As the photographer Frazer Harrison says, "Digital photography has made it really easy for everybody. There's no excuse to say you're camera-shy." Indeed, these days we're always a second away from being snapped. Because your well-meaning friends will inevitably upload their shots of you to your Facebook profile, we turned to Harrison to get some tips on posing for natural-looking pics. With 11 years at Getty Images shooting the Oscars, Golden Globes, and Emmys, constant assignments for magazines, and work as a house runway photographer at New York Fashion Week, he certainly knows the difference between a great "Blue Steel" and an awkward photo you'll immediately untag.
Are celebrities the best at posing? Should we mimic them?
Trust me, some of these celebrities on the red carpet have no idea how to pose. I don't want to name-drop, but I did Final Destination 5 last night… eesh. See, if you have a crowd in front of you and you have to look at all of them, you might think to look left to right. But that makes some people look like deer in the headlights. They bob left, right, up, down--so there's no eye contact. You can only create a connection between the viewer and the photo through eye contact. Also, guys don't always want to look happy, they want to look cool. As photographers we want people to look happy. We want people to smile.
What are some common mistakes people should avoid?
When you're standing straight, don't cross your legs. It looks like you're going to pee or you're a stork—particularly for a guy. Instead, keep your legs six inches apart. Keep your hands behind your back. A big, big no-no is putting your hands on your hips. In our rule book, it's an unmanly pose. We try to discourage that with women as well because it doesn't give a good shape.
And when you're sitting down?
If you're on the couch leaning back, your body is going to look weird. Keep your back straight, look left or right to give an angle. Your chin goes up or down depending on the angle of the lens. If the photographer is looking down at you and you look up, you might show up with a double chin.
How do you develop a nice "Blue Steel"?
Yeah, most guys want to have that Zoolander look. Just put your chin forward a little bit, tip your head slightly to one side, and look right over the shoulder like you're James Bond. Don't look at the camera directly, and remember to keep your eyebrows slightly lifted with little cheeky grin that says, "You know."
How can you appear natural but attractive in a shot?
It's really a matter of knowing your look. If you have a beauty spot you don't like, pose to the right so it can't be seen. If you have a double chin, practice angles that to hide it. You have to go in front of a mirror and know how you look at these angles. That's the key really. Know yourself.
You mean practice posing?
Yeah, there's nothing like standing in front of a full-length mirror and practicing. We all do it on a Friday and Saturday night before we go out anyways. And because you're distorting your face for an effect, you feel like it might look weird, but look at the mirror and remember that feeling. But if you're posing for a family photo album, there's no wrong way to do it. When I shoot fashion on a runway, that requires a certain sort of pose—the body needs to be in a straight line. But who walks the runway in their garden? The key is to be aware of yourself and who's pointing the camera at you.
—By Adam Janofsky