Last year, I wrote a small series on how I got started. Through that, I was able to meet some new up and coming photographers who were looking for some support, community, and someone who would try their best to answer their questions. Im not sure that I offered them much, but I sure did try! These girls are now some of my great friends. Through our talks over several months, one question and concern kept coming up… posing. The main problem was how to stay creative during the session while the couple is standing there feeling nervous about being photographed and waiting for your confident direction. Everyone is different and it takes time to hone your own way of doing things, but I thought I would offer some ideas on the issue and some tricks I use! I am no expert, but I hope this can help someone out there!
I said that honing your own way of posing can take time, and part of that includes gaining confidence in yourself. Try to be patient. Practice makes perfect is a saying for a reason, as is, patience is a virtue. Confidence is probably the most important key to posing during a portrait session, so if you are new or are not confident yet… fake it till you make it. Even if you are so nervous your hands are sweating, pretend you know exactly what you are doing and work it out. People respond positively to confidence, and you will notice a difference in your images.
For every session I shoot, just in case I have a brain freeze, I have three new poses in the back of my head should I need some help. I may have seen them in a fashion magazine, on Pinterest, or during my many people watching sessions. I have been known to even sketch poses out if I saw them in person and have no way to document it. If there is a lag during the session, or I am feeling uncreative, I pull out one of the poses. Something new brings in fresh inspiration and you can run with it, which leads me to my next tip.
Instruct your couples to make subtle movements. Have the bride turn her head in a different angle, change the placement of the grooms hand, or change facial expressions from soft, sweet smiles to a big, bursting laughter. Now you have a completely different image. You can also alter your angle and switch your lens during this time, which gives you even more to work with. Right in that subtle change you can gain 5-10 new images.
I am no where near perfect with posing. I still get nervous, and still feel uncreative sometimes! But, these are three things I think about before and during each portrait session that have really helped! They add diversity to your portfolio, and specifically deal with the photographer brain freeze that can sometimes happen!