How To: Pose people for photos with Erin Manning

Pose people for photos with Erin Manning

When it comes to working with people, the photographer can face quite a challenge. Everyone has a mind of their own, and with these few tips you will know how to advise your subject so they look fantastic in a picture. Join Erin Manning, professional photographer, as she shows us 5 handy tips for working with people.

Some people are really uncomfortable in front of the camera—they aren't sure what they're supposed to do, and they're afraid they'll look bad. This can result in stiff, unnatural looking photographs. It's your job as the photographer to help your subjects feel comfortable and relax. You can do this by talking, interacting, giving them direction and encouragement. When you are photographing people, you are in a relationship, whether it lasts for a few minutes, a few hours, or a lifetime. Following are five tips that can help you direct your subject and capture natural-looking portraits.

Tip 1
Have your subjects make a three-quarter turn to camera and shift their weight to the back leg. This position gives the body shape, dimension and makes them look slimmer.

Tip 2
Create a sense of movement in your photograph. Direct your subjects to shift their weight back and forth from one foot to the other.

Tip 3
Most people are uncomfortable in front of the camera. Help them out by giving them direction. Tell them they look great, give them feedback and interact. The positive energy will show in your photographs.

Tip 4
A real expression is always better than a fake one. To alleviate a frozen, unnatural smile, try my Pufferfish technique for relaxing your subjects face. Do it together! Puff out your cheeks, hold, then blow it out. This exercise relaxes your face, and the goofy look is enough to make anyone laugh.

Tip 5
Portraits are traditionally shot a few degrees above your subjects eyeline, but shoot from all different angles too. Mix it up and experiment!

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