How to pose

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by g_takamine, Apr 4, 2004.

  1. I'm on the other side of the spectrum--a subject/client who will get
    married in June. Our photographer hasn't offered suggestions when
    asked. Our fault and all is now too late.. I'd still like to
    increase the chance of having more good photos taken by at least
    doing our part. We're both average height to tall, slender, "decent
    looking". The dress is strapless and form-fitting down to upper
    thigh. Unfortunately, we(icluding the maid of honour) are a bit
    camera-shy and not used to taking pictures. I must say we cringe at
    seeing some of the "traditional" poses. Any experience/advice that
    you may have about candid and posing are greatly appreciated!
    Besides trying to be relaxed, are there any trick and things to watch
    out for?
     
  2. You’re all a bit self conscious, so you really want to feel more confident and secure in front of the camera. A few things you can do is practice in front of a mirror. Without thinking you will position yourself to look how you want to look. After you’ve got “the look” close your eyes so you can concentrate and remember how you’re positioned. Do this with your bride-to-be and work out what poses you like best. Then try taking some photographs of yourselves with a camera with a self timer on a tripod. If you think that this is “cheating”, or something that the photographer should all be doing, remember that there is a reason why professional models are hired.
     
  3. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    What made you cringe at some of the traditional poses?<P>
    For your practice in front of the mirror try this: <BR>
    Face the mirror with both feet a few inches apart pointing toward the mirror. <BR>
    Turn the left foot so it points away at a 45 degree angle. <BR>
    Shift all your weight onto your left leg. <BR>
    How does that feel? Your torso should be now facing slightly away from the camera and your right knee bent. Hold your head up. <BR>
    Don´t do that in group shots where everyone is facing the camera. <BR>
    For closeups, hold your bouquet above the waist; for full length shots, hold your bouquet below the waist.
     
  4. SOME POSING BASICS: .......by Timber.....
    <p>
    You are a wise bride to train yourself alittle beforehand.
    <p>
    The one visual problem that needs to be solved starts with the shape and size of the
    bouquet. How this interacts or offsets your shape and height is noticeable.
    Where the problem continues, furthermore, is how the bouquet is tied together. Hand-
    tied bouquets can be
    thinner, smaller. The "frame" that many florists use, combine to mostly force the look of
    the bouquet. This look is a round arrangement. This round arrangement, however,
    usually does not "flow" with the bride's shape when she is standing. Adding ribbons
    helps!
    <p>
    The longer, hand tied bouquet can be held lower or angled. The "plastic frame" round
    bouquet is more limited in position, in my opinion. A large round bouquet does not look good held to the side of the Bride
    for most reasons. The round bouquet hides and adds 'weight' to the bride's center. This
    is not a problem if she has a large traditional full dress, but it is a visual mismatch if she
    has a more slim dress.
    <p>

    Models use a modification of 'ballet positions'. Whereas ballerinas make 90 degree
    'turnouts', models in fashion use nearly 45 degrees. You can see these foot positions
    certainly in
    older fashion magazines from the 40s and 50s, and they are used today in catalogue
    looks, like in upper scale "Town and Country" publications. One artistic concept is to
    make your 2 feet look like you are using only 'one leg'.
    <p>
    I
    would venture to speculate that 95% of all wedding photographers never took ballet, and
    never became fashion photographers: Therefore, you need to do this detailed work on
    yourself.
    <p>

    You will notice in fashion photography that the heel may be turned-in rather
    than the toes turned-out. Hand
    positions,
    particularly finger positions are widely seen in fashion photography: the feathered hand
    with the middle two fingers close together comes to mind at this time. Then there is a
    "fan hand" used in catalogue photographs. Don't grip the
    groom with too much pressure in any portrait. Don't allow your hands to look aggressive,
    in any shape. Don't allow your fingers to 'run' straight towards the camera, generally.
    <p>

    I decided early on to be a wedding photographer that really analysed the look of a Bride
    and tried to maximize the look of each individual bride. Each Bride gave me a new
    challenge. You may be detecting that this photographer has too little interest in this.
    <p>

    You can angle [the bouquet], and this will pretty much set-up your hand position to be pleasing: you
    can
    cradle your bouquet like a baby if it is large, or merely angle it. For a portrait outdoors,
    you can 'let it fly' alittle in a casual look with the groom. In comparison: bouquet that is practically the same size as a bowling ball!
    <p>
    You will need to lower your chin so that your eyes open. You should tilt your head to
    either side, too, to indicate sincerity. It is possible that you could end up looking like a
    Marine soldier if you do not slightly tilt your head.
    <p>
    Then there is the overall 'flow' of your body and dress and feet. All the choices have to
    come to gether with harmony.
    <p>
    There is more to it, because we have not discussed lighting and veils and headpieces and
    other factors. But I thought I would help you alittle.
    <p>

    Don't simply
    throw out all of the rules just because you have seen a posed composition with faulty
    execution and harmony. I will agree with you here; and to be candid, I see fault in about
    95% or more of all posed pictures I see in wedding photography. I even give the
    photographer the benefit of a doubt because I know he/she has time and location
    limitations. It is a difficult kind of photography to perfect.
    <p>

    "Being relaxed" is really a partial look that
    is associated to overall harmony: a flow happens, like a river stream. A good
    photographer can make you look overall harmonious, but you could be worried inside!

