There are so many talented photographers and the market of professional photography is so diverse, with older photographers producing classic portraiture, many others using more fashionable styles of photography and the younger photographers bringing a less contrived look to professional photography.  It is a great time for consumers for they have many choices to make and many talented people who can create just about anything they have in mind.

I am sent work by many photographers, asking my opinion about what they have created and by and large I see some beautiful and creative images, but the one area that seems to the biggest problem for photographers is posing.  Young and old seem to struggle most with this one area of professional photography.  Just the other day I went by a studio that has produced quality photography for years….I watch and learned from this photographer when I was starting and I have been doing this for 26 years!  I was still impressed by his choices of lighting, the attention to every detail, he is a true professional!  Then I saw it, the beautiful girl, in the beautiful dress with a hand dangling appearing to be doing absolutely nothing.  This hand had no reason to be anywhere near the face and with everything in the image so low-key, every area of skin was just that much more noticeable.  The hand was as noticeable as the face and with it appearing to do nothing it was just a bony, eye sore!

Many photographers posing abilities working with 20/20 hide-sight being able to pick up what they should have done only after they see the final image.  I think the reason that so many photographers struggle with posing is that unlike learning most things in professional photography, posing has many more variables and is something you can really never get to the point of saying, “I have mastered it and I am done!”  To effectively pose the human body, you must study and practice….and study and practice more!  You have to learn to study people as you are out to dinner, on vacation or even at the park.  Watch the way they naturally pose themselves when they are relaxed and not thinking about it.  Remember those poses and use them in your next sample session.

I think the easiest way to learn posing, is to learn the basics or the fundamental way to the pose each part of the body.  Learn how the arms, legs, feet, hands, etc. look best when posed by themselves.  Then learn entire poses.  Once you have each client in the entire pose, then you can refine the pose by making sure that part of the body is posed to look it’s best.  I have written many books on posing, as well as produced a DVD and this topic is always the most popular because it tends to be the most difficult for photographers to learn.

Posing has also become more difficult because of public perceptions of beauty.  Woman used to be able to be blessed with a beautiful face and a thinner body and that was enough.  Now they must be perfect in every way, from thin firm arms, to a larger bust, a tiny waste, with big round but and yet manage to have firm tone thighs and long legs.  And of course now woman must have perfect feet, neither to long or too short and every toe must cascade down evenly and perfectly from the big toe to the pinkee-toe.  Now pressure there….for the woman or you the photographers.  They are forced to try to look like that and you are forced with the responsibility of making them look like that in their portraits.  Posing…more than anything else we have to work with can help you achieve that.

In my book corrective lighting and posing, of the corrections that are possible only about 15% to 20% of the overall corrections are possible or controllable with lighting!   75% to 80% of all the problems that can be corrected have to do with corrective posing and choosing the correct camera height and angle.  Posing is huge to the profit of our businesses and well worth the time invested to learn it.


~ by jeffsmithbooks on April 25, 2011.

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