Stress-Free Posing: Sitting Edition

SFP-Sitting-2

Alrighty! Last time on Stress Free Posing we went through some standing poses for a couple, now let’s take a peek at some easy ways to create natural sitting poses.

The basic idea here is the same: start with one option, then make small changes to the way they’re sitting, looking at each other, and holding each other. Excellent variety + minimal work = maximum fun.

Let’s discuss a couple quick points about sitting before we dive in.

First off, sitting a great equalizer, height wise. It brings both heads to roughly the same level, allowing for more interaction. If you have a really tall guy, and a much shorter gal, sitting poses are going to be your go-to option.

It can also be very flattering when you shoot your subjects from a slightly elevated position (it lengthens out the neck, gets rid of double chins, and opens the eyes up a bit more). This is super easy to do when your couple is sitting, so take advantage of that.

Finally, if you’re going to be sitting in a field, or working with a bride, bring something to sit on. A small blanket works well, as you can hid it if you don’t want it to be in the photo. Or, if you use a Shootsac, just pull off the cover with a flourish and let them sit on that—you get awesome points when you do that.

Now let’s look at some sitting poses!

First off, nice and simple, sitting side by side on something—a ledge, bench, steps or anything on which you can plant your bum. This is easier to pose than sitting on the ground, since their legs automatically bend and look natural. Tips here are to make sure they have their heads nice and close, and are connected with their hands. Those little details are what make them look like they like each other.

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Now we can change it up by adjusting how their bodies are facing. She can turn in towards him. This offers a great angle for them to look at each other.

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Or she can turn her back towards him. This lets him snuggle in tight, and get some smooches in.

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In the previous image he is a bit behind her. Have them switch it up, and have her sitting a bit behind him. They don’t even have to get up—just swing their legs around. This lets her snuggle in to him now.

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Here’s a neat thing about sitting poses. You don’t have to show the feet! You can get in tight, from torso upwards, or even just their faces, and get even more variety. Change up your distance. The bonus is that, if they’re sitting, they’re comfy and it’s easy for them to hold the pose. You can walk around, getting tons of variety, while they’re just hanging out.

And you can amp up your variety by changing where they’re looking. At each other, both at the camera, her at him, him at her—you get the picture.

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She can really lean back into him and recline. Just make sure her legs are slightly bent, and looking lovely!

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Now I’m really going to shake things up. They can both sit on a chair (him on the seat and her on the arm is cute) or…wait for it…one can sit and one can stand! BAM! Now you have tons more opportunities, just like that!

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And hey, who says it has to be chairs, benches or steps they’re sitting on? Sitting is such a great way to get your couple close and interacting, you should take advantage of anything they can sit on. Like couches…

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Fallen trees…

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Gates…

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Trucks…

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Piles of tires…

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Pretty much anything! Sitting changes up your level of posing, and offers extra opportunities for variety in your shoot. Take advantage of it whenever you can. Let’s keep going.

So far people have been sitting on things, and that’s pretty easy to work with. See, one of the big ideas in posing is to “break up joints”. Wherever a person can bend, have them bend. Straight legs are boring lines, whereas bent legs create triangles, which are way more interesting to look at. When people sit on things, their legs automatically bend, and it looks good.

However, things are a bit trickier when people sit on the ground. Their legs automatically go straight out in front of them, and that can look boring. So when you have your couple sitting on the ground, make sure to pose them so their legs bend.

For instance, crossing their legs.

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Or bringing knees up. Note that when she is leaning back into him like this, their bodies themselves are creating a triangle. Sitting side by side on the ground generally doesn’t give as much compositional interest as someone turned into the other.

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Like here, where her body is really turned in towards his. She can bring her arms around him, cross her ankles, and we get tons and tons of great triangles.

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When sitting on the ground, you can also have each person slightly behind the other, which allows more opportunities for snuggles. It’s easy for him to get his arms around her like this.

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In the previous pose, his legs are off to the side. You can also have her sit right in between his legs, which really lets them get their heads nice and close, and is a great pose for big hugs, kisses, and both of them looking at the camera.

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She can also sit in his lap, which is super duper cute.

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They can sit back to back.

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And now I’m going to blow it wide open. Each of these poses have the possiblity of TONS of different shots when you take a  walk around them once they’re in position! BAM! Just gave you like a bazillion options for variety right there.

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Once again, posing can be nice and easy when you just get your couple in a comfy position, and then get them interacting. Make small adjustments as you go, change up your distance and angle, and you will have NO problem getting all the variety you want! Because remember, sitting is just one level. You can add in all the standing poses, and now you’re unstoppable!

