Editorial Posing for Portrait Clients

Editorial Posing for Portrait Clients with Jai Mayhew

Your body language speaks volumes.

In fact, 93% of everything you say is nonverbal communication. 38% of it is conveyed in your tone, but 55% of what you say is all about your body language. Your posture, your pose, your expression. It’s everything you have to say, without saying a word.

As photographers, we work in a medium that strips away all but this most basic form of communication. And when we pose our clients, we’re not just trying for pretty shapes, we’re using body language to tell the world who they are and how they wish to be seen. We use poses to empower, to flatter, to storytell. It’s one of the most important parts of what we do.

I am both a fashion and a portrait photographer. I started my career on the commercial side of the industry shooting for magazines and designers. The type of posing I initially learned was editorial and often avant-garde — a very different style than posing for portraiture. With editorial work, the posing is purposefully arbitrary. Maybe the model is caught mid-action or unaware. Maybe the pose doesn’t make sense for everyday life, but it enhances the outfit or the mood of the shot. We have a completely different motivation for portraiture. With portraits, we are telling the story of the subject in front of our lens.

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To read the full article, launch the digital version of the October 2020 magazine.