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Archive 2012 · There are an infinite number of ways to pose people
  
 
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · There are an infinite number of ways to pose people


Why is it that I can never remember that when I'm actually shooting?

The rules of photography...but posing, especially. Today I am reviewing some of my photos. I prefer engagements over weddings by far, because I like the absence of time restrictions and one-time-only events. Looking back at shoots I did a while ago, from the perspective I have today, I realize that I have lapsed on my habits of making backgrounds less busy and avoiding distractions...but, overall, I am shooting much the same way as I have been for years. In some cases, this means the style; however, I am also noticing that the things I thought I had been doing better at - posing, especially - I actually never did well.

I continue to find that my deficits impede my performance, especially with posing. I have great difficulty describing poses I mentally generate, and often the more I try to detail things out the more unnatural it gets. However, I know this is not the case for everyone, and in fact my having a bunch of people lately who don't really know how to pose themselves is not an excuse for me to give them poorly posed photos...but a reflection on the limits of my professional knowledge. I know people out there can pose masterfully (or at least with variety and without displeasing results) and make excellent use of environment, because I have seen it. Many people on here do that.

For posing communication...I usually tell people simple commands, then I try to clear up details I see as flaws in the overall effect. However, I could be wrong about those flaws and sometimes I am. Sometimes my corrections are worse than the original. Sometimes I can't articulate my ideas correctly and get tongue-tied. Alternately, I've tried to describe scenarios to people, but sometimes that ends up with them being as confused as when I get tongue-tied with my descriptions.

I need to remember to use those leading lines, to put myself on a certain perspective relative to particular lines and objects so I can use lines/etc. to draw the eye. I need to remember how to isolate the subject better. I need to learn how to pose people...because it's part of my style and expected, and I want to learn how to do it well. I need to learn how to use the arms and legs. Sometimes my leg and arm posing is absolutely dismal or I have physically impossible ideas (without joint displacement). And I need to learn how to see things others don't see. So far, I have relied on having different lighting and lots of background blur as my gimmicks...but I don't want that to be all I can do.

I have noticed that I have improved in two things lately: Capturing moments quickly (I'm not chimping as much) and attempting to get the whole scene with context in getting ready photos. I have also bee doing some newer (new to me) shots where the focus in on hands or something else with the couples' faces out-of-focus in a corner or on the edge of the frame - and this effect seems nice. In contrast, I have noticed (coincidentally beginning around the same time as when I got my Nikon D800) that my framing of subjects within a scene has gotten worse...perhaps it is a consequence of my own desire to change things up. I am often finding myself wanting to do something different from what I am used to, but not being able to think of a way to accomplish that. Since I don't do drugs, I can't take the psychadelic route and attempt to access my inner creativity that way...

I have also noticed that 35mm doesn't seem as "right" to me as it used to, for some reason. I don't get it. 24mm still doesn't really seem right to me as a mainstay (too much distortion), and 50mm is still very tough for me to get used to. 85mm is starting to feel too long...it's weird that my focal length preferences would be changing like this, since I became a very devoted 35/85 user after forcing myself away from the 24-70. I like the look of 85mm, it's very nice...but it is limiting in tight spaces and only can be used from a few angles on ground level. Wider is better for variety of angles. I'm also feeling short lately, lots of very tall clients there is no way for me to shoot from above without them sitting.

So, I think constantly with each shoot about...Fat arms or making arms look fat...making heads look fat...watching out for double chins...avoiding things sticking out of their heads...avoiding awkward or distracting arms or hands...pull back her hair so I can see her eye...watch for stray hairs...I want to see both faces...

And then I fall right into the standard "her hand on hip, his hand in pocket, her hand grabbing him behind the neck, put most of your weight on your back foot, wrap her arms around his neck, lean against his chest and look at me, put foreheads/noses together, touch cheek with nose, wrap arms around him/her, etc..." and it feels so stuffy.

I actually am finding myself gradually becoming more interested in photos that show "hints" rather than the full subject - like part of a face, or a hand, or something else - which I suspect is actually a good thing in a way. However, I still need to learn how to do good, effective poses for everyone...

BTW, how do you possibly pose a bride who has this humongous bouquet with a stem cluster larger in diameter than your fist? There was just no comfortable way for her to manage that thing that I could see...



Oct 19, 2012 at 02:32 AM
maxwell1295
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · There are an infinite number of ways to pose people


okay...


Oct 19, 2012 at 03:44 AM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · There are an infinite number of ways to pose people


Yep, probably belongs on a blog somewhere, but I somehow feel this need to share my personal photography-related feelings with people on here because I know they are knowledgeable about the things that give me so much trouble.

