Using a Doorway as a Portrait Prop

by | Oct 3, 2019

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

My proposed title for my last book, “Posing for Portrait & Glamour Photography,” was the “ABC’s or Portrait Posing” and so the publisher did what they typically do and totally ignored my title but to their credit used my suggested photo for the first time in my book publishing history.

D is for Doorway.

OK, I’ll confess, if you give me a doorway I’ll use it as a portrait prop. Doorways give subjects something to do with their hands as well as providing a natural frame around the them while adding interest to the portrait. And rustic doorways are even better because they have character and offer a hard-edged contrast with the soft-edged subject. This doorway was to a now-restored 1920’s armory in Brighton, Colorado.

How I made this shot: Here my former muse Tia Stoneman gives me her best Joan Crawford look and throws her hip into the pose. This is something I always like to suggest but some subjects are often too timid to try. I think that the pose adds some dynamics to the photograph. Even though her hands are on the same level (a no-no according to some contest judges,) the sweep of head and body adds an “S” curve composition that when combined with the portrait’s asymmetrical nature makes it look different than a typical doorway shot.

This portrait was shot in direct Monochrome mode using a Canon EOS 50D with EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. It’s an available light exposure of 1/250 second at f/6.3 and ISO 800 with an EX 550 speedlight was used as fill.

If you enjoyed today’s blog post and would like to treat me to a cup of Earl Grey tea ($2.50), click here. And if you do, thank you very much.


You can learn more about my posing techniques in Posing for Portrait & Glamour Photography with brand new books are available from for $18.95 and used copies starting at $17.85 as I write this. Kindle versions are $11.99 for those preferring to have the book in digital form.