Non-Verbal Posing Cues for Photographers

Posing your clients can be one of the biggest challenges a photographer faces. Not only do you have to learn how to pose your subjects but also how to direct them, while still making them feel comfortable. To help provide a few posing tips and tricks for your next photo shoot, Los Angeles based photographer Caroline Tran created this insightful tutorial on how to use non-verbal cues to pose your clients:

Get to Know Your Clients

As with any shoot, your first step should always be about getting to know your clients. Make sure to use this time to help break the ice, and spend at least 15 minutes getting to know them. Not only will this help to put your clients more at ease, but it will also create a more willing subject.

Teach Non-Verbal Cues

Whether you’re directing couples, groups, or individuals, a simple and effective technique is the Mirror Me technique. Just like it sounds, this method provides your clients a better understanding of how to pose their bodies by having them mimic your actions. Begin by providing both verbal and non-verbal cues. As the shoot progresses and your client understands more about the different posing directions you are referring to, you will slowly be able to remove the verbal directions, and eventually you will only have to use the non-verbal indicators.

photography nonverbal posing cues

Avoid the “double chin” look by having your client elongate their neck, while slightly tilting their chin down.

Be Aware of Client Insecurities

Non-verbal cues are also a great way to address your client’s insecurities without having to point them out. For example, instead of telling someone they need to point their chin downwards or to elongate their neck, give them an example by going through the motions yourself. Eventually you will be able to provide the motions (non-verbal cues) of what you want them to do, and your clients will begin to mimic the requests you ask through your body language and other nonverbal cues.

Body language in itself is an art form. Using easily identifiable signals, along with a combination of both social engineering and subtle manipulation, photographers can effortlessly increase the efficiency of their entire posing process. From small tilts of the chin to turning your body in the direction you want your clients to go, nonverbal cues are just one of the many tools you can use to help direct your clients and create an easier, more natural experience for everyone involved.

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