Posing During a Photography Session
How to get comfortable in front of the camera and get natural, fun photos during your session.
Ah, yes. The statement all photographers hear: “I’m awkward in front of the camera.” “I’m bad with getting my photo taken.” We’ve all heard some variety of this statement from almost every person we photograph. I want to put your mind at ease as you approach a photo session because I promise you’ll be fine.
Your photographer should come to your session with a bunch of poses and methods to get you to relax in front of the camera. That’s part of our job and we want to create photos you’re going to love. These are above and beyond tips to help you feel prepared for your session.
This is the main thing I reassure people when we first start. Getting your photo taken isn’t as bad as your brain has told you. It’s you and your partner hanging out and enjoying being together. I know it’s easier said than done but relaxing makes a huge difference in the photos you get. Photographers know how to get you to relax and interact so this is another one that’s not all on you. It’s just easier when you come with a mindset that just wants to have fun.
Create an experience.
This is something I personally integrate into all my sessions. It's hard to know what to do if the whole goal of the day is to sit in the park for an hour. Bring something fun or talk with your photographer about adding more of an experience to the session. Maybe that's a water gun fight, a simple picnic, getting coffee together, going on a hike, going kayaking, or anything else that sound fun to you.
Ask your photographer and check their photos to see how they pose.
This is for those of you that haven’t hired anyone yet. There’s two general camps among photographers when it comes to posing. There’s the ones that give you specific positions the whole time and those that give you stuff to do. For the first one, you’re told to put one arm here, the other there, look here, etc. It’s very specific and creates very certain images. Those that give you actions tell you to interact with your partner and capture whatever ends up happening during that. This comes down to personal preference. If I were hiring someone, I’d want the actions that give emotional and natural photos (also the approach I take for my photos). My mom on the other hand, loves the structure of certain poses and directions. Both are totally fine but you’ll want to pick the photographer that fits what you want or you may end up feeling uncomfortable during your session.
If you’re still in the hiring stage of the process, check out this blog with more tips on hiring the right photographer.
Move around naturally.
I'm going out on a limb and say you don't just sit still in a pose for 2 minutes in your day to day life. So if you want your photos to look natural, you probably shouldn't freeze in a pose for an extended period. Try to move around naturally like you would at home with your partner. Imagine you're getting a video taken of you and not necessarily your photos. That will keep you moving and interacting since it would look weird if you just sat still while being videoed. Your photos will look more natural if you're moving around like you usually would.
Make a board on Pinterest of poses and photos you like.
Your photographer will come with a plan but they also can’t see into your brain. Make sure you know what photos you must have and let your photographer know. We don’t want you missing an important photo! By no means is it up to you to find every pose of the session so don’t put that pressure on yourself. This is just making sure you get the specific photos you want. It also helps with the nerves a bit since you feel better prepared.
Wear something you love.
Wear an outfit that makes you feel stunning and confident. If you like wearing makeup, wear colors and a style you love. Do your hair in your favorite hairstyle. You’ll feel a whole lot better in front of a camera if you feel good in front of a mirror. Pinterest has all those cool, trendy outfits but are they you? Sure those trends are #hip but you’re going to feel your best if you’re true to you.
Communicate with your photographer about location.
If you feel like you can’t be yourself in a spot with other people around, communicate this to your photographer and they can help you find a secluded spot. If you pick Saturday evening on a warm weekend and you’re at a boat launch, it’s going to be tough to get away from an audience while you’re trying to act natural in front of the camera. You also might want a very certain spot and it’s usually a busy location. That kind of spot can still work as long as you’re ready to have a few onlookers.
Try to forget the photographer is there.
I know, another easier said than done. A good way to do this is to focus on your partner and enjoying the time with them. The goal is to get a glimpse into a day in your relationship. You don't want to remember who you are while hanging out with a stranger. Try to focus on your significant other and just being natural together.
Get to know your photographer.
Hey look! It's me! A lot of photographers offer phone calls while scheduling sessions and sometimes people forgo that for emails. If you can make it work, I’d recommend you take advantage of that call. We want to get to know you! I love taking photos of my friends and if we get to know each other first, it feels like we’re friends once photo time comes along! It’s a lot easier than trying to be yourself in front of a total stranger.
Have more questions on how you can prepare for a photo session? Comment your questions below!
If you want to keep diving into photography session resources, check out some of my other blog posts.