This is a question I get a lot as a photographer: how do I pose my subjects?

Posing is just like any other aspect of photography, it takes a lot of work and a lot of practice to get to a place where you can make your clients feel comfortable in front of your camera. Some people are easier to pose in front of the camera because they might feel more comfortable with you (if you know them), and some people are a little more stiff and need more help. It's your job as a photographer, depending on your personal style, to pose your clients in a way that benefits both parties; you want your clients to like their photos and share them, and you want to like the photos and view them as an extension of your brand.

So that being said, where do you start? Maybe where a lot of photographers start: Pinterest! I did lot of searching when I first started out, and made lots of Pinterest boards for the different kinds of photography I wanted to offer, like weddings, family portraits, and engagement sessions. You get to see a lot of different styles, approaches, editing styles, and get exposed to lots of different types of photographers. I started to pick out certain poses that I like, and there are some that I like so much that I use them a lot, because THEY WORK.

The more you photograph people, the more you start to pick up on who has that chemistry right away, even before you pull the camera out. And those subjects will flow a little more naturally, and they start posing themselves. You ask them to kiss, and they start making out, or kiss and giggle, and then all of a sudden you get these magical candids in the in-between moments, which are my favorite. And there's another pose I really love to do with couples. It's a little tricky the first couple times to do it, and you have to get the hand placement just right, but it's so worth it. It's a nice posed photo, and then I always tell the partner in the back to kiss their partner on the neck, and WOW!

But the biggest piece of advice that I can offer is don't be afraid to fail. Sometimes I get an idea in my head that seems like a really good idea, but by the time I roll back around to the photo in editing, I think "wow, how did I think that was a good idea???" And sometimes, the opposite is true. Don't be afraid to try something that might work out, because if you don't like it, then don't deliver it!

And my second piece of advice is keep shooting! Take way more photos than you will ever need, because sometimes the little moments that you get in between the photos are 1000000x times better than the pose you put your subjects in. I LOVE candids, and I try to get as many as I can. Of course, a lot of it depends on how comfortable you can get your subjects. I am super lucky that I continue to work with a lot of the same clients, from their engagement to wedding to their growing families, and that makes everyone more relaxed. But also don't be afraid to say stupid things or make stupid jokes to lighten the mood and make people laugh. I figure if I can come off as a lovable doofus who cracks a bunch of weird jokes, people will eventually loosen up.

Those photos above are some of my favorite in-between moments.

And usually then end up being my client's favorites too. A huge personal mission of mine as a photographer is to capture people authentically. I want people to get their photos and think "wow, Jan captured us as we are". The more you pose, the more you shoot, the more comfortable you'll get with reading people's energies and thereby deciding how to pose them.

Just be yourself! And let your clients be themselves, and keep practicing.

Happy shooting!