Friday, November 19, 2010

Posing for Photos Tutorial - Part 1

After all the wedding forum browsing I’ve done lately, I feel pretty confident that there needs to be some kind of tutorial out there for couples who don’t take a lot of photos. There are a lot of folks out there who feel very uncomfortable with posing for pictures, probably because they’re never the focus of a photoshoot.

A lot of people don’t have to analyze how they appear in pictures. They usually see photos taken from group shots at bars or parties, and there isn’t a specific pose involved.

We're all champions of a the snuggly-up party pose!

That being said, learning to pose can be hard. Nobody knows exactly what they look like when they get in front of the camera lens. A lot of people have unconscious behaviors they do when the camera focuses on them. When I first started doing costuming photoshoots, I tilted my head to the side like a golden retriever. Why? It felt cute. I have a friend who used to clench her jaw very tightly so she looked uncomfortable in all her photos. Heck, look at the girls on America’s Next Top Model! They pose every day and still have trouble.

Luckily, none of us is on ANTM. Our photoshoots won’t earn us a million bucks, but looking good will make us FEEL like a million bucks. So how do you learn good photo behavior?


Practice makes for epic photos!

Go out in the back yard, take a friend, and pose however you want for the camera. Do some sitting poses, some lounging poses. Do some portraits. Try some funny superhero poses. The most important thing to do is to look at the pictures later and identify if there’s anything you’ve done that makes you think, “Wow, this needs change.” (Or “Wow, I looked great when I did x!”)

That will put you ahead of the game.

What I intend to do in this tutorial is to show a few easy things that you can do to make yourself feel much more comfortable out on your engagement or wedding shoot. YOU are the focus, so you should look your very best and not be worrying the entire time that you’ll end up looking like you have a short neck or slumpy posture.

I’m putting an aside out there – forgive me for only using photos of me; it’s not to say I’m the most photogenic person out there (I’m really not!), but I know what I was thinking or the advice that was given to me about posing when these pictures were taken, so hopefully it will be helpful to others.

My background in getting photos taken is through costuming. Basically, I make costumes, wear them to nerdy conventions, and sometimes do photoshoots with friends. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years, and have picked up a bunch of tricks that any regular person can do. I don’t have a stylist or a professional posing me – this is through a lot of looking at pictures and self-reflection on what I like best in photos of me.

Before getting into the photo-intensive part, I have a few general thoughts for those of you going into a photo shoot.

The first thing I want to emphasize for photos is to get some makeup on your face! You don’t have to know a lot about it, but get some shading around your eyes. Put on some mascara. I promise that a bit of simple color will help you feel a thousand times better about yourself as you look at your photos later.

The second is: find something to smile about. Your facial expression will have HUGE impact on how much you love your pics. Remember why you’re there, that you love the person you’re with and this shoot is a celebration of your love and lives together. That person holding the camera is only there to capture it, not to intimidate you!

We tried for a serious version of this photo, but I think we were too happy to get it right. Can't beat the smiles, though!

A good photograph is a two-sided effort. Your photographer can’t walk in and make you look good if you don’t put the effort into it. Don’t expect magic if you feel ugly that day or you think your outfit is uncomfortable. Part of looking good is feeling good.

Lastly, when you practice, make sure to tell your significant other when you see a pic you like of them. Dr. Light has trouble smiling for photos, so I’ve been showing him pics from our engagement shoot where I feel like his smile was really natural and fun. It can really help build confidence in a nervous photo subject.

Those are it from my general pool of advice. For the next part of the tutorial, I will discuss sitting in photos. Yep, sitting.

Stay tuned!

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