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Self-Portraits | A guide on how to pose

I recently shared how we set up our self-portraits when we go on vacations or when we just need a good family picture.  You need some gear to make it happen, but it’s worth it!  And I promise it gets easier to set up each time!  Since I outlined step-by-step how to set up the picture, I also wanted to share a few helpful tips on the different poses you can do!  It feels really funny at first…you’re standing there posing in front of a 7 foot tripod with a camera attached to it.  This also gets easier each time, and soon enough you’ll be very comfortable if you’re not already!

I want to point out that though these are actual “poses” that you are setting up, they’re meant to pose you candidly…sounds like an oxymoron, I know.  My goal with this is to guide you into more natural posing. I love the pictures where people are smiling looking straight at the camera, but I also love sweet, romantic images that can capture feelings…and the love between a couple or a family.  Sometimes it just requires a little help and guidance :)  Warning:  This is probably the most vain post ever written, because there are tons of pictures of us…

This post would best be explained with pictures, as opposed to steps written out one-by-one.  So, here we go!

I created categories for the poses.  You’ll see that some can easily overlap:

  • Smiling, looking right into the camera
  • Looking at each other:  You can do this pose standing or sitting on something
  • One person looking at you, the other person looking elsewhere:  For example, Nick can kiss my forehead, look at me, touch his head to my head, and I will be looking off somewhere; I could look down at Kennedy, look off into the distance, or even look down at my shoulder smiling.
  • Holding hands side-by-side or “walking.”  It’s hard to walk and take a picture that is in focus at the same time.  So, simply take one step as if you’re walking forward and freeze!  Works every time ;)
  • Creative and artsy poses with a scenic background:  Use the scenery to your advantage and make that the main focal point.

First, in order to set up each picture, we always make sure that everything is in focus.  You can see in the left images where Nick is used as my focal point.  Once I have that set, I lock the focus, so we can take pictures in the same plane.  It’s great, because once you do have that focus locked, you can easily switch up the poses and capture a lot of pictures in a few minutes.

set up pictures, self portraitsset up pictures, self portraits

And here are a few examples with the focus set and different poses in just a few seconds:

set up pictures, self portraitsBermuda travel photography, travel photographer, self portraits, family session, family self portraits5Untitled_9442set up pictures, self portraitsMy favorite series…taken over 6 years ago in Portugal:  Nick proposed to me and captured it all on the camera timer.  It was, literally, perfect timing and I’m so glad that we have these moments.  He set the camera on a large rock.
set up pictures, self portraitsSo, now onto posing!  We’ll start with the easiest:  Looking directly at the camera.  The one is pretty self explanatory :)

Smiling right into cameraMy favorite pose just might be the “looking at each other” pose.  Whether we are sitting down or standing, I just love it!  And, apparently we do this one all the time.
Looking at each other pose Looking at each other pose Bermuda travel photography, travel photographer, 085Looking at each other pose Looking at each other pose Another favorite, a close second place, is the “one person looks at you, and the other looks away” pose.  It’s just really sweet.  Nick can look at me or kiss my cheek, and I will look away (at Kennedy, my shoulder, off in the distance, etc) and vice versa.  You can really mix it up here!  There are so many different “looks” you can achieve.  You can get really creative and switch up where you stand, too:  Try having one person stand behind you and have them wrap their arms around you; face towards each other and make a “V” with your bodies (so you’re facing each other slightly, but not exactly face-to-face); one person can stand facing the camera and the other can angle their bodies in towards their arm.  Just be sweet to each other and have fun!  The poses will come naturally soon enough :)

Bermuda travel photography, travel photographer, self portraits, family session, family self portraits1How to pose self portraitsHe’s testing the location and lighting on the right.  I locked the focus and then jumped right in.
How to pose self portraitsBermuda travel photography, travel photographer, self portraits, family session, family self portraits1I really like the “walking pose”, too!  You can start to see that a lot of the poses overlap.  I love how we’re looking at each other, but creating movement at the same time.  It gives the impression that we’re going on a walk alongside these cliffs.  And, we really did!  So, though we posed for this picture it does tell a story of what we did that afternoon.Holding hands and walking self portraitHolding hands and walking self portraitHolding hands and walking self portraitYou can also try setting up your camera at different heights and angles to give you a different perspective:  In the left picture, our camera tripod is positioned higher than us (you can see Nick almost looking up).  In the right picture, the camera is set on a small step on the ground.  Holding hands and walking self portraitOnce you’re comfortable with all of the different poses, you can get more adventurous and create images that highlight the scenery or background.  Creative composition2 Creative composition self portraitsCreative composition5 Creative composition self portraitsCreative composition self portraits Creative composition self portraits Creative composition4Bahamas _ Eleuthera _Destination_Photography _ Destination Wedding Photography _ Brita _ Travel_Beach 36

Whether you are setting up the timer on the camera or working with a photographer, I hope that this post helped to provide some creative ideas for your next session!