If you’re among the portrait photographers who have been stuck with shooting self-portraits, there’s a big chance that you’re frustrated. You may not be getting 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’re not alone in this; even professional photographers like the folks behind Mango Street felt that they needed some help with self-portraits when they couldn’t work with models some months ago.
Professional models Kyra and Matthew came to the rescue to mentor them with some tips on how to pose for each other, right in the comfort of their home. If you feel like leveling up your self-portraits, you may get some ideas from the video below and the quick breakdown that follows.
Think about a story when posing
Instead of just staring blankly somewhere or straight into the lens, the models recommended thinking about a story — or anything, actually — that will help you project or emote. It can be based on a mood you want for your self-portraits, so before your shoot, it may help to note down some themes or moods that you can draw thoughts and emotions from.
Start with something natural
Don’t underestimate the effect of natural poses! Starting this way will help take away the pressure from nailing shots right away. Consider this as a way to test out which poses, hand placements, angles or props will work best for what you have in mind. It will also help you be more at ease and avoid awkward expressions or poses.
Use fluid, natural movements
The models also shared that a trick they like to do to is to make fluid and natural movements when posing. Many great portraits show some kind of movement in them, but they don’t need to be complicated or exaggerated. Getting into simple and natural movements can also help you get good shots even in between poses, especially if you’re shooting in burst mode or quick succession.
Use your environment
Matthew suggested thinking about your room or the space you’re in as a model as well to help you utilize your environment better. Take a good look around and see which items or objects you can interact with and integrate into your shots. 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 are able to incorporate them when posing. As a photographer, you may be good at looking for the best angles for your subject, professional models or otherwise. But you may be a stranger to your own. Before your planned shoot, take some time to learn which angles work best for your self-portraits and take some practice shots for your reference.
Don’t be afraid to look straight into the lens
Not all photographers feel comfortable being in front of the lens, so it can be daunting to face and look straight ahead into it. But of course, you most likely know that most portraits look instantly powerful when the subject’s eyes serve as the point of interest. So make sure you don’t leave this out in your self-portrait shoots!
Screenshot images from the video