How to coach your subjects when posing hands

How to coach your subjects when posing hands


Today, I’m going to show you how I coach my subjects to create beautiful poses with their hands. I’m Lindsay Adler and I’m a portrait and fashion photographer based in New York, and we all know that posing hands can be extremely difficult and a lot of people are just plain awkward, like even if you coach and you give them directions that the hands just don’t look good. So I want to share with you three different approaches that I take to bring the best out of my subject to help direct them and get the hands looking beautiful. The first way that I helped coach my subjects is to actually coach movement. If I ask my subject just to place their hand next to their face, often it looks a little bit forced, a little bit unnatural, but instead, I might say, can you take your middle finger, trace it around the outside of your face and bring your wrist around, and so what that will do is it will actually make far more believable and more pleasing results. Same thing if I asked my subject to put their hands towards their chest. a lot of times it’s very awkward and it doesn’t look beautiful, but if I asked them to drag their middle finger across their clavicle, it’s far more elegant results. So let’s take a look. Rochelle can you do me a favor and take your middle finger and just trace round the outside of your face. Great. Now bring your wrists in. Beautiful right there. Gorgeous. Let. Grab a shot of that super naturally posed hands. The second way that I coach my subjects is just to try to get them to release a little bit of tension, so perhaps you try the movement approach and they bring their hand around, but the hands still look stressed and rigid and a lot of people are nervous during their portrait sessions and they actually show that tension in their hands. So what I’ll do is I’ll get the hand roughly where I want it, and then I’ll tell them to wiggle their fingers to feel the tension, leaving their fingers, wiggle them and set them back down, and a lot of times, just that little tweak is going to make a vast improvement. So can you put your hand next to your face? OK. So I think that that looks a little bit tense, a
little bit too posed. So instead, what I want you to do is just lift your fingers, wiggle them, set them back down, feel the tension leaving, now they’re really nice and soft and relaxed. The last way that I coach my subject is to try to use phrases to get them into the right state of mind, because first I try movement and then I try to get them to release the tension from their hands. But sometimes that is just still isn’t working. So instead I’ll use phrases that get them feeling kind of what I’m going for. So, for example, sometimes I’ll say use ballet fingers, ballet hands, because they can start to picture what a ballet dancer would have for their hands. It wouldn’t be tense fingers. It wouldn’t be right angles, instead it would be soft, long lines, elegant positions of the wrists, and so even if they’re not a dancer, they can envision what I mean by that. What I find this really useful for is that if I’m doing something that’s maybe a little bit more creative with the position of the hand instead of just the hand next to the face. So, for example, what I’ve done here is I’ve brought in a posing table and this is going to allow my subject to lean on it and get a little bit more creative. So now if I tell her that I want her hands out to the side of her body, but think ballet hands, all of a sudden the poses will become more elegant. So can you try that for me? Put this hand up soft in the other hand to it to notice, really soft, really elegant, ballet hands. Beautiful, just like tha, let me grab a shot. Gorgeous. Great. The next time that you are posing your subject and you cannot seem to get those hands posed correctly. First, try coaching them with some movement. Then try to get them to relax, release tension and finally give them some cues, some phrases to put them into the right state of mind. If you found this video useful and you want to know more about posing your subjects, not just their hands, but posing subjects of every different shape and size, be sure to check out the links below, and if you specifically want to know more about posing hands, I’ve created a posing guide and posing cards. With these posing cards, there are 100 different poses that you can use for inspiration as you coach your subjects in your next shoot. I definitely hope you’ve learned something from this video, so the next time that you are shooting, next time that you are struggling with hands, you remember this video and it makes it just a little bit easier for you. Be sure to like and subscribe and I’ll see you next time.

11 Replies to “How to coach your subjects when posing hands”

  1. Your channel should be massive. You're an excellent teacher and an acomplished photographer, I hope you get the recognition on this platform you so clearly deserve.

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