by Andy Cubin Published 01/04/2012
People hate posing! As photographers, we run out of steam when directing family, friends or models. As a subject, when a camera gets pointed at them, they immediately take on a 'rabbit in car headlights' look, and if you are my Labrador, you will look anywhere except where I want you to.
Posing is difficult - more so than is first imagined, so allow me to postulate some ideas to get our brains thinking about how the face and body can be moved around. As always, there are no rules, but some poses undoubtedly work better than other so I leave you, the reader, to be the judge of what works and what doesn't.
Three elements can move in photography - the light, the subject and the photographer. To set the scene, let us freeze the first two and allow the photographer free reign to shoot a subject and let's say that is done every 10º laterally and vertically around a sphere surrounding our subject. A quick bit of maths and we arrive at 1,296 different points on our
subject where we'd get a different photograph. Once you start moving the light and then the subject - the different possible combinations rise to many, many millions but, since neither you nor I have long enough to live to explore them all and the fact that this article is about posing and not lighting, let us discard as much as we can and firstly examine head posing in a practical way.
Leaving light aside, the way a head appears in a photograph is governed by its position in relation to the neck and shoulders below. Given that the head can be tilted, shaken (turned), or nodded (three axes) and the body can also be tilted, turned or leant one way or another - we can start to build some logical foundations on how to start posing effectively.
Whilst researching for this article, I read a number of times that a big no-no was to shoot the head and shoulders face on - so that is exactly what we are going to do and attempt to blow that theory right out of the water, so please read on...
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