Tips & Tricks for Great Online Dating Portraits

A picture is worth a thousand words – or perhaps a dozen dates?

What do you do if you don’t have the money for professional photos and all of your casual pics involve you snuggled up to your ex, holding a red cup of party punch and looking a little too happy, or awkwardly grinning at your webcam?

Is no photo better than bad photos?

Luckily for you, I’ve found a series of posts on a great blog that will help you snap some quality portraits of yourself or your friends.

Digital Photography School Presents… What Everybody Ought to Know About Posing for Portraits

This is a great post with links to several older posts about posing for portraits.  You don’t have to be a professional photographer to benefit from these great tips.  For those looking to read the whole thing and view the awesome portraits used for examples, click away.

Those who are lazy and want the quick and dirty version, read on:

Tips for Great Online Dating Portraits

Shoulders

  • Avoid facing shoulders straight on to the camera.
  • Angled shoulders help bring focus to the face.
  • Lean or turn so shoulders are angled.
  • It’s okay to have one shoulder out of the picture.

Which Way Should Your Subject Lean?

  • Leaning towards someone conveys interest in a person.  In the same way, a subject leaning towards the camera looks more open and friendly.
  • Photographing from slightly above can achieve this effect, too.
  • Sitting straight up conveys a more formal feel.
  • Leaning back could convey being relaxed, but could be read as defensiveness.

Power Posing: The Components

  • Your pose speaks volumes about your personality and outlook.
  • Guys’ hands should be held in a light fist.
  • Feet should be at least hip-width apart or on different levels (one foot up on a step, etc).
  • Avoid straight arms – these look too formal.
  • Tip your head back a bit for a “bring it on!” pose.

Power Posing II: The Poses

  • Tall Stance:  Confidence!
  • Casual Seated:  Friendly, Easygoing
  • Leaning on Wall:  Relaxed, Natural
  • Photographers who have taken modeling classes are skilled at knowing how to position each body party so the portrait looks great and not fake or posed.

Waistlines, Thighs, and Bustlines

These tips are more for my female readers (hi, girls!), but may be applicable for my boys.

  • Twist your upper body at the waist to appear thinner.
  • Crossing one leg in front of the other makes the thighs appear more narrow.
  • Arch your shoulders back a bit to give the illusion of a more prominent bust.

Posing Technique from A Girl With a Pearl Earring

  • Set up the pose:  seated facing about 90 degrees from camera, head turned almost all the way to the camera, eyes looking at the camera.  Camera set up at eye level with the subject taking up most of the frame.
  • Experiment with facial expressions, head angle, looking away from camera, shooting angle, light, etc.

How to Pose Hands in Portraits

  • Relax!  Your hands can give away tension, nervousness, and anger… or they can convey that you are content and peaceful.
  • Do something with your hands – play an instrument, pet your dog, roll some dice!
  • Hands look best when at an angle to the camera.

Where Is Your Subject Looking And Why Does It Matter

  • The gaze of the subject will determine the focus and feel of the portrait.
  • Looking away from the camera can create the sense of “What is he looking at?”  You can show the object of focus or not.
  • Looking directly at the camera can either feel inviting or confrontational depending on the pose and facial expression.

Tips for More Natural Looking Portraits

  • Sometimes holding a prop helps shake the jitters of being in front of the camera.
  • Sitting can often create more relaxed body language than standing.
  • Have your photographer friend distract you in some way to get you laughing.
  • e’s noteI had a school photographer that would make the kids say “Big Pimpin’!” or “I’m a pretty pretty princess… of POOP!”  Most of them didn’t say it, but the laughter made for some awesome shots of natural smiles.

Support These Great Photographers!

Please click through to any of the articles that interest you to see the example photographs that illustrate the points listed.   From there, you can click through to each photographer’s website to see more of their work.

If you’re lucky, maybe one lives in your hometown and can help you create your best image for your dating profile.

Happy dating, geek friends!

About e

Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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