Portrait Photography Tip: Classic Arms Up Pose

Portrait photography these days often calls for creative and uncommon poses, but there are still a handful that never go out of style. If you’re wondering how you can make your portraits pop and eye-catching, try this pro tip of getting your female model to do the classic arms up pose.

When shooting portraits, one of the most important things to remember is how to lead the eyes of your viewer to a point of interest. This is commonly the eyes or the whole face. In the video below, Imogen of the WeeklyImogen photography channel on YouTube explains how you can achieve this with the classic arms up pose when shooting female subjects.

As Imogen has explained in detail and showed in some examples, the arms work nicely as a framing device to place the focus on your subject’s face. When brought up and positioned around the head, she also points out the arms create the effect of leading lines, making sure that the focus is brought straight to the model.

In one of Imogen’s examples, she also gave a more practical reason for bringing her arms up for a portrait shoot. On a windy day, it’s a quick way to hold the hair up so it doesn’t get all over the face. In her example, with her looking down and slightly to her side, it created a dramatic feel that matched the slight impression of frustration with her arms up and holding her hair. In another example, Imogen showed how changing your angle — shooting at a higher angle from your subject, in this case — is one variation you can do to make the eyes bigger and the leading lines more pronounced.

Another trick you can do with an arms up pose is to make an unusual variation that serves as a point of interest. Imogen especially liked the effect of the arms not looking quite right adds some tension and emotion to the whole photo. Tilting the head down to create more shadow, positioning the arms up to either draw a square frame around the face or mirror lines and other points of interest also make for eye-catching variations to this classic pose.

Want more portrait tips like this? Visit WeeklyImogen on YouTube to watch their other helpful tutorials.

Screenshot image taken from the video by WeeklyImogen