Photography Poses – The Missing
by: Robert Bezman
You've read all the "best digital camera" articles,
got the best price on your first digital camera, and
even glanced at its owner's manual. Are you itching to
take some shots of your family, or what?
Slow down, soldier. Before you take 200 shots that
seem great at the time, but then upon review of the
final picture are less than what you expected, let's
prepare. Prepare?!?! I'll bet you thought charging the
battery was the hardest part of taking great photos,
didn't you? Sorry to disappoint you, but if you want to
improve your photo results 50% in 2 minutes, let's
review some basic advice of the pros.
There are two categories of GENERAL ADVICE which
applies, regardless of whether you're using a digital
camera to take family portrait poses, baby pictures, pet
portraits, group pictures, funny photos, or even
maternity portraits. The first category is...
"Good Planning" Advice for Photography Poses
1) Prepare For The Event
Prepare for the event by thinking about every
photograph you want to take and what kind of photography
pose or poses you would like to capture. Consider who,
where, how, and the type of environment.
2) Take Multiple Photographs
Take multiple shots of each pose (remember, digital
memory is reusable, a.k.a. "free"). Regardless of what
you say or do, people will blink. And don't count on
spotting small problems on the tiny camera LCD screen
(even on full magnification); which leads to...
3) Check LCD Screen
Check the digital camera's LCD screen for general
framing of the picture, any movement, visibility of
faces, and the histogram. Note that you can think up a
fantastic photography pose; arrange everyone perfectly;
and, have the photograph "frozen" (no blinking, and no
shaking of the camera)...but, when you check it out in
the LCD, you see 2 drunks fighting in the background!
And, my favorite...
4) Funny Phrases
Have some funny phrases handy to use just before you
take the photo. Don't use it when setting up for the
shot. And, don't use the same phrase all the time. Throw
in funny anecdotes, phrases, names, words that you know
your family will find more amusing than "cheese." A
natural smile looks four times better than a fake one.
The second category is...
"Location" Advice for Photography Poses
Taking indoor family photography, is very different
than outdoor family photograph (duh!). For INDOOR
1) Wide Angle
You will tend to use the wide angle more often than
your telephoto setting. Pay particular attention to your
"end people" (those farthest to the right and the left
in your viewfinder), and verify there is enough space in
picture, so that if cropping is required, the end people
don't have to lose a limb.
Unless you are going for a distorted look in a portrait,
like a caricature, be careful with a wide angle lens.
The wider the lens, the more distorted the image.)
2) The Flash
Flash considerations are critical. Do not be outside
your "flash range." For example, if at ISO 100, your
flash can properly illuminate 12 feet, don't attempt any
photography pose that requires anyone to stand at 14
feet (unless, of course, it's evil cousin Ira who you
want to appear in darkness).
3) Plan "B"
If you need to be further away than your flash
allows, here are 2 things you can try...First, increase
the ISO setting (but not so much as to produce to much
noise), or second, move to a significantly brighter
4) Watch Your Background
If there are distracting features, change your
settings to blur the background (see the Techniques
page). The best photography pose in the world won't look
right with a distracting background. And finally...
5) Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall
If there are mirrors or reflective surfaces in the
background and you can't find a different location, only
take the picture in such a way that the flash is NOT
PERPENDICULAR to the surface, but at an angle (unless
you WANT a nice photo of your flash).
Outdoor family photography has completely different
issues. For OUTDOOR photography...
6) The Sun
Avoid photographing in direct sunlight, or in mixed
light and shade, especially faces. Optimal lighting
results from a slightly overcast sky.
When photographing in shade, use fill-flash (see
terms) when necessary. And, REALLY finally...
If practical, take the picture at one of the
beautiful natural settings near you. Imagine the result
of a creative photography pose captured in a stunning
environment. Can you say: "Over the mantle!"?
To see 5 different categories of poses with tips,
scroll to the middle of
Article courtesy of
you can see some sample pictures including more
Copyright 2005 Robert Bezman. All rights reserved.