Are you finding yourself at shoots ripping your hair out trying to figure out how to pose your clients in a way that looks flattering and natural? Posing your clients can be a real stress point for not only you but your subjects but it does not have to be.

I am going to show you just how easy you can get your clients looking and feeling great about their photos with some very simple rules of thumb!

Set Expectations

We have found it very beneficial to explain exactly what to expect to your clients before the start of their initial photo shoot. It really works wonders to set their nerves at ease. Assure them that you will guide them every step of the way and to not worry about anything but enjoying themselves. Letting them know that they are not responsible for finding the best place for their hands or where they should look etc really takes the stress off of your clients.

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Demonstrate Pose

It is perfectly acceptable to get into the pose yourself with your client. In fact we do it all time! It not only gives your clients a visual of exactly what to do it helps you feel if the pose you are putting together will work. I always tell our clients if the pose does not feel natural, chances are it does not look natural and sometimes it’s helpful to feel it yourself!

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Watch the Angles

Be mindful of the angles you are choosing to shoot. Some are more flattering than others. For example for bridal portraits we like to have a slight pivot in the brides posing rather than a straight on shot. You will be surprised how the slightest turn of the body or shift of weight can make all the difference.

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No Idle Hands

This can be the easiest remedy in making your photos look more natural. A limp or hanging “dead arm” is what you need to avoid. Whether your clients hands are in their pocket, holding their significant others hand, smoothing their hair etc you will be able to achieve that effortless fluid look to your posing.

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Sitting poses

Don’t under estimate the power of a good sitting pose. It allows your subjects to get close to one another if you are photographing more than one person and the “no idle hands” rule seems so much easier to achieve. Think of it this way, if you were in a room and did not know a soul would you feel more comfortable sitting or standing? It is a more natural state for your clients to be in.

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Advanced posing

This is a rule we often joke about with our clients, letting them know they are doing such an awesome job they have graduated to advanced posing which they get a kick out of. An advanced pose is more like an action pose. For example if you are photographing a portrait of single person you can ask them to look in a specific direction away from the camera then ask them to whip their heads around in your direction. Have them do this several times. Chances are they will start laughing and feeling goofy and that’s when you will get their most natural and genuine smile.

If you are photographing a couple have one person standing idle and have their partner walk up behind them and give them a good squeeze. Again goofy laughing will commence and bam! There is your money shot!

These are some easy ice breaking techniques that work every time.

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Lastly encouraging your clients through the shoot is invaluable. Simple statements like, “beautiful” or “You are doing great” go a long way. Nervous or stiff subjects make natural posing a little more challenging so by assuring them that they are doing a great job allows them to be less self-conscious and allows them to relax.

It is also very important not to use any negative words during a shoot. If get your client into a pose  that is just not working instead of saying something like, “I don’t like how this is looking” just simply move on to the next pose. Sharing that a pose is not panning out can make your clients feel it is something they are doing wrong and that’s the last thing you want.

There you have it! We use these techniques to achieve that natural posing we just love. Put these rules in practice on your next shoot and watch your photos transform!

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