Posing is one of those things that doesn't always come naturally but takes a lot of practice and understanding. Over the past year, I have made every effort to do research, and become the best I can be in order to better serve my clients. Not that I consider myself any kind of master at this or that I don't always have more to learn, but what I have learned, I want to share with all of you.
The first thing to take into consideration when working on your posing is this: Every couple and person is unique and is going to be comfortable in different ways. One size does not fit all. Having that said, my first bit of advice is to find a way to get your client(s) comfortable with you and being in front of the camera.
Ask questions..and then LISTEN!!
The first thing I always do is ask my clients questions, get to know them and what they like to do and a little about their relationship. By simply listening to your client, you can learn a lot and possibly learn something that can help you get more shots that better represent who they are as individuals and as a couple. Especially if you are a wedding photographer, asking questions while you are shooting their Engagement Session and at the Wedding can give you a better idea of the couple's priorities and little things that might be important to them that you wouldn't know otherwise. Those little details can really make an album that much more special later.
One fo the best ways to get your clients into poses that look natural and unique to them is to observe their interaction while they aren't in front of the camera. Does he like to push her hair back for her? Do they hold hands when they walk? Do they make each other laugh or are they more quiet and gentle with each other. All of these things are important and helpful to know.
Take your client's temperature
This is part of observing, but important enough to make it's own section. What I mean by taking temperature doesn't have anything to do with actually using a thermometer :) What I really mean is this- a pose may look really cute to you, but if you can see your client(s) looking uncomfortable, than it doesn't matter what you think..they probably will hate that photo. Think about some of your favorite photos, they most likely remind you of a good time you were having with people...my point, if they feel uncomfortable in the photo, they will most likely have negative connotations with it later. If I sense a client looking unsure or uncomfortable I either change up the pose, or try to encourage them if I think that they can do it and just need some confidence. For the photo below, I asked them if they were comfortable laying down in the grass beforehand..always a good idea!
Learn how to talk behind your camera when directing your client(s)
This might be one of those things that feels awkward at first, but some of the best shots are when people are just getting into the pose..and if you aren't ready to get the shot, it could be gone. I usually give general direction and then get behind the camera for final details (hand positions, where they are looking, etc)
Give your clients actions whenever possible
To get a more natural pose, it is very easy to give your clients something to do. For instance, instead of just saying, "go over there", you might say, "now hold hands and walk to that tree" once they get where you want them, then you can tell them to stop and face each other and tell them where to look etc.
Always be direct and confident when giving instructions. Being in front of a camera is nerve racking, unless you are a professional model, so put yourselves in their position and be as specific as possible. An example of what I might say for part of this pose below: "Travis, can I have both your hands in your pockets, perfect, now Tori, I am going to have you hold his arm with your left hand and get in nice and close...yep, just like that.. Now Tori, you are giving me a soft smile right at me and Travis you are looking back at your lovely fiance..looking good you two..SNAP SNAP SNAP" you get the idea.
Never be afraid to say something that sounds silly or makes you look goofy if it makes your client feel more comfortable and happy..I look like weirdo a lot..and I am ok with it!! Hope these are helpful! If you have any more questions, just let me know!
We may have ended the session with frozen fingers, but it wasn't due to the lack of warmth between these two people. Since they booked over the phone, the Audubon Park was the first place we all actually got to meet. Right away I felt an ease with them, I loved Brittany's choice to wear a red dress (especially in March with everything not quite blooming and still frosted from winter) and I could tell they had so much respect for one another. When I asked them what they love about their relationship, they both said they appreciated the other's loyalty. We started off our session with a little something to keep them warm, my favorite, tea by the water.
It's not too often I get the request to capture cat families, but when Kristin & Harmon invited me to their home to start their session with their five (yes, five) kitties, I was in for the adventure. These two have a unique kind of love and style that makes them so much fun to hang out with. Anytime a couple is comfortable with each other, it makes my job so easy..they laugh like I'm not there and don't shy away from snuggling up in front of the camera. I was expecting the cats, but what I didn't know was Kristin had set up an whole studio for us to shoot in their basement-eccentric and very them..and it was perfect. The more you get into personalizing your session, the more comfortable you are and the more personal the images feel.