kisa koenig photography » newborn, family & portrait photographer | teton valley, idaho & jackson hole, wyoming

don’t fear the pose

“I hate posing.”
“Where should I look?”
“Please don’t make me look at the camera and smile.”
“I don’t know what to do with my hands.”

I’ve heard all of these things (and more) on a regular basis. And I totally understand. Nobody feels comfortable staring into a camera and smiling. I get it. I don’t either. But over the years, I’ve learned a bit and thought I’d pass on some things to consider when you get nauseous and stiff imagining getting your photo taken.

I’ve ALWAYS prided myself on my “natural” style, how I don’t pose people much and I get them to be themselves. I think that’s why people feel connected with my work. But lately, I’ve been inspired by portrait photographers greater than I, that have stunning, flattering images of people (mostly women, because let’s face it, we’re our toughest critics.) Posing is an art form. One that I am slowly learning. And as I learn these really great techniques to make people look beautiful, I’m starting to get frustrated by the “don’t pose me” comments.

Here’s an honest-to-goodness fact: posing is your friend. Yes, posing can make you look thinner, sexier, taller, younger…you name it. With the simple movement of your weight or an arm, it can change the whole dynamic of your image. While this is all going on, I’m throwing out conversation, hilarious jokes, commentary, etc. to make you feel comfortable. But now and again, I’m going to stop and say, “Ok, look right here.” and by then you are in a flattering pose, relaxed from my awesome jokes and ready to simply look and smile in any way that shows who you are.

You come to a professional for a reason. And I have yet to see a great photographer, say “Say Cheese!” If they do this, run the other way. Have trust, don’t forget to breathe, and just go along for the ride. It’s not going to happen on the first frame, but let the process happen, and I’m sure we will get a “real” smile out of you, as well as making the rest of you look fabulous too.

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