We were at a wedding reception recently and whenever someone raised a camera to take a picture, nearly every person in the room stopped what they were doing and struck a pose. I’ve never seen so many carefully posed candids.
People were tossing their heads back, snapping their necks, angling their shoulders, smiling broadly and displaying dazzling dental work, which reminded me I hadn’t had any wedding cake yet.
It’s no longer enough to simply look at the camera, smile and say cheese. Halfway through my cake, I saw similar moves happening throughout the room.
No woman today lets her arms hang at her sides when someone is about to snap a picture. Sure, that’s where the arms were designed to hang, but arms against the body add weight, which is why women now pose with their hands on their hips. Of course, when every female in a picture puts her hands on her hips, you may have to elbow a longtime friend or family member. The illusion of being slender comes with a cost.
Some of your exceptionally good posers dramatically raise an arm behind the head so that the elbow is bent and the back of the head is resting in the palm of the hand. I tried that move and the husband whispered that it looked like I was checking my deodorant.
How you hold your head is critical. Serious posers jut the entire face forward, then tilt their heads down ever so slightly. From the side, the move looks like a turtle emerging from its shell. The net effect is that it eliminates chin flap. Of course, one young lady said that pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth can also eliminate chin sag. Keep in mind she was probably all of 15.
The truly camera-conscious never face the camera directly; they always turn at a 45-degree angle. In every picture, they look like they’re walking away from a conversation.
Nor does anyone stand up straight anymore. It’s not about posture, it’s about keeping one knee bent. And don’t stand with your legs side by side. Extend one leg. Now, if you can wrap your extended leg around your bent knee you’re well on your way to becoming a human pretzel.
You will probably also want to work on your ballet hands. Let your hands go limp at the wrists, slightly spread your fingers apart and bring your hands together in front of your mid-section. You should now look like you have ballet hands — or like someone just took a large serving bowl away from you.
By the end of the evening, I was comfortable with the new posing techniques. I was effortlessly (and constantly) lifting my arms, bending my knees, bobbing my chin up and down, angling my shoulders, extending my legs and shaking out my hands.
If my new poses don’t result in better photographs, at least I have some new dance moves.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.