If you’re a model and you’re reading this, then I’d like to apologise as this clearly isn’t meant for you. However, if you’re like me and most definitely not a model or a natural at ‘posing’ because it just feels too awkward, then I might be able to offer you a few pointers..
How to pose then?
Like most families, we take a lot of photos and my husband has developed a passion over the years for photography. Not only does he take a great photo but he’s also refined his editing skills massively. He’s also had a fair bit of experience photographing professional models now and as a result has learnt a few tricks of the trade along the way, which has certainly come in handy.
I’m always seeing the term ‘Instagram Husband’ thrown around on social media, referring to your partner in crime when you simply can’t get away with a selfie. It varies from partners being spot on to the long suffering but obliging ones to ones that literally have no idea what they’re doing. Those are the ones who are utilised because someone has to take that photo…and bar the toddler or the dog, the camera in their hands really is the only option they have got.
So you’ve guessed it, I am rather lucky to have a ready made Instagram Husband, who actually knows way more than me and who without, this space online simply wouldn’t exist. We work as a team and we have done since this blog first started. He’s an integral part of this blog and so it comes as no surprise that he slotted into this role straight away!
As I mentioned earlier, posing for shots has never been my thing and it’s not something that I have ever considered doing before. Times change though and although older and having had three kids, I’m actually more body confident than I’ve ever been. I’ve lost some weight but I don’t really see it myself, apart from what the scales say and when I look at photos. I’ll be a bit like ‘oh, I don’t look too bad’. Which I’m still finding rather bizarre really.
When it came to taking some shots, my husband is particularly useful as he directs me as to where I should stand, where to look and at what angle (to avoid that double chin and the like). I do have my own ideas too and we generally work together well, but sometimes I realise that he’s learnt from professionals and that maybe it would be wise to listen. I don’t always agree with his ideas but sometimes he surprises me with concepts that work – so I have to remember to give him the benefit of the doubt.
I’ve learnt that posing needn’t be as cringey as you think and depending on how you execute a pose, it’s actually really easy. I just hate standing in the same spot for ages, as it’s really tedious.
We now see everywhere as potential photo opportunities. I can’t go anywhere without thinking about the surroundings and whether there might be a nice wall that would be good for a backdrop. Places are analysed whereas once I wouldn’t have even noticed – it’s mad.
Besides making sure that you’re working with decent light, I have found the following tips have changed the way I think.
My number one tip for posing is to step out of your comfort zone by not worrying who might be looking when in public places. I used to constantly worry about who might be staring and it would put me off, whereas now I am aware of people but I just ignore them. You will most likely never see them again and they really have no idea what you are doing anyway (although I’m not sure I’d pick a wall on a busy high street, no matter how great the wall might be!). I find wearing sunglasses also helps, as you avoid eye contact with people that might be rubber necking as they walk past. I squint loads on a bright day, so it’s always essential for me to wear them outdoors and I do wear mine an awful lot all year round anyway.
It might sound obvious but start off with poses that you are at ease with. For me it’s not looking directly at the camera and poses that have a casual feel about them. It creates the illusion of you appearing to go by your every day life whilst being papped.
Leaning against a wall or carrying something makes things feel more natural. I love a good prop. Mix things up a bit and see what works. Use props such as talking on the phone, holding an umbrella, flowers or a handbag. If you have something in your hand it will put you at ease a little, as if you are in any way conscious of the way you look, having a prop will help to deflect away from you.
Don’t be afraid to look foolish and experiment. Most of the time you can tell if a pose is faked or not. If you feel comfortable it will come across in your photos, but if you don’t it will show! The hardest thing I find to do is to smile genuinely when asked to. It’s at this moment my husband will recognise this and will try to make me laugh, as a genuine smile will always trump a forced one.
I think it’s important to know your best features and angles because you will feel more comfortable and less critical of the end result. Having said that, do try new aspects to see if they work better than you think. That way you should hopefully find your style and that will make it easier to move forward with future projects.
Where possible always try to create a little space between you and your body parts. If your arms are squashed against your body it will make them appear bigger than they actually are. It sounds simple but if you leave a slight gap between your arms and body you will see a big difference.
When posing watch out for where the sun is or if it’s not sunny, watch out for where shadows are being cast over your face and body. The last thing you want to do is have shadowing across your body which would make you appear bigger than you actually are. Rather than standing straight, create a shape with your body. The one thing my husband always tries to get me to do is to create an S shape with my body, which is achieved by placing your hands on your hips and actually pushing your hips in the opposite direction to your upper body. By creating an S shape you are highlighting your curves, which you should be proud of.
To create a fun look try wearing something floaty to recreate a Marilyn Monroe moment. Spin, toss your head back and throw your dress around, this might also help to create a realistic looking smile rather than a staged ‘cheese’ smile.
Try to avoid getting your ‘photographer’ to shoot from too high up. You do not want them standing any higher than being on the same level as your chin. If they photograph you from any higher then that elusive double chin will get accentuated with shadowing. Whilst this is easily fixed if you know how to use Photoshop, it’s best to to avoid relying on that method.
Always make sure you take lots of shots as you never know what may work best for you. Lots of photos will look different when uploaded compared to on the back of the camera and that perfect shot might just be lurking amongst them. You can never take too many photos.
Last but not least, try not to be too hard on the person taking the photo. The reason they are telling you to stand in a certain way is because they want you to look your best, and most of the time will instantly see if a pose is working or not.
I really hope that these pointers are useful and inspire you to get out there to do some posing yourself! See How to Pose for Your Instagram Photos Revisited for more ideas.