one pose many ways

by Emily Potts

When I photograph sessions, I always want to ensure I create as much variety in my imagery as possible. Having a lot of different looks to show my client means that I have an increased opportunity to sell products like canvas collections and albums. Being able to maximize each pose helps me create many different looks… even if I’m working on a tight schedule. In this post, I’ll walk you through how I take one pose and use my camera angles to create several different images in a short amount of time.

This first pose was used when I photographed this sweet senior in a downtown location. I started by asking her to simply sit on the stoop with her knees together, pigeon-toed and with arms crossed over her knees.

one pose many ways photo

After creating this first image, I asked her to look down the street and laugh like there was something really funny going on down there.

one pose many ways photo

* A quick little side tip: ask your seniors to laugh like something is really funny. They’ll almost always fake laugh first. Then they typically crack up because they feel silly, and I snap my portrait during that real laugh.

As soon as I had that image, I moved in. I photographed a vertical head-and-shoulders portrait with a serious expression.

one pose many ways photo

Immediately after, I changed to a horizontal composition, took another step in and created the very close-up image.

one pose many ways photo

Had I wanted to change things up even more, I could have taken a few steps to the right and shot along the wall to her side to create an image like the one of this senior guy.

one pose many ways photo

And then I would simply flip my camera to a horizontal orientation and fire off one more to create the close-up. I would have created six images in a very short amount of time.

one pose many ways photo

This practice isn’t just for seniors – it works beautifully for families and children too. It’s especially great for little ones because it allows me to create a variety of images in a short window of time… perfect for tiny attention spans.

I always start with the traditional full-length of the child looking at the camera and smiling.

one pose many ways photo

Next I’ll work to create a sweet, serene pose. (It’s easier to rile a kiddo up than calm one down, so I save the craziness for later in the session!) In this instance, I asked this little guy to look and see if he saw anything on the trunk.

one pose many ways photo

* I could have also quickly moved in and snapped a head and shoulders profile image while he did this for more variety.

After I have that softer image, I’m going to work on getting full-blown laughter. (My assistant making faces behind my back did the trick here!)

one pose many ways photo

Then I’ll move closer and tell my subject to look in my lens. I’ll ask if he can see my eye in my lens. When I do this, little ones lean in and peer to look. That’s when I create my image.

one pose many ways photo

As I photographed each of these images, I also took a photo any time my little subject did something sweet, silly, funny or cute. Having this wide variety allowed me to create this canvas collage, which is a fantastic seller in our studio.

one pose many ways photo

Whenever you’re photographing a session, try to think about how you could change position while your client(s) stay the same. Stand up, get low or move a few feet in either direction. You’ll be rewarded with a larger number of different images to present to your clients. Use the variety to create products they simply can’t live without!

one pose many ways photoEmily Potts, Oklahoma
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Emily Potts is a portrait photographer based in Bartlesville, OK who specializes in working with newborns, families and high-school seniors. She is also the creator of and writer for Moms With Cameras, a site dedicated to educating and inspiring mothers who are professional photographers.


Read all photography tutorials by Emily Potts.




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19 Responses to “one pose many ways”

  1. Jan 28 2013 at 11:37 am #

    Fantastic write-up Emily! I strive to offer lots of variety in my sessions—the hints you’ve written here will be a huge help for my next session!

  2. Jan 28 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    So glad you enjoyed the post! Best wishes!

  3. AbbyWarm
    Jan 28 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Great ideas – thanks!!

  4. Jan 28 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    This is great! These are going to help me tremendously with posing!! Thank you.

  5. Jan 28 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    This was great!

  6. Jan 28 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    Oh, I love this! Great advice!

  7. Jan 28 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this! Awesome ideas and great tips! blessings Jackie

  8. Jan 28 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    I love the fluidity of the shots from one to the next! Great time saver and also ensures a variety! LOVE!

  9. Jan 28 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    Okay seriously this is changing my life, lol…I never stop and think about shooting this way and now I am excited to start trying this on one of my kids..or husband…or dog…someone is going to have to sit and get shot:)

  10. Jan 28 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this. So many wonderful ideas with posing. :)

  11. Jan 28 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    We are so happy you all enjoyed this post! It definitely helps make sure our sessions are efficient and allows us to create so many looks for our clients. Thanks for your sweet comments!

  12. Jan 29 2013 at 12:13 am #

    I appreciate the specifics you offer. This will be very helpful with toddlers who don’t have a really long window of cooperation!

  13. Jan 29 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Great ideas, thanks for the tips!

  14. Jan 29 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Fantastic! thank you for sharing!

  15. Jan 30 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Great post and tips!!

  16. Emily
    Jan 30 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Thanks for all of your large tips as well as those little ones that you threw in. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experience!

  17. Jan 31 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    great reminder that you can achieve quite a variety of images even without changing locations or clothing! thanks for these tips, emily!

  18. Feb 03 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    Wonderful ideas and a great reminder that the photographer/camera are not glued to one spot.

  19. Kate
    Feb 11 2013 at 7:15 am #

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!!!!

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