For most people, it takes time to warm up to the camera. Does your mind go blank… I can’t remember how to stand? What do I do with my hands? Well, a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are some tips to help you plan and be more comfortable for your photo shoot. Don’t worry if you cannot remember any of these… I will prompt you. The most important thing is to relax and enjoy the process of capturing the best you. A quick review of this will help you feel a little more confident as you know what I am trying to get you to do…

1. WALK TOWARD THE CAMERA An easy pose. One foot in front of the other like you are walking toward the camera. Let your arms swing freely then bring them to a rest – but not evenly by your sides. Relax the hands. This pose looks natural, portrays movement and creates a slimming effect. When in doubt, back away and actually walk toward the camera until you have your comfortable stance.

2. CROSS ARMS Another easy pose that comes naturally to most people. Your feet can be together, slightly apart or in boxer stance with one turned front and the other sideways. Drop one shoulder slightly toward the camera to bring a gentle tilt to the head. This pose can be edgy or playful. Lightly cross rather than hugging tight to look more open.

3. HAND(S) ON HIP There are so many variations on this pose. Try one or both hands on the hips to give you something to do with your arms, create nice angles, and show off the waistline. Play around and see what feels comfortable for you. Use a light touch on your hips and raise one shoulder to create more angles.

4. TWIRL Who doesn’t love a good twirl? It’s fun, but also adds a unique kind of movement. It does require a flowy dress or skirt. Relax your face and twirl slowly so the focus can find you.  Its close cousin in the flip... which is also great for hair movement...

5. ADD A PROP Props allow your hands to use an object to make a photo more interesting and tell a story. This can be a lot of fun and can be almost anything. Just make sure it makes sense with where you are shooting and how you are dressed, What are you into? From sports to musical equipment, props can memorialize what you love. But there are many types of props.. from pets to ice cream. Here are more ideas… Coffee Cup, Bouquet of Flowers, a Book...

Clothing and Accessories are also great props and add interest… Hat, Bag, jacket, scarf, umbrella.

6. LOOK BACK AT THE CAMERA This is the opposite of walking toward the camera. Pose stepping away from the camera and turn to look over your shoulder. Be sure to twist at the waist for a true slimming effect. Pretend you are surprised to see the camera for a fun candid look.

7. LEAN If your location has a railing, ledge, or wall use them to your advantage. Think of how you can interact with your surroundings. What would you do if you were waiting for friends and they were late? Lean against, on or over whatever is around you. Leaning forward is a great way to get the emphasis on your face, just make sure your legs are positioned so you are not hunched over.

8. SIDE ANGLE Look beyond the camera, a little to the side, or down to your hands. Look to the side and bring your hands to your chin or the side of your face for some interest. Angle your head toward the camera while lifting your shoulder for playful look.

9. FIX YOUR HAIR We are always adjusting our hair and this can make a great shot. Just remember to relax your face and pull your hand through your hair slowly, without blocking your face.

12. SIT DOWN Whether you are crouching or on your bum, sitting offers a completely different pose from standing up. This deserves its own post, but for now it is here. 

You can sit on nearly anything, but most common are chairs, benches, curbs, windowsills and stairs. When possible, point your toes when sitting to elongate your legs and make you look and feel more elegant.

• Just Sit. Relax. This is your go-natural pose. How would you want for friends?

• Lean forward and put your elbows on your knees. Arms crossed, one up behind the ear, both up under chin…

• Lean back. Legs can be crossed or angled to one side. It can be shot from the front or from the back, looking over your shoulder. Raise your shoulder to your chin or lean really far back and tilt your head.

• Turn around. Sit with your back toward the camera.

• Pretzel. We called this crisscross applesauce at one time. Look straight on, to the side, over the shoulder or up at the camera.

• Squat. Bend the knees and squat down to get low but not sitting on the ground. You can rest the bum on one of your ankles if you do not want to feel the burn. Hands can be together in front or rest your hands on your face or chin and lower one shoulder.

• Raise one arm – give a thumbs up, number one or peace sign for a little fun.

• Sit uneven. When on a stairway, extend one leg out further than the other leg, and lean casually to the other side… or bring the knees together and feet wide and turned in.

• Kick. Kick your foot or feet out from a chair or bench.

• One or both knees down. Engage your butt muscle to keep some of the weight out of your legs so the will be more elongated.

• Cross legs. Lean forward to make more angles with your body. Put your hand on your legs for more support.

• Knee Up. Place one knee up, while the other knee stays near the ground. Wrap your arms around the knee or rest one arm on the knee.

• Zipped up. This is both knees up and hug them to your body, • L Shape. Sit down on a chair or ledge, from your knees bring both your legs to the side, hold them by pointing your toes. Your arms extend the other direction and lean onto your hands slightly