Posing Helps


TPF Noob!
Jun 11, 2011
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What is the best way to learn how to pose people for portrait shots? I know composition, manual settings and the like but sometimes, I just do not know how to pose someone to look natural.

When I study photos online I see how they do it. But I have problems telling people how to pose.

Thanks for your help. I love photography, but this has been one of the things that has been a bit frustrating :) Thanks!!
Start by searching YouTube for videos such as "posing tutorial" and similar search strings. People like Lindsay Adler have produced some excellent resources on this topic. Once you've learned the basics, then you need to practice. It's much, much more challenging to actually direct posing than it is to learn it. When I teach portraiture workshops, the students are often disapointed to find out that there isn't an attractive young lady to act as a model. That's because THEY are the models; I find that people learn a lot more about the art of directing a model by having to be a model for a bit, so, find another like-minded friend with a camera and practice with each other.
One way I try to learn posing is by looking at advertisements. Gap stores have great photos that I look at as inspiration for posing. Especially at their Banana Republic stores as well.

I tend to keep photos I think that look great in my own repository such as Evernote or post them on Pinterest.
The actual poses you can learn from the web, books or ads but how to get the people in those poses takes practice and some careful techniques. Carefully evaluate the person and note any physical problems or bad sides (like scars or cauliflower ears or something). Unless you know the person for sure - Never Touch Them. Just talk and direct them into the positions. You just have to practice.
I would never touch the models unless they specifically approved it, and even then I would want a witness on my side.

You can try VERY SPECIFIC directions, such as; "raise your right arm" "a little higher", "that's good, now turn your face toward me", "yes, that's it, now hold that".

OR you can strike the pose yourself, and see if the model can mimic it. This will not always work.

OR you can print out some sample poses and show them to the model.

Good luck!

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