Posing techniques for photography models

A lot of photographers choose to photograph people, whether that be at a wedding, shooting fashion models or creating family photos. Knowing how to advise people to post can be a great skill to add to your knowledge to create a successful photoshoot.

Hiring a professional model whilst you’re starting out with photography can be incredibly beneficial to you as they already have the knowledge of how to post and they don’t necessarily need to be instructed through every pose by the photographer. This knowledge can be transferred to future shoots you do and you have some more idea of what works and what doesn’t. There is a fine line between acting and modelling – professional models can almost seem like they are acting on-set and can produce different emotions when instructed to. Whereas if you were shooting photographs for a friend of family member and you wanted them to laugh, you would have to actively help them produce this emotions opposed to them just being able to automatically do it.

We all know the standard ‘model poses’ of hand on hips and arms above the head, however this can look dated and cheesy. A professional model understands the subtlety of slight movements of body parts to create a completely different feel to a photograph which can make it look professional instead of stereotypical.

As well as professional models knowing how to move for successful images, they also have other knowledge such as what lighting looks the most flattering and what angles they need to be stood at to create shadows and highlights. Especially in a studio environment this is something a professional model will know how to utilise whereas your friend probably won’t know how or where to stand.

Tips For Beginner Models

Posture is so important as it will make you look confident, and confidence shows through in an image. You can be a complete beginner but if you radiate confidence, others will feel that too. Keep your back straight when you sit or stand.

Hands can be awkward to shoot as people