There is a lot of anxiety that comes with getting your picture taken. The Ricky Bobby situation, it is totally real. Even though we live with our hands all day every day, the minute someone puts that camera up to their face, we forget what to do with them.
I call the entire situation “dead arm.” It’s not a bad thing, having your arm just hanging there…but it’s not the most attractive look on anyone. To me, there is something about it that makes a photograph look unpolished and unfinished. Having a game plan for what do do with hands just makes everything look a little more intentional, which makes everyone look better.
There are three things you can do, however, to keep them from looking a little less awkward:
1.) PUT YOUR HAND IN YOUR POCKET OR ON YOUR HIP.
Wearing pants? The easiest way to give a free hand something to do is put them in your pocket. It’s easy, it looks decent, it’s a simple way to avoid dead arm. It is a more masculine look, but it works. Another option would be to place it on your hip, which is a simple feminine look.
2.) PINCH A PIECE OR ARTICLE OF CLOTHING.
Not wearing pants? No problem. To give that hand something to do, just pinch some fabric. What does this mean? If you are wearing a dress or skirt, simply drop your arm and lightly pinch a bit of the skirt—not a fistful, just a light grab. If you are wearing an unbuttoned cardigan or blazer, gently grasp where the button or buttonholes are (or would be) and pull it shut just a bit. This creates a feminine look while looking put-together and intentional.
3.) PLACE A HAND ON THE PERSON IN FRONT OF YOU.
If standing in a larger group, a beautiful image can be created by getting really close and wrapping the back arm behind one another. But then what to do with that front one? If you don’t have a pocket or you feel weird grabbing your clothes, you can place it on the person in front of you. A great spot is right at the elbow; the shoulder is also good. Just watch out to be sure not everyone is doing the same thing—variety is the spice of life and photographs.
Next time you find yourself getting photographed, feel a little less like Will Ferrell and a little more like yourself with any one of the hands-free tips. Your memories will thank you.
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