If you would like to learn how to shoot better portraits, you need to pay attention to portrait poses. You might get all the technical aspects of the photo down pat, like setting up flattering lighting and getting the correct exposure, but if you ignore the pose, the person sitting for the portrait isn’t likely to be happy with the result of the photo shoot. Fortunately, you can learn to pose subjects better for portraits using these five simple tips.
1. Avoid straight-on shots. Shooting a portrait straight on tends to produce something that looks like a fancied up passport photo. If your subject really wants to face forward, at least make them lean against a wall or tree slightly, so they won’t be so stiffly centered in the frame.
2. Tuck the chin. Have your subject pose with their chin tucked in slightly. You want enough of a tuck to avoid the up-the-nose shot, but not so much that the subject’s neck starts to wrinkle.
3. Shoot from above. Getting a slightly downward angle onto your subject often results in a very flattering portrait. Many people’s features look best at this angle, and the position also makes for nice catchlights in the eyes.
4. Keep the background simple. In a portrait, the focus should be on the person, not the background. Avoid overly fussy or dramatic backdrops. Instead look for simple textures and keep the background slightly out of focus.
5. Beware the hands. When people pose for a portrait, they often become hyperaware of their hands and are unable to figure out what to do with them. If you can, keep the hands out of the shot. Otherwise, have the subject tuck them into their pockets, fold their arms, or do something else that looks natural.
If you want to learn more, take a look at online tutorials!