Portrait photographer Kelly Weech reveals her trade secrets with 17 posing tips for photographing curvy models. She explains how to direct a subject to inspire confidence and get the best out of their body shape, whatever it may be.
Someone once said, “A woman without curves is like jeans without pockets,” and I couldn’t agree more. I believe everyone regardless of your shape or size can have a portrait taken that they will fall in love with.
Curvy subjects can be a photographers dream to work with but you need to focus on slimming in-camera and this starts with the poses. Every woman wants to look and feel beautiful both inside and outside, and here is how to make this happen.
We’ll start on this page by discussing some of the general – but crucial – things to consider before and during your shoot. And on the following pages we’ll look at specific poses and discuss why they work.
(And when you’re done, it’s also worth checking out Kelly’s excellent posing guide for babies from birth to age 2!)
General posing tips for curvy models
01 Phone a friend
Do not show your subject the back of the camera unless you are 100% sure they will love the image. If you show them an image and they don’t like it, they may lose confidence in you. However, if it’s a great image it will boost their confidence. Make an informed decision based on the person or the image. Sometimes if a friend has come along to watch I will show their friend the image and allow this person – someone they know and trust – to comment and help boost their confidence.
02 Wear something comfortable
Ensure the subject wears clothes they feel comfortable in and flatter their body shape. Always ensure they are well fitted and highlight their key features.
03 Don’t be negative
Never be negative and say things like, “I am not sure if this shot is working for you; you just look awkward.” If a certain pose isn’t working, just tell them you have the shot and move on to the next.
04 Cover up
Focus on the subject’s main features and don’t be afraid to cover the bits they don’t like with props or clothing. Or don’t even include them in the image at all.
05 Avoid low angles
Remember photographing from a low angle can also cause distortion. It can make someone’s hips appear wider than they actually are or, again, create double chins. Low angles are generally unflattering unless the subject is a size 6 – 8 fashion model.
06 Plain and simple
Plain clothes work better than patterned clothes, and try to avoid logos for a more timeless image.
07 A shawl thing
The one part of the body I find many women do not like is their arms. Use a shawl to cover up arms – but not the shoulders – if the subject is self-conscious.
08 Side views
Try not to photograph a subject straight-on, as the shoulders are usually the widest part of the body. Get your subject to turn to the side a little and drop the front shoulder.
09 Full makeover
Photographing women is all about the experience you create. A hair stylist and makeup artist can boost women’s confidence before standing in front of the camera. This will let them engage in the makeover experience and can make a massive difference in the subject’s attitude.
10 Be vocal
Keep talking to your model. The moment you stop the client may over-think the process and stiffen up in front of the camera.
11 Look away
Tell your model that they don’t always have to look into the camera. Ask them to look away, look down over their shoulder or even past our camera to provide a variety of emotions in your photographs
12 Illustrate the pose
Don’t just tell a subject how you want them to pose, show them. You will be surprised at how well people can mirror you when you show them the pose you wish to achieve.
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