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Posing Hands For Boudoir Photos

Posing hands for boudoir photos is something a lot of newbie photographers struggle with. As a professional boudoir photographer, this post is going to show my checklist I use when directing my clients hands for boudoir photos. 

How to pose hands for boudoir photos – Quick Tips

  • To pose a woman’s arm at her thinnest, pinkies and thumbs should be closest to the camera.
  • Photographing the woman’s palm and the back of her hand will capture her arm at its widest. If you do this, consider curving the wrist instead of bending it.
  • Wrists should be bent, but never 90 degrees unless supporting her weight for the pose.
  • Fingers should be splayed apart and slightly bent.
  • The thumb and middle finger should often be close, but never touch.
  • When directing, the woman always direct her to trace or touch herself lightly or softly.
  • Avoid extending the thumb so it’s perpendicular to the hand.

How to Pose Hands to Look Slimmer

Posing hands for boudoir photos

Posing the hands so the thumbs or pinkies are closest to the camera captures a woman’s arm at it’s slimmest perspective. Therefore this positioning is best for plus size women as this angle will help slim her arms. 

Thumbs forward is obviously best for poses where the woman’s hand will be at her waist her lower. Anything above this will likely look best if the pinky finger is closest to the camera. 

Related: 12 Boudoir Poses For Plus Size Women

How to Pose Hands With Palm or Back Showing

Posing the woman with the back of her hand or palm toward the camera captures her forearm from its widest perspective. This is why I generally only show the back of  the hand or palm when photographing slender women.  Making slender women look more shapely is often a better idea over trying to make them even thinner then they already are. 

When showing the back of the hand or palm always make sure to keep curve the wrist to one side or the other to create an s shape between her hand and forearm. This help to furfure embellish her curves. 

When Posing Hands For Boudoir Photos, Bend the Wrist and Fingers 

Posing hands for boudoir photos

A straight wrist can make an otherwise beautiful pose look stiff and “posey.” When posing women who aren’t used to being photographed it’s really common that you’ll direct their hips for example, and then their hands will subconsciously go straight and stuff as they try to comply with your other directions. 

The general rule with boudoir poses is if it bends bend it. That said although a bent wrist always looks better than a straight wrist for boudoir photos, you’ll want to be careful about bending it 90 degrees. This is generally too much  bend unless the woman is resting signifiagant weight on the joint.

Master The Art of Posing Women

In this guide I’ll show you how to pose the nude female form in a way that tastefully flatters her body type and creates emotion. This guide is intended for beginner and intermediate photographers and will teach you how to balance the proportions of any woman to make her look her best.

By first teaching you the fundamentals of posing, these principals will help you progress to a point where you can confidently pose any woman in an improvised fashion.

When Posing Hands For Boudoir Photos, Splay & Bend Fingers

Posing hands for boudoir photos

One of the best things you can do to improve hands for boudoir photos is to always remind your client to slightly bend her fingers and wrists. Straight fingers or wrists will always look stiff when compared to bent appendages.

The part most people miss though is to splay the fingers apart. You have to be careful when cueing this because you don’t want  much splay in the fingers, but  you do generally  want some. What happens is if the fingers are too close together the  pose will show tension in the same way a clenched fist will. 

How To Classically Pose Hands for Boudoir Photos

If you’ve ever studied women posed in classical paintings, a common hand placement is to delicately grip or touch things using the thumb and middle finger.

For instance you can have her adjust her thigh highs or stockings and direct her to use her thumb and middle finger. This will often put her hands naturally into classical positions as she focuses on the task rather than the pose of her hand.

This same hand placement works really well when close to the body or flee floating in space. Generally if she’s not gripping or adjusting though I find that it looks best if  the thumb and middle finger are close but never touch.

When Posing Hands for Boudoir Photos, Have Her Touch or Trace Lightly

One of the easiest ways to pose hands is to give them a job to do. Often times if you direct the woman to touch or trace an area of her body with soft or light touches this will be  enough to take any tension out of her hands. 

Direct her to trace areas like her neck, collar bone, breasts, inner thigh, hips, face, etc. for sensual ways to direct her hands. 

Another good way to think about posing the hands is by using the above tips with the  intention of framing another body part like her chest, waist, face etc.

Make Sure Her Thumb Is Tucked

When posing hands one thing you’ll always want to make sure her thumb is tucked in. In most cases (as stated above) the thumb and middle finger should be used to grip or touch things otherwise they should be close but generally not touch. 

In extreme examples, some women will put all of the tension in to their hands and their thumb will go perpendicular to the rest of their fingers as they try to comply with other posing direction.

When in doubt, keep the thumb and fingers close but don’t have them touch, unless she’s gripping something, adjusting her clothes, playing with her hair, etc.

Jason Guy

I am a portrait photographer based out of Sonoma, California. I create portraits for people of all ages with the goal of making images that are timeless. Portraits you will look back on decades from now, and still love them just as much then as you do today. While flattering lighting and pose are important, capturing how others see you is what I ultimately strive for.

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