What do I do with my hands?!

August 13, 2017

Guaranteed at least once, every photo shoot, I get asked a very simple question.

What do I do with my hands?


It’s amazing how someone picks up a camera aims it at you and all of sudden you are 120% aware of your body, especially your hands. I always laugh because you have these hands literally all of our life. They have been there since the beginning of you but suddenly you have no idea what to do with them. What do your hands normally do when you aren’t using them? Do they always look like that?

Fear not.

I’m going to give you 5 simple tricks and placement to prevent awkward Ricky Bobby hands during every photo shoot, ever. When in doubt you can refer to one or all of these and everything will be alright.

  1. Hands in your pocket– This applies for both gents and gals. Lucky for guys every pair of bottoms has pockets: suits, jeans, shorts, and even athletic shorts. If you ever have one or both of your hands roaming around in limbo your go to move can be to put it in your pocket. Easy and effective.
    For ladies this is slightly trickier since women’s clothing manufacturers like to be incredibly deceptive and often only make it look like there are pockets. If you are lucky enough to have a pair of pants, shorts, skirt, or skort with real pockets and you have a free hand wandering in no mans land there are two options: whole hand in your pocket or just the thumb.
    Side note here: bonus points if you comment on where to find skirts with pockets! They are like unicorns, nearly impossible to find!
    spring wedding at frogtown cellars winery in Dahlonega Georgia
  2. Hand(s) on your waist– This one is most applicable to the ladies. My default when being photographed alone or with others is to put my hands– or just 1– on my waist. It creates negative space between the smallest part of you (your natural waist) which has a positive slimming effect (shows off those sexy curves– work that girl.) When you do put your hand on your waist I also suggest closer to your hips for two reasons: keeps those creeping shoulder down on top of making that arm look longer and leaner.
    For gentlemen there are a couple options: if you are wearing a coat grasp on to the lapel or just tuck your thumb through your belt loop (again, pretty much guaranteed you have belt loops– lucky ducks.)
    Men: bonus points if your put our hands on her waist!
  3. Soft hands– I like to call them ballerina hands. Most of the time when people complain about awkward hands it’s because you can feel the tension in their hands. The fingers are clutched so tight together that it almost looks like a lobster claw. Best cure for that is to relax your hands. Channel your inner ballerina and loosen up those digits. When you are holding on to your fiances big strong bicep loosen that vice grip a little bit, even just slowly running your hand from his shoulder to elbow will help your fingers to chillax. When you are pulling that pretty lady in for a sweet kiss loosely cup her chin to make it all the sweeter. Instead of gripping her chin with all the fingers, try just one or two.
  4. Touch your fiance– Woah, hey there. If you are snuggling up with your boo thang don’t be afraid to touch them. Pull him in by his shirt, have your hand on his chest to feel his heartbeat, wrap both your arms around her waist, hold her hand with both of yours. The favorite photos are when you simply interact with one another and physically touch (it’s a love language so you know it’s a good thing.) Tickle him to make him smile, whisper your best dad joke in her ear while you intertwine your hands with hers. It’s ok to touch. Don’t be scared.
    spring Engagement session at the atlanta botanical garden
  5. Keep hands away from the nether regions– This is especially true for when you are sitting down. Having your hand on your lap, or your snookums’s lap is sweet but it’s best to not curl your fingers around your leg. This is way weirder to type than it is to illustrate. I am completely guilty of this, when I sit I generally cross my legs and tuck my hand in my lap. In real life we accept this as normal but in photos, it often translates to “I have to potty”– yeah, we want to avoid that.
    When standing men’s pant pockets are excellent places for hands but they are also usually sewn in to angle towards the inner thigh. Best practice is to keep your hand on your front thigh or outer thigh to avoid any “What’s going on there?”
    nerd couple engagement shoot in woods, waterfall, bridge, and field

The good news is that your photographer (hey, girl hey) is there helping you not to over think anything and to have fun taking photos with your fiance. If you find yourself out in the wild and a photo op arrises I hope you find these tips helpful to have natural and comfortable looking hands.

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