Tips

  • Change up where they look
  • Change up where their bodies are facing (towards each other, her back towards him, vice versa)
  • Change up who is in front and who is in back
  • Change up how they hold each other (hugging, holding hands, arms on shoulder, arm around waist)
  • Change your distance and angle
  • Keep their heads close together
  • Break up joints
  • Add in smooches

Do you have any more tips for sitting poses? Share them in the comments below!

Lauren Lim

Hey friend, I’m Lauren! I’m a photographer and head ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating!), traveling, and hanging out with wonderful people.

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Comments

28 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. Awesome tips guys! I was waiting for this one… :)

    Oooh! One thing an instructor told me once was…
    Keep watch as to where on limbs you are cutting off the frame. Try not to cut off at a joint like the knee, ankle or elbow.

  2. Aminah! Yes! That's an excellent tip, thank you for sharing!!

  3. Thanks guys, this is really helpful! :)

  4. Great tips!

    Another pose that I like is him sitting and her laying down with head on his lap.

    Can you do something similar for families and extended families? I find that more challenging in terms of poses and setups.

  5. Thank you! Great tips.

  6. love these too!

  7. Great post, thank you! I agree with Evan, some tips on posing families/larger groups would be super helpful :)

  8. Awesome post guys… I'd love to see a post of single person posing… at least in my own experience, I've found it to be one of the most challenging things in portrait photography. I can usually find a few ways of posing 2 or more, however when I only have, say my wife in the picture, it always feels awkward or uninteresting.

    great post guys!

  9. Thanks for all the comments guys!

    That's a great addition Evan, I really like that pose too!

    And I'll definitely be continuing the series with groups, families and individuals! Stay tuned :)

  10. by the way my wife is very attractive… :P in case of any misinterpretations… jk…

  11. great tips.. learn a lot again from you guys..:)

  12. Have I told you guys I love you yet? Always so awesomely helpful!! You're the very first one on my top sites. Just sayin.

  13. LOL! Jose you're hilarious. Duly noted.

    Thanks Gino!!

    And Julie, you're too sweet :) Thank you!! We're super honoured.

  14. Thanks, these tips are great. I have an engagement shoot coming up next month and I'm planning out my shots and poses, I definitely plan to incorp a lot of these.

  15. you guys are so awesome!! I get so nervous when it comes to posing, this really helps!

  16. Thanks for the comments Norm and Rebecca! I'm really glad this was helpful! I get nervous about posing too, so simplifying has really helped me!

  17. I would really like to see some individual posing, ideas, family poses and group poses as well.
    bookmarked and shared.
    this is just what I needed

  18. Thanks for the comment Barb, and the sharing! I'll definitely be working on more posing resources! Stay tuned!! :)

  19. This is my new favorite website! So many great USEFUL articles. Thank you for the great reminders about how a little change in pose can make such a big difference.

  20. Hi Lauren & Rob, it's the first time that I stumble across your blog. The contents just amazed me a lot! Thank you so much to putting so much effort and sharing the tips & tricks here. The posing guides are just easy to follow.

    Kind regards,
    Regina

  21. Fantastic article, i have an assignment coming up where i have to take portraits and this has been so helpful. I'm no longer freaking out about it Thanks !

  22. Dear Lauren & Rob,
    Awesome tips, fantastic article. These tips are extremly useful for me who just started photography as an hobby, it became an addiction to me, some how luckily I stopped my search in photography articles/websites here. I just added you in my google reader and I am frequent visitor to your website.
    I found that every little piece of info. here is informative and some how I fell in love with this website.
    I always wonder how to achieve the colors, vibrance, skin tones of ur pro photos.
    God Bless You guys…. :)

    Cheers
    Prash

  23. Just discovered this site. Wow! What rock was I living on? You guys just gave me hope. I got my first dslr ages ago( a canon xti) . Tried learning by myself but never got anywhere. Reading your blog just revived my interest in photography. I want to learn more. Thank you so much.

  24. Great tips and thanks for sharing!

  25. amazing tips to read when i’m searching online for some good posing tips to write for audience at Studio Vimukthi. just launched the sites and looking to share some ideas for people to make their life easier.

    really like, how you have mentioned stress free posing and showing them with picture examples.

    thanks for the share will be researching more on your site.

  26. The best writing about posing i’ve ever seen! Very inspirational! Thank you so much for this guide! Would be great to read about lying poses sometime =)

  27. Thanks for the tips. These are great photos.

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