If you’re one of the portrait photographers stuck with taking self-portraits, chances are you’re getting frustrated. You may not get the shots you want, you may not be happy with the poses, or you may not know how to pose at all. Of course you are not alone in this; even professional photographers love the people behind it mango street felt they needed some help with self-portraits when they couldn’t work with models a few months ago.
Professional models Kyra and Matthew came to the rescue to guide them with some tips on how to pose for each other, right from the comfort of their homes. If you feel like taking your self-portraits to the next level, you can get some ideas from the video below and the quick breakdown that follows.
Think of a story when you pose
Instead of staring blankly or straight into the lens somewhere, the models advised thinking about a story – or whatever, really – that will help you project or emote. It may be based on a mood you want for your self-portraits, so it may help to write down some themes or moods from which to draw thoughts and emotions before shooting.
Start with something natural
Don’t underestimate the effect of natural poses! Starting out this way takes the pressure off getting shots right away. Think of this as a way to test out which poses, hand placements, angles, or props work best for what you have in mind. It will also help you feel more comfortable and avoid awkward expressions or postures.
Use smooth, natural movements
The models also shared that a trick they like to do is to make fluid and natural movements while posing. Many beautiful portraits show some movement, but they don’t have to be complicated or over the top. Making simple and natural movements also helps you get good shots even between poses, especially when shooting in burst mode or in rapid succession.
Use your environment
Matthew suggested also thinking about your room or the space you’re in as a model to help you make better use of your environment. Take a good look around and see what items or objects you can use and integrate into your photos. This will also take some of the pressure off you as a model and let you be more creative without hesitation.
Learn your own angles
Models usually know their angles by heart and can take them with them when posing. As a photographer, you may be good at finding the best angles for your subject, professional models or otherwise. But maybe you are a stranger to yourself. Before your scheduled shoot, take some time to learn which angles work best for your self-portraits and take some practice shots for reference.
Don’t be afraid to look straight into the lens
Not all photographers feel comfortable standing in front of the lens, so looking straight into it can be daunting. But you probably know that most portraits look powerful right away when the subject’s eyes grab the attention. So make sure you don’t leave this out in your self-portrait shoots!
Screenshots from the video