THIS IS PART 3 OF OUR SERIES: HOW TO TAKE GOOD PEOPLE PICTURES, AND WHAT BETTER WAY TO SHOW GREAT PEOPLE PICTURES FOR THE PHOTOS OF THE WEEK IS TO GIVE A GALLERY OF INCREDIBLE PORTRAITS. SEE IF YOU LIKE THESE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE:
Let’s start with some of the most famous portraits:
Now, let’s just take a look at today’s photographers from Pexel, taking portraits:
THAT IS A GREAT COLLECTION OF PORTRAITS. HOPE YOU ENJOYED THEM. AND WATCH FOR TOMORROW’S BLOG, FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HOW TO TAKE GREAT PEOPLE PICTURES.
Oh no, I hope I didn’t lose you with this. Posing sounds like something too complicated for my photography skills. But wait, if you saw some of these posing techniques, and maybe you used a few of those with your own people pictures, do you think more people would like the photos you took? Of course. That is why I want to go over posing techniques of people so your photos of people are better, whether or not you want to be a professional or not. Let’s go through this and see if this isn’t something interesting.
Tips for Posing People in Outdoor Portraits
By Jackie Lamas
Whether you’re photographing an individual or group, having sessions on location can add a lot of variety to your images. Most locations offer natural or built-in elements that are great for posing people without having to move too much.
Almost all outdoor locations have natural or built-in elements that can give you options for where to place your client and add more variety to the session. These can include rocks, walls, trees, benches, bridges, cars, lamp posts, columns, archways, fences, fountains, and staircases. Walls also make for great poses. All of these elements are terrific posing props that make your photos interesting. Use them as much as you can.
Start with a good foundation
After you have chosen the elements with which you want to pose your client, begin your session with a simple foundation pose. This could simply be your client standing still, arms at the hips. From there, you can build upon that pose and make subtle changes to add variety.
Another foundation pose might be having your client stand in the middle of a city walkway, as they would if they were alone. From there you can ask them to bring one arm up to fix their hair while standing still. Then, have them fix their hair while walking toward you. Next, have your client do the same with their arm as they walk, but now looking toward the street. Finally, have them do the same, but this time take two steps, freeze their pose and look at you, as you get close for a portrait shot.
You now have five different poses all in the same location built on the same foundation pose.
Good foundation poses will also help with the dreaded question a lot of photographers get, “What do I do with my hands?” By building from simple poses and keeping your client moving with subtle changes, it helps them to use their hands more naturally.
Keep them moving
Many great poses involve having your clients moving. Have your client’s walk, run, jump, sit, stand, turn around, or spin. When you keep them moving you are allowing for lots of different types of shots all while letting your client walk off the nerves.
You don’t even need to move from the spot you’ve chosen. You could have them walk toward you, walk away from you, sit down, crouch down, lie down, or jump all within 15 feet of where you are standing. Have them use their hands while they move around for more dynamic photos.
Open spaces without posing elements
If you find yourself at a location, perhaps a beach, where there are no elements to use for posing, it can be difficult to pose hands or keep your client moving.
One way to pose hands in open spaces outdoors is to have your client use them. By this, I mean, have your client play with their hair, adjust their clothing, put on and take off their jacket, glasses, watch, etc. Keeping the hands busy relaxes your client and you’re able to make more natural looking photos without having the pose look too rigid.
Use the light
Shooting on location can offer lots of changes in light since you are outdoors. Use this to your advantage! Experiment with full sunlight, shadows, found pockets of interesting light shapes.
If you shoot your subject in full sunlight, for example, one pose you can try is to have them look up with their eyes closed, arms folded on their head. Another great pose you could try in full sunlight is to use shadows to create an interesting patter either on your client or behind. Have your client looking down or straight at your camera.
Using the different changes in light around you can give you new ideas on where to put the hands, legs, and other elements of your client to create a more compelling or dynamic photo.
The same can be applied to the basic compositional rules in photography. Using lines, shapes, patterns, and colors in your background to frame and pose your client as part or to stand out may result in a really interesting photo.
I feel that posing a client on location is much easier than posing in the studio because you have many elements available to use as props. And remember, shooting many different poses also increases your chances of getting the great shots that will build your amazing portfolio.
is a destination wedding and portrait photographer based on the beautiful beaches of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She earned her degree in photography from California State University, Fullerton. Jackie has over 10 years of experience as a professional photographer and teacher. When she’s not on the beach, you can find her writing on her blog and spending time with her baby and husband. See more of her work on Instagram.
Jackie Lamas posted this article with DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY SCHOOL !
Here are a few photos of people with great posing:
We take a lot of photos of people in our lives. Especially now with everyone doing “selfies” with their phones. In many cases, people don’t want to see your photos of all your “selfies”. That is for you to enjoy, and use as memories for you. What people would like to see is some new creative photos of the people you take pictures of. I am one of those people who really don’t like seeing other people’s “selfies”. They all look the same.
I am going to do a whole week of blogs specializing in how to make your “People photos” more interesting, and something you can really “show off”. There is several articles I have found that talk about making your People photos a little more creative and entertaining.
The first article I would like to share with you this week was written by: Colin Aiken. A well known photographer who has written a lot of articles for Picture/Correct. Please read carefully his article titled: 5 SIMPLE TIPS FOR BETTER PEOPLE PICTURES:
I’ve been a professional photographer for long enough now to start getting invited to judge some local photography contests. In doing so I have been struck by the fact that so many of the pictures, especially those of people, could have been dramatically improved by the application of just a few simple ideas.
