Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   General Discussion (
-   -   Learning Posing (

MitchInOmaha Jun 22, 2005 2:28 PM

I'd like to start doing more portrait type photography. I've read some books on posing, but would like a little more material before offering myself to do paid jobs. Any thoughts on where to get a good (online??) guide to posing people?


PeterP Jun 22, 2005 3:34 PM

Books will give you some ideas on the what-to's, and how-to's.
But the only way to really get the hang of it is to get some victims and practice.
One of the things books can't teach you is how to establish a trust and rapport with the subject so they will do what you ask when you try to pose them. And so they feel comfortable with you and the camera so they look natural and not rigid/posed.


MitchInOmaha Jun 22, 2005 4:06 PM

So, how 'bout suggestions where to get victims?

For this sort of thing, I'm not sure I want to start paying models, or the like. That could get to be an expensive proposition fast. Perhaps I should check out community-college-type classes where there is a whole group of people that could / would take turns for each other, etc.

We have some teenage gals in the neighborhood, but I'm guessing that as soon as word gets out that they've all been to my house, I may not be an appreciated neighbor (in other words, that sounds dangerous).

Hmmm ...

rob_strain Jun 22, 2005 6:35 PM

pianoplayer88key wrote:

Is there something I can get to help me learn how to do this?

Most of my shots come out with hands in front of their faces, or their back turned to me, or them ducking behind some cover or something like that.

Also it doesn't help that my S1 IS's camera's shutter lag and image quality (including taking the camera out of my pocket, putting four freshly charged AA batteries in it, putting a CF card with some available space in it, turning the camera on, zooming in on the subject to get how much of her I want in the frame in there, holding the MF button and manually focusing until she appears to be in focus, setting the aperture to F/8.0 to get a good depth of field (when there are other people in the frame at different distances and I want them to be in focus too, otherwise I'd use something wider like F/3.1), setting the shutter speed to 15 seconds (so I can maybe start to think about letting in enough light, but then it's extremely blurry (and would still be quite blurry at 1/2000" in good lighting)), setting the ISO to 400 because it's so dark (and it's still 128 stops underexposed and extremely grainy), then pressing the shutter and finally taking the picture) is worse than abysmal. :( And, more often than not, I even miss getting the person in the frame when I've prefocused on the distance she's at, then when I try to time the shutter release to get her in the frame while I'm panning around at 500mph (so I don't have to point the camera at her until I'm ready to shoot (so she doesn't have time to dodge away, but somehow she still manages usually)) I can't usually get the shot. :(
How about asking them to pose, and using a flash?
Don't try to be sneaky about it. You'll ALWAYS end up with poor images. And try to have the camera ready, at least batteries and memory.

And 15 sec? Are you serious? Of course your photos are going to be blurry. Have you heard of the 1/focal length rule for shutter speed? If not, in order to avoid camera shake the shutter speed must be at least as fast as 1/the focal length(ex. 280mm lens = 1/250 or faster.) If you want decent pictures of people, especially at night, a flash is a must. There are no practical ways around it.

PeterP Jun 22, 2005 8:01 PM

I terrorized my family and friends to get assignments done when I first hit the portrait classes :-) (yes they had schools way back then, when I was a youngen)
Then got up the courage to start asking others to do trade offs.
You can trade 8*10 prints for their time with begining models that need to build their portfolio. Although finding them when you are an unknown is not so easy, the agencies probably won't want to have anything to do with you :-).

Yes, I can see having all the local teenagers visiting your house could be a problem :-)
The next M.Jackson it the making :blah: :blah:

That other option of pianoplayer88key , getting good candids of people who don't want their image taken is very tough. A skill perfected by the paparazzi. using long lenes, fast cameras and devious tricks.


MitchInOmaha wrote:

So, how 'bout suggestions where to get victims?

Setiprime Jun 23, 2005 12:24 PM

Mitch - this is a two phase process. Phase one being camera compentancy- practice and time take care of that.

Phase two is tougher and has fewer winners. Non professionals are difficult in that they don't know what to do - so they are counting on you to direct them. This doesn't mean bossing them around, it means guiding them in a given direction. People skills are absolutely essential. The model has to be confident in you. You have to have a notion of what you want before you start. One-on-one shoots are best at first, it's just the two of you and you can develop a relationship as you get into the shoot. The trick is to put them at ease. Talk about something they find pleasant, and watch them slowly relax. Move them into position while continuing to listen. Suggest a few "practice" poses and let them relax between poses. Go behind your camera as you talk. Eventually look thru the camera, this way they will get used to you moving about and actually lose interest in your every move.
Suggest taking a few "trial" shots - telling them it'e just to check lighting. Some of my best photos are in this step. If you see signs of tiredness - back off and take a break - a real break. Humor works but it is a very iffy thing at times- walk carefully.
Be open to suggestions from your model if they want to express and idea whether it's a good idea or not. Really good idea to have as few on set as possible.
You will learn and have ups & downs but you will get better.-

MitchInOmaha Jun 23, 2005 1:57 PM

Thanks for the great guidance. Makes me feel like I may actually be able to do this someday! :-)

Am I right in assuming that if I invite someone in to take some photos that I really need to be the one with the concept? :? I keep thinking that I'd ask them what sort of poses and / or message they'd like to convey than then have them saying "what? You asked me to come here and then ask me what I want??" :sad:

To get started, how long should I expect for a single session, and how many poses / pictures should I expect to get (remember, at a starting level, just asking for a baseline expectation).

Thanks again.
-- Mitch

PeterP Jun 23, 2005 2:32 PM

Concept can come from you or them or a third party :-)
Up to you come up with something that puts it together.

For length, as long as both of you have time and can stand it.
And one good shot would be a great outcome for initial sessions.
Memory is cheap, blast away :blah:


Jun 23, 2005 4:57 PM

One of the best ways to find people willing to pose is to practice, practice, practice using a stuffed animal or something static until you have full grasp of your camera functions and lighting ratios. (Study the links in the first post of the Studio Lighting, Flash & Other Forum...they are full of info on lighting portraits, etc).

Once you master that, ask family & friends to pose for you on a TFP (Time For Prints) basis...they give you their time & you give them (hopefully decent) prints. (My personal TFP deal is a CD of all the images as smaller proofs, the model & I then decide on which images are the best, I edit them & give the model Web-sized images along with 5ea 8x10's of the best shots...they also have the option of purchasing more 8x10's if the wish.

As you get better, take your absolute best shots & print them out (professionally if you don't have a very good photo printer) as 8x10's & put them in a binder using clear sleeves. Now you have something to show future prospects when you ask them about photographing their portraits. Have some professional cards printed, carry your book everywhere you go & keep on the alert for good model prospects. (My daughter will often spot them before I will & she provides the perfect "this-guy-isn't-a-weirdo" defense when approaching strangers).

Another good idea is to post your best images on a decent model/photographer networking site (so you can put the link on your card & the model can see your images (if you happen to not have your book). One of the largest & oldest sites is (which is prettly limited unless you want to spend a bundle of $$). Another is which is new, is growing fast & allows you to post 20 decent-sized images (plus, it's FREE)! (BTW, my Model Mayhem # is 3663...if you're interested). One of the benefits of these sites is they give you the opportunity to locate models near you & you know they are interested in modeling.

Jun 30, 2005 5:05 AM


MitchInOmaha Jun 30, 2005 8:02 AM

Have it and love it! Thanks.:-)

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 3:02 AM.