How to Pose One, Two, Three & More People for Photos

Learn how to pose one, two, three and more people from professional photographer Luke Ballard in this Howcast video.

Transcript

When posing people, it's important to try and use as much of the frame as relevant for the amount of the people you have in the photograph. For example, we have this photograph here of just one person. Notice I've used as much of the frame as possible, and I'm making sure that however I move them around, I'm using my rule of thirds accordingly. It's also really important that my focal point is the eye closest to the camera when taking a photograph of a single person alone. So you'll notice here in this photo of a person by themselves, I'm using as much of the frame as possible.

When posing people in a photograph, it's more important where they are in the photograph and how they're situated rather than specifically how they're posed to meet that expectation. Notice her eyes are running along that third line to where her hand is as well, and likewise this hand down at the bottom is coming along that lower third line as well. Her body is pretty much coming through that third line there, and it's fitting uniformly within that grid. When we photograph multiple people, say let's look at two, it's still important that we fill the frame as much as possible using the rule of thirds, but keeping perhaps two thirds positive space, one third negative space.

It's not as important to take as much of the photo as possible. One of the key things when posing two people together is that you're going to get a much nicer photo, you're going to get a much more impacting photograph is the heads of your people are touching. That space between heads when you've got two people standing side by side creates an air of distance in the photograph, whereas when a couple are touching, which is perfect with a wedding photograph, it creates a sense of intimacy and makes the photograph a little bit more powerful as well.

When we come into three people, it's nice to try and do that as well, but keep them fairly close together. As soon as we start photographing multiple people, the question always becomes, "Where do I put my focal point?" Is it their eye, or is it their eye, or is it their eye? I tend to still go with, well, two different schools of thought, first one being pick your favorite child, the second one being use the eye closest to the camera. And in this case it was this gentleman here, so his eye being on that rule of thirds focal point. All three kids are coming in through that rule of thirds as well. Photographing multiple people is a little bit easier. You wouldn't think so, but it is. As soon as we have a group of people, we can start scattering them out. It's not as important to think about where everything is going, as long as you're placing them in a way that everyone's visible, no one's overshadowing anyone else, and. . .Well, she is. She's wearing red.

But outside of that everyone's fairly even with the photograph. So you'll notice in this photograph, I don't have all seven heads touching. It would look a little bit strange if I did that, but what I do have is them all together. I have them fairly close, and I am trying to show that intimacy, that family through how I've positioned them all together. While I am using the rule of thirds, it's perhaps not as obvious as in a single or in a couple in a photograph.

We have the feet and the bottom of our family coming through there on the bottom third. We have the mother's eye coming through as my focal point. Why? Because my mother always reminded me that she was the most important person in the household. So when photographing a family, you know, pick the person paying the bill. The mother in this situation was the client. She wanted the family photos, so she was the one I focused on in that photograph. Remember it's not as important where you put their arms or where you put the legs, as long as you're using those thirds and those relationships to create a better photograph.

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