When taking portraits, including hands in the frame can help to tell a story and make your photographs more appealing. However, if you don't properly pose them, they become more of a nuisance than a valuable asset to your shot.
1. SHOWING THE BACK OF THE HAND STRAIGHT ON IS A NO-NO.
The widest section of the hand is the rear. As a result, it may appear larger in images than it is, particularly if it is closer to the camera. A small bend in the wrist or a slight turn of the hand away from the camera might improve the appearance of the hand. It's worth noting that this only works for female models, as male models don't mind having their hands appear larger.
2. DO NOT SHOW THE INSIDE OF THE HAND DIRECTLY.
The interior of the hands is another item to avoid revealing straight on. The reason for this is that most of us have wrinkly hands, or at least hands that are wrinkled more than our faces. Face your hands away from the camera and toward the light, so the creases are "erased" by the light.
3. DO NOT PRESS YOUR HANDS OR FINGERS INTO YOUR FACE OR BODY.
Remind your model to be careful if their hands are visible in the frame and caressing their face or body. Pressing your hands on your face or body produces a mark, which is difficult to remove later. It also has the ability to smear makeup.
4. MAKE SURE YOUR HANDS ARE MOISTURIZED AND CLEAN.
Here's a simple one: before the shot, make sure your model's hands are moisturized. You can either remind the model to bring the moisturizer or simply have it in your kit bag so that it's always available. Also, tell your model to care for their hands before the shoot: clean nail beds, no hangnails, and neatly applied nail polish.
5. WATCH OUT FOR “REBELS”
You know how one of the fingers in the frame has "a mind of its own?" Pay attention to these while you photograph, and advise your subject to make any required adjustments if one of the fingers begins to rebel against the others.
6. USE THE BLADE!
Remember how you should avoid revealing the front and rear of your hands straight on? Here's a simple yet effective tip: A simple turn of the wrist reveals the blades of the hands, giving them a more appealing appearance.
7. MATCH THE HANDS AND FACE SKIN TONES.
Hands and faces can sometimes have differing skin tones. Corrections will be made on set by the makeup professionals. If you don't have access to a makeup artist, be prepared to do some extra work in post to match the skin tones of your hands and face.
8. IN THE FRAME, THE HANDS SHOULD "TELL A STORY"
Hands should not be left dangling in the picture. They should add to the story, the subject's feelings, and the message you're trying to get over. Leave them out of the picture if they can't contribute to any of these.
Do you use these approaches for hand posing in your portraits? Is there anything else you'd like to add?
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Photography in motion by Phil Davenport