Elizabeth Halford Photography {the blog} » photography in plain English

Posing 101 – Grownups and teens

*click here for yesterday’s post in this series*

I mostly work with children because the adage is true…”never work with grown ups or teens”. I’m pretty sure that’s the saying, right? :) Funny enough, I find grown ups and teens to be more challenging than children and it might just be their knack for letting you know exactly how nervous they are. Also, they tend to just stand around waiting for you to come up with something fabulous for them to do, so here are a few ways I make sure I’m ready for a session with grown ups or teens:

I don’t have a posing guide for grown ups, per se. I just grab images from magazines or around the web that spark ideas and help keep me on track. You can pop an album of images into your mobile phone and have a pocket full of ideas at hand.

Get them moving. Static poses with grown ups aren’t usually as easy for me as with kids. Because like I mentioned in previous posts, you can set a kid up in frozen posin’ and then get a huge gufffaw out of them which brings the whole thing to life. With grown ups, they can really freeze in the pose you’ve suggested, leaving them too afraid to move a muscle or else mess the whole thing up. So I’ll ask them to get a few meters back and just walk towards me as I shoot. When I say stop, they’ll naturally strike a pose like this —> at the end and look lively and invigorated from their brief walk, not frozen stiff.

The number one instruction that I start all grown up sessions with is to change a little something about your pose every time you hear the shutter. Teens love it when you tell them this is how models do it. *click* subtle change in eye direction *click* move your arms *click* turn to the side. Once they get into it, the poses will start to flow. Sometimes with older children, this works too.

For women, If it can bend, bend it. This is a rule of the pros. When posing your subject, anything that can bend should bend. Elbows (hands in pockets or on hips) knees (place the weight on one leg and this will swivel the hips, too which naturally leads to a head lean).

For men, photograph them straight-on. This makes their shoulders broad and strong and makes a huge statement as far as body language is concerned.

Having something to pose with or against is helpful. A low wall or a tree are great for leaning. Posing with objects like a guitar (only if they actually play it of course!) or a beloved heirloom can take away the feeling of not knowing what to do with their hands.

Pose like a kid. For me, the poses that naturally flow in my head are children’s poses, but most of them work just fine for grown ups, too! Like laying in the grass…

A few last tips: breathe (both you and them!) watch the posture (no slouching!), watch the hands (funny hand gestures and positions can easily go unnoticed) and try loads of different things to be sure you end up with everything you hoped for in the end!

  • Sofia

    Hello,
    how do you make the pictures blurry on the background that makes the picture stand out more :D please respond back
      thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Sofia! That’s called ‘bokeh’ and you can read more about it here: http://bit.ly/ekwc8l