Hand positions are extremely significant in portrait photography because they can portray strength, gentleness, love, affection, and other emotions. Posing hands, on the other hand, can be incredibly difficult for novices.
After all, how can one make their hands appear graceful and soft? How can you make your hands appear to be caring and affectionate? How should your hands be placed to show the most emotion?
Face the camera with the sides of your hands.
The best hand poses are usually graceful. And, in my experience, the simplest approach to create elegance is to avoid directly facing the camera with the back of the hand.
Because the back of the hand is wide, it will typically loom huge in the frame if it is aligned with the image plane. It can make hands appear larger than they are, and it can make feminine hands appear masculine.
So, as you work on your subject’s hands, ask them to tilt their hands away from the camera. The idea isn’t to hide the back altogether. Instead, it will be shown at an angle, so that the hands appear to be smaller and more dynamic:
In my experience, a slight twist of the wrist – exposing the smallest part of the hand – is all that is required to elevate an image from meh to wow.
Make certain that your hands are soft.
The majority of women prefer soft, delicate, and graceful hands. When people are worried about posing for shots, their hands clench, and the resulting images are less than ideal.
So do everything you can to make your subject more relaxed. Talk to them ahead of time. Talk to them while you’re shooting. Inform them that they are doing an excellent job.
When you’re ready to posture the hands, describe the goal: to unclench the hands and make them feel soft. If they have trouble doing this, ask them to fully strain the hand up, then allow it to drop and relax.
Allow them to flex their fingers. (An excellent analogy is a balloon, which is inflated when your fists are clasped.) You’ve let out some air when your hands are slack!) Keep an eye on their hands as you take shots.
And if they begin to clench, have them repeat the practice! By the way, if you want guys to look intense, have them do the opposite: tighten their fingers and possibly even clench their fists. The photos that result will be more intense.
Flex that wrist!
The less dynamic the photo, the straighter the hand. And the more dynamic the portrait composition, in my opinion, the better! So, ask your patient to bend their wrist. It is important to note that you do not need to produce a large wrist break; instead, simply add enough movement to generate additional shape and texture. However, it is occasionally necessary to produce more rigid, tight hand positions, particularly when photographing guys. So, if your subject’s hands appear a touch flimsy, don’t be afraid to tell them to straighten their wrists.
Allow the hands to perform something natural.
If your subject is having trouble with hand poses, giving them something to do can frequently assist. Occupying the hands adds attention while also relaxing the topic by giving their mind something to focus on. You may:
- Request that they carry a flower or a bouquet (this works especially great for wedding photographs!)
- Request that they hold a ring (this is good for engagement shoots)
- Request that they mend or hold their garments (for instance, a man can hold his tie, while a woman can hold the sides of her dress)
- Request that they play with their hair (this works best for ladies, but males can do it too).
5. Use a variety of touches while posing with your hands
Include as much interaction as possible when working with a couple, whether for an engagement shot, a wedding shoot, or just a family portrait shoot in the park. To put it another way, don’t pose each subject’s hands independently.
Instead, have the subjects interact with one another, and make sure their hands are also involved.
A simple hand-hold is a nice place to start: As if they were going along the street, have the partners hold each other’s hands.
Then you may ask them to snuggle or have one partner touch the other’s hand, forearm, chest, or cheek in an “I love you” gesture.
You can also include different types of touch, such as touching noses (see example below!), but can include hand touches: