Posing tips before and after

How to look good in photos | Ashburn, VA Photographer

We are increasingly becoming a world of photos and videos, where we share where, what, and how we are doing with photographic evidence.  This is not a welcome change for those of us who put on a few pounds recently or maybe always felt like we’ve been overweight.  Well, I’m here to help you out!

This post of posing tips is the first in a long, possibly never-ending, series of “how to” blog posts that I’m planning on sharing with you!  They will help you feel more comfortable both in front of and behind the lens.  This one is full of tips both for the regular Jane being photographed, as well as the photographer trying to help her look her best.

So as to not sound like a hypocrite, the model for all of these photos is yours truly.  Eek!  This is pretty scary for me, since I really do not like being photographed.  I always think I look so different in photos than I look in the mirror, but part of that is because I always see myself as mirror-image to how the rest of the world does.

I set up my tripod near three large windows in my living room.  The camera was raised to chest height, which is the traditional placement for photos of people at 2/3 length (for full-length, it should be at waist height, and for head and shoulders photos at nose height – of course these rules are broken all the time, but I played by the rules today).  I turned on the timer, stood by a floor vent so that I could keep coming back to the same approximate location, and started taking photos.  None of these photos have been retouched, and I decided to do this today shortly before my son got home from school, so I’m in my comfy clothes.  Please don’t judge.  🙂

This first photo is of me standing dead straight on to the camera.  Do not try this pose at home.  You will not like what you see.

portrait posing tips

So pretty much everyone knows you should not square your body against a camera.  But which way do you turn?  Take a look at the below, in one, I am facing the light, in the other my back is turned to the light.

photo posing tips

Okay, so ignore my face for a minute and just look at my body.  In the photo where I am facing the light (the one on the left), my stomach and chest are emphasized.  Look how much smaller my stomach looks in the photo on the right, just because it’s in the shade!   However, there are two negatives with the photo on the right – 1. The light is not flattering on my face (notice the bags under my eyes!).  2.  Because it’s in the light, my butt looks bigger.

What to do?  What to do?!  Well, here’s a big tip that is easy to remember and comes in handy in all kinds of photography – Anything close to the camera will look bigger than it actually is.  Anything far from the camera will look smaller.

So if I want my butt to look smaller, I need to move it away from the camera! I did that by popping the knee closest to the camera and pushing my butt toward the window behind me.  I also turned my foot to point toward the camera to show the top of my thigh as opposed to the side of my thigh.  All of this movement also created a nice S-curve down my back (ignore the sweater wrinkles).

Posing advice photos

Okay, but we’re still dealing with the unflattering light on my face.  Easy fix! I turned my head back toward the light.

Portrait posing tips

Whoa!  So much better!  But my arm is kind of like dead weight there – flattened up against my side, it looks bigger than it should.  So I brought it out to my hip.

Posing tips portraits

In the photo on the right above, the only change that I made was pulling my shoulder in and up.  That’s just a little more playful, but it also helps to hide neck rolls if you’ve turned your head back pretty far and you don’t have a scarf or long hair to hide them!

Not liking the hand on the hip?  Here are a few more things to do with your hands in the same position.  Remember, you can hold just about anything in your hands to allow you to bend them.

photography posing

Anyone want to guess which book I’m holding in the photo on the right?  If you’ve been following my blog, it should be an easy guess!

Here are a couple of other poses:

Posing advice portraits

Photo on the left is just a deeper lean – very playful pose.  Technically, my wrist should be tucked back in the photo on the right so that you only see my fingertips.

So there you have it.  Pretty simple tips to help you look better in photos!  Here’s the before and after, with a retouched photo of me and my book!

Posing tips before and after

I hope you found this helpful!  I totally recommend that you set up your camera to try it yourself!  It was surprising to me as I was doing it how much I needed to turn my head back to the light!

Be sure to sign up below to receive my blog in your inbox!  I’m calling these posts “Practice Makes Portraits” and will be reblogging these to another blog I’m starting – http://www.practicemakesportraits.com. If you’re interested in contributing to that blog, please contact me!

Please Like my page on Facebook if you like this post.  Thank you!

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