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Model posing ideas for beginner models & Photographers

If you are a model or a photographer and new to the studio environment there are a few tips and tricks we can give you to help with posing which can make all the difference in getting professional or amateur shots. Regardless of how experienced the model is, they can’t see what they look like and will ultimately always need some guidance from the photographer or stylist. There is nothing more awkward than a clueless model and a quiet photographer so get to know each other and don’t be afraid to give direction.

There are some relatively standard fashion poses out there which you can see in magazines and online. These poses are not exactly rocket science, but they are expected by many clients and they are the basics to any portfolio.

Where to look:

  • Look 45 degrees to the left or right of the camera
  • Look up or down with the eyes / move the head up or down
  • Look directly into the photographers Lens
  • Look over the photographers’ shoulder
  • Look straight into the main light

Beauty Poses

Beauty poses are some of the most difficult to get right because they feel un-natural to the model. Everything is riding on perfect lighting, immaculate makeup & hair, the exact right angle and the expression on the models face

  • Photographers beware if you are shooting from below as you could end up with an image with prominent nostrils and chins. Equally beware if you are shooting from above and end up with a huge forehead and a tiny chin.
  • Jawlines can be used to create shadow and can create much of the shape in a beauty shot. Make sure the MUA doesn’t go overboard with the contouring of the cheek if this angle is being used.
  • Models don’t forget to paint your nails. Often a mistake thinking it’s a portrait beauty shoot so only neck and shoulders up will be photographed – wrong. Hands are often used as a feature in beauty shots, pulling hair behind the ear, holding the head or chin etc
  • Expression is important – Happy, serious, neutral, sultry – even parting the lips can make a huge difference
  • Shoulders play a crucial role in framing the face of a model. Popping a shoulder up and forward can make all the difference, especially in beauty work. Just raising one shoulder higher than another will add dimension

Standing Model

A new model can often feel most awkward when it’s just them and a big curved background. Composition is important to make the shot look as natural as possible.

  • Body position – twist slightly to the left or slightly to the right.
  • Use your arms – Raising an arm or a hand to the hip or face fills the space out
  • Put one foot in front of the other or stand shoulder width apart for a dominant look

Sitting Down Model

Whether sitting down on a chair or the floor the way a model poses can be the difference between a confident strong look or one of vulnerability.

  • Photographers – don’t forget to adjust your lights if you were shooting a standing model before going into a seated pose
  • Think about the direction of the feet and knees as we don’t want a crotch-central image
  • Think about where the shot is being taken from – above, below or equal height (This is when you see photographers rolling around on the floor getting a workout)
  • Use your hands to hold the head and elbows on the knees
  • If your using a chair and the image looks awkward is can sometimes be down to the height of the chair. I was once photographing a model who was wearing huge heals and sat on the smallest stool in the studio – spider coming out of a plug hole shot was born!

Movement Poses

Adding movement to any image can increase the drama and add a whole new dimension to an otherwise standard still image. It requires perfect timing from the photographer and model, the absolute right camera settings, a whole lot of patience as it may take several attempts to get the right shot.

  • There is usually only one split second moment for a photographer to get the perfect shot during the movement – be prepared to practice
  • Models – think about your facial expressions because if your flicking hair about, spinning, running or jumping about like a jack in the box it is hard to hold a normal facial expression unless your conscious of it and trying hard keep it normal
  • Watch out for the fingers – fingers always develop a mind of their own in movement shots and can look weird if you’re not conscious of it

We hope this was helpful to all the photographers and models out there. If you have any questions or need any advice then feel free to get in touch with us.

Sara Smith – SS Creative Photography

Photography Credit: Kerry Bee | MUA Credit: Elizabeth Hitchens | Model Credit: Juliana Ratcliff

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