How to Pose People Who Aren’t Models

If you’re a portrait photographer, you can probably relate to the challenge of posing friends or family—anybody who isn’t a model—and capturing images both they and you would be proud of. Most people aren’t aware of posing techniques in general and aren’t too confident facing the camera. But there are a few tips and tricks than can help you pose and direct your subjects. Mango Street explains:

Use Straight Lines and S-Curves

But before we delve any deeper here is a recap of a few pointers that were shared by the Mango Street in a previous video:

  • Straight lines provoke feelings of brashness and masculinity
  • S-curves provoke feelings of softness and femininity

how to pose friends who are not models

In short, depending on the mood and the tone of the photograph you can incorporate either of the above poses.

Direct Rather Than Pose

direct don't pose for portraits

According to Mango Street, directing, rather than posing, is a better way to get emotions out. But even then too much directing might kill the image. After the initial directions, don’t tell your subject where to keep her hands and such. Instead, let them play out an emotion. Say something funny for an immediate emotional response.

As the photographer, you need to have a story in your head depending on the mood that you want to capture. That story when spoken to the subject will likely give you that emotion you need for your image.

Capture Motion

posing non-models

Believe it or not, motion can create natural looking images. Give your subject something to do in the shoot. Something as simple as a shake of her head or just taking a few paces. Capturing the photo in the middle of the action brings in interest and life.

What other posing techniques work for you?

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