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Posing subjects for portraits is something that there’s a lot of diverse opinion about (and a topic I get asked about a lot).
I recently, at a trade show, I asked a Pro Photographer for a tip for those starting out in portrait photography. What he told me reminded me of the famous painting ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ by Vermeer (pictured right). I guess there’s nothing new under the sun – even posing techniques.
Keep in mind that every photographer’s workflow is different and there’s no real right way to take a portrait. I hope you find this insight into one photographer’s style helpful.
The key with portrait photography is to recognise your subject as an individual and to find a pose that works for them. There is no one pose that will work for everyone – but here’s the starting point that I use for most people.
Once I’ve got this type of shot set up I then begin to experiment with varying the shot in different ways (see below). It’s in this experimenting phase that I begin to see what type of shot will work for the individual.
Some of the variations to begin experimenting with include:
The reason I use this approach with my photography is that while the starting point pose might not be the most creative it gives reliable and usable shots. It also helps the subject to relax (as it isn’t too unnatural) and become comfortable with me before we start doing more creative shots that can feel a little ‘out there’.
Note from Darren – Once again I should emphasize that this is just one photographer’s method. It is probably sounds a little more rigid that it is in reality – but hopefully it gives a few hints for those just starting out in a more formal style of portrait photography.
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