How To Pose Hands.

 

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How To Pose Hands.

Hands are the fine tune element of an art piece. We are a society that talks with our hands, expresses almost every extreme and subtle point with our hands. Even relaxed, they communicate.

Yet they are one of the most elusive things to get right in an image, to match the body language with the gesture. It’s likely because in the real world, hands are restless. They are always moving, shifting, expressing. Renaissance artists like Leonardo da Vinci studied them. Lenny studied them so completely he was considered ahead of his time. His gestures and finger adjustments completed his pictorial masterpieces.

Let me pass on a few of the tricks and insights I have collected over the years.

Know there is no wrong or bad hand placement, all of the hand expressions work. The trick is to match the hand gesture with what your image is trying to communicate.

There are masculine and feminine hand positions. Don’t mistake these for strictly male or female positions. I do a lot of masculine or powerful hand poses with the women I photograph because, well, they are powerful at times.

The first rule of thumb is to “break” the wrist whenever you can. Actually this goes for all limbs; break them. By that I mean wherever you have a joint, bend it; it adds dynamics. Bending the hand up communicates gracefulness, interest, action and control. Bending the hand down gives it a limp, lifeless impression, weak, often deformed.

To communicate gracefulness you want the edge of the hand towards the camera, with a gentle curve of the fingers. Try having your subject twist their wrist a bit. There is more movement in the wrist than you might suspect. A trick to get the fingers curled nicely is to have your subject pretend they are holding a stick in their hands.

Having the back of the hand towards the camera makes them seem larger, be careful with that. Hooking the thumbs into a belt or belt loop expresses a cocky strength

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Placing the hands on the waist. Most photographers, and most models left alone, place the hands on the hips. The angle is a bit wrong so it looks just off. Move the hand up, with the thumb going behind the back, have the hand angle up. This accentuates the curves, can hide a tummy roll plus gives the waist a strong v shape. It suggests confidence, strength and grace.

With hands cupping the face, it needs to be very delicate. The hands have to gently skim the face, barely touching so it doesn’t bunch up the face. The heel of the hand settles about at the chin. Slide the hand back so it’s more on the side of the face than the front, fingers lightly flexed but fingertips touching the cheek. This gives you the side of the hand, trims the face down all while giving the subject a relaxed, interested but confident look.

Try to never have the hands and fingers, palm down, going directly towards the camera expect for an unusual effect. Lenses tend to foreshorten the fingers while giving the back of the hand a lumpy shapeless look.

To avoid lifelessness, don’t have the hands dangling straight down, especially with the back of the hands towards the camera.

Fingers need to be relaxed, occasionally have your subject shake them to loosen them up.

The last thing to remember; have the hands at least at slightly different heights from each other.

There are so many things to consider about hand placement. These tricks should give you a good start on what da Vinci made a lifetime practice of studying and refining.hands

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