I STILL remember vividly when I had my first shoot: my major concern was posing. Even in the next coming shoots, it was always my weakness. Back then, I’d do a ton of research for the right pose and the different dos and don’ts. I try to do my best to imprint the image into my head so during the shoot I can pull them out as needed.
Since I’m really not good in memorizing, I always end up dry, and when the time comes that the model would ask for the dreaded question, “what should be my posing?,” it was like squeezing a drop of water out of a dry towel. The save reference poses to cellphone trick made a difference, but I was slowly turning mechanical.
Today, I still worry about poses but not as much as before. Unfortunately, everybody has to go through that stage. Nobody is exempted and there’s no shortcut. What I realized, though, is that I was actually looking at the wrong area of concern. Although posing is important, the most important is the concept.
Before you even think about posing, you should try to define the concept in a more detailed scenario. Try to internalize it and connect to that concept. It’s only then that you should imagine how your subject should project and how the character should come out. The outfit and the props become part of the pose.
The arms and legs should direct and create a form to blend with the outfit and the scene. It’s now an art form trying to communicate what is anchored from a concept. Don’t forget that the subject has hips, shoulders, elbows and knees to form that precise symmetry of balance. The pose has now become part of an entire image of art.
It is easier to think of the right poses if your references are in place. There is no set of poses that you can just pull out of the box; it’s unique every time. There is no right position of the arm and legs; it only makes sense if it conforms to the concept. Posing is communicating, it’s an expression, so there should be not much restrictions.
For the many years that I struggled and tried to understand posing techniques, reading the most elementary and advanced techniques and the countless shoot experiences that tell you if the pose works or not, I cannot choose one source of info that allowed me to improve in posing subjects. I think it’s all of the above.
I’m not even done. There’s so much to learn and so much to try. There’s so many beautiful works of other photographers out there to appreciate and be inspired with.
By the way,master and dynamic photographer and Canon Crusader of Light, Jijo de Guzman, will be in Cebu on Saturday, May 27 to talk about Sports and Active Lifestyle Photography at the Ayala Center Cebu for Henry Camera Shop. I personally know this guy: humble and down to earth but has so much achievements already. Keep on shooting, everyone!