Posing Outdoors Part 2

0001Outdoors, in the middle of the day, you often have a limited number of backgrounds to choose from.  With backgrounds being in such short supply you must first locate a usable background, then pose within the background and then finally create a main light source that appears natural.  When it comes to posing, I have seen veteran photographers struggle to pose clients effectively, even in “traditional posing”.   Posing and composition work together.  You pose to make the client look their best and to achieve the overall look you are trying to IMG_3200achieve.  You also pose to fill the composition and achieve the proper facial size for the portrait size that will be viewed.

The single most common mistake made by photographers is to pose the subject or subjects too far from the camera.  Studies have always shown that expression and facial size sells photographs.  This doesn’t mean you can’t take full length images, but you need to pose the subject close enough to the camera to see the detail in their expression.  A simple test is to look through the camera, can you see catch lights in the subject’s eyes?  If you can’t see catch lights in their 1eyes, they are posed too far from the camera, because you can’t see the life in their eyes or personality on their face.  Too many photographers use their subjects as a way to capture an interesting background.  People buy photographs of people, not backgrounds.

For years I have increased sales of my full length senior portraits by basically compressing the body.  I use the IMG_3002pose and camera angle to show the body, but with the face closer to the camera to increase facial size.  This not only allows me the ability to create full length images with a larger facial size, it also gives me the ability to hide areas of a client they would not want to see.  Standing full lengths in a wedding dress make sense, the bride wants to see her dress, however for the average client, too many standing full lengths do not make sense and will reduce the final sales in most portrait sales.  Time after time I see senior clients and their parent order their portraits and then only get 8 wallets of the standing full length poses.

The important part of this style of posing is to use the body, arms and legs to fill the frame and add interest to the pose.  If you simply bring the face closer to the camera, it looks like a Facebook photo.  I see some of the high school seniors who are cheerleaders on Facebook, I think they are better at posing that many photographers.   When you create the image in your mind use the arms or a bare leg to fill the blank areas of within the composition.  Posing this way is very effective and profitable.

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on September 9, 2013.

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