Sometimes, posing your subject can be a big challenge. For me personally, hands are my biggest enemy. I can get the body right but what to do with the hands... In this blog, I will show you some examples of some fun poses that I have had seniors do over the years that really seemed to work! I will also give you some tips on how to make these poses happen. Some of these poses are more staged, and some are meant to look more natural. I hope this helps with your posing problems!
Make Them Feel Comfortable
This can be one of the biggest challenges when shooting a photo session. Not everyone has the ability to just become friends with anybody. However, this is what you need to strive for when doing any photo session, but especially senior photo sessions. Seniors are still teenagers. That comes with a lot of insecurities, awkwardness, wardrobe panic, etc. There are a lot of factors to think about when dealing with different teenage personalities. Here is my tip though. Always try to be their friend! I have always approached sessions in this way, but I kind of approach most things in life this way. It's much easier to take pictures of a "friend" than it is to just be with a "client" for an hour or two. I like to get to know the people I am photographing, and ultimately, this makes for a much more comfortable and relaxed subject. I used the two photos above because this girl is very very shy. She doesn't hardly talk, and she could start to get very nervous and awkward if I would let her. However, you would never know that based on the photos that we were able to capture in this session. We basically just hung out for the time that we were together and captured some bomb photos in the process. Never underestimate the power of friendship. It sound cheesy, but it's true! People can read you from a mile away even if they don't know it. If you come to a session just to get the job done and not expecting to get to know them, they will feel it. Then you will have a session that reflects that feeling. Relax, make your subject feel relaxed, enjoy your job, and take some great pictures!
Put Action Into Your Poses
Poses that include action are a good way to show off natural personality and character. They are also easier to work with a lot of times. Everyone has their own way of doing things such as walking, spinning, running their fingers through their hair, laughing, throwing something, running, etc. All of these actions can produce amazing photos that display a senior's "vibe." During the action, you can capture many different angles and sides of the body and facial expressions that you would not have been able to capture with a regular pose. Don't be afraid to take a few blurry photos or photos that don't have their face in it. Sometimes those can end up having a cool aesthetic. However, this may not be your style, and that is completely ok! Always stay true to your style. Just don't forget to add some motion to pull out the "E"motion, if that makes sense.
Try Weird Angles
Sometimes the angle of the photo matters more than the pose. The seniors in these two photos above are not doing anything extra special as far as a pose goes, but my camera angle is what captures the eye in these pictures. For example, in the first photo, she is sitting down with one leg propped up. Simple. However, my strategy was to have her foot closer to me and out of focus. Then I would focus the camera on her face and get this funky shot of someone in a shopping cart. For the second photo, he literally just has his hands in his pockets, and he is looking into the distance. This is something that I'm sure most photographers have had a client do. However, I got low to the ground, framed him up in the shot, captured an iconic Batesville building in the background, and produced a dramatic downtown shot. Let your mind wander when it comes to things like this. Someone out there has done it all... So, make your shots your own by throwing in something that people don't expect. Throw in something that makes people wonder why you did that. Use the angles to your advantage, and capture your audience's attention!
Use Your Surroundings
This tip is a no-brainer, but it's something that photographers could definitely think more creatively about. Using parts of the scenery around you and your senior is a great way to incorporate the whole feel of the area into the photos. I do not shoot in a studio, and I rarely use props. Therefore, I use this technique often. Many times, I will pick a bouquet of the surrounding natural plants for the girls to hold. This gives them something to do with their hands (bonus for me), it brings an element to the pictures that is not normally used for senior photos, and it's just a fun idea! I love to use non-traditional things in my photos. Framing your subject with something that belongs in that area is a wonderful way to bring a new feel to your photos. You are shooting in that location for a reason. Use it!
Let Them Choose Some Poses
All three of these photos are examples of the senior giving me an idea for the shot. They turned out to be some of the best shots, by the way. Ask your seniors if they have any ideas, if there is something specific that they want, what they like to do, what they feel comfortable doing, etc. This kind of goes back to the first tip, but get to know them. Once you get on their personality level, they will feel comfortable enough to just tell you something they had in mind. Don't feel like you have to "run the show." This is their special time of life, and sometimes they have pretty good ideas. The goal is to give your senior a safe place to express those ideas and ultimately end up with some amazing photos that have their own personal touch to them. Go with the flow, and have fun while doing it!