When Folded Arms look Good In Portraits

January 6, 2020

What I love about this photographic portrait is the folded arms. Ordinarily I’m not a massive fan of folded arms but in this picture it works.

I feel like I should begin by explaining why I don’t like folded arms in photographs before singing the virtues of my contradiction.

There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with folded arms in photographs. The problem is that so often it just looks awful. The reason for that is because the subject or the photographer think that it adds gravitas. Folded arms and power stances won’t make you look important, or powerful if that’s the look you’re going for, more often than not it will simply make you look like a dick.

That’s right, rather than adding prestige to your ambitions of coming across important and statesman like in your portrait you’ll actually look like you’re trying to hard. More like Ricky Gervais’ David Bret character that the leader, influencer look that you’re spiring for. 

Summarised, folded arm make you look stuffy and arrogant so if you’re trying to impress then this is not the right way to go about it.

So there you have it the reason that I won’t recommend folding arms for a portrait, especially a headshot or press shot but an editorial photograph is a little different. An editorial portrait is a different kettle of fish to the aforementioned portraits because the process is very different of a photographer. It’s less about directing and more about observing.

If . person fold their arms it’s probably because they are a little nervous or unsure about what to do with themselves and their body. Rather than correct this you’ll be left with something intimate and special.

That’s what I love about this portrait. There’s a desk so he simply folded his arms and lent on it. It’s a human moment that is so pure and simple that I love everything about it. when looking at the picture you feel like you’re in the room rather than looking at a contrived image.

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