Go ahead, strike a pose! If only it were that easy. Getting subjects, especially kids, in the right positions for photos is both super important and super tricky. Without good posing, kids can look awkward, uncomfortable, and out-of-place. But too much posing introduces issues of its own. Here's how to get it right:
Do something with their hands
Hands are a key element of a photo, but they can also be the hardest to pose. An easy solution is to put something in them: Give the kids a toy, vintage camera, or some wild flowers to clutch. Still not working? Have her place her thumbs in her pockets with her hands hanging out, play with her hair, or rest them on her hips or face.
Keep arms and legs natural
Like hands, limb placement can look really awkward if you're forcing it. A good place to start: Simply allow the subject to pose themselves. People tend settle into natural, comfortable poses on their own. Take a few test shots of their position, and then adjust from there. Be on the lookout for no-nos like chopped off limbs and kids sitting too far back in a chair.
Stop the slouch
We want our subjects to look and feel their best, and that means creating a flattering pose. Good posture is key. No need to push for rigid, shoulders-back formality, but make sure your subject is in a relaxed, upright posture — not slumped or awkwardly twisted around. From this comfortable starting point she'll be engage naturally with the camera and create a good atmosphere.
Focus on the face
Yup, it's the most important part, and where most people look first when viewing a portrait. Three rules: Avoid cheesy smiles, double chins, and direct light in your subject's face. Anyone can have a dreaded double chin in a photo, so make sure you shoot from the right angle and ask your subject to push her chin out and up a bit.
All photos via Alethia Rains .