Ever found yourself wondering how to pose for a picture? Recently I was approached by a lady that was booked to have some portraits with me, she was under the impression that she was not attractive enough for the task. I found this interesting. Unless I’m shooting an advert where looks are important, I don’t ever give this a thought.
What I look for when photographing people is a spark, a twinkle, any emotion response or even the lack of one. A great deal of human communication is done without speaking. This is the first point of note. First impressions count because we make a quick judgement when we first see people. Like wise we’ve developed ways to communicate to the people around, us the type of person we are. It’s so subtle we hardly notice we’re doing it, it’s body language of course. Speaking while having your picture taken usually doesn’t end well. However, I like people to talk during photo shoots mainly because it’s a distraction but when I actually press the button it’s not usually at a point of talking.
Portrait portfolio Famous people I’ve photographed by invitation
Was she too ugly? Are you too ugly? No, of course not. A great picture conveys a story and a feeling. It’s a funny thing but I’ve learnt never to chose other peoples portraits, even if they ask, even if they say “I’m really not fussy, you do it” because I’ve discovered that I select images for a different reasons, I look for composition, composure, emotion and story, where you tend to look for a pre conceived idea of yourself, this often includes hiding aspects yourself that you don’t like such as a perceived wonky nose, a spot on the cheek, a hair out of place etc. I may not have picked up on it as you tend to hide it.
When you’re having your picture taken at home, on holiday or by friends, usually you get just one or two chances. Often these go wrong and some people get the impression that they take a bad picture. It’s often the case that when a camera is pointed people pull the same silly grin, feel awkward and hope for the best.
When working with a professional photographer you will have many opportunities, that’s the point. We keep taking pictures until we get a good one. If we don’t, it can result in not being paid!
So… bringing this back to the point of how to pose for a picture, I tend to lead so don’t try to pose, better, come with an open mind and go with the flow.
Are there ways to look better on camera? Actually yes there are a few things you can do. Firstly you need to relax, in fact you really need to relax… unless you’re a natural of course! Think the way you want to look. The camera doesn’t lie so like an actor go into character, in your mind role up your trousers take off your shoes and dig your toes into the warm sand of your tropical island. Allow the tension to flow out from your shoulders. Take a deep breath. Be interested. Often people look best in pictures when they look approachable, this may not necessarily be the look you want but if your stuck this works for most people and circumstances. The best way to achieve that is to look vaguely friendly.
For larger people there is quite a neat trick you can do. One of the traits of bigger people is a large chest and often a double chin. These are both rather difficult to fix in Photoshop but thankfully there’s a trick you can use that works quite well for both. Standing at an angle you simply lean forward towards the camera. This allows you to lift your chin a little more. Be careful not to lift it too far because you can end up looking arrogant. Chin low is submissive (and shows double chins), so pitch it in the middle.
Personally I like personality in my images and will always look for that in people. Don’t be afraid of your vulnerabilities as these are what’s most attractive to the viewer.
So now you know how to pose for a picture, go forth and bask in the exposure. I’m really keen to know how you get on so feel free to post any comments or questions at the bottom of this blog and I’ll try and answer them.
Here’s some more from the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mr-kate/how-to-pose-for-pictures_b_4236982.html
© Charles Sturge, Corporate Photographer, London | 22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU