Photography Poses – A Posing Guide Just For You

Photography Poses Can Be Hard To Recall On The Spot – Unless You Have Them Written Down

Gathering up all of your favorite photography poses and putting them in a notebook can give you a reliable posing guide that you can take on all of your shoots. Having a notebook like this will not only help you deal with unexpected problems that may come up but also help you plan on exactly what type of image you want to get. It will provide an excellent reference for any model on what pose you want and will speed up the whole shooting process.

There are posing guides out there for sell, but I decided long ago to come up with my own posing guide that has all of the photography poses and notes I find interesting and useful. A guide made especially for me, by me. This lens will show you how I created such an invaluable notebook and exactly what you need to do to create one for yourself. Once you get yours made, I guarantee that you will feel naked on photo shoots without it. You may even have to eventually start another, because odds are good it will fill up very fast with photo poses and notes. Posing for photos is never easy; help yourself and your model by providing a useful reference.

Basic Setup of My Posing Guide

Contents, Photography Poses and Ideas

1-The first thing I did was to buy me a pocket-sized Moleskine notebook. Any notebook is acceptable, but I chose this brand because I wanted something durable.

2-I then decided how I wanted to divide up the notebook.

Section 1-Contents (3 pages).
I made up a few categories that was important to me and whenever a photography pose fit into that category I put its number in it. The categories were photography poses for men, women and both. The image to the right shows you what I’m talking about; the only difference is that each category had their own page. You can even highlight your favorite poses. The next step was to number the pages (starting after the contents). I numbered each page, as I wanted one page to have only one pose on it (front page-1, back of that page-2 and so on).

Section 2-The photography poses and notes (150 pages / bulk of content).

Section 3-Ideas section (30 or 40 pages).
These pages are set aside for interesting ideas that may come to you on your shoot you may want to try at some point in the future.

Image by YellowHammer.

Photo Poses For Couples

Coming up with photography poses for couples is all about letting it happen naturally.

The important thing to remember when posing couples is that less direction is often more. Let the couple do all the work. The interaction between two people who care about one another will always get you some interesting photos. The second most important thing is to get them to feel comfortable showing affection in front of you. A zoom lens is a good idea here, as the closer you are, the more uncomfortable they are likely to be.

One good trick to use is to have one tell what they like or find sexy about the other. They could take turns. Doing this often puts some kind of emotion in the shot, whether it be bad or good. Having them dress up in interesting clothes or putting them in interesting situations is a small part of it, but in my opinion, it’s all about the emotion and body language.

Don’t Want The People In Your Photos To Look So Stiff?

Then consider hiring a professional model.

One huge benefit of using professional models during a photo shoot is that they are used to being in front of a camera. I like to take pictures that don’t look posed. People who aren’t used to getting photos taken of them will often look stiff. The only drawback to using a modeling agency is that you usually have to pay them.

There are some websites such as Model Mayhem, One Model Place or Models.com in which you can sometimes trade time for prints, but not always. I am beginning to realize that hiring a model pays off in the long run, just be sure to know what you want to shoot as most charge by the hour.

Posing Tip #1

When doing portrait photography, try to get the subject to laugh and feel comfortable before the shoot. Try to build a good vibe between the two of you. Poses won’t look as stiff and your pictures will come out much better.

Example Interior Pages of Posing Guide
Photography poses and notes.

First let me start off by saying I made the writing a little too big; most people’s writing won’t be this big unless they’re using a Sharpie pen. The image that you see above is what is in the majority of my notebook. I number each photography pose, draw the figure and then add a few notes. If your the type of person who takes a lot of notes you could always use one side for the sketch and the other for notes in which case you would only have room in you notebook for half as many photography poses.

What you put in your notes will depend on what you like and what type of photographer you are. I like to put whether the image would be better for a male or female (or both), lighting preferences, mood, emotional state of model and clothing ideas. Keep in mind that you don’t have to fill the page; a bare minimum of how you feel when you see the image is all that is really necessary in the beginning. I promise that you’ll add more as you use the poses on shoots.

Sketch Photography Poses
The perfect thing to use in a posing guide.

Although you could use photography poses cut out from a magazine (fastened by tape or glue), I like to sketch stick figures in mine. I found that when I used actual pictures I often sub-consciously copied the style and sometimes even the clothes. With bare-bones sketches you can truly create your own unique image.

If you are dead set on some color, why not use some colored pencils? I often put down what color I would like to use as a background against certain skin tones, and seeing as I don’t know all the proper skin tone names, pencils come in really handy. Use them sparingly, though, or your posing ideas could turn into a bunch of style ideas.

Posing Tip #2

This one is also about making your model feel comfortable. When going out on public shoots take with you some sheets or shower curtains and hangers so you can jury rig a place for your subject to change in private. You don’t want them to change out in the open.

11 Great Photography Poses

Great Photos That You Can Actually Own

Most photos that are actually being sold to the public are fantastic sources for inspiration not only for poses, but point of view and style as well. They will give you all kinds of photo shoot ideas and can help you become a better photographer if you’re willing to study them.

Lucinda in London, 1959 (12 x 12 in. Art Print)
Photo by Georges Dambier

Man Balancing in a Dance, Yoga Pose (16 x 16 in. Photographic Print)
Photo by Monsoon Images

Fashion Model Wearing Amazing Hat (22 x 28 in. Art Print)
By John French

Mountain Biker on Cliffs, Turnagain Arm, Alaska, USA
16 x 12 in. Photographic Print
Photo by Paul Souders

Little Ballerina (9 x 12 in. Art Print)
By David Handley

Cowgirl in Heaven (20 x 16 in. Art Print)
Photo by David R. Stoecklein

Woman Floating In Water / Weeki Wachee Spring, Florida
16 x 16 in. Photographic Print
By Toni Frissell

How to Make You Love Me by Elizabeth May
16 x 16 in. Photographic Print

Cowboy and Cowgirl Silhouetted on a Ridge in the Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming, USA
12 x 9 in. Photographic Print
By Joe Restuccia III

Marilyn Monroe – 24 x 36 in. Poster

Clint Eastwood – 14 x 11 in. Photo

Knowledge – 18 x 24 in. Art Print

A Great Place To Go For Posing Ideas

Wonderful ways to direct your subject.

Pose Maniacs is a website that has thousands of 3-D rendered models that you can actually rotate to get a full all around view of the pose you’re interested in. It is mainly used by artists learning to draw the human form, but I’ve found it perfect for getting good ideas for the camera as well. The only drawbacks are that the models have no skin (so you can see muscles) and in some of the poses there are only subtle differences. Despite this, the site is worth a visit. Below is the link.

Posing Tip #3

Never have more people than you need on a photo shoot and always allow the model to bring someone along if that makes them feel more comfortable. A comfortable model is always more photogenic and relaxed. You are also likely to get more natural poses from them than you would otherwise.

Want To Shoot In Low Light?

You need the right kind of lens.

Ever notice that when you take photos in low light that they are often not as sharp as they should be? One easy remedy to that is to use a lens with a lower f-stop. Either a 1.4 or 1.8 is recommended when shooting people less than ideal lighting conditions. This is the lens you’re going to need for when shooting at dusk, dawn or night, and when combined with a sexy pose will produce an amazing picture. You really won’t believe the difference until you experience it for yourself.

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