If you are anything like I was when I opened my studio some 30+ years ago. We pose people like we were shooting a police lineup. Then you look at your photos and wonder why your subjects don't look that good in pictures. You begin to compare your photos to others you see in magazines, books, on the tube or your monitor.
I needed help in posing, and had the desire to make my photos look as good as some of the examples I was seeing. We all want our images to look spectacular and get compliments from others and especially our subjects we are shooting. One of the things you realize when posing a subject is you run out of ideas far too soon. Now you ask your subject to just look natural, but they don't generally know what looks natural.
So you have a person in front of your camera that is somewhat frozen and you don't know what to do to make your subject relaxed to get those great shots.

I want you to see your subject in angles, no verticals or horizontals. The world and most of the stuff in our world is vertical or horizontal. Think diagonal. there is an old adage "Diagonals are Dynamic" and Verticals and Horizontals are not. At the end of this Blog you will see examples of some of my work where I pose for the diagonal, and the end positive result is you will not run out of posing ideas.

Shooting diagonals also creates poses that will give you the infamous S-curve images we know work fantastically well. I'll show you some examples at the end of this Blog.

One nice thing about posing is that a pose can not be copyrighted © or registered ®, so No One owns a pose, you can copy any pose you see and you don't have to worry about the guilt of stealing the pose. I am honored to have someone copy any of my poses. Some years back, I started a posing file, which consisted of a box of ideas and I called it my idea file, even though all the images were pirated from someone else. When a subject came to me to be photographed, I looked at the person and quickly scanned some of my pictures in my idea file and showed some to my model, portrait and asked them if they could do the pose. They would not only try but in many cases we ended up with  far superior image over the original, so now it was my pose that was better than the one in my idea file. Over a period of time you will begin to see the pose without the idea file and it will become a natural part of your photography.

Again, I have to advocate your looking for angles, they are the start of good posing. Look for the line of shoulders and if you are not sure which way would look better shoot it both ways, creating an angle with the line of the shoulders. Legs when shooting both half and full length images, in my mind always look better with the leg closest to the camera bent. Straight legs make for ugly knees when they are showing. You can believe me when I say knees are one of the ugliest parts of the human body. So to make knees pretty just bend the one leg and push that knee in front of the other ugly knee. The viewer see's one pretty knee and the other is covered by the pretty knee.

Angling the body at 45º to the camera, again creates more angles and creates waistline, the S-curve really creates some beautiful images. The face is still looking toward the camera but the body is angled at 45º to the camera. Looking at the attached photos you will see how I regularly bend a knee and pose the person with knees together and feet apart to create a dance pose.

I get inspiration from seeing other images I admire and from dance.
As I built my career on shooting dance costume images with poses that had to be realistic to the type of dance illustrated. I found watching some movies like the movie Chicago and seeing all the great dance cooreography designed by Bob Fosse, I began to copy many of his poses. What could be more provocative than seeing great dance.

Art Ketchum
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