Chapter 24 Posing. What’s the Big Deal?

In getting your professional portrait done, the photographer might get on your nerves having you move around just right and it may be uncomfortable.  Is it all that important?  The right pose, from the feet to the head can make all the difference.

Here are some reasons why getting the body and head in the right spot can be a challenge…

Photos are two dimensional

 In real life we are three dimensional and have depth.  Basically, we end up flattening the person in a photo and a person will look heavier. The lighting and pose can help us look more normal.

People have different proportions.
Our culture has a conception of what looks good.  Things need to be balanced.  For example, a person may have one eye larger than the other. Normally no one notices, but in a photo it can look a little odd.  The same is true of our body. Models as a rule are not just thin, they have what we consider the right balanced proportions.   This is more than just height and width.

Some people longer or shorter necks.  Longer or shorter torsos compared to their legs. Forearms either longer or shorter compared to upper arms.   Wider or narrower shoulders. Rounder or thinner faces.  And the list goes on.

For example, if a guy has a very long neck and wide shoulders (the photo will make it look worse, and he can look ungainly) , the photographer may have to have him turn sideways and lean forward at the same time.  This will give the illusion that the neck is more average and his shoulders are not so out of proportion with his head.  This is why a photographer works with a person to give balance and also compensate for the fact that the person will also look worse in the photo than in real life.

Clothing also can be an issue when it doesn’t fit well.

I have found that women generally don’t have this problem, but men do when it comes to dress shirt and jacket.  During the posing stage, trying to get a poorly fitted suit to look right can be almost impossible.  It may bunch up in the back, hang over the shoulders or worse.  If the shirt is wrinkled, or too tight or loose, this can be a problem.  If the collar is too tight it will cause wrinkles in the neck (besides choking you) and if too loose there will be a gap between the shirt and the neck (which looks sloppy).  

So as a reminder for the guys, if you don’t have a shirt and tie that fit right, go to a store like Burlington and get a matched set for about $20.  Save it for special occasions if you normally don’t get dressed up. A suit will cost more (as little as $110 though), but every professional should have at least one suit that fits right for special occasions. Black, dark grey or blue never go out of style.  I would also suggest that you find a private taylor that will assist you.  Buy the suit as separates and then see what the taylor says can be done to make it fit just right. They might suggest returning the suit for a better size.