One of the biggest problems when shooting full-body shots is coaching your subject on what to do with their hands, arms, feet and legs. Aside from professional models, most subjects are self-conscious and even a bit nervous in front of the camera. This can lead to some of the most awkward poses you can imagine. People will fidget, frown and stand in ways that they would never stand otherwise when the camera is on them. While this can be good for a laugh, it is not always the best thing for getting the best full-body shots.
First, try to relax your subject. Talk naturally, explain what you would like to capture in the photograph and always ask for permission before touching a model to reposition them. Next, instruct your subject to pose in a way that is most flattering for them. The same rules as above apply for the subjects head, but the rules for the body change depending on your subject’s gender.
When photographing a full-body shot of a female, always remember that women look much more feminine at an angle with their joints bent. If it bends, try bending it until you are satisfied that you have achieved a flattering look for them. You would be amazed at how much a hand on the hip or a bent knee with their weight on the other leg can do for a female full-body pose.
With men, the rules are slightly different. Men generally look best facing the camera directly, showing off the broadness of their shoulders. If your male subject is having trouble finding somewhere to put his hands, suggest he cross his arms across his chest or hook his thumbs in his pockets.
The most important thing to keep in mind for a full-body shot is that everyone is built differently. A pose that looks good for a slim subject may not look nearly as flattering for a heavier subject and vice versa. Your job as the photographer is to find the pose that is most flattering for them. This often is 90% of the battle in taking the best full-body portraits.