Very few of us are natural born models and know exactly what to do when come face to face with a camera. In fact, it takes a whole lot of self awareness and confidence to work your camera angles and score those million dollar shots consistently. If you’re one of these people, kudos to you!
For the rest of us though, more often than not, we’re deleting and untagging ourselves from unflattering photos that otherwise would have been a great picture — all because of that ill placed arm, uninvited double chin, or uncomplimentary posture (the list goes on).
Luckily, we’ve teamed up with up and coming SF based lifestyle and wedding photographer, Christine Sargologos, for a round-up of the best tips and advice for picture perfect poses for every part of your body.
Possibly the most important part of a photo — the human eye naturally gravitates to looking at faces in photos. Remember that you don’t have to look at the camera head on for every shot.
Gaze: Try looking away from the camera sometimes by turning your face so that the tip of your chin is pointing the same direction as your shoulder. Focus your gaze on on point at eye level, and let your gaze meet the lens in the next shot for a candid, natural looking shot.
Smile: A big, wide smile can be your ticket to a million dollar shot. But unless it’s genuine, avoid the the all teeth out smile says Christine — “Fake smiles always look forced.”
Instead, try a more subtle approach with a soft, closed-mouth smile for a natural looking smile. Another trick is to think of something funny, or get your photographer to crack some jokes for a big, authentic happy laugh that screams happy.
I try to trigger my clients by saying something funny or stupid, then snap away while they laugh authentically. There are always at least a few keepers.
It’s funny how these floppy, long limbs we call arms go from being useful to totally awkward when we point a camera lens at them. Chances are, you’re probably not the only one who doesn’t know what to do with your arms when posing for a photo.
Next time, try one of these photographer approved go-to’s:
One hand in pocket, the other resting against a chair or other nearby prop, or your left arm hanging with right hand lightly holding your left wrist or elbow.
Forget everything you remember from yearbook photos and big family photos where you had to smile and freeze for an uncomfortably long time. In fact, do the exact opposite and don’t be afraid to move around more. “Movement makes all the difference”, says Christine.
Have your photographer snap a couple of photos as you walk around and alternating your glance towards and away from the camera. Don’t know where to walk to? Try walking toward and past the camera — you’ll be able to snag a variety of different shots from the front, and from the back.
If you don’t have that much room to walk around, or you’re feeling a little shy, you can also stop mid-stride without correcting your gait for implied movement.
A classic and very common pose for portraits and candid photos alike — if done correctly, it can look both relaxed and confident, making for a great photo. The key here is your posture.
When you’re in front of the camera, pay extra attention to how you’re holding your upper body. More precisely: shoulders back, tightened abs, and chin up. Poor posture, especially in photos, can tack on an extra 10 lbs to your appearance and highlight undesirable features like your midsection (and who wants that?).
Once you’ve got your picture perfect posture down, work on arm and leg placement to loosen up the pose a little bit. Christine suggests leaning forward slightly (hinging at your hips!), resting an elbow on the knee for men, or a simple legs crossed with arms draped over knees or resting on a side table for women.
You guessed it, next and last on the list is the standing pose. This is probably the most common position you’ll find yourself in while being photographed. Whether it’s in front of the breathtaking backdrop of the SF Golden Gate Bridge, or it’s a candid photo of you at your local brunch spot, chance are you’ll be striking a pose while on your two feet.
Similar to sitting, posture plays a huge role in standing poses as well. Visually when we see other people slouching, both in photography and in person, it signals to to us that the other person is unengaged, self-conscious, fearful, unaware or some combination. It’s not a great message you want to send, considering non-verbal communication accounts for about 80% of all communication modes. Slouching can also add an unsightly bulge to your midsection, causing you to look heavier in photos — yikes!
So, as a general rule, pay extra attention to your posture when you’re in front of the camera. A great go-to is to angle your torso about 45 degrees from the camera and putting your weight on your back foot. You can also put one hand in your pocket while looking at, then away from the camera.
Learn more about Christine’s work at her website www.sargologos.com
About Christine Sargologos
Christine is a wedding and lifestyle photographer sharing her time between San Francisco and Texas. She shoots throughout the United States and happily travels for work. She tries to capture meaningful bits of life authentically, using natural light and a wide eye. If you ask her, in most directions there are brilliant details and remarkable stories worth recording. Frame by frame, that’s what she aims to do.