. It could mean the difference between a boring session, and one that they actually had fun on.
Before I met Nadine from Sachiko Studio (my photo mentor), my only experience with professional photography were stuffy studio shoots where we sat on a chair for hours waiting to get our photo taken. I felt stiff and awkward, and the photographer didn't tell us what to do. He was too focused on getting a technically good shot with his lighting and equipment that he seemed to forget about giving us direction.
When I met Nadine, she made my first photo shoot with James so much fun! She gave us clear directions, made us laugh, and is a master at making people feel comfortable in front of the camera. Below is an example of what I mean about how genuine reactions is the most important thing. When you compare our smiles on the left with the one on the right, we look happier in our graduation photo. The reason being that the one on the left was captured by a professional (Nadine) while the one on the right was a random person who we asked to take our photo in Japan.
It's the difference between someone saying, "Look here and smile," and someone coaching you through to get the best image. The same principle applies when it comes to posing. To stand out, you want to be the one who could capture genuine reactions. Below are three tips to get started with posing!
1. Be Direct & Clear
You want to make sure you're giving your client clear instructions for every part of their body. Start with which direction you want their feet to face, what angle you want them to turn their bodies, their hand placement, and then their head direction.
Practice posing yourself in the mirror, and think about what you would need to say to get the pose you want. It sounds silly, but if you aren't able to do the pose and show them, how could they visualize it? Beyond posing with words, ask them to mirror what you're doing, and do the pose yourself.
2. Compliment Them
They don't know how they look in front of the camera, so you want to make sure you're complimenting them when they're able to nail a pose. This helps boost their confidence, and gets you the genuine smiles you want.
3. Be Silly
Throw your ego out the door, and don't be afraid to make a fool of yourself. I crack lame jokes all the time to get the smiles I want. For example, I'll say something like, "Ok, now laugh at me because I'm so funny!" followed by an awkward laugh. At that point, they laugh at my cringe worthy awkward laugh or feel silly from their own fake laughing.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
It's uncomfortable telling people what to do! I remember my very first shoot for my college suite mate, it went something like this.
"Can you just... uh... stand there and smile?"
Awkward fumbling with my camera since I was still learning settings. After a good ten seconds of silence, she asked, "What should I do now?"
I had no idea. I knew all the poses I visualized in my head, but didn't know how to communicate them. I felt weird telling her what to do, and didn't know how to show what I wanted.
However, the more shoots I did, the better I got at finding my style of posing. My number 1 tip would be to schedule a free session for something you want to practice. If you're struggling with families and want to shoot more of them, ask a friend or family member to shoot. If couples are your thing, ask your favorite couple friend if you could shoot for them. Make sure you also give them styling tips on what to wear, so that you could also use these images for your portfolio!
I hope this helps! I created a posing guide for guys and girls, so be sure to enter your email below!
Click HERE to grab the posing guide!