I’m not talking professional portraiture here. Few, if any, of the entrants to these contests would even consider themselves to be serious photographers. In this digital age, it has become even more obvious that the difference between a good photograph and an ordinary one has little to do with the camera and everything to do with what the photographer thinks about before they take the picture.
With that in mind, here are a few things to think about the next time you take a picture of someone. Who knows, you might even want to enter it in your own local photography contest.
1. Turn the camera around
It is the easiest thing in the world to just pick your camera up and hold it horizontally to take the picture. Cameras are designed to be naturally held this way but it produces an image in what is called a landscape format, where the picture is wider than it is tall. As the name suggests, this is very good for landscapes.
Turning the camera on its side will produce an image in portrait format (taller than it is wide) that is much better suited to pictures of people. It’s obvious when you think about it, people are taller than they are wide so they will always fit the frame better if the camera is held this way round.
Using the camera this way might feel slightly awkward at first but, with a little practice, you’ll soon get used to it. The only times a landscape format works best is with a group of people or if you go close enough for a “head and shoulders” shot or you deliberately want to include something else in the background of the shot.
2. Get closer
A general rule for a good photograph is that the subject “fills the frame” and, once you have turned your camera on its side, this becomes much easier to do. It’s almost essential if you want to include their whole body but you would only need to do that if what they were wearing was important to your picture.
Normally it’s best to go in until there is just a little space either side of them and a little more space above their heads. This will usually mean you are cutting them off around the waist. For various technical reasons, it is better if you don’t get physically closer than about 6 feet (2 meters), especially if you’re using flash.
3. Find a plain background
Another thing that makes a good photograph is if there is nothing to distract the eye from the main subject. Filling the frame will help a lot with this but every subject has to have something behind them so try to keep this as plain as possible. The sky (especially on a cloudy day) might be the most obvious choice but it’s not usually the best.
This is because it is much brighter than it looks to the human eye and, unless you know how to compensate your exposure for that, may give you an underexposed picture. Even when you do compensate, there is a great danger of your subject’s hair just disappearing into the washed out sky. This hardly ever looks flattering.
If you’re near a building, consider having your subject stand close enough to it so that there is just a plain wall in the background. If there is nothing obvious in the vicinity, try standing a bit further away and zooming in. In most cases this will throw the background out of focus, making it less distracting and making your subject stand out much more clearly.
Be careful if you have a zoom larger than about 4X because it may be difficult to avoid camera shake if you zoom right in with one of these. Ideally, you would use a tripod in these situations but that’s getting a bit beyond the realms of simple photography.
4. Watch the sun
It’s great when the sun comes out. All the colors are brighter and people find it much easier to smile. However, bright sunlight produces hard dark shadows which can have a very unflattering effect on someone’s face if they are at the wrong angle. It is much easier to take pictures of people on a cloudy day because, no matter which direction they face, the lighting won’t change too much.
Of course, we can’t control the weather, so probably the best thing to do on a sunny day is to find a shady spot to take your photograph. In order for this to work best, the background, the subject, and the camera should all be shaded from direct sunlight.
When there is no shade to be found, consider the angle of the sun relative to your subject’s face. There are two positions that minimize the effect of shadows cast by the sun. If your subject stands almost directly facing the sun then the shadows on their face will be at their smallest. Don’t have them absolutely directly facing the sun or you might get your own shadow into the shot.
Another option is to have the sun behind them so their entire face is in shadow. Again, don’t have the sun directly behind them or you could end up with some flare in your picture. You may have to adjust the exposure for this type of shot but it’s the best set up if you can also use fill in flash on your camera.
5. Get on the eyeline
Having sorted out the background and the lighting, the next thing to consider is your subject and the position of your camera relative to them. Eyeline can mean different things depending on the context but here I’m just referring to your subjects eye level. This is ideally where your camera should be, at the same height as their eyes or very slightly below.
In professional portraiture, the height of the camera relative to the subject’s eyes plays an extremely important part in determining how they will look in the final image. Even slight changes of this aspect can make a profound difference. The most neutral place to be is at the same level and, unless you’re making a portrait as opposed to just taking a picture, this is the best place to be.
When dealing with a subject who is much taller than you then you should think of asking them to sit down so you can get on their eye level. If that’s not possible, try standing farther away and zooming in. This will reduce the angle at which you are pointing up and minimize the effect.
In most cases the problem arises when you’re photographing someone sitting down or a child or even a pet. It is almost always going to be a better picture if it is taken from the eye level of your subject. You don’t need to take my word for it, try it for yourself the next time you are in this situation.
Extra Tip: Don’t be square
If you follow all of the above, you should be able to take a decent photo of anyone but that is still some way away from making a portrait, which is an attempt to show your subject’s character and personality as well as being a good picture of them. Once you have mastered all the tips, you might be inspired into taking this one stage further and stepping into the realms of portraiture.
For this you need to think about your subject’s pose and probably the simplest way to start is to avoid having them squarely facing the camera. Ask your subject to face about 45 degrees away from the camera or have them stand still and you move round about 45 degrees. Then ask them to turn their head to face the camera for the shot. This usually looks much better than just being square on and, if nothing else, will have a slimming effect on most people, which is often appreciated.
Which direction they turn usually doesn’t matter but a few people have a “good” side. The best thing to do is to try a shot from either side and decide what is best later on.
For better people pictures you should: turn the camera around for portrait format, fill the frame with your subject and always shoot from their eye level. Oh, and if it’s a sunny day, get into the shade.