The Importance of the Portrait Warm Up

The warm-up should gently prepare the body for exercises by gradually increasing the heart rate and circulation; this will loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles. Stretching the muscles prepares them for physical activity and prevents injuries.—from Importance of Warming Up before Sport

As a younger photographer I attended a workshop on posing for portraits and it went something like this: The speaker, a well-respected gentleman who was well known for his portraiture, showed us how to pose a subject. It was basically put them in pose A, then move to pose B and finally Pose C. After a few minutes he asked me to show the group how to pose the model that we were working with and I didn’t remember a darn thing. His process was too much detail for my brain to handle, so I won’t burden you with too much detail either.

If few portrait subjects are perfect, no pose if perfect either! As you look at the images throughout this blog, you will see real-world examples of real word people working toward a single goal, making the best possible portrait, whether traditional, boudoir or glamour. That means that some compromises are inevitable and any posing “rules” should really be considered guidelines or suggestions because the art of posing combines reality with what the subject and photographer can actually accomplish on a given day.

Tip: Before the shoot: Once a client is happy with their hair and makeup, it’s time to begin shooting but—and this is most important—I like to give a client time to warm up.

When working with clients who maybe haven’t had a portrait made since high school, I don’t expect them to walk in front of a camera and move effortlessly from post to pose. So the first shots that we make together are designed to have photographer and subject get into synch and during the first moments  I encourage the subject to just pose any crazy way they want (and don’t show them the images either.)

After a while, they’ll settle down and we can start with the real poses, until you produce a result like this glamour portrait of Joy—her real name—that was made with a Panasonic Lumix GH4 and Lumix G Varo 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 with an exposure of 1/125 sec at f/7.1 and ISO 200.

The original title of my book “Posing for Portrait and Glamour Photography” was The ABC’s of Portrait Posing. On this blog there are lots of posts about portrait posing. Use the Search box on the upper right-hand corner and type “posing” to find appropriate posts. If you want something more lasting, take a look at my book that’s available from Amazon

Author: Joe Farace

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