Assignment #23 – Portraits


Due on April 27th.

You must take THREE photographs of different people utilizing the posing techniques listed below.  If they are of fellow students, they WILL be sent to yearbook and count towards the yearbook photography assignment for the year. (For those who have not already completed their five for the year. Please let your subject know!)


three photographs of three different people (individual portraits)

MUST utilize a posing technique listed below.

At least one must be of a fellow student.

Email all three photographs with your name, date and assignment information from your school email.  CC yourself as a record.


We touched on how to take flattering portraits before, but today we will put it into practice.

Using what you know about focal length, exposure compensation, composition, angles, color,  and story telling devices, we will begin photographing people.

A pose may look good to you, but if you can see the subject look uncomfortable, than it doesn’t matter.  Move people around until they get comfortable, it may take a little bit of time because it can be nerve wracking to be in front of a camera. If your subject is standing or sitting in an awkward position, they’ll look uncomfortable and unhappy. Try a few different poses, snapping images until your subject looks and feels relaxed and natural.

(This means, do not take ONE photograph and expect to be done with it)

Give them specific directions, (place hands in pocket, turn head over your shoulder, look to the left, etc…)


Look for good lighting.

This may mean trying different areas to see how the light hits the subject.

The below subject has light that is too harsh on her face, resulting in squinting eyes and sharp shadows.

The best time to shoot is early morning or late day for softer light.  If that isn’t something you can do, look for open shade.

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To create a more flattering portrait, have your subject sit or stand with their back straight and shoulders rolled back and down. This will instantly give them a nice long neck.

To further accentuate the neck and jawline, ask your subject to push their chin out slightly and angle their head down.

To eliminate a double chin, have them press the back of their tongue to the roof of their mouth. (try it!)

Most of the time we engage with other people face to face. So when we pose for a portrait, we often stand straight in front of the camera and smile.

For conversations this is great, but for portraits it’s a problem. Try posing people in an interesting position. Try turning to a slight angle and placing weight on the back leg.

We’ve also brought up “dangling hands”, “claws”, and “fists”.  None of these hand positions are flattering in portraits (in context of course, if you’re photographing a fight photo, then fists make sense)


Some examples are leaning hands under the chin (in an open position), grabbing their shirts or jackets, placing them slightly in their pockets, on someone’s arm gently, or laying on something softly.  The other example is to have people move them to a place vs placing them in a place.

Men tend to like poses where they look bigger, (i.e. taking up more of the frame), see “Power poses” like, sitting with legs spread on a chair, leaning forward with head/arms/hands positioned towards the camera.



Where as women tend to want to look smaller and more demure in photos. Examples like crossing legs at the ankles, pulling the elbows back from the camera, or placing one foot behind the other (called the invisible tightrope) Most poses for females tend to create these looks .