In your opinion is there an easier way to pose a high school senior, than in a standing pose? You don’t need a prop and it couldn’t possibly look more natural – everyone does it. And yet how many standing senior portrait images have you seen where the subject does, in fact, look unnatural? I mean really, how in the hell is it even possible to make someone look awkward while they’re standing? But photographers do it every day.
On this page, you’ll find more than 40 images of high school senior girls in standing poses. And yes, they are all subtlety different. A very few of the poses use a prop and in a couple, the senior is actually crouching as opposed to standing.
Standing Poses General Tips
Without question, this is the single most important tip that can make all the difference in your standing poses. Always, always, ALWAYS have your subject put more weight on one leg than the other. Except when you don’t – on the rare occasion.
Do most people already just naturally stand with more weight on one leg than another? Of course, they do. But remember, now they’re standing in front of your camera, they’re nervous as all get-out and they don’t want to look like a dork.
As with any pose, get them into the general position in front of the background and snap an image or two just as they are – knowing you’ll probably delete them. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again, snapping those couple of quick images – before perfecting the pose – helps to build the senior’s confidence. It’s like saying, “Hey that’s cool, I like it.” Click, Click. “Now how about this?” and then get into tweaking the pose.
So you have them standing where you want them and your lights are all dialed in.
Point to yourself – up and down with your hands – in other words silently saying, “see this, see how I’m standing?” And then turn the direction you want them to turn – and they’ll copy you.
Now that you have them (probably) three-quarters to the camera say, “Put all your weight on your left foot.” (If in fact, their left foot is the back foot. If they’ve turned the other direction you’ll, of course, say, ‘Put all your weight on your right foot.”
The point is you want them to have all their weight on their back foot – the foot furthest from the camera – but you can’t say, “put all your weight on your back foot,” because it inevitably confuses them and then they feel dumb.
Putting all their weight on one foot makes their hips turn and adds movement to the pose. Sometimes if they’re especially skinny or uptight I might say, “stick your butt out.” And I stick my butt out and point to it.
If you yourself are a 30-something female photographer you could probably get away with saying, “stick out your money-maker.” (if people still refer to it as that) If you’re an old fat guy like I am I’d stay away from the money-maker line. I say “stick your butt out,” with an exaggerated southern* accent, and really make a show of throwing my hip out. They get the picture and hopefully, it’s funny. *(If you yourself are from down south you can use that ridiculous sounding northern accent instead.;-)
On occasion, as in the image below, if I’m not getting the movement in their legs that I want, I’ll give them a wood block to put their foot on. I have a whole stack of black painted 12 inch long chunks of 2” x 12” for just that purpose – and many others.
Rules Are Made to be Broken
In this image, she has her weight on her front/left foot and her right leg is bent with her toe on the floor – almost like she’s in mid-step.
In these two images, I had her turn three-quarters to the camera and keep her weight even on both feet. “Now just push your left hip out – away from the camera.”
Use Their Outfit
I really liked the length of this sweater in this image. “Just hold the hem of your sweater in your hands.”
“Grab a hold of the hoodie strings. Ummm, I don’t know. Pull ‘em out to the sides? Awesome!” Click.
Hold your scarf with your right hand, run your other hand through your hair. Perfect!”
If’s There’s a Joint – Break it
Look at the image above once more. This girl was a natural poser but it still took a bit to get that right hand just right. Breaking the wrist back makes the hand look more feminine. And whenever possible show the side of the hand – not the back.
Watch for Too Much Cleavage
The image below is pushing it just a bit too much. Part of it of course on this image is the high angle of the camera. Often times at the beginning of a session I’ll say, “I’m going to be looking at you a lot – to make sure nothing is out of place. I may be looking here too.” And I’ll draw my hand across my chest. “Please understand I’m not being a dirty old man – just trying to keep Mom and Dad happy.”
If I’m looking through the camera and I think it’s too much, I’ll drop the camera away from my face and pull up on the top of my own shirt – and then look away while she adjusts. No words needed and she gets it – and appreciates it.
Girls want to look cute, pretty, athletic, model-like, maybe even a little sexy.
Wait A Minute – Did He just Say Sexy
I did. I learned something years ago from the great photographers Gary and Pam Box. I was attending a seminar at their studio in Sapulpa, Oklahoma and Gary’s words of wisdom were;
“Sexy pose, sexy outfit, sexy expression. You can put two together in any one image but never all three.”
Have I ever in my life used the word sexy when talking to a high school senior female client or their mother? No matter what you might think, I’m not that stupid. Would I ever suggest to a senior girl that she strike a sexy pose? Not on your life.
I have a rule I always keep in the back of my mind. I will not even attempt posing a senior girl in an even remotely sexy pose if her Mom or Dad isn’t there. When Mom is there and I want to try a somewhat sexy pose I’ll get the girl into the pose and then look at Mom, “What do you think Mom? Too much or okay?” If Mom hesitates even half a beat, I change the pose. You just never know.
Had a senior girl client one year, had photographed both older brothers. Mom was pretty proper and the girl – let’s just say if you looked in the dictionary under wholesome – you’d find her picture. She was a pretty, mature, intelligent, young lady.
Girl goes in the dressing room to change and Mom says, “She just came back from a school trip to France and she bought an outfit she wants to wear. It’s really cute.” Girl comes out of the dressing room and it’s like holy crap! Painted-on black pants and high heeled black boots, a skintight bright red top and a black cropped vest over it.
There’s a pose I used a lot where the girl lays on the floor on the all-white background. Lots of senior girls loved it – lots of Moms did not love it. This Mom and senior girl wanted that pose. Does the final image look “come-hither?” Not a bit. It looks fun and cute and yes – maybe just a little bit sexy.
So like I said, you just never know.
What Can I Help You With?
Do you have questions? Do you need help with posing or lighting or equipment? That’s what I’m here for so please just ask. Shoot me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able.