How I ‘Shoot Through’ a Pose

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

As Douglas Adams writes at the beginning of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “This never happens…” A portrait subject meets with a photographer who tells them “stand over there,” clicks the shutter and the resultant pose is perfect. Actually that’s not entirely true. Sometimes it does happen except for that pesky “perfect” part. If you can get a good pose (and a good expression) in one shot, it’s the photographic equivalent of a golfer’s hole in one,” so be sure to stock up on lottery tickets because you’re really lucky.


poses2.pamWhen teaching portrait and lighting workshops, I always advise students to “shoot through a pose. By that I mean after working on refining a pose by trial and error you and the subject jointly arrive at a pose that’s comfortable for them and then, and only then, you can finally make a final, and salable—if that’s important to you—photograph.

Don’t stop. Keep shooting variations of that pose and maybe tweak the camera angle and lens focal length until you arrive at something that you and hopefully your subject likes even better. But don’t stop there either. Continue shooting through the pose until you don’t like what you see. Only then you can stop.

By the way, the idea of shooting through a pose/composition works equally well for all kinds of subjects including landscapes or even one of my loves, photographing automobiles.

Coming soon: I have requested and will be receiving a Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. lens. Look for a first impression post first, followed by a Field Test.

You can learn more about my posing techniques inPosing for Portrait & Glamour Photographythat’s available from, where your purchase helps support this blog.