Posing is one of the most challenging aspects of photography to master. That said, learning the ins and outs of posing women can take your images to a new level and also allow your clients to connect with their personas like never before. Boudoir photographer Jen Rozenbaum recently shared some of her top tips and tricks for posing women with us, from flattering arm poses to finding the best look for the proportion within a specific female client and what looks best on her. Remember: Every body is different, so work with the best poses for the body proportion in front of you.
Pose with Purpose
I believe boudoir can give every woman in the world a chance to celebrate her unique femininity, shamelessly. It all starts with a great pose. Your job as her photographer is to make her look as good as, or better than, she does in real life. The poses you create are meant to flatter her body and show off her features. Posing is the quickest way to improve your photos and client satisfaction. I’m not telling you that white balance isn’t important, or that the right tools aren’t important, however, if you just fix one thing in your posing and everything else stays equal, your clients will be that much happier.
Focus on Proportion
I don’t believe in body types. So what do I look for when I pose a woman? Proportion is key. Every single woman I work with is completely different, so I look for proportion within that woman and what looks best on her. I treat every client individually based on how her body works. Then, I decide how I can use the best poses to keep her body in proportion.
Implement the 8 Points of Posing
I developed the eight points of posing from the armature dolls I used in my art classes growing up. These are the major joints in the body that move, and we can manipulate the body to create our desired pose. During my shoots, I pose the eight points. If each of them looks good, I take the photo. I look at the back of my camera to make sure everything looks good, and if it doesn’t, I make adjustments. This takes muscle memory. The more you do it, the better you will get. Scan for the eight points every time you pose, even if you are only capturing a certain part of the body in the photo. Before I press the shutter, every single time, I check a woman’s head, shoulders, arms, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles.
Pose the Chin Out and Down
Chins and shoulders are more important than you think. I know when I first tell a woman to look at the camera, many push their chin up to avoid a double chin. When you tell her to push her chin out and down, it gets rid of her double chin, strengthens her jaw line and makes her eyes appear larger. While she is lying down, have her raise her chin so you can avoid distortions and forehead wrinkles. (After posing her chin, open up her shoulders to avoid broad shoulders if she has them.)
Create Flattering Arms: In-Body and Out-of-Body Posing
Arms are the hardest to pose on a woman because they add bulk to the body. Keeping them away from the sides helps slim and show off a subject’s curves. In-body posing is when the arms are within the lines of the body, which accentuates her shape. Out-of-body posing is when the arms are outside the lines of the body, which allows us to see the shape without blocking it. You can combine the two to ensure you can see the curves and not add bulk. Whichever you choose, be careful not to amputate the arms because they can provide leading lines, framing and interest to an image.
Adjust the Hands, Wrists and Waist
Hands can often look out of proportion on some women, so try to avoid the front of the hand as often as you can. Positioning a subject’s hands on her waist helps to slim her so her body looks more in proportion. Another trick to use when you adjust her waist and hips is to have her push her hips away from the camera. This makes her hips look smaller, and it also defines the stomach and lengthens the torso.
Pay attention to Placement of Legs and Feet
I make sure when I pose a woman and she’s lying down that the leg farthest from the camera should be lower than the one closest. It creates a nice line and slims out the thigh. Legs can create interest in the same way arms can, so it’s necessary to pay attention to how they are posed, as well as her ankles. As you pose her lying down, make sure her toes are pointed so it adds a few inches to her height.
CreativeLive Video Tutorial: A Master Class in Boudoir Photography Hosted By Jen Rozenbaum