OK, I lied. These posing tips are relevant for posing models as well.
When you shoot “ordinary people,” they are not always aware what which post highlights their best features—things like the shape of the face, long noses, big ears, and so on. Experienced models will usually know how to pose to look at their best, but for the rest of us, here we go.
Photographer Jerry Ghionis shares a few posing tips for shooting people, focusing on non-models. Of course, we can always go into photoshop and liquify our models to perfection, but Jerry shares how to make people look goon in-camera.
Jerry shares two tips for “improving” big foreheads. One is to crop just above the eyebrows (with a bit of breathing space). The other one is to direct the model to lift their chin up, which de-emphasizes the forehead. It makes sense, as when you tilt-up, your forehead is moving away from the camera.
Long or crooked nose
This tip is similar to the previous one. For long noses, you can ask your model to tilt up a bit. This reduces the amount of nose the camera “sees”, making it appear a bit shorter. For crooked noses, you can ask your mode to move the nose until it faces the camera, even if that means the rest of the face is a bit tilted.
At this point, you should see how tilting up (or lowering the camera angle) makes both your nose and your forehead will appear smaller.
Of course, you can play with wider lenses to make the ears smaller, but that comes at the expanse of making the nose larger and more bulbous. What Jerry suggests is to turn the model’s head to the side until one ear disappears. Dealing with one ear only already solves 50% of the problem. As you keep turning, the other ear will become enveloped by the model’s head, making it appear smaller as well.
Most people don’t have even eyes. This is part of our face not being 100% symmetric. One way is to shoot the small eye when it’s closer to the camera. Another is to ask the model to make a small squint. (a-la Peter Hurley squinch). If you are in luck, this will even out the eyes.
Fixing the Blank Stare
Sometimes your model will be so focused on the shoot that their eyes will go blank. This can happen because they are no used to getting shot and block themselves out or because they are actually bored. Jerry suggests either ask for the tiniest of squints or a full deep inhale. It’s hard to look bored when you are at the top of an inhales movement.
There are way more tips in the video than I covered here, so go ahead and watch the full thing. If you have more posing tips, share them with us in the comments.