What do you do with your hands?

“I’m not sure what to do with my hands.” –Ricky Bobby.

The hands question is a common question at photography sessions. Whether the question is asked or not, you can tell the clients are thinking it. I like to beat clients to the punch with the Ricky Bobby reference. Those that get it, it lets them feel at ease and builds a small bit of rapport. But, what do you do with your hands at a photography session? The approach we like to take is simple and consist of just a few basic hand rules that anyone can follow. This is something we go over at every session no matter if it is a family, portrait, commercial or couple. but, for those that like to know in advance here are some Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to your hands.

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Guys:

DON’T burying your fists in your pockets. When you submerge your balled up fists into your pockets it breaks your shape, (puts speed bumps on your pants) and makes you appear to have no hands… not the best look.

DO try the hook a thumb in a pocket or belt loop and relax your hand. If you are a pocket guy and there is no way around that, than leave your thumb out and your fingers flat. This will stop the speed bump look and show that you do have hands. Also, you can adjust a watch, clothing or incorporate tools of your trade.

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Ladies:

DON’T have your arms glued to your sides. This doesn’t mean you can’t have your arms by your side, just keep them relaxed and out away from the body slightly. When your hands and arms are glued by your sides and you keep them next to your body, you lose shape and your arms could look larger than they are.

DO slide your hands up high on your thigh or place on a hip. This will bend the elbow slightly giving you more shape as well as reducing the appearance of large upper arms. Also, play with your clothing, hair or accessories. If sitting or kneeling, rest your hands in your lap. Just remember to keep it natural and don’t over think the process, that’s our job. 

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Couples · Groups:

DON’T NOT touch each other. Yes my double negative. This applies to Couples, friends, groomsmen, bridesmaids, families. If you think enough of another person to have them in your photo, interact with them in someway.

DO interact with one another, touch, play, act like you like each other and when in doubt, snuggle up (if a couple). If in a commercial shoot or in a photo with a friend, shake hands, put your arm around them - even if away from each other have an interaction with them through a gesture or motion.