Photography Poses – The Missing Ingredient

You’ve read all the “best digital camera” articles, got the best price on your first digital camera, and even glanced at its owner’s manual. Are you itching to take some great shots, or what?

Slow down, soldier. Before you take 200 shots that seem great at the time, but then upon review of the final picture are less than what you expected, let’s prepare. Prepare?! I’ll bet you thought charging the battery was the hardest part of taking great photos, didn’t you? Sorry to disappoint you, but if you want to improve your photo results 50 percent in 2 minutes, let’s review some basic advice of the pros.

photography fashion poses

Photo by Chen Tao Liao.

There are two categories of GENERAL ADVICE which applies, regardless of whether you’re using a digital camera to take professional portrait poses, group pictures, pet portraits, baby pictures, funny photos, or even maternity portraits. The first category is…

Good Planning Advice for Photography Poses

1. Prepare For The Event
Prepare for the event by thinking about every photograph you want to take and what kind of photography pose or poses you would like to capture. Consider who, where, how, and the type of environment.

2. Take Multiple Photographs
Take multiple shots of each pose (remember, digital memory is reusable, a.k.a. “free”). Regardless of what you say or do, people will blink. And don’t count on spotting small problems on the tiny camera LCD screen (even on full magnification); which leads to…

photography poses

Photo by Roberto Taddeo; ISO 800, f/5, 1/160-second exposure.

3. Check LCD Screen
Check the digital camera’s LCD screen for general framing of the picture, any movement, visibility of faces, and the histogram. Note that you can think up a fantastic photography pose; arrange the subject perfectly; and, have the photograph “frozen” (no blinking, and no shaking of the camera)…but, when you check it out in the LCD, you see 2 drunks fighting in the background! And, my favorite…

4. Funny Phrases
Have some funny phrases handy to use just before you take the photo. Don’t use it when setting up for the shot. And, don’t use the same phrase all the time. Throw in funny anecdotes, phrases, names, words that you know the subject will find more amusing than “cheese.” A natural smile looks four times better than a fake one. The second category is…

Location Advice for Photography Poses

Taking indoor portrait photography, is very different than outdoor portrait photograph (duh!). For INDOOR pictures…

photography poses

Photo by Alessandro Baffa; ISO 125, f/13, 1/160-second exposure.

1. Wide Angle
You will tend to use the wide angle more often than your telephoto setting. Pay particular attention to your “end people” (those farthest to the right and the left in your viewfinder), and verify there is enough space in picture, so that if cropping is required, the end people don’t have to lose a limb.

2. The Flash
Flash considerations are critical. Do not be outside your “flash range.” For example, if at ISO 100, your flash can properly illuminate 12 feet, don’t attempt any photography pose that requires anyone to stand at 14 feet (unless, of course, it’s evil cousin Ira who you want to appear in darkness).

3. Plan “B”
If you need to be further away than your flash allows, here are 2 things you can try…First, increase the ISO setting (but not so much as to produce to much noise), or second, move to a significantly brighter location.

4. Watch Your Background
If there are distracting features, change your settings to blur the background (see the Techniques page). The best photography pose in the world won’t look right with a distracting background. And finally…

5. Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall
If there are mirrors or reflective surfaces in the background and you can’t find a different location, only take the picture in such a way that the flash is NOT PERPENDICULAR to the surface, but at an angle (unless you WANT a nice photo of your flash).

Outdoor portrait photography has completely different issues. For OUTDOOR photography…

6. The Sun
Avoid photographing in direct sunlight, or in mixed light and shade, especially faces. Optimal lighting results from a slightly overcast sky.

photography poses tutorial

Photo by Nikos Koutlas; ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/125-second exposure.

7. Shade
When photographing in shade, use fill-flash (see terms) when necessary. And, REALLY finally…

7. Beauty
If practical, take the picture at one of the beautiful natural settings near you. Imagine the result of a creative photography pose captured in a stunning environment. Can you say: “Over the mantle!”?

Copyright Robert Bezman. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Robert Bezman is a professional photographer and owner of Custom Photographic Expressions. Robert has created to help the digital photography users create better photographs.

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6 responses to “Photography Poses – The Missing Ingredient”

  1. Photo TipMan says:

    These are great sample portraits for photography poses. The models are beautifully lit and the posing is obviously done by professional photographers. Looking at poses like this can help us all become better photographers.

    Keep up the good photo tips and Happy shooting!

    Photo TipMan

  2. These photo posing tips are great, they will help me with my future photographic shoots so I can get the best out of my photographs.

    I actually like shooting candidly, because I find I get the best poses naturally because people aren’t so self conscious!

  3. marmane says:

    i wanted to know those right camera poses for teens?? can you help me??

  4. Paul Davies says:

    These photos and posing tips are really beneficial for any new comers. It will help for every photographer and models in future photographic shoots. And one more thing the models are so much beautifully and posing looks professional.

  5. Amanda says:

    You should make the water mark on the photos a big larger. Someone I met stole the bottom photo, and said it was theres, and used it as their facebook photo. I hate when people take other peoples work. Whoever the photo belongs to, should have recognition for their work. So just an FYI.

  6. david blanchard says:

    What is missing in your otherwise good list is: Intent. What/Who and where are the pictures intended to be shown or sold. That will inform an reasonable list of poses before you leave your studio.

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