Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 11, Learning 11: Classical poses

There are some basic rules for “classical” poses for portraiture, and they naturally differ for men or women.


  • Angle the body away from the light, and then turn the face back towards it
  • If standing, shift the weight onto the rear foot
  • If seated, angle the knees 45 degrees away from the light and turn the head back towards it.  Sit them on the front edge of the chair, and lean them forward slightly
  • Keep the arms/hands asymmetrical, with the near hand higher so that the closest shoulder is slightly higher than the rear shoulder.  Remember to create diagonal lines with the arms.
  • If they have long hair, drape it towards the far side, or lower shoulder

  • Angle the body towards the light so it hits the chest directly (this is the opposite of the women)
  • Turn the head back towards the camera
  • Shift weight onto the back foot
  • Position the hands (on the hips, in the pockets, etc.) so that the far shoulder is higher than the near shoulder-- this is also the opposite of the women

There are plenty of subtleties to classical posing-- crossing the legs away from the camera if the woman is seated, the tilting of the head back towards the low shoulder if male, etc-- but these are the basics. 

In terms of lighting, the Loop pattern is the most common, with a fill about 1.5 stops lower and coming from on axis with the camera.  Naturally, a light meter is helpful in setting those light ratios....

Okay, so let's see how the image at the top of the compared-- hey, wait a minute....

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