It kind of makes me laugh that I of all people would be giving tips on how to pose for pictures. While it might not seem like it (because, well, I tend to post pictures of myself nearly every day), posing and all that doesn’t come easily to me. Have you ever seen a video of Coco Rocha going through a series of poses for the camera? It’s insane! THAT is posing. I, on the other hand, like so many other bloggers (with the exception of bloggers who are models), have learned how to work around my non-model ways, teaching myself the fine art of movement, of (hopefully) making pictures look natural and unforced but also dynamic and interesting. I have been doing this for years now so I feel super fortunate that from lots of practice and the chance to work with some really amazing photographers, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade—ones that hopefully you can apply to your next shot too!
Photos by The August Diaries
First of all, the most important thing: BE. COMFORTABLE. Easier said than done I know, but trust me, it will make a world of difference. Just loosen up, and even if you’re shooting with someone you don’t know, pretend as if it’s your best friend on the other side of the lens. Laugh, be playful and a particularly good tip I learned early on—if you start feeling yourself freeze up, just look away, relax your jaw, shake out your shoulders and come back to the shot.
Now for some technical stuff. Make sure the camera is set to continuous mode (not single shot mode)—while whoever is behind the lens will have to keep an eye out for focus, this will mean you can catch all those amazing movement shots. It’s best to shoot continuous when there’s decent light—if you’re in low light, best to put it back down to single shot mode and to be more selective with your shooting.
But if you have great light and you’re in continuous, this is the fun part! Move, move, move, but think of it as if you’re in the water. Fluid, slightly more deliberate than how you’d normally move and a touch slower. Not sure how to move? You’re in luck—I’m literally laying out pretty much exactly what I do during a shoot.
First, I like to start with full-bodies. I’ll go on about a 45 degree angle from my photographer and walk, exaggerating the step across my body (I have short legs so it creates a longer silhouette) so that it almost looks like I’m kind of drunkenly criss-crossing my legs as I walk. As I walk down the street, I’ll alternate between some glances directly at the camera and then over either of my shoulders (that “who’s that there?” shot you likely see us all do all the time). As I get closer, I’ll switch up positions—maybe I’ll change the placement of my bag, hold onto the side of my jacket, put my hand in my hair for a couple shots, etc.
I usually do a couple “walkers” (as Alicia, Jill and I call it when shooting) and if the outfit is a trickier one that needs a couple still shots, will basically do everything the same as above but just stay in one spot.
For the “threesies” (i.e. 3/4 shots from the knees up), I like to move a lot as well, pretending I have a little wind machine even if it’s completely still out that day. Kind of slo-mo hair flipping, looking down and up, etc. You’re getting the picture probably at this point—slow but continuous movement, with the shutter moving fast to capture every moment!
As for closer up shots or shots with my friends, there’s honestly nothing better than a laughing picture. I shoot with Alicia and Jill a lot and both will usually get me cracking up one way or another, but even if I’m with Matt and he’s grumpy ‘cause I’m making him shoot me on a Sunday, I’ll try to sneak in a laugh (which is always fun to do when someone’s staring at you with dead eyes through a lens) because it not only looks great on camera, but it loosens you up too.
Once you get used to this basic repertoire, there’s so much more you can add on—twirls in the perfect swingy skirt, a little jump, etc. Like I said, I’m not making any secrets about the fact that I suck at posing. I’m always jealous of people who get in front of the camera and just cycle through the best poses. For me though, if I move, if I laugh and if I make sure I’m comfortable, I’m pretty much good to go (and in that vein, I think everyone else is too if they nail that trifecta).
So with that, do me a favour and try this out this weekend! Grab your friends, get outside and shoot. It sounds funny but I honestly just love getting out and creating fun shots with my favourite people. It’s such an easy way to test your creativity and best of all, often it gets you out exploring your city too—never a bad thing to discover new places and fall in love with where you live a bit more!
Want any other tips? Tell me in the comments below!
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