POSING THE HUMAN BODY….a photographer’s challenge

After writing 13 books (many on posing) and talking with photographers all over the country, I can honestly say that posing is one of the most challenging aspects of professional photography for the average photographer.  While lighting a portrait can learned quickly, posing takes time, it takes study and it takes constant practice.  Many photographers that struggle with posing generally turn posing over to clients and try to capture something that looks good.  The “stand over there and walking toward me”….”Jump up in the air” or “go sit on that rock” posing I see in many photographs reflects the struggle that most photographers have with taking control of this area of photography.

Posing well requires you to study the human form, learning what makes a pose look feminine or masculine, business-like or sexy.  You have to understand the how the lines of the body translate visually into a look or project an overall feeling (example-a woman’s body in an “S” curve visually translates into a very feminine, very alluring feeling for it accentuates the curves of a female, at least a woman who has curves in the right places…excessive weight tends to put curves in the wrong places or diminish the typical hour-glass shape).

In my books and DVD’s I stress learning how to pose each part of the body, to look it best, and finally learning how to bring together all the individual parts of the body into an entire pose that produces the look and style you are trying to create.  Even the hair and eyes need to be considered or have “posing” that they look best in.  As you pose a woman, you need to look at the way in which the hair flows, as well as the eyes to see the direction of the pose (relative to the main light) and provided an area for the hair to naturally flow.

As you study posing, look at posing each part of the body, rather than trying to memorize specific poses.  When you remember specific poses, you have difficulty modifying the pose to each client, as some client will look good in a pose and some won’t (without some tweaking!)  Issues like age, flexibility and weight will change or alter posing strategies, so you need to be able to adapt pose to fit each client.

Finally, the single biggest bone-headed problem I see is photographers practicing posing on models or wannabee models that basically pose themselves and look nothing like the clients that you work with everyday.  When you practice posing, work with people who are just like your clients (slightly over weight, stiff, nervous and/or uncomfortable in front of the camera)  While these types of practice sessions are much more difficult, they train you for what you are supposed to know!


~ by jeffsmithbooks on July 29, 2012.

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