A Few Basic Portrait Posing Tips

One of the most important elements in creating saleable portraits is knowing how to pose your subjects. You may be able to photograph a beautiful woman but if her pose is awkward, clumsy, or just unattractive, it will reduce your ability to sell prints. And because often you’ll often be working with people that have not been photographed since their wedding or senior portraits, it’s important to develop an understanding of posing techniques to assist your subject in front of your camera.

headshot.redThe basic pose that I use it as my “first pose” in a session. I ask the subject to put their weight on the foot that’s away from the camera placing them in a three-quarter pose. Once you have a pose you like, refine it with a head tilt or have them move their hands and arms slightly while changing your camera angle and zooming (or walking around) to tighten or loosen the shot.

One of the most challenging parts of working in the studio its that usually there’s nothing for the subject to interact with or do with their hands. In the example (left) I talked to the subject while moving my hands around my face and head and watch how she mimicked it. This what she came up with an I liked it better than my suggestions.

For this setup the main light was a Dynalite Baja monolight with GSB-35 softbox mounted that was placed at camera left  with a second Baja B4 placed behind the subject to backlight her hair. A black Savage Infinity vinyl backdrop was used. Camera was a Panasonic Lumix GH4 with Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens with an exposure of 1/125 sec at f/8 and ISO 200

On this blog there are lots of blog posts on portrait posing. Use the Search box on the upper right-hand side of this page and type “posing” to get appropriate posts. If you want something more lasting, take a look at my book Posing for Portrait and Glamour Photography. It’s available from your friendly neighborhood camera store (if you’re lucky enough to have one) as well as Amazon.


Author: Joe Farace

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