The following is an excerpt from Caroline Tran’s Light & Love | A Storytelling Photography Workshop. In her first recorded workshop, Caroline goes in-depth into how to tell a captivating narrative, how to shoot film, and how to become a featured photographer. Click here to learn more, or check out the trailer at the end of this tutorial.

First Things First

When meeting your clients for the first time, it’s incredibly important to spend some time (about 15 minutes) just getting to know them and breaking the ice. These first 15 minutes aren’t just important in creating rapport with your clients, but you can also use this time to train them into reading and understanding your non-verbal posing cues so that later, you can prevent yourself from having to repeat instructions and allow for more conversation between you and them.

Watch The Non-Verbal Posing Cues Video

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The “Mirror Me” Technique

This technique is both simple and effective. When having to direct your couple into a pose, by telling them to mirror you and your actions, you can help give them a better sense of how to position their body.

Of course, when you’re first starting your session, you do want to use verbal cues as a way to better explain to your clients what you’re talking about in terms of posing, hand placements, etc. Eventually, as the shoot progresses, you won’t have to use words anymore as you can now use actions or non-verbal cues with the “Mirror Me” technique. What’s great about this is that once your clients understand these cues and understand what posing direction you’re referring to, there’s no need to interrupt the flow of the session and conversation with interjections of posing instructions.

[Rewind: 12 Posing Cues From 12 Incredible Photographers]

Being Aware of Insecurities & Learning Non-Verbal Cues to Pose for Them

The “Mirror Me” technique is also great in helping address certain insecurities that your client may have without having to verbally point them out. One of the most common insecurities to be aware of is the double chin. Have your clients make the subtle change of pointing their chin downwards and elongating their neck to eliminate the double chin as you make those same motions yourself. This will then leave a lasting impression on them, so throughout your shoot, if you catch them doing things like shrinking in their neck, you can simply repeat the motion of elongating your neck, and they will remember to mirror your actions.

Non-verbal cues are also great when adjusting for hand and arm placements. It is important to be sure their arms are not pressed flat up against their body and forcing that area into an unflattering position.

non-verbal-posing-cuesYou can subtly let them know to place their hand on their hip or to lift their arm up and away from their sides with your own actions and without you having to verbally say so. This scenario allows you to keep from interrupting them and their train of thought, and they don’t realize that you’re actually reminding them of how they should be posing.

Conclusion & Learn More about The Light & Love Workshop

Non-verbal posing cues are just one of the ways in which you can better direct your couples all the while creating a better overall experience for them. If you’re interested in learning more about posing and communication, building your brand, and more, be sure to take a look at Caroline Tran’s Light & Love | A Storytelling Photography Workshop!