Two-at-a-time portraits?
October 3, 2005 3:17 PM   Subscribe

PhotographyFilter: any tips for posed/staged portraits of two people at once? I need to take a formal portrait of two female friends (not a couple), and am looking for general advice on how to pose two people such that they look comfortable and natural together. Links to classic or contemporary photographers who do this well would also be helpful.
posted by Aaorn to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
That's kind of an open-ended question. If not romantic, what is the relationship you're trying to capture?

Are they comfortable in front of the camera? Have you asked them how they'd like to be posed?
posted by Caviar at 3:50 PM on October 3, 2005

I wish I had pictures to show these off, but...

Lay one girl on her stomach, legs at more of 45 degree angle (not straight behind, or straight to the side), then sit the other girl behind her, at her waistband, legs bent and tapered to one side (the side opposite of where girl one's legs are) and have her lean her arm that's closest to girl one onto the ground on the other side of girl one's waist.

or, sit both girls, not straight back to back, but again, more of an angle, so front shoulder to front shoulder. then have them sit with their feet planted on the ground and their knees in front of them. then either have both arms lounging on their knees, or one hand (the one closest to the front for each girl) on the ground (so their arms will be touching) and the other arm on their legs.

*poses people for a living*
posted by nadawi at 4:05 PM on October 3, 2005

Caviar: They are two roommates who co-author a column for a student magazine. The photo will run with their column, which usually consists of nightlife advice -- "girls night out," dating tips, restaurant suggestions, etc.

Thanks for the tips so far.
posted by Aaorn at 4:13 PM on October 3, 2005

Perhaps take a look at the photos of sex columnists Em and Lo [potentially NSFW], especially the top-left byline-type pics (animated GIF) and the 'hideous kinky' set. Given the column's subject-matter, I'd be tempted to go with something that's more 'photo-booth' in style than a formal pose.
posted by holgate at 5:42 PM on October 3, 2005

It always depends on the message you or they want to get across. There is no one perfect solution and that is why a photographer should put some thought into it. Do you want them to appear as very close friends? Then show them hugging and posing for the camera or sitting close together, etc. Do you want a professional image? Then show them close together, still with some interaction but less casual and more formal.

Get creative and always do several different poses during a shoot to work out the best combination for their personalities. Not every pose works for every person - remember that. So don't use the crutch of "standard poses". Talk to them first and get some ideas what message they want to convey in their photo. That is the best place to start.
posted by JJ86 at 12:24 AM on October 4, 2005

Two face portrait, shoulders up, with an unsupported apple between them. One should be 74degrees to the camera and one 45degrees. Apple goes with both dating and restaurants. Maybe a funky apple, though that might be tacky. Depends on its magazine surroundings.

Well, that's how I see it. If you can't see yourself doing it in one shot, think of something else, no matter how many shots it takes.
posted by Sparx at 2:37 AM on October 4, 2005

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