With two bestselling photography training books under his belt—Picture Perfect Practice and Picture Perfect Posing (see Rangefinder’s
June 2014 issue for a review on the latter)—it’s safe to say Valenzuela knows that of which he speaks. His Picture Perfect Posing
System incorporates 15 decision points into a shoot—including spine, weight distribution, 90-degree angles, hand/arm context
system, and posing with movement, feeling and expression—to help photographers produce energy in their poses.
PERFECTLY POSED CANDID
What do you do when you have a bridge in the
photo? “Use it,” Valenzuela advises. “The railing
leading up to the couple guides your eye. Plus, having the
bride sitting on it and the groom standing against her
creates contrast and, yes, movement.” Valenzuela directed
the groom to wrap his hand around the bride’s back, grab
her leg and push his body against her—“it not only coun-
ters his weight on hers, it creates an inevitable urge for the
bride to laugh or giggle,” he says. One key point to note is
that he didn’t have the couple kiss. “Then it would look too
staged. They are sharing an intimate moment without hav-
ing to kiss.” As for the group in the background, Valenzuela
positioned them in a scattered pattern, with the smaller
kids in front, and then gave them all topics to talk about.
And what about that guy coming out of the groom’s
shoulder? “Don’t think I didn’t notice him,” says Valenzuela.
“That’s my whole point with all of this—use it all to create a
feeling of candidness.”
PROPER SUBJECT EMPHASIS
In Picture Perfect Posing, Valenzuela introduces a
three-point reference guide to ensure that your subject is the
main attraction in the frame. His rules are:
1) The subject should be at least as bright as the brightest
point in the frame.
2) The direction of light should influence part of the pose
3) Use framing, leading lines, isolation, contrasts, repetition or
size to make the subject the most prominent element.
In the image above, the bride is “on the brighter side of what
I’m showing and the light, along with the arch, is being used to
frame her,” he says.
“With my hand/arm context system (resting or resting on;
framing, holding; pointing or connecting), hands are given
context within the pose so that they complement rather than
distract from the subject. Having this bride hold up her veil
gives her hands context and movement. Even more importantly, he adds, her hands are not at the same level. “That would
be far too distracting and not authentic.”