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The Fundamental Tenets of Posing Models

There are many things we, photographers, need to consider as we face various obstacles in the actual photoshoots. One of the things I find the hardest is posing our chosen subject. Whether we are capturing a professional and experienced model or just someone who would want to make out her first portrait, posing the subject is a different struggle as it includes you and your subject’s cooperation and creativity.

Much of the time during photo shoots are definitely spent instructing or telling your model what to do. Sometimes, it can be the most debilitating phase but…

[Tweet “With the proper guidance and clear direction, everything can be achieved easily and naturally.  #PortraitPhotography“]

There are various poses that your model can try. Depending on what they want or what is needed, your approach as a photographer should also vary. For instance, in portrait photography, when your client wants candid or spontaneous photos, you may try the documentary approach which tends to be photojournalistic in nature. The same goes for advertising photography or corporate photography where your approach varies and can be a mixture of two or more approaches.

Nevertheless, in posing your models, there are standard fashion poses you can implement during photo shoots. Below are some of the most common poses your model can try. Take a look!

Beauty Poses

The face is one of the most important parts of the body, especially when you want to capture a sense of life or emotion in your subject. The face has the eyes, the nose, and the lips which significantly ignites different emotions when emphasized.

Posing Models

In beauty poses, the subject is more on the model’s facial features. It values details such as the shape of the model’s face, the chin, the nose, and of course, the eyes. The focal goal is always to put emphasis on the mentioned features because it plays an essential role in showcasing what the expression is about.

The creative positioning of the hands is also a great help to enhance the aesthetics of a beautiful pose. Just make sure it is incorporated accordingly with the approach utilized to not ruin the emotion your subject has portrayed.

Feet and Shoe Movements

When doing fashion photography, the part of the feet is one of the most overlooked parts of the subject. One reason is that it is not easy to position the feet and implement movement. This is also why many fashion photographers would prefer half body shots than full body shots because it is easier to capture a subject without the feet and shoes.

Posing Models - Portrait Photographer

However, need not worry as there are also tricks that can help you get away with this commonly mistaken problem during photoshoots.

When you are capturing a whole body, never be afraid to grasp the right timing and appropriate foot positioning. And, this can only be achieved when your model is moving. So it means, you’ll have to encourage them to either walk, jump or shake their feet. The easiest way to capture perfect feet and shoes pose is to make your model walk forward and backward again continuously. Until the desired shot is achieved.

Hand Pose/Hand Movements

There is always a different struggle when positioning the hands of the subject. Since the hands are really one of the factors that largely affect portraiture as a whole, it should also be considered equally important as the hands and the feet.

Before capturing your subject, always ensure their hands are calmly positioned. You can make them try what Sue Bryce, a photographer usually does with her subject. She positions her subject’s hands as if they were dancing ballet. With this, they have to lightly spread their fingers and flex some joints.

Posing Models - Hand Pose Hand Movements

As a photographer, you should determine where the hands should be placed to not make them appear awkward, depending again, on the approach your subject wants to achieve or the expression you want your subject to display. You may tell your model to put her hands under her chin, over her shoulder, or even to her sides.

Incorrect positioning of the hands can either make or break a photo. Thus, this aspect of posing models shall be implemented properly.

Seated Poses

Seated poses are one of the easiest and most versatile approaches you can try. But, they make your subject look strong, relaxed, and vulnerable as they can be. One tip is to consider where to take the shot. Ask yourselves, are you taking it from below, above, or center? You should also mind the direction of their feet.

Also, check if the height of the seat is appropriate for the shot. If it does not fit, try to lower or higher the height of the seat to achieve a successfully seated pose. Likewise, consider where to put the height of the light as it is also a crucial factor in creating a dramatic effect on the subject.

The Power of Positive Reinforcement

“Perfect, Excellent, Fabulous or Awesome,” are the words you can tell your model. If you aren’t much of a talker, at least tell some buzz words as such to reinforce positivity. When you’re telling them they’re doing great, the job will be a lot easier for you.

Positive reinforcement really helps and I can attest to that. Every after 2 or 3 shots, I utter the buzz words to ignite confidence and creativity which is innate in every person. If you are not talking, you probably will have difficulties in directing. That being said, it is really something you need to improve yourself as a photographer as it may affect the trust of your prospective clients and create a breach in your personal brand as a professional.

Posing our models is one of the toughest parts of every photo shoot. It always tests our patience, our ability to clearly direct what our models should do, and our professionalism in the field. However, if we constantly practice and master the fundamental tenets of posing models, everything will just fall into place. Add to it the power of positive reinforcement, cooperation, confidence, and creativity. As soon as these things are stuffed, you can already be able to achieve want you’ve expected from the very beginning.

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