Avoid these posing red flags for your Valentine’s Day shoots
If you’ve ever found yourself struggling with the art of posing in photography, you’re not alone. Posing is challenging, requiring a delicate balance of personal connection, confidence, and creative expression. But like anything, with practice, you can get better at directing your clients and creating beautiful natural couple portraits.
In this video, wedding and portrait photographer Katelyn James goes through the ten most common red flags to avoid when posing couples.
Red Flag: Stiff and Rigid Poses
Solution: Embrace the concept that if a body part can bend, it should bend. Encourage your clients to avoid straight wrists, elbows, and knees, as this creates a more authentic and relaxed appearance.
Red Flag: Scary Eyes
Solution: Too much white in the eyes can make your subject look surprised or scared. Experiment with subtle changes in where they are looking, guiding your clients to achieve a natural and approachable gaze.
Red Flag: Awkward Legs
Solution: For clients with awkward-looking legs, especially those with longer limbs, suggest simple adjustments like crossing legs or crossing ankles. These small changes make anyone appear more natural.
Red Flag: Relying on Memorized Poses
Solution: Move away from a rigid set of memorized poses and embrace a more dynamic, flow-based approach. Learn to adapt and evolve your poses based on the unique characteristics of each couple, allowing for greater variety and creativity.
Red Flag: Clients Appear Larger Than Real Life
Solution: Be mindful of the relative positioning of your client’s head and hips. Ensure that the hips are not closer to the camera than the head, as this can create the illusion of a larger appearance. Guide your clients to lean slightly towards the camera to maintain a flattering perspective.
Red Flag: Not Adapting to Your Subject
Solution: Tailor your posing approach to the specific needs and characteristics of each couple. Consider factors such as height, build, and physical comfort, ensuring that your poses are both flattering and feasible for your clients.
Red Flag: Compressed Chin
Solution: Instead of directly addressing a double chin, instruct your clients to bring their foreheads towards the camera. This subtle adjustment helps alleviate the compression without making them self-conscious.
Red Flag: Compressed Arms
Solution: Avoid compressed arms by creating breathing room. Encourage natural spacing by having your clients pinch their dresses, place hands on hips, or hold a piece of hair – simple gestures that can open up the composition.
Red Flag: Shooting Up Client’s Nose
Solution: Pay attention to your shooting angle, especially if you are shorter than your clients. Elevate yourself or have your clients tilt slightly towards you to avoid shooting from underneath and creating unflattering perspectives.
Red Flag: Clients Are Unsure
Solution: Give clear and detailed instructions to make your clients feel more relaxed. Foster a positive and confident atmosphere during the session, ensuring that clients feel excited and assured without questioning their actions.
It feels like an awful lot of things to be thinking about, especially when you’re trying to engage your clients and get them feeling relaxed at the same time. However, I find that methodically checking through these details actually helps to relax your subjects, as they feel as though you are in control of the shoot.
Additionally, if you have the help of an assistant or stylist, you can enlist them to help you spot these red flags. It’s always better to fix things in camera than in post later.
If in doubt, do what I do and make your clients laugh. I find that usually relaxes them the best and helps them get the most natural-looking portraits. If they are too busy thinking about something else, they can’t think about how awkward they feel.
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe