You’ve just booked and scheduled a photoshoot. Suddenly, your mind starts racing with worry about how you are going to pose as a model or how to direct someone in posing as a photographer! Relax, I’ve got a crash course on posing for you right here.
A Guide to Posing For Models
Experience, communication and being comfortable with the camera are key to mastering model posing. Sometimes the location will be a public space where people will be passing by, and of course helplessly staring at you. Trusting yourself and your photographer or model is a must.
Finding inspirational shots is a great starting point and helps fuel your own creative posing style. Personally, I find a couple of shots that capture the essence, vibe, and poses of what I want to produce with the photographer. The photographer will send me his/her ideas as well and through this process we create a solid idea of how to help each other achieve the shots we desire.
Here is a look at a Neon Collection of inspirational shots:
Use a mirror and get familiar with the way your body moves and all of its working parts. Moving the head, shoulders, legs, arms, and hands makes all the difference. Understanding the type of photographer you are working with is important as well. Some photographers take shot after shot to capture every moment, while others like to capture only specific and thought out ones. Photographers, if you get to know how to pose yourself, you will be better equipped to assist the model and bring your vision to life.
Know Your Options
- EYES You can change where you are looking; into the camera lens, next to the photographer, up, and down.
- HEAD The angle of your head; straight on, tilted, up, down, left, right and everything in between.
- ARMS Be conscious of what your arms are doing; above your body, below, swaying, half way up, touching each other, on your hips, or making interesting shapes.
- HANDS Hands can really focus the image on a specific element by cuffing the face, gently touching a part of the body, or even blocking something from sight. Make sure your hands are relaxed unless intentionally meant to be composed.
- SHOULDERS Your shoulders can really make the image pop; have one more forward than the other, bring them both in, or have one going down while the other is up.
- LEGS It’s all about those legs! Standing, crossed, one in front of the other, spread out, one bent, sitting, pulled together, casually apart, criss-cross, and small alterations that change the positioning of the legs. For longer legs in the image the shot has to be taken from a lower point looking up
- HIPS You can pop a hip left or right, put them back or do a powerful crotch forward shot.
Encourage each other through positive commentary throughout the shoot. Saying “Beautiful,” or “Love that,” can really boost confidence and keep the energy rolling. Photographers must be flexible with the ability to shoot and direct the model at the same time. Adjusting the model verbally by telling him/her where to look or to bring their chin up or down can really help the image. The model can only try to visualize how they look on camera, but photographers are ultimately making sure the idea pulls through in the shot. Photographers may also want to demonstrate a specific pose that they want the model to do and the model can then make it his/her own.
Advice From Photographer @BenSasso
Sofia Zorian: Ben, your work is vastly creative and includes intriguing model poses. How do you interact with a model regarding posing during a photoshoot?
Ben Sasso: Thank you! I think that directing can be simpler than people make it out to be. Often times it’s about working with the right people who understand your vision. Before shoots, I like to verbally, and sometimes visually, go through the moods I want to invoke, posing inspiration, etc. That gives us a solid base to move forward from.
SZ: What advice would you give to a model that is just starting out regarding posing?
BS: The same I’d give anyone starting out in anything. Experiment. The more things you try types of modeling, poses, ways of getting noticed, etc. the more you’ll learn what works, what doesn’t, and what you enjoy. All of my progress comes from experimentation. Trying something new is my best tool.
SZ: What are some key points photographers need to know about shooting certain poses (standing, sitting, perspective, etc.) and how can they help adjust a pose?
BS: The most important thing I’ve learned about images, and maybe life, is that it’s more the feeling of it all. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about having all of the “correct” angles, or the weight being on the right foot. I’ve seen some of the “ugliest” poses evoke the most emotion because it was something real. There was a connection that happened there between the model and photographer, the model in herself, etc., and that’s what makes the image great. So study that. Learn how to connect to people, and to get people to connect with someone else. I’ve found that connection almost always starts with a question.
Advice From Model @HeidiiJane
Sofia Zorian: Heidi, your photos are so vibrantly beautiful and every pose looks perfectly executed. What inspires your poses during the photoshoot? How does the setting influence the poses?
Heidi Jane: Thank you so much, that honestly means a lot to me. My inspiration for poses during a photoshoot come from the persona I am portraying in the photos. Each photographer and/or brand has illustrated the face to their name, and it’s the model’s job to represent their story. The setting has a huge influence over poses, and ties in usually with the categories of modeling it attracts. For instance, if I am going to an Ecomm shoot, I would most likely focus on more subtle poses. Whereas if I shoot outside, I may have more freedom to be expressive with my poses. It really just depends on the whole mood of the shoot, and what it is you are representing.
SZ: What advice would you give to a photographer about communicating with a model during a photoshoot about model posing? How can photographers help?
HJ: Make sure it’s clear to the model what your vision is for the photo shoot. If a photographer knows exactly what they want to say with their work, then the model can fully grasp what kind of mood they must give off. Also, it’s always apparent in the photos if a model feels uncomfortable. If something seems off just take a five-minute breather, and talk to the model to make them feel more comfortable.
SZ: How can models enhance their posing game and continue to grow? Any useful tips?
HJ: Learn how to respond well to spontaneity, because a model’s expectations won’t always match with reality. As much as the model might prepare before a shoot, concepts and ideas change quite frequently. Try not to get hung up on one concept. Instead, invest in some posing books, put some music on, and practice a variety of poses in the mirror regularly. “Study of Pose,” by Coco Rocha has become my bible, and has taught me that some of the most awkward poses can turn out to be the most captivating.
Try New Things even if it feels weird! Don’t be afraid to make a bold facial expression or extend an arm in a way that you normally would not do. This keeps the creativity flowing and can bring something exciting to the table.
Have Fun with it! Play your favorite music, get to know each other while shooting or even beforehand. You will feel more free to express yourself and the photographer will know how to capture your spirit.