Portrait Posing: Shooting Through a Pose

As Douglas Adams says at the beginning of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “This never happens…”: A subject meets photographer in the studio who tells them “stand over there,” clicks the shutter and the resultant pose is perfect.

posing.courtneyActually that’s not entirely true. Sometimes it does happen except for that pesky “perfect” part. If you can get it in one shot, it’s the photographic equivalent of a golfer’s hole in one, so if that happens to you be sure to stock up on lottery tickets because you’re really lucky.

I always advise portrait and glamour photographers to shoot through a pose. By that I mean that after working on refining a pose by trial and error you and the subject jointly arrive at a pose that’s comfortable for them and then, and only then, can you finally make a final, salable photograph.

But don’t stop there. Keep shooting variations of that pose and maybe tweak the camera angle and maybe changes lenses until you arrive at something that you—and hopefully your subject—will like even better. But don’t stop there either. Continue shooting through the pose until you don’t like what you see. Only then you can stop having shot through the pose.

This image was shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark I with a EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens (at 50mm) with an exposure of 1/60 sec at f/14 and ISO 125. Background was a muslin background that has since been destroyed when my basement and studio was flooded.

The original title of my book “Posing for Portrait and Glamour Photography” was The ABC’s of Portrait Posing. If you’re interested in shooting portraits and how I use cameras, lenses and lighting in my in-home studio, please pick up a copy that is available from Amazon.com with new copies selling for $17.45 as I write this, which is a heckuva deal. Kindle versions are $20.99.

Author: Joe Farace

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