A Few Words About Portrait Posing

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Mark Toal once asked the question: “Is 4K Video the future of portrait photography?” and provided an interesting answer. In the meantime, I’d like to answer a question that I’m most often asked about my portrait and glamour photography—

On the Internet there is as much useless advice about posing portrait subjects as there is about the best way to process RAW images files and typically the person giving the advice knows that his is the only and best way.

I can’t tell you the best way to pose people, just how I do it. For outdoor portraits, I start by looking for a suitable background and try to find a way for the subject to interact with it, not just stand there. One of my favorite bits of advice on this subject is that “if you find the right background, the foreground will take care of itself.”

Whether working outdoors on indoors in my in-home studio, the process begins the same way: I demonstrate to the subject how and where I want her to stand or sit. I’m always flexible about this and people almost always put themselves into a pose that’s better than mine and where they’re comfortable.

I then refine the pose for the camera position by having her shift weight from one foot to another or to tilt her head one way or another. As we work, I continue to refine the pose by giving directions and feedback, sometimes stopping to show some of the images on the camera’s LCD screen. The most important advice I can give you—and you can take this to the bank— is to keep talking to the subject so the portrait becomes a collaboration between the two of you.

Posing a professional model like Pamela (above right) is easy. All you have to do is say, “stand over there and look beautiful” and she’ll do it. This portrait was made in my home studio with Panasonic Lumix G5 (before I converted it to IR capture) and the wonderful Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens with an exposure of 1/125 sec at f/8 and ISO 200.



On our sister blog (Saving the World, One Pixel @ a Time) there are lots of posts about portrait posing. Use the Search box on the upper right-hand corner and type “posing” to find appropriate posts. If you want something more lasting, pick up a copy of my book “ Posing for Portrait and Glamour Photography from Amazon and help support this blog.