The Difficulty of Posing Subjects

I think all photographers struggle with this at one point or another. At least I did. And by no means am I perfect at it now, but I know I am better today than before. I came up with a few tips on how to better pose models and subjects in an image.


1 – Go With a Candid Look

I love candid shots. I think the un-rehearsed look is something that cannot be replaced. Candid shots give us the most natural look and expression on someone’s face. This is easy for say street photography, but for indoor and outdoor shoots with models or families it can be a challenge. Everyone wants to smile and pose and look stiff for the shot. The reason they are doing this is to please me and you as photographers. Tell them to relax and forget about posing. Get their mind off the camera and magic will happen.


2 – Adapt a Style

More recently photographers have started following the photojournalistic approach to photography, for both Portrait and Wedding clients. The goal with this type of shooting is go get someone in a candid shot, but to frame the shot in such a way where there is movement, story, drama unfolding. You want to send a message and it needs to make sense through your image. This is one of many styles that will help you and your subjects. By not telling the bridal party you are taking pictures, you may get some great candid shots that tell a great story or show a beautiful, genuine moment between father and daughter.


3 – Give them Direction

While we hold the camera and take shots, we tend to forget that our subjects crave instruction. Sure, they hired you and they are paying you or letting you take great shots of them. But all models and subjects (except maybe for little kids), like to please the photographer, so they strike a pose, one they have done a hundred times already. Break the mold, tell them what to do. Give them clear directions and create confidence.


4 – Break the Tension, Make Them Laugh

Posing for a picture is something all of us have done at one point or another. Some of us hundreds if not thousands of times in our lives. Lighten the mood by making a joke or creating a friendly atmosphere. When people laugh, their guard drops and they go back to more natural tendencies with their bodies and hands.