Let’s face it: standing in front of a camera and throwing poses is, for most of us at least, an unnatural experience. There’s no good reason why anyone should instinctively know how to pose so don’t feel bad if you’re unsure about what to do!
During sessions I always enjoy giving my clients posing tips to take home and some day use, whether it is for a future portrait shoot or a selfie on a night out.
Now this post is not going to go into loads of detail about the intricacies of portrait posing or the science of body angles. Instead, I am going to share some of my favourite tips; five of the easiest to remember and simplest to put into practice.
1. Stand / sit up tall
I’ll start with one of the most important and often overlooked pieces of advice. When you’re having your portrait taken remember to stand / sit up straight and tall.
Roll your shoulders back and down and imagine that you are being pulled to the ceiling from the back of your head. A common mistake when asking someone to stand tall is they instinctively lift their chin; leave the head out of it (for now) and focus on the neck and shoulders.
2. Create space to accentuate your body shape
Accentuating your body shape is key to a good portrait and one technique is to create space and allow a little daylight around your waist and hips.
Avoid planting your arms by your side; it looks unnatural, unflattering, and needlessly adds inches to your waistline. Raise your arms slightly or put one hand on your hip. If you’re leaning against a wall create a gentle curve in your lower back by pushing your hips slightly away from the wall.
3. Shift your weight onto the backfoot
It is unusual to stand completely flat-footed and neither should you in front of the camera. Instead, aim to shift roughly two-thirds of your weight onto your back foot.
To help with this try placing one foot slightly ahead of the other and gently bend the knee of your front leg. Another technique is to cross your legs as you stand. Doing so creates a subtle and more flattering curve in your body shape.
4. Elongate the jaw
Peter Hurley deservedly takes the credit for this tip. His universally popular technique involves pushing the jaw towards the camera.
Doing so gives shape and definition to your jawline, which not only helps when it comes to shadow and lighting but it also tightens up loose skin under the chin. In other words, it reduces the dreaded double-chin.
5. Put your tongue in the roof of your mouth
This is a tip I am on the fence about because I’m not entirely convinced, but it has been advocated by so many of my clients that I feel obliged to mention it!
The theory is that you should push your tongue into the roof of your mouth to improve your smile. Supposedly it helps slim the face and create a more relaxed expression. The jury is out on this one so try it for yourself and let me know if you think it works!