Saturday, June 4, 2016

How to Pose

For a short time, while in my twenties, I taught modeling to preteens at a charm school in Norfolk, Virginia. I have also been asked to model many times over the years, but I do not consider myself a professional by any stretch of the imagination.

Professional models give the photographer great shots one after the other. Poor Mr. Mickey sometimes has to take seventy pictures for me to get four or five photos that are acceptable for publishing on the blog.

Many of you have asked me to share tips on posing for the camera, so this post is for you. I am happy to share what I have learned.

First and foremost is lighting. Always face the light source. The golden hour for perfect lighting is as the sun is setting on an overcast evening. The worst time to take a photo is noon. When the light source is coming from directly overhead, your features will create harsh shadows and look more pronounced.

Look for the right background. My Covered Perfectly V-Neck top is black, so a light neutral background allows you so see more of the details of what I am wearing. If I were standing in front of a dark bush or wall, there would be too little contrast.

Stand tall with good posture but relaxed. Imagine a string holding your head high and your body falling in a nice straight line beneath it. Whenever I model with someone, and it is their first time, they always ask, "What do I do with my hands?" Pretend your nails are wet. Relax your hands and keep them soft and natural when you pose. Every move should be fluid and small. The camera will capture it if you are stiff and unnatural in your poses.

Learn your best side and practice how much smile is enough. Straight on is best for me since I don't like my profile at all. If I am laughing, too much of my gums will be showing. I have learned to look straight into the camera, relax and give a small smile.

Create angles with your body. Put one foot in front of the other or out to the side or turn one hip toward the camera. Put one hand on your hip or just bend one arm at the elbow and angle it out from your body. Create space between your arms and legs to avoid looking larger than you are. For example, if your arm is straight by your side, it will look bigger than if you angle it just slightly away from your body. If a part of your body bends, bend it.

Relax and have fun with it. When we are shooting, I am always moving, and Mr. Mickey is clicking away with each shift in movement. I hear a click; I move to a slightly different pose. It takes us less than five minutes to shoot fifty photos.

Remember that whatever is closest to the camera will look largest. For example, when I am sitting, I never cross my legs to the side and angle the upper leg away from the camera. That makes my thighs look huge!

In the photo above, my hands and feet look larger than they are because they are closest to the camera. That is perspective. You can use this to your advantage if you understand how to manipulate perspective with your poses.

In these two poses, I am keeping my face, hands, and feet in line with my knees so that nothing appears a lot larger than it is.

Below, my hands are closest to the camera, so they look bigger.

It is almost always better to be looking up at the photographer instead of down. Below is an example of a poor angle. My neck looks every day of its almost sixty years here.

Two steps down so that I am more eye to eye with the camera is much more flattering. Slightly looking up at the camera is the best angle of all.

I hope these little tips help you to have fun and get better photos for your book of memories.

In these photos am wearing one of my favorite easy casual looks. The top is the Simple Comfort V-Neck from Covered Perfectly. My waistline is rather thick, so I used one of my favorite tricks to make it look more defined. That is an old hook and eye belt from Chico's that I am wearing low in the front to create a V rather than a straight horizontal line. For example, if I tucked this top in and wore a belt (horrors!) I would look twenty pounds heavier. 

The Jag Jeans are from The Fig Leaf in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. I love the fact that they have a smooth wide waistband with no zipper or loops to create lumps and bumps under my tops.

The shoes are at least three years old by Vince Camuto. The bag is a couple of years old by BCBG via T.J.Maxx. It is a great light neutral color, so I carry it often in summer. My favorite sunglasses are by Balmain via Saks Off 5th.

The cuff is by Made In The Deep South, and it is from The Charlemont in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Fifty, not Frumpy followers get a 20% discount on up to two items! Use the discount code FNF20 when you check out at Covered Perfectly. There are several styles to choose from, and the discount will apply on up to two items. You may also take advantage of the buy 2 get 1 FREE special. Only one of the discounts will work.

Thank you so much for joining us on this journey through midlife and beyond. The second fifty years are truly the best!

Created in collaboration with Covered Perfectly
All words, styling, and creative direction are my own.


Marie said...

Your new hairstyle is very flattering. What an interesting life youve had!

Another tip for a close up shot is for the photographer to stand back and use the zoom feature otherwise if shot too close, you will look out of proportion.

Unknown said...

Love these tips! Thanks for sharing them.

Unknown said...

These are fabulous tips! Thank you for sharing😍

Kathy said...

Thank you for sharing the great tips. I just wish I had them two weeks ago for Sylvia's fashion challenge! I will be prepared for a the
next one!

Missy said...

Always notice your flattering poses and glad that you have given us your valuable tips. I especially like the tip about showing a profile or not.
Thank you for the non examples - a picture is worth a thousand words!

JARuns said...

Thanks for sharing these tips! I wasn't aware of the one about keeping arms a bit away from the body--but I have a photo where I happened to do that and it does look nice. Now I know why, and will do it on purpose next time.

Grammy Goodwill said...

Those are great tips. Thanks. I hope I can remember them!

Donna said...

Great tips! Were you always this comfortable in front of a camera? I cringe when I see a camera.

Unknown said...

Great tips! Thanks!

Over Fifty in Hollywood said...

Good to know you have a bad angle. We are our own worst critic. I only notice how adorable and how well put together you are. Taking a photo from high angle is a great pointer as is the tip on taking multiple pix. Congratulations on 5 million hits and thank you for your site.

Anonymous said...

This is extremely helpful, Susan! I've recently added Fashion Friday, a weekly fashion feature, to my blog. My husband is my photographer, but this kind of photography is new to both of us and I know your tips will help immensely. I hope you'll stop by on a Friday!

Elaine @ Following Augustine