One important detail when planning a photoshoot is definitely to think about all the possible compositions you need to shoot.
Depending on the type of shoot that is about to take place, I usually either choose more playful poses or then practical ones. Sometimes I have to go back to my own images to see what I’ve done in the past and reflect; just to remind myself what poses work with what images.
I wanted to create some easy to access poses, which you can use in your own photoshoots. Remember to always ask consent from your models before directing them to pose, so you’re sure they are comfortable with what you want to create.
1. Laying Down
Laying down gives you access to move around more freely and impliment different angles in your images.
This can be done on the floor or on the ground by using the laying area as a backdrop in a way.
You can also add more to your images if you have objects that your subject is laying on. Do take into account that there are always suttle messages behind specific poses and elements in your images, so do your research in understanding why something is in your photo.
It might be difficult to be graceful while laying down. Unless that’s exactly what you’re after; trying to convey something totally opposite. These can be deliberate compositional decisions.
2. Create a shape
By expressing yourself through body compositions, you simultaneously create more graphic shapes to the image.
Using the body as a graphic element in the image, you can underline issues like gender expectations, beauty standards and overall themes regarding the body.
Play around with the movement.
3. Leaning with your hands
If you’re photographing your subject up close but and don’t want to add anything specific, let them lean onto something with their hands. Using hands in the image gives more depth without needing any props.
This can also be done when photographing from afar, but especially in close-ups.
Using hands creates a different kind of relaxed state for your subject, since people are usually thinking where to place their hands in a picture.
Even slouching can be interesting if you’re really avoiding the stiff poses. Depending on the pose, hand can bring elegance and vulnerability into your images.
How the fingers and palms are placed also always depicts a meaning; they can be placed delicately or powerfully. Research the meaning of the palms; open palms is very inviting pose, while showing knuckles can be even aggressive. Use either just one hand or both hands to bring emphasis to this part of the image.
4. Using their legs
This is similar to using hands in the image. They bring various different poses and can bring depth to the final image.
If you’re looking for something quirky to add to your poses, playing with your feet is a great option. If your subject is sitting down, they can raise their feet or if they’re standing up, they can stand on one foot.
Let them play and try out what positions their bodies can reach. On the other hand, if your subjects are flexible enough, they can even try touching their feet while standing on one leg.
5. Adding movement
When starting out as a photographer, I had this thought of having to make my subject stand still.
We all know how that’s going to turn out: they wait and try not to move or even breathe to get the perfect shot.
But most perfect shots come from experimentation and fleeting moments, which we cannot forcefully create. Adding this element of flowy hair or a split-second of a smile brings out the natural gestures we have.
I like to let my subjects move freely to see what it is they’re comfortable with. After letting them get comfortable with the movement, I train my eye to see the exact moment to press the shutter.
If for example, I see a jumping pose being what I want, I will ask my subject to do that couple of times. You need to be couple seconds ahead of the final shot in order to capture it.
6. Sitting down
One of the most used poses must be the sitting down pose. People usually want to do something with their hands and feel uncomfortable just standing without being able to put them in their pockets.
When they sit down, the hands can be placed on their lap which is a comfortable position to be in and takes away the pressure to to something else with them.
So it’s safe to say it’s a comfortable position that can be used when you’re out of ideas and want to get that one great shot. Even when sitting down, your subject can place their hands in different positions like behind their head (power position) or on their lap (submissive position). They can also lean in for the camera with their elbows on their lap, this pose communicates dominance.
Plan before a photoshoot what it is you want to convey.
7. Have fun and experiment
But other than these poses, there are multiple other ones you can use in your images. Experiment within the boundaries your subject has, because you still want them to feel confident and not exploited by your ideas.
Ask what they’re comfortable with and always make sure they can physically perform the poses.
We can find many resources from our surroundings; leaning onto a wall or hanging from a tree, it might turn out to be one of the best photography poses in your photoshoot.
With time you will also learn to play with more unique poses, and some of them will slowly become safe poses you’ll be using. You might even be known for your distinctive style of posing, which will strengthen the way you direct people.
Posing with composition creates the final image. Planning out a photoshoot with printed poses or drawn ones will give a better idea to your subject to understand what it is you’re after. It will give you a more structured direction and a goal when photographing.
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