One of the most asked questions we get during our sessions is, "What do I do with my hands"? If we do not advise our clients on what to do with their hands, they often lay idly by their sides or are awkwardly placed in places that do not flatter them. And, rightly so. How often do we think about what to do with our hands?
So, we are starting a series on posing-posing for men, posing for women, and we are starting with your hands! As in all parts of photography, there are rules. Rules about posing, and those rules are different for men and women. But, that does not mean you have to stick to those rules for each gender. Once you know these rules and why they are the way they are, you can break them.
You might want to show strength and courage in a woman, so you might use a rule that was made for men, for example. Just keep in mind that the posing can make or break an image just like the lighting and composition.
You will find some simple tips for posing women's hands in this post, so keep them in mind as you are out photographing your family and friends. These posing techniques apply to girls, and young women, too! And, as much as we would love to ask toddlers to cooperate with this, it is nearly impossible. You can give them something to do with their hands, though, as that usually works best. Asking toddlers to keep the side of their hand toward the camera is not something that they will do consistently, and rightly so!
Let's start with a basic hand pose for women. As seen in the above image, we see her hand lightly touching her face, curled hand with finger separation, and the side of her hand is toward the camera.
For women, keep these tips in mind-
1. Have the side of the hand toward the camera
2. Show the curve of the hand
3. Do not show the back of the hand toward the camera.
4. Give the hands something to do.
5. If the hand is against the face, lightly press the fingertips against the skin, do not push or sink into the hand.
We met four of the five criteria! The side of her hand is showing, there is a curve, we did not show the back of the hand, and we gave her hand something to do.
Where we failed was in number 5. Her hand is pressing too hard against her cheek and she is sinking into the hand as opposed to sitting taller with her hand gently resting. Still, the image works.
The above images were taken by a well known photographer, Gary Box. He is showing how the back of the hand is not as flattering as a curved hand. It can distract the viewer from looking at the face and is not as flattering as a curved hand pose.The back of the hand is actually competing with her face for attention. Having closed fists can also convey the message of being closed off and not open or flexible.
The second image is showing one hand in and one hand out-a good way to give the hands something to do. There are curves to the hand, and the hand and arm are turned slightly sideways for a flattering look. This image is portraying a more open, approachable look.
This could very easily turn into a power pose if the subject had leaned toward the camera and looked in the direction of the camera!
Giving your subjects' hands something to do can be as simple as putting their thumbs through their belt loops or putting their hands in their pockets, having them hold something or someone, or lean on something. Just be sure that hand placement is appropriate to the image, the hand is curved with the side or most of the side showing, the fingers are separated, and there is intention to what the hands are doing.
Keeping these simple tips in mind as you are out photographing your children, or other family members will give you more pleasing images to love.
Be sure to check back in a few weeks for more techniques and tips for men!
Are you ready for a session with us or would you like to learn more?