The Myth of Posing Plus Sized Clients

There is something I see with an annoying frequency on various photography forums. “Oh noes, I have a plus size bride, how do I pose her?” which is normally met by things like “Shoot everything from above!” and “Hide her body behind the groom!” Uhm, I’m sorry, what? Because she’s plus size, instead of helping her rock her curves, you should just hide her body completely?

That’s ridiculous.

If you, as a photographer, approach a session with the attitude that somebody will be hard to photograph, guess what? You will probably have a hard time photographing that session. So, stop it! You should approach each session with the same mantra.

This session is going to be awesome. I will take my time to make sure my client looks like a million bucks, feels confident and has fun.

Jono and Kristin know how to rock it!

There are a few key things I look at when I pose people of any size.

1) Their chin positioning. A lot of people want to lean their heads back when you take their photo. Perhaps it is the universal fear of having a double chin. Ladies who have some amateur modeling experience often tilt their chin TOO far forward. I tell people to put their chin slightly down (which is generally just level to the ground) and slightly out. This head and chin positioning tends to be the most flattering on everybody.
2) Shoulders and posture. Nobody looks good when they are slumped over. Shoulders should be rolled back and down. It elongates the neck, and everybody looks better with a longer neck. Necks are sexy!
3) Purposeful body shape. This is where the classics come in. Things like having ladies put their hands on their hips. Encourage your clients to really lay on the va-va-voom and kick that hip out. It stretches out the frame and makes every lady’s body look shapely, and what lady doesn’t like that?

Every pose is going to be different. If you’re sitting, you’re going to lose more of that purposeful body shaping. But, these are good basic rules to keep in mind. If someone is sitting cuddled up, I still want to see their neck, so I want to make sure their shoulders aren’t smushed up to their ear lobes.

Vivian and Adrian are sexy, even while sitting!

Regarding the whole concept of shooting from above; yes, it makes you look thinner. It’s true. Why do you think a million teenage girls take their myspace facebook photos from above their heads? But, do you really want your entire session to be a close up face shot taken from above the couple? I didn’t think so.

Outside of the few posing guidelines, the number one suggestion I give anybody is take your time! Take your time to look at your client and make sure they look good before you start snapping away. Yes, it’s digital, and yes you could shoot 1000 photos…But, why take a photo at all if it’s not going to be a good one? Taking your time not only lets you look at how your client is positioned, but let’s you check your light, which you should also do before you snap away…but, that’s another show.

Every client, including those who fall into the plus sized category, want the same thing. They want to look their best in photos. All clients should garner the same level of respect and enthusiasm. Have fun and make it awesome for yourself and your client.

PS: Body size should never dictate who gets featured on your blog. That’s just rude.


8 Responses to “The Myth of Posing Plus Sized Clients”

  1. Melissa says:

    Awesome post!Love the posted photos!

  2. Katie Belle says:

    This is great advice! Thanks so much for posting it! I am a plus size girl, and a budding photographer, and I have always hated having my picture taken because people don't know how to photograph me to make ME look good! (Which is one of the reasons I became a photographer in the first place!)

  3. Jubilee Photography says:

    AWESOME POST… I love it… I felt like you took everything I was thinking and put it on the screen!

  4. Kristin Lacy says:

    Brandi you are the shiznit! Our entire session (and wedding day) I wasn't worried once about how I'd look. I usually worry a lot about that, but you just put me at ease by being so encouraging and awesome. Not to mention you caught my string bean husband's inner model. We love our pictures so much and can't stop telling and showing people. <3 <3 <3

  5. Amorae says:

    I couldn't agree more with this post! I always enjoy looking at your pictures because you make your clients look and feel confident and it shows in the pictures. Always sexy!

  6. Courtney says:

    Amen! I've always said I don't do anything different with plus-sized clients. Great post!

  7. chewymama says:

    i agree too. great post!

  8. Vivian says:

    It never occured to me that so much goes into it, but I'm so glad that you do. It makes you so great at what you do. We've done two sessions so far with a Wedding & Trash the Dress to still occur, and I get more and more excited each time, because I've never had so many good shoots from a sitting! I'm so pleased at everything you've done for us!!!
    I look haggard, and you still make me look good!!! I feel fat, and you make me look beautiful.
    Gotta go now before I cry….
    Thank you so much!!!

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