Nervous about a photoshoot? How to Pose for Pictures if you are Curvy.

April 27, 2024

Nervous about a photoshoot? How to Pose for Pictures if you are Curvy.

As someone who has suffered with body confidence my entire adult life, I long for a world where everyone in society could truly accept and understand that real beauty is so much more than the fake images of perfection strewn across social media.

There are of course fuller figured people who, quite rightly, love their bodies and have no issue posing for photographs. I so wish I could have been like them instead of wasting so many years in self imposed exile from the 'wrong end' of the camera! Sadly, I've had many clients who are so self-conscious about their weight that they are quite stressed by the time they arrive at my studio. This blog is for them, and I hope it helps a little.

Before I start, I know it isn't as simple as reading a few tips from a photographer and reversing years worth of low self esteem, and I am aware that no advice, however well meaning, is going to suddenly dissolve your dread of having your photo taken. However, I am going to share below some tips which I use myself and which I suggest to similarly camera-averse clients during sessions. I hope these might help a little whenever you find yourself in front of the dreaded camera lens!

Try and Change your Mindset.

Firstly, instead of letting your nerves run riot, try and remember that everyone has insecurities to some extent. Everywhere in society you will find people who might wear a size eight, but hate the way their eyes look, or the shape of their jaw, or the size of their nose. It is rare to find anyone who isn't insecure in some way about their appearance. Twiggy, the famous supermodel of the 1960's has said she hated the way she looked during her modelling years; she said she thought the world had gone mad because she had grown up hating her appearence! As someone who has photographed hundreds of people believe me, you are not alone in feeling self-conscious about your weight in photographs.

When you find yourself in front of a camera try and focus on the reason that particular memory is being captured. Try to think of the love and joy being shared in that moment with your family and friends. This is what photography is about – capturing moments in time so they can be remembered forever.

Relax and Smile.

Easy to say I know, but try to relax and enjoy the moment! A genuine smile can make a world of difference to how you appear in photographs. Take a deep breath, focus on the joy of the moment, and smile!

Clothing Choices

I’ve always said you should wear clothes you feel good in and I know that when I’m carrying extra weight I feel most comfortable hiding under baggy clothes. When it comes to photography however, loose fitting clothes can cause problems if you’re trying to pose your body in the most flattering way, as no matter what pose you adopt to streamline your figure, your shape is always hidden!

The best type of clothing to go for if you want to create a flattering pose are items that are neither too tight therefore showing off a little too many lumps and bumps, or those that are too loose and hiding everything under volumous material.

Your clothing should simply fit your form. If you are self-conscious of your arms, long sleeves in dark colours will help in fact, as much as I love bright colours, it is true that darker colours never fail to make you look slimmer. Does this mean I think fuller figured clients should always wear black? Absolutely not!

Think about Angles

If you’ve got an event coming up where you know you'll be photographed, or if you’re booked in for a family photoshoot that you may be dreading, take a little time to practice angles in front of a mirror. 

On the day, don't stand directly square on to the camera. Instead, turn your body to the side slightly, angling your hips and shoulders away. For ladies, lean your weight onto your back foot and then push your hips as far away from the camera as possible, which will make them appear smaller. Straighten your back, relax your shoulders and pull your stomach in.

Pose your arms. Rather than have your arms pressed against your body (which will make anyone's arms look bigger) hold them away and slightly back. For a feminine pose, trying placing the hand which is closest to the camera on your hip and drawing your elbow backwards, this will help lengthen your arm. For men, you could put a hand in your pocket, keeping your arm slightly away from your body and elbow pushed backwards.

Ladies - if you find you have to face the camera directly, you can make your waist look smaller by placing your hands on it. Once your hands are in position, move them inwards towards each other, bringing them closer together. This gives the illusion that you have a narrower waist. Note – when facing the camera straight on, don’t put your hands on your hips as in the finished photo, the viewer’s eye will be drawn to your hands, making your hips seem wider.  

Seated Posing

Seating any person in a photograph can cause potential problem areas. As a fuller figured person, your instinct might be to lean back in a chair to try and stretch out your tummy area, but this can look unnatural in the finished photo. Try to elongate yourself by sitting up tall, moving towards the end of the seat and extending one leg. You can also obscure your mid-section by placing an arm over it, or in family portraits, sitting a child on your lap.

Lets talk about jaw-line

A well-defined jaw will make you look slimmer in photographs. I’ve had clients look at me like I’m crazy when I suggest this pose in studio, but it really works! Bring your head closer to the camera by gently extending your neck; push your chin out and then gently down creating a sharper, more defined jawline.

Selfie Suggestions

When taking a selfie, try to do so from a raised perspective. Photos taken from this angle generally make their subjects look slimmer. Lift up your phone a good few inches from eye level, look up and take the photo. Take several practice photos until you find an angle you are happy with.

Crop to Taste – once you’ve got a selfie you’re happy with, just crop anything unwanted out for example, if you don't like the way your arm looks crop in to show just your head and shoulders.

I hope the above tips are helpful and that I haven't sounded condescending in any way; that honestly wasn't my intention. If anyone has any tips themselves for how to feel more confidence in front of the camera I would love to hear them!

As a final note and with my photographer's hat on, if you are having a family portrait taken by a professional photographer, they should know the right angles, lighting and posing techniques to flatter any body type. Hopefully this will help you relax more and concentrate on capturing some wonderful memories with your family.

Thanks for reading!

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