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Nikon® Creative Lighting System: Digital Field Guide, Second Edition by J. Dennis Thomas

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Appendix A. Posing Considerations

Humans convey a lot of expressions and emotions through body language, so it goes without saying that how a person is posed can make a huge impact on the general mood or feeling of the image, so it goes without saying that knowing how to pose your subjects without looking uncomfortable is very important. Posing your model can be one of the most daunting tasks for a photographer.

Sometimes in order to get the right pose, your model may have to bend like a contortionist into awkward positions. One thing to remember about posing is that your models or clients expect you to know what you're doing. You need to be confident and assertive. Acting timid or being afraid to ask your model to do what you need will get you nowhere in the portrait business. Remember, your models rely on you to know what you're doing.

Getting Started

One of the easiest ways to get started with learning posing is to study poses from other photographers or artists. This is as simple as opening a fashion magazine or even looking on the Internet. I keep a folder on my desktop to which I frequently save a small copy of an image that I think is an interesting pose. If I feel particularly uninspired during a photo shoot, I can just open the folder to get some ideas and creative juices flowing.

Some of my favorite poses don't even come from other photographers, but from artists. Alberto Vargas and Gil Elvgren were two artists who painted pinup girls in the 1940s. Their work is iconic and ...

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