My post isn't all negative this time, also trying to show that I can do posts that aren't 100% bad...

But the thread name is now a motto I am going to repeat to myself to remind me of the infinite possibilities for posing. I don't want to be stuffy and boring and repetitive.



Oct 19, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Ian Boys
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · There are an infinite number of ways to pose people


These poses are standard for a reason.


Oct 19, 2012 at 02:16 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · There are an infinite number of ways to pose people


I think you might be over thinking things, or relying too heavily on what you call "poses" :-)


Oct 19, 2012 at 02:30 PM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · There are an infinite number of ways to pose people


Last night around 2am, I woke up with my mind racing with tons of different posing ideas. They didn't stop coming for probably an hour. When I woke up again at about 6:45, it was all gone and back to the usual stunted feeling. Furthermore, when I now review some of the pose ideas I had in the middle of the night (some of them have lingered), they seem difficult, impractical, more vague than before, etc...

But I was thinking, "infinite number of ways to pose people..." And this led me to take any of the standard poses that would come into my mind and modify them in some way, often in dramatic or extreme ways so they look nothing like the original idea. I also noticed that many of the thoughts I had in my mind involved people NOT smiling, but instead with neutral expressions. Instead of turning the whole head in one direction, it was just eyes. Instead of wraparound groom grabbing of the bride, I have to remember loose hips-only grabbing.

I wonder if it's stress-related mental block.

Over-thinking is something I am commonly told I do. But if I knew what I was doing, then I probably wouldn't overthink things so much. The fact is, I don't really know how to do the "standard" poses very well. I have the rough idea with a poor grasp of the details. Details like where to put the hands, the arms, the weight, how to frame it...parts I really overthink are, "gotta have the face/eye visible" or "watch the arm fat."



Oct 19, 2012 at 04:38 PM
 

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TheGE
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · There are an infinite number of ways to pose people


So you're telling people how to pose, it sounds like.

Sometimes it's good to ask them to do an activity that'll get them into the right position quickly. Like, instead of telling someone to stick their chin out to minimize their double chin, Sue Bryce tells them to make like they're stretching their head over a fence.

You know you can also show people what you're looking for by posing yourself. You can also just literally take matters into your own hands by moving them physically (last resort if they still don't get it and you're pressed for time). Have you tried those two approaches?



Oct 19, 2012 at 05:31 PM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · There are an infinite number of ways to pose people


form wrote:
...

My post isn't all negative this time, also trying to show that I can do posts that aren't 100% bad......


Thank you for this form. It's great to finally read a post from you that doesn't involve the end of the world by a slow agonizing fire.

Really, this is some good thinking. I can relate. You can sit around all day and think about posing and perspectives but when money is on the line the pressure can make you forget. I keep a few photos in my phone to help remind me of certain poses and angles. It helps me



Oct 19, 2012 at 05:45 PM
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · There are an infinite number of ways to pose people


cordellwillis wrote:
Thank you for this form. It's great to finally read a post from you that doesn't involve the end of the world by a slow agonizing fire.

Really, this is some good thinking. I can relate. You can sit around all day and think about posing and perspectives but when money is on the line the pressure can make you forget. I keep a few photos in my phone to help remind me of certain poses and angles. It helps me


Speaking of photos in the phone, I need to load a bunch of photo samples onto my ipod to reference and show clients during shoots.

I do try to pose people by moving them myself sometimes, and I also try to show them poses...but I'm not good at showing poses beyond the most basic starting point, and when I move people myself I don't always get the result I am hoping for either (because, again, I often don't know what I'm doing).



Oct 20, 2012 at 05:22 AM
ZachOly
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · There are an infinite number of ways to pose people


cordellwillis wrote:
. I keep a few photos in my phone to help remind me of certain poses and angles. It helps me


I do something similar. I have a shot list on my phone with standard poses I do with all couples. I try to nail off most of them soon into the shoot, and then I find I can relax for the rest of it. At this point, I can start taking photos that either bomb or look great.



Oct 22, 2012 at 11:46 AM
MattSepeta
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · There are an infinite number of ways to pose people


Unless client send me photos they "like", I rarely reference my phone for ideas during weddings. during senior photos and family photos I straight-up copy poses. Senior photos

However, before every wedding I try to spend some time looking over photo sites, this one included, for inspiration. You know, like a backlit umbrella shot in the rain But seriously, I find it helps me a TON just to see a variety of different poses before a shoot to keep my mind fresh and from going back to the same old "now kiss" poses.



Oct 22, 2012 at 12:59 PM





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