Today I’m talking all about posing and my posing style. Like editing, posing is one of those things you don’t really think about when your looking at photos. The only time you’ll probably give it much thought is when your having your photo taken.
When it comes to posing, there are actually a few different schools of thought. If you’ve spent any time on photography websites, you’ve probably heard the term “photojournalist” or “documentary photographer.” Photographers who fall under that category intentionally don’t give their clients posing directions in order to capture their natural reactions and movements. On the other side of the spectrum, you have portrait photographers who adjust every aspect of how their client’s pose. (“Move your chin up. Now down slightly. Now smile. Hold it. Hold it.”)
Not surprisingly, my posing style falls somewhere in between.
I aim to capture my client’s natural movements and emotions while giving them specific directions. It sounds like the two should be mutually exclusive, but after taking Katelyn James‘ Posing Course, I can tell you they’re not! The key to capturing true emotion while posed is to have clients who feel comfortable in front of the camera! This is why I start every session by chatting with my clients and getting to know them better.
After we’re all a bit relaxed, I teach my clients four “core poses.” These make up the foundation of pretty much every pose you’ll ever think of. After 20 minutes, my clients have mastered those poses and we can become more creative with movement and emotions. Creating variations that are unique to my clients is one of the ways I get to personalize each shoot. At most sessions, there is one pose that the couple really rocks, which then becomes “their pose.” It’s so much fun for me, as the photographer, to find which poses my couples really thrive in!
Of course, there are times when my posing style becomes more documentary. This is especially true during newborn sessions. In a Fresh 48 Session or a Lifestyle Newborn Session, family is often interacting with the new baby for the first time. During these sessions, I try to stand back and let them have their own moment with the little one. The same goes for a First Look on a wedding day (where the bride and groom see each other for the first time before the ceremony). Moments like these are meant to be intimate and emotional. Taking a photojournalistic approach keeps me from interfering with the rawness of the moment.
Below is an example of me purposefully posing my clients. This is my brother and sister-in-law, Steve and Heather. These guys are incredibly photogenic! We only had a few minutes to grab some photos of them during their family portraits this spring. The kids were sick, it was cold and blustery, and it looked like it could rain at any moment. Using my posing system allowed me to get all these photos, with a lot of variety, in JUST THREE MINUTES! I’m not kidding. This is one of the many many reasons I love this system of posing!
The next set of images is from a Fresh 48 Session I did this summer. These photos were taken just two hours after Gracie was born and this was the first time her siblings were getting to meet her. For these images I took a documentary approach and stayed back, capturing the moments as they happened.