    I have to tell you that the full traditional dress is easier for the average photographer to
    have success with. He can "go by the numbers" to produce something 'OK'. But you see,
    you are already critical. You must be a visual artist in something!
    <p>
    Timber Borcherding timberborcherding
     
  5. You aren't alone in feeling camera shy. Many couples feel that way. Some of my clients
    don't even want posed shots because of that. But your family most likely would like to
    have some.

    First of all, it isn't to late to talk with your photographer. You still have a few months.
    Talking with him/her is a good idea anyway so you become more comfortable with each
    other. You must have looked at the photographer's samples. Did you not like his/her
    posed shots? If not, why did you hire this photographer? Presuming that they don't know
    how to pose subjects may be doing them a disservice. If you have definite ideas, share
    them. Clip out a few things from wedding magazines and show the photographer. If there
    seems to be resistance, don't get upset, just calmly tell them how important it is to you
    and that you need help. Each photographer has their way of doing it. Being told here,
    doesn't mean your photographer does it that way. Again, if the samples were to your
    liking, then you're probably in good hands.
     
  6. Timber, your tips are good for a photographer to study, but it
    seems a bit unrealistic to expect amateur models to use them
    successfully.

    I think a big reason that so much posed wedding photography
    seems forced and unnatural is because we're asking amateurs
    to do something - assume natural looking poses - that takes
    some skill and practice for even a professional model to pull off.
     
  7. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Forced and unnatural? Right. The person should feel comfortable. Whenever I am having my picture taken, I put a pleasant smile on my face. Someone invariably says, "Hey Jim, give us a BIG smile." If I try that, my cheeks push my eyes closed, my mouth no longer turns up at the corners and I look like a near sighted person squinting in the bathroom mirror to see if his teeth are clean. If it doesn´t feel natural, don´t do it.
     
  8. She has one picture to mainly perfect. She can find examples of foot positions in magazines. She can go to photographers to ask for help. She does not have to become an actress. She does not have to qualify as a pro model. Tip: Place your left heel in front of your right big toe.
     
  9. G - whew... If I practiced poses in the mirror, studied how to put my feet and hold my bouquet -- I guess I'd be pretty nervous and self-concious in front of the camera - wondering if I was doing everything right!! <p>There is time to talk to the photographer. Look through magazines and look at websites on the internet. Print/copy pics that speak to you. It is certainly very helpful for the photographer to see the kinds of things that you love in wedding images. You can't exactly "copy" those because you might come across as being self-concious especially if you are shy. HOWEVER, the photographer can really get a good idea of what you are looking for. It wouldn't hurt either to clip some images that you think are yucky and cheesey. Tell him/her that these are exactly what you don't want. <p>Don't worry about posing. Just my opinion. More important is that the photographer understands that you want to be natural and comfortable in your images. During the session of the two of you: I explain to my couples that this is the only time all day that they will be alone. I tell them to think of this as their time to share their happiness about the fact that they are now married. I encourage them to hug, kiss, talk, be playful or romantic... Whatever their natural personalities are. Sometimes they just walk together and then stop at a bench or tree or even sit in the grass.... I may offer a little guidance but it is to help them be themselves with each other. <p> There is incredible natural beauty in two people that love each other expressing that love through body language and facial expressions. It doesn't need to be enhanced (in my opinion) by hand or foot placement. As soon as I start to pay attention to those details, the couple will often become stiff and self-concious.
     
  10. My feeling is that posed photography is a holdover from the
    Victorian era. That and slow film emulsions.

    It takes a skilled photographer to take a portrait that's worth a
    damn. Meaning, a picture that reveals something of the
    personality of the subject(s). The odds of even the best wedding
    photographer pulling that off multiple times with a group of
    self-conscious amateurs under the time constraints of a
    wedding day are pretty slim.

    I think that's why we're seeing a rise in the popularity of
    documentary wedding photography. People are naturally
    interesting when they're actively doing something! Beyond its
    novelty value, I think people are attracted to a photographic
    method that reveals something of the personalities of the
    participants of a wedding day, rather than the affected
    mannerisms of a pose.
     
  11. I sincerely thank everyone for taking the time to contribute an answer!! I used to lugged equipment around at wee hours for my dad, who loved taking scenic photos. I'm more sensitive to silhouettes, compositions of a photo but quite ignorant about portraits and how to behave being on the other end of the lens. At most I can only apply my knowledge of roman sculptures. An affordable photog who uses better cameras and lab was chosen. I forgo their packaged album to further cut cost. I'm afraid I would get what I paid for. But I am still working at achieving a timeless, simplistic and even artistic effect. I did request to see an unedited proof album to make sure I wasn't getting a one-album-wonder. Among the less presentable photos, I notice half came from the subjects(robotic, winced, unnatural) and some were unfortunately the carelessness of the photographer. As Timber mentioned, he could 'go by the numbers', at least if we as subjects cooperate, more good pictures would be churned out. I shall put my best foot forward, clip photos, and hope for the best. Your advice were invaluable!
     
  12. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    If you feel uncomfortable in front of the camera it is because you don´t know what to do. You know you shouldn´t be standing with both feet pointing at the camera and your hands at your sides so you feel awkward. It is a good idea to ask for pointers ahead of time and try them out. It makes life easier. Sort of like the Rule of Thirds. Instead of the novice tilting the camera up and down, up and down, up and down when shooting a seascape trying to get the best composition, if he knows to just place the horizon on the top or bottom third of the viewfinder his life is easier.
    <P>(Disclaimer: I know many photographers distain hard and fast rules but even those that scoff at the rule of thirds invariably have that element in their photos.)
     

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