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Tips & Tricks

How To Pose Friends Who Aren’t Models | 3 Direct & Actionable Tips

By Wendell Weithers on April 28th 2017

Posing your client can be an intimidating prospect that can leave you flummoxed and frustrated during your shoot if you aren’t prepared. But fear not, the only thing to fear is…horrible images that ruin your reputation and keep you from getting more work! Joking aside, the team over on Mango Street have some tips to help you approach your next portrait session. Let’s see how to get more out of your poses while shooting.

[REWIND: REVIEW | CLAY COOK’S FASHION & EDITORIAL PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE]

Tip #1 Straight Lines & S-Curves

In a previous video, the crew from Mango Street discussed how straight lines communicate brashness and masculinity while S-curves communicate softness and femininity. Well, the same applies for posing people. If you want the subject in your image to have a more masculine and commanding presence, incorporate straight lines and edges in their poses. If you desire for your subject to reflect a softer and more feminine mood, use S-Curves in their poses.

Tip #2 Direct Instead of Posing

Instead of focusing on posture and hand placement, give your subject a role to play and reason to reflect the feeling you want. This is great advice. Figure out the story you want to tell in your image and focus on the emotion that will help them give you what you want in it.

You can find the previous video on posing here.

Tip #3 Capture Motion

[REWIND: How to: Light Outdoor Group Shots With Bare Bulb Flashes]

If you want a shot that is lively and interesting, give your subject an action to complete. Whether, you catch them walking mid-stride or shaking out their hair, this motion will make your image more interesting.

These are some easy actionable tips to put you at ease the next time you shoot someone who isn’t as comfortable or trained in front of the camera. If you’d like a more comprehensive course on posing, a good place to start is the Complete Posing Workshop or keep up with all the general and wedding-specific posing material you won’t find anywhere other than SLR Lounge Premium.

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Wendell is based in Atlanta where he shoots events, portraits, and food photography. He also supports his wife Andrea as she runs their cake design business, Sweet Details.

Instagram: Wendellwphoto

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