Recently, I watched a few live classes on composite and portrait photography. I went into the composite photography with the intention to learn about layering, and digital methods used. The portrait class I watched because it wasabout working quickly in a challenging setting (which can happen to anyone in any photography situation). There were plenty of tips, theories, tricks, and suggestions to take away from them, but it surprised me how much I paid attention to modeling. How are people twisting and turning their bodies to make it appear more upright, more balanced, or more elongated. Particularly, what were people doing with their hands? I think if you ever sat for a portrait, you know you have to contort your face, neck, and back somehow. But what do you do with your hands? What message do you want to convey to the person who will see the photograph? Strength, tenderness, wisdom, faith, hope, fashion?
I recently visited the Seattle Asian Art Museum and started noticing how hands were positioned for sculptures. Some didn’t have hands, some were placed on laps, holding something, in a prayer position, or expressing action. It was a quick study, but it’s another element to look at when taking photos of people (the next time that happens).