You may be thinking, come on, how hard and complicated can it really be to put your hand on your hip Angela? Well, I am here to tell you, all poses are not created equal...and here is what I mean:
Having your elbow out can look ok, but if you are self-conscious about your arms, like me, or you just want them to look even better, tucking your elbow back can make a huge difference. Keep in mind also that with shorter torsos (or shorter people) holding your hip lower than your natural waste makes you look taller and stretched out.. always a good thing :) Pulling your elbow back like the photo on the right will also pull your shoulders back and open up your frame (Daimond---> see diagram to the right) and makes the body language of your image look better as well.
If you or your subject is turned to the side, this rule also applies. As you can see, the elbow on the left is distracting and, if Meghan's arm was any bigger, it would be very unflattering...not to mention, you can't see her tiny waist!! The rule about opening up your frame (or some call it a diamond) also applies to the side shot. You never want to unintentionally shut down your connection with the camera by closing your diamond by covering it with your arm or elbow.
Part of the hand on the hip is also creating angels by popping one of your knees out and towards the center of your body. This can also be accomplished by crossing your ankles or tucking one foot behind your ankle...basically the goal is to make one hip lower than the other, which in turn also creates angels with your shoulders.
Now that we have the hips and legs figured out, the next thing you can do to appear slimmer in the waist is to frame your waist with your hands. By putting your hands in your natural waist and bringing them closer, it appears to also pull in your waist visually :)
Final tip: When having your hands just resting down at your side, you can use this same idea to slim your arms. Simply rest your hands at your side and then slightly pull your elbows straight back along with your shoulders. CAUTION, don't pull them back too far or you will look like a Barbie..in this case, that's not a good thing.
I hope this helped you all, now go and make me (and Shakira) proud!!
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