Guest Blog brought to you by Elaine Barker Photography
A lot of people are scared of ‘posing’ and everything to do with the idea of it, having to do it, cringing at the end result and the embarrassment of everybody looking at you while you’re ‘posing’. I completely understand and I know why, I’ve seen the awkward posing of couples, brides and family portraits that look stiff, unnatural and slightly robotic with Barbie shaped arms and hands. This is not flattering to anyone…ever. Let’s face it, we’re not models and we don’t know what to do but a great photographer will direct you into a flattering body shapes that emphasises our natural beauty, regardless of our shape. This is what I do.
Wedding day portraits usually don’t get as much time as the photographer would like so all the ‘key shots’ are often rushed so there is little time for direction into flattering poses to really show off the dress and figure of the bride. For me, I would rather get five amazing photographs of the bridal portrait section of the day that show her figure, dress shape in excellent light and capture the personality and beauty of the bride on the day that she looks her best rather than ten good shots in whatever situation is just handy.
Ever wondered why the women in the fashion magazines look so good? Well here’s all their posing secrets that I can for you.
There are seven rules of posing that I like to direct to guarantee that every woman looks sensational.
1) Chin. We all need to push our chins out towards the camera and down a little depending on the shape of your face. Rounder faces need to come down a little lower to give excellent definition to our faces. Lean faces only come down a little. The camera should always be on eye level with the bride and when our chins go out and down our eyes look bigger in the camera so we are empathizing the best assets of our faces with this simple move. I am constantly saying to a bride on a wedding day, ‘chin out and down’. It’s a good idea to practice in the mirror and you’ll see the difference when you push your chin towards the mirror and down in fractions to see where suits your face shape best. There is nothing worse than a double chin in wedding photographs and usually the first thing that a bride notices and doesn’t like about the photograph, no matter how beautiful the light or scene is, its a posing opportunity missed.
2) Shoulders. ‘Work that front shoulder.’ This is the second thing that I will say to a bride and again it adds definition no matter your body type. You’ll see this in all fashion magazines that the front shoulder is pushed forward or inwards so there’s a lovely curve to the top of the shoulder. It’s such a simple move but it also slims down everyone.
3) Hands. No stiff fingers or Barbie hands and arms as I call it. The third thing I will say I’d simply ‘Ballet hands’. Everybody knows what to do with their hands when I say ballet hands, we want a soft look and the hand shape can often reveal a weak photographer. Again a simple tip to avoid posing looking stiff and uncomfortable…ballet hands!
4) Curves. I love curves, we all do and it’s the most desirable female body type. We want the curves to look even and a nice ‘S’ shape and a bride will usually tell me before the shoot what she’s self-conscious about. Whatever is closest to the camera will look biggest so if brides don’t like their bums we put the weight on the back foot so everything falls back and away from the camera. Brides with small tops lean can forward towards to the camera to emphasise their curves and anyone with a rectangle body shape we work the hips and hands on hips to create shape. There’s nothing we can’t do to give you the most flattering direction that you will love.
5) Asymmetry. Most fashion poses will be asymmetrical, asides front the androgynous look where everything is exactly straight and equal, asymmetry refers to arms being in different places and heights perhaps on hips, one is higher than the other or one hand is on the hip and the other behind the head. This sounds horrific but executed correctly and you’ll look like you belong in the magazines.
6) Connection. There’s nothing worse than ‘dead eyes’ I’m always eye to eye with the bride and if we haven’t formed a good natural and trusting bond before the shoot it will be more difficult. The personality of the photographer is a huge factor and a bride has to like him/her. I often tell brides to do a ‘opposite squint’ You raise the bottom of the lids up a tad and look straight into the camera. It’s a similar look to that look we all give ourselves just after we’ve done our make up and look in the mirror for a quick check we all have a slit second of an upward squint and it’s the best thing ever!! This is easily achieved by asking the bride to mirror me, I will do the face and they will all copy me without feeling foolish.
7) Legs and weight. It’s very important to distribute the weight unevenly, it pops out our hips to add more curve and those sexy S shapes to our bodies. Take for example a straight on looking out the window shot. If the bride is standing straight on with equally distributed weight then her body shape will just go straight down. However, when I tell her to put all her weight on whichever side feels most comfortable its instant shape and with the right dress shape, like a mermaid, I’ll ask her to pop her knee forward to add even more curve.
So even though all of the above sound like a lot it’s realy nothing for the bride to worry about but for me to say ‘Chin out and down, work that shoulder, ballet hands on hips, one arm down, put weight on right side, lean into me and smoking eyes’ That’s it in a nut shell, it’s not awkward posing, it’s direction into our best body shape and you will be amazed and delighted. I know I’ve done my job right when people say “I look like I belong in a magazine”. Yes you do gorgeous girl.