I wrote an article for Cole’s Classroom about posing tips for families and couples. This is a question I get asked on a weekly basis and I thought it would be perfect to have archived here on the PhotogBlog too!
Posing is not a skill that is learned overnight. Just like all parts of photography, it takes practice. Posing can be stressful, complicated and even totally awkward at times…
#1: Show Them!
You have to show your clients how you want them to pose! If you want them to sit and cross their legs, sit and cross your legs first. If you want them to stand in a certain spot, stand their first. Not only will it prevent confusion, it will also make your client more comfortable. If they see exactly how you wanted them to pose then they won’t question how they are supposed to do it. They won’t feel silly and they won’t feel wrong.
#2: Use Your Environment and Location
Whether they are sitting on a rock, or leaning their shoulders against the wall, the client becomes 100 times more relaxed when they have something to do. If there are no rocks, benches, trees, cars or other object around, make sure at least the hands have a purpose. It can be anything from a hand on a hip or in a pocket, to grabbing their jacket or hair.
If the child and children (or groom) aren’t cooperating, add everyday moments! Bring their favorite toys or books, start a tickle fight or hold hands and swing. It may not be the hang on the wall photo that you were hoping for, but keeping it real with everyday elements still keeps it special for the family and relaxed for the children. After they calm down, try another pose.
#3: Distract Your Clients From Themselves & Never Stop Talking
If they feel awkward, they look awkward. It’s that simple. You have to get the client to think of something besides how they look for the camera. Get them talking, laughing and focusing on you instead of the camera. If you put them in a pose that makes them feel uncomfortable, change it. Respect them and let it be clear that you care about how they feel.
From the moment you meet to the moment they leave, you need to keep talking. Get to know your clients. Ask about their jobs, schools, teachers, friends, children and what’s most important to them. If you stop talking, it gets awkward especially if a couple is kissing or cuddling. Always keep the conversation going to make them and you feel more comfortable. Step back and let the family or couple talk to each other as well. It allows them to relax as you get candid pictures.
#4: Make Connections and Keep it Comfortable
As a photographer your job is to capture the love and relationships within a couple and family. Connect shoulders, hold hands, touch shoulders, or have them wrap their arms around each other. For couples, encourage cuddling nose-to-nose, forehead-to-forehead or just front-to-back. Keep them connected and keep them touching!
#5: Begin Collecting Poses From Magazine and Blogs
Scroll through Pinterest, your favorite magazine or a photographer’s blog to see what kind of poses stand out to you. Cut them out or pin them and look through them often to feel inspired. Copying each pose detail for detail will kill your inspiration and creativity. Instead, decide why you like that pose and how it makes you feel.
For example, on my Pinterest account I like to pin Lifestyle family photos. Instead of remembering where the dad was in relation to the mom or where the daughter’s hands were, I remember what kind of things they did in a photo. Were they looking at each other, tickling each other, holding hands or reading a book?
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photographer | educator + speaker | community builder
Hi I’m Kylee, and I lead the incredible KA associate photography team based in Northern Utah and help other photographer and creative entrepreneurs create thriving businesses. When I’m not shooting, scheduling, editing, blogging, being the boss etc, you can find me on adventures with my three babies or catching up on last nights tv in yesterday’s clothes. I build my businesses and community from the comfiest spot on my bed.
Kylee Ann Studios is made up of seven incredible women that share a love for serving others, value kindness and ROCK it behind the camera. With a full team of professionals, we are famous for our quick turn around time, bright and creamy edits and being so much more than your photographer. We love to tell stories instead of snapshots. Collectively we photograph 75+ weddings and hundreds of families each year, as well as birth stories, seniors and brands.
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