I was editing some pics from a month ago and came across the beautiful Queen Elsa. I snapped a photo to ensure my settings were all good to go, then got to work.
Turns out the test shot reminded me of perhaps the single most well-known posing rule for females: Avoid squared-to-camera shoulders.
In other words, angle the shoulders (at least slightly) off camera.
The idea here is to flatter the subject. Off-setting the shoulders both slims and softens the subject. NOT that we need to slim and soften every female (especially our littles)! As much, the angle can do wonders at opening up expression. It can often feel less confrontational (DIRECT!) to a kiddo, and so the expression often goes from a self conscious smile to a natural smile. A slight angle also lends a helping hand to “cuteness” from a posed perspective.
See, here’s Queen Elsa squared up to the camera:
Still the most beautiful Queen ever. But here she with shoulders offset:
Most of the problems arise when folks try to bring the face back towards the camera. There’s a few things that generally go wrong:
- They don’t bring the chin back to camera far enough, and thus the eyes go looking out the corners.
- They bring back the chin, but leave it too high.
- They bring back the chin AND throw in another “tilt”
Combo any of these and it’s easy to be left with the classic stiff pose from 1986.
The Simple Solution
After you have the subject turned (even slightly) off camera, simply have them bring their chin back to their front shoulder.
Don’t over direct!
Just say “Okay, stay right where you are, but just almost touch your chin to your (front) shoulder?”
For the most part, you’ll preserve a natural head tilt and you’ll get the eyes following the nose (as they generally should be).
Here’s another example from Queen Elsa:
Ready for More Posing Tips?
We have a Family & Children Posing Course inside our SPS GRADS Program on all of the SIMPLEST posing tips that make the BIGGEST difference (all while keeping poses seemingly unposed and natural).