Flattering Poses

One thing that usually happens when we ask our friends to stand still s0 we can take a picture is that they stand like good little soldiers, straight on to the camera. That's about the most unflattering pose on the planet, especially for ladies. For gentlemen it's not so bad, as long as they're not clasping both hands over their genitals in a 'fig leaf' pose. πŸ˜‰ Even the most beautiful girl is going to look dumpy 9/10ths of the time if she's standing square to the camera. Then they decide they hate pictures of themselves because no one has done them any favors in the posing department. Some girls just know how to pose, they're natural models, but most don't or are too shy.Β  I'm going to tell you how to help them a little. Remember the old-fashioned model pose from the glamour days of Hollywood? The rear foot slightly sideways bearing the weight, the front toe pointing to the camera with the knee bent with the torso slightly sideways so the waist is slimmed, but the hips and bust and shoulders give you that hourglass figure. It's fairly easy to get, but hard to explain! πŸ˜‰ How to get your subject to do it? Ask them to stand sideways, now turn their upper body to face you. Most times they'll get it in one! If you have them put their hands on their hips or otherwise bend their elbows somehow it makes for a nice diagonal line, too. Very flattering. Here's an excellent example from StarPulse.com of Lindsay Price at the 2008 Hollywood Domino Tournament.
Classic pose
Classic Pose
If you look at the page, you'll see a really good example of beautiful slim girls that aren't looking their best because they have no clue how to stand for the camera. Kind of surprising coming from Hollywood, huh? I didn't even recognize Julia Stiles! You can also see how badly a wide angle lens distorts, making feet look tiny and far away and faces look reeeally biiiiig. It emphasizes for me that as a photographer it's our responsibility to help our subjects look nice, because they usually have no idea what we see, and require direction, and we need to be aware what focal length our lens is set on. A wide angle will distort, most often in a very unflattering way... most of the time. The exception to that rule is if you have the camera directly at the midpoint of the person, waist-level. Then you get those fantastically elongated shots that you see in Nordstrom ads. As a Nordstrom model once told me, "No one looks slim in a fur coat, so they always use a wide angle for those shots'. Another thing to be aware of is terrible posture. Most of us have it, but think we're standing straight when we aren't. Round slumping shoulders do not flatter anyone, and neither does the poochy belly that goes with those shoulders, so be aware of whether your subjects are standing up straight. Even in an informal fun shot, you can suck in your belly and stand proud without looking like you've just joined the marines. πŸ™‚ Hope this helps a little. Have fun, and keep shooting!

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