Posing Practice: An Exercise in Awkward

I think every photographer encounters this predicament at some point or another: the awkwardness of trying something new. 

Like anything, new concepts are best learned through application and immersion. The best way to learn a new language, for instance, is by living with people who only speak that language. Photography is no different but, just like language, it's fraught with awkward encounters. 

Recently I've been working/reading about developing a posing approach that lends itself to more natural "photojournalistic" pictures, similar to the work of artists like Mike Colon and D. Park Photography. I think this sort of approach lends itself to more a realistic capturing of most events in such a way that the photographer is, more or less, forgotten about. 

That's all big picture though, and getting there means learning how to instruct people to get them to look natural while you're posing them: which is pretty much the opposite of what any of us feel while some person with a device that is going to immortalize our flaws forever is making us move around our limbs and faces in seemingly random pattern. 

So that's why I got Hannah to do it:

Hannah and her husband have this sort of natural posing ability. They usually make themselves pretty presentable without much effort. They're pretty confident and they're not camera shy. In exchange for free shoots on occasion I use them as Guinea pigs for a lot of ideas when I'm not sure how they'll work and I don't want to make a fool of myself in front of someone (I've made a fool of myself in front of her and Scot often enough that it's not a surprise anymore) If it sounds like I was cheating: it's a good thing I did,  because it was still crazy awkward. 

Hannah and I walked around downtown for about an hour and a half and just tried posing stuff. I'm proud to say that I got about 5 usable images from the experience. I was actually fairly pleased with the results, given that most of the time was spent trying to explain what I was trying to say and actually have it make sense without sounding like a sexual predator: but hey, this is all so I don't have to sound like a predator at someone's wedding. 

here's a few shots from the day: needless to say, it still needs some work. But Hannah was a real trooper, and it was a good reminder of why it's good to have friends who are willing to put up with nonsense to help you suck less.