I believe I take a more journalistic approach to posing in that I enjoy more of an organic style to posing. I do practiced posing but in the loosest sense of the word, not in a way you might think. I suggest where to stand, who in which spot, and then general spots for hands, tilting of the head, etc. From there I let the person or group take over with natural movements, this gives a less robotic feel to the pose and gives the family a chance to interact with each other and for me to capture the moment. I pretty much do anything to capture images, I run, chase down kids, climb trees, lay on my stomach or back, climb through bushes, and get on top of things to capture the perfect image. I will do anything to avoid an artificial or contrived image with my photography.
With children I find that posing is much more effortless, you can put a child in a general pose and they will naturally start moving in an organic way. But with adults it can be a little more difficult. They tend to freeze up and pretend they have never taken a photograph ever in their life. They forget how to smile, forget their left from their right, don’t know what to do with their hands, and over all get really awkward. Sometimes you just have to make fun of their facial expressions or make an adult shake off the nerves and make a crazy face and usually they will loosen up for you. You have to assure the person that its your job to capture a natural image, you are not out to make them look bad, they just need to relax and trust you. Usually if you feel awkward in a pose you are going to look awkward in the photograph, so let me know if something doesn’t feel right and we will try something different.
Before any session I love to get inspiration from the Internet, grab an image that I’m in love with and use that as a posing guide. You don’t have to copy an image verbatim but I do like to get inspired and get “in the zone” before I head out on the session. I even grab a few reference images and put them on my phone, if I ever get stumped on what pose to do next – I whip out my phone and view some inspiration photos and this gets me back in the zone and might even give me new fresh ideas. The pose in the image below was an idea I saw online and used for this senior session and both Mom and Daughter absolutely loved it! This image was taken in Calallen Texas at one of my favorite parks to do sessions.
If I’m doing a senior session I love to look at different ideas that might be out there, someone might have a unique pose that would great with the senior you are working with. Put them in the general pose then modify so that it works with their body types. Some teenagers are a little more loose with their movements then others which makes your job way easier. I love to give senior girls a couple of posing options, a few posing that makes mom happy and makes them seem younger, and then some more adult posing to make them feel more adult. These adult poses are not to make them look like a “sex-pot” but to make them Feel pretty. Every little girl loves to feel pretty. I even take a bit of time to joke with them about boyfriends, crushes, and celebrities. If I have someone that just feels stiff or mechanical I tend to mention: “Now, I KNOW you’ve seen America’s Next Top Model. I want you to ‘Smize’ at me (Smile with you’re Eyes- not your mouth)…give me that look you have been practicing in the mirror all week.” This usually ends up with a giant grin, they all know what you are talking about – from there your subject will begin to loosen up in front of the camera.
When posing couples- sometimes they are “Hot” and sometimes they are just “Not” and thats OK, you are just there to capture their specific love- some show it in different ways. With couples I tend to give them general posing instruction then back away- and zoom in. This allows them to feel more relaxed and like I’m not in their face with my camera and lens barking orders at them. I tell them to grab each other tighter, give a kiss on the cheek, put your foreheads together close your eyes and just feel each other breathing, and just be in the moment- act like I’m not even there. This gives your client really intimate moments and gives them a chance to express their love in a way thats comfortable for them. If you get a couple that still feels a little uncomfortable you can have one whisper sweet (or naughty) nothings into the other’s ear. Whatever works, just give them a little space and let the magic happen! This image was created outside of Corpus Christi Texas on a bird watching pier on Sunset Lake.