The idea of posing isn't about running your clients all around town.
It's about hanging with them for a few hours that day, making them feel comfortable, and capturing their true personality.
A great way to make sure you have a jump-start on getting to know your client is to get some information from them and about them before the session.
For me, I usually do this by asking each senior to fill out my client questionnaire.
This little goody allows me to get to know what makes them tick before they even show up for their session, and gives me an idea of the kinds of things they like and are interested in.
That way I have a much easier time breaking the ice and talking/interacting with them, which makes them feel more relaxed and comfortable and gives me the natural, easy-going images I'm looking for (like many of the images below):
The trick to a successful photo session with a bundle of natural poses is engagement.
While you may go into the session worrying about what poses to do, what poses will work, and if you can accomplish them, the key is to interact with your client.
Be engaging and they will respond!
Senior sessions are all about getting a glimpse of the young adult before they head off into this big world. Laughs are really going to make a parent melt because it will allow them to remember their child in a naturally happy time.
For many teenagers a photo session may also be intimidating initially, so making sure that you have a little understanding of their life, loves and personality will allow you to give a trigger that will make someone truly laugh and blush.
Many of my seniors even get a big kick out of my ultra big personality and my constant "OMG you are amazing" comments.
It makes them feel like they are doing everything right and truly turns them into models.
Photograph slightly higher than the subject
Remember - getting more out of one pose is really about you as the photographer MOVING around rather than the client. Get shots from all directions.
Don't be afraid of how you look, be focused on getting variety. No one direction is perfect for every subject. You have to be willing to find what's perfect for this client in this moment.
That being said, do not be afraid to bring a step stool with you to a photo session. Heck, here I just jumped up onto the rock to be taller (and that doesn't take a lot!).
Photographing slightly higher than your subject will not only create a very flattering look to your clients, but it will also create a gallery full of variety - even if you only took your senior to one or two different locations.
I'm a sucker for a subject looking away from the camera. It creates drama and mystery and gives you, yet again, one more pose without anyone having to really move. I direct my subject to look somewhere that I know I will still see a kiss of the whites in their eyes.
Mid body pointing away from camera
This is a great pose, especially for women. Have your client place their back to an interesting texture and look back at you. Switch up a few arm placements and you have a bucket full of poses in one spot :)
Subject Sitting While Shooting Slightly Above
This is a go-to pose for me during my sessions. I usually wait until last to do it in case clothing may get dirty, but you can always bring a hand towel they can sit on too and do it at any point during the session.
Capture both a smile & serious look for each pose if possible
It is very simple to get two photos out of one pose, and maybe even three photos if you have them also look away (see below). I try to make sure that for every situation I put my subject in I capture a smile, a laugh, a serious model look and anything else that might happen while we are chatting.
The important thing to remember is that you are constantly talking to your client while shooting.
Use the same pose with your subject looking at you & looking away or down
Chatting with your subject while in a pose can create many human reactions that will give you more than just one shot. The image on the left is a posed, planned shot. But just when I told my client to hold it but "give me a second to check lighting," it was enough of a break that she was able to calm her nerves. The result was a natural, beautiful young girl softness her parents know and love (image right).
Bottom line: getting the most "shots" is more than just a posing, and you can create multiple photographs by capturing all of the emotions as well.
With these 7 poses + tips, you'll get a full gallery of natural, relaxed images for your clients that they will love.