So at Anime Boston this year, as I mentioned in my post about it, I was nursing a newbie lolita - not new to the scene, as I've been introducing her to it since I started myself, but it was only her first or second time wearing lolita out to an event where there would be other lolitas and, more importantly, non-lolitas who may want to take her picture. Now, Marrisa isn't camera-shy, but when someone asked her for a picture, she got a little "deer-in-the-headlights." I've heard a lot of girls saying they aren't sure how to pose when it comes to lolita, so giving Marrisa a little bit of coaching inspired me to write up a full-length post on the topic!
First of all, it is totally not weird (and, to be honest, pretty necessary) to practice posing in front of a mirror. There's nothing worse than photo-regret: Coming home from an even and realizing that none of your pictures are salvageable simply because of bad angles and unflattering poses. The first thing to do when you're practicing poses is to make sure you're looking at your full body in good lighting, or at least lighting you think will be similar to that of the event you're heading off to (stand near a window to emulate natural light for a picnic, or fluorescent lighting if you think that's more likely, such as an anime convention or many other indoor events). Start with your feet and go up - are your socks straight? Bows tied? Make-up blended? Check to make sure all the components of your outfit is showing- are you covering up the print on your cutsew with how you buttoned your cardigan? Maybe your lace sock topper is tucked into your boots, or your hair clips are hiding in a sea of curls. All set? Good! Now start posing. Tilt your face to different angles to see which catches the light best. It sometimes helps to chose an "image" to portray, like a porcelain doll, an elegant young lady, or a spunky fairy-loli sprite. Practice a few different poses that you think portray that - folded hands for elegance, say, or pop a heel and a peace sign for a little extra moxie.
Here are some components of a good pose, in bullet format by body part:
- First off, remember that your extremities (hands/arms and feet/legs) are your biggest assets as they're most noticeable and mobile. Just a little something to keep in mind!
- Feet: pigeon toes are common, but be careful here. First off, they conform to a certain child- or doll-like image, so they're great for most sweet and some classic, but can look odd for other classic and gothic. They're great for showing off your socks if they have designs up the sides, but with tights it can look odd because the toes will draw attention to your feet and legs - if you have fancy shoes or patterned tights that's fine, but be careful of drawing attention to places that aren't interesting. Better to try and direct attention to other parts of the coordinate.
- My favorite foot-position is to put one slightly in front of the other, turn my heels out slightly to allude to pigeon-toes without actually looking disjointed (or to just turn out my front heel &keep the back foot straight), then rest my weight on my back foot. It's much more flattering for almost all body types than to have your feet set far apart, because a wide base will make your entire body look wider.
- Hips should tilt slightly forward- your poof will probably hide it, but it'll help your posture by keeping your back straight.
- Shoulders back! Just like Mom used to tell you. It does wonders for your posture &will draw attention to your upper body, which is important when you're wear a nice neckline or some other detail that otherwise may not stand out.
- Arms: Putting them behind your skirt will emphasize poof and is cute if you're not wearing bracelets, rings, or nails that you want to show off. Be careful about resting your hands on your hips or the front of your skirt as it can de-emphasize your petticoats &make you look slightly flattened.
- To draw attention to a purse, there are a few things you can do. My favorite is to channel my poupee girl and sling it over my elbow, curling my fingers ever so slightly. If you're wearing a shoulder bag, pull it in front of you and rest your thumbs where the strap connects to the body of the bag to frame it with your hands. For handbags with smaller handles, I think it's really sweet to hold it in front of your skirt with both hands - your arms will make a sort of arrow that says "look at my cute bag!!".
- A note on hands: They're important! You'll get the most freedom of pose in your hands. Isolate your fingers to make your hands more dynamic - as in, spread them a bit so you can see each individual digit. Match your hands to your "mood"- A cute sweet look pointing with your first finger toward your cheek, kind of like "Lookit how cute I am! :D," and for classic I really like simply framing the face with one hand (palm resting just under the chin, fingers spread over the jaw - great for close-ups) . A gothic classic is praying hands, but I do not know nearly enough about that style to discuss it!
- Head: Chin up, beautiful smile (or moody gothic pout!), eyes wide. Don't look at the lens, as that gives the picture a creepy "staring into your soul" look - go above the lens and look and the photographer's hair; for LCD digital photos (where the photographer is looking at the preview screen instead of through the viewfinder), look at their face. If you look below the camera it will probably cause you to duck your chin, which is not flattering (the thing I need to work on most in my pictures, personally!). Turn your face slightly to the right or left, showing your good side (yes, they exist! It's not an urban legend!), as the three-quarter view if more dynamic than straight-on and makes for a more interesting picture. Also, make sure your hair is out of your eyes/face/lipgloss!
- Pop your foot! This is a fun way to show off your shoes/socks or add a little whimsy.
- Play with your expressions - pout, wink, or blow a kiss
- Play with or flounce your hair
- Pick a piece of your outfit and accentuate it. Pose with your hand near your face to show off nails or make-up, tip a hat, or grab the corner of your skirt like you're curtsying.
- Most importantly, have fun!