The art of posing
JD Wacker’s Master Posing Guide, 2nd Edition is now in print. The book, which was released in August, follows the Master Posing Guide, 1st Edition, which was printed in 2002 by Amherst Media Inc., of New York.
“The publisher approached us with an idea to print a few books on portraiture,” explained Wacker. “After we discussed a series of proposals and concepts, we selected a posing guide as our first project. At that time, I had really gotten involved in teaching posing at classes, schools and conventions-and I guess it was time to put it into a book.”
Wacker said he still does a lot of demonstration and live in-class posing demonstrations, and the Master Posing Guide, 1st Edition, helped reach a larger group.
“I learned a lot about the challenge of writing a book as opposed to writing topical-based magazine articles,” Wacker said. “It requires a different approach.”
The second edition of the Master Posing Guide presented a similar set of challenges, as Wacker set out to update the first edition. He stated that since posing is technique-based, there were not a lot of changes to be made; however, many new dimensions were added to help update posing style.
“What we tried to accomplish with these books was to offer an alternative to other posing guides that just show a lot of pictures,” Wacker said. “We offer a lot of photos in our books as well, but for me, I learn by understanding the whys and hows of posing. So, I developed a technique for posing that, if understood, can be a good basis for all types of posing.”
Wacker’s book is broken down into three parts: the psychology of posing, the mechanics of posing, and posing in practice.
“The psychology of posing is very important,” Wacker commented. “You need to have a good rapport with the subject. Your client needs to be relaxed and comfortable. There are a number of steps that can be used to help build their confidence and establish a good rapport.
“The mechanics of posing is a combination of physiology and art,” stated Wacker. “It involves composition elements on the artistic side, and the physiology of what the human body can do. I’ve studied lots of drawings, and developed a system of posing from the ground up. It’s a matter of fighting gravity through using compositional elements such as diagonals, triangles, and balance. There are key posing points-such as the hands, eyes, and feet-that can be composed on different planes to produce the dynamics you’re looking for.
“The ‘posing in practice’ portion of the book addresses subject matter individually-kids, men, women, models, families, couples, pets, groups, and so on,” said Wacker.
Wacker said the book’s focus on posing and lighting elements are more important now than ever before.
“The true art of portraiture can be lost in digital elements and enhancements,” he stated. “Posing is a huge part of quality. We help people look their best, and we have a system and plan to do that. The end product is something that they want to show friends and family or hang on the wall at home.
“We take an approach of corrective posing,” explained Wacker. “If a person is concerned about their weight or other physical features, we work to highlight the positives and hide the negatives. The book is based on that approach-not only in a controlled studio environment, but also on location. Other challenges-including posing with props, furniture, or different geographical elements-are also addressed in the book.
Wacker said he was both proud and surprised that the 1st Edition of the Master Posing Guide topped Amazon’s best-seller list of portrait photo books for about a year and a half. It was also one of Amherst Media’s top selling books. Amherst Media is one of only a few publishers who print photography books. The 1st and 2nd Edition of the Master Posing Guide can be found at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and many photography retailers.
“We used lots of local subjects in the books,” Wacker said. “We also published a book on high school senior photography with Amherst Media. That book came out in 2009, and is entitled, ‘Master Posing Guide for Photographing High School Seniors’. We also have one other self-published book. That book is entitled, ‘Wacker’s Digital Cookbook’, and deals with many digital design and photoshop elements.”
Wacker’s posing guides have been sold and used worldwide as textbooks in photography classes.
“It’s been a very exciting learning process,” Wacker said. “We wrote the book, got it published, and saw it become very popular in our profession. It’s a chance for us to give back to the profession and art that we love.”
“We are very happy to have a second edition of the Master Posing Guide in print,” concluded Wacker. “We appreciate the support we have received from subjects in our community. It’s a group effort involving us and our clients, and we’re very excited to have completed this book.”
The Master Posing Guide, 2nd Edition can be found online at Amazon.com or at a variety of book retailer outlets. To learn more about Photography by JD, visit www.photobyjd.com.