Knowing how to pose your portrait subjects is crucial. Many photographers struggle in this area. As a result, they resort to guides and reference images, which may not suit their subjects. The resulting images thus seem forced and unnatural. Professional portrait photographer Miguel Quiles shares one easy trick that you can use to pose anyone:
It’s one thing to memorize poses and direct people to stand in a particular way, look in a specific direction, and place their hands just so. This method might work great with professional models, actors, and actresses. But to pose an average person, Quiles asks his subject to play a character to recreate a certain mood and feel. The benefit of using this method is that you get an authentic expression.
To demonstrate what he means, Quiles poses his subject using both of these techniques. First, he poses her as he’d pose a professional model with specific directions:
Next, he asks her to play the character of a strong, confident, and beautiful woman who is borderline intimidating:
“If you’re shooting for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and you get the person to play a character, you’re gonna notice that you get more variety of shots. You’re gonna get a bunch of different poses in a very limited period of time versus having to pose them shot after shot after shot.”
With this technique, you’ll no longer need to memorize poses. Instead, study your subject, think of what character suits them best, and ask them to play that role.
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