In this post Gina Milicia – author of our brand new eBook “Portraits: Making the Shot” shares 10 tips on directing a portrait shoot like a Pro.

When I was starting out as a portrait photographer, I began creating a visual diary and mimicking the images I loved. Some people will tell you that it’s wrong to copy but for centuries, every generation of artist has imitated the masters before them. Once they’ve mastered the technique they move on to develop their own style.

Photography is no different.

You don’t have to come up with a thousand new ways to pose someone. Use the ways that work for you and your model.

Here are 5 of my “go to” poses

1. The Controposto (or S) pose

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This is one of my go-to poses. It’s a great starting point for both men and women because it’s flattering for almost any body shape and doesn’t require any special props or locations.

2. Lean on me (or working the wall)

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This is a particularly good pose for people who are really awkward. Some people have a real awareness of their body and they will always look comfortable, but it’s not as easy as that for others. Simply giving your model something to do, like leaning against the wall, can be enough to relax them.

3. Jump in my Car

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A car is another great prop. On a bright sunny day, the shade of a car will give you great light and again, your model will have something to do to help them relax.

4. A leap of Faith

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As with many of the other poses mentioned, if someone is awkward simply standing, giving them something to do can really bring the photo to life.

It’s not always easy but you can introduce some life and movement into the person and their clothes by getting them to jump or leap.

5. Walk the line


The walking shot is great if you want to capture groups, couples and singles.
I like to shoot from a low angle with a fast shutter speed to freeze motion.

Enjoy this post? Check out more of Gina’s advice in her new eBook – Portraits: Making the Shot (and get a bonus one free for the next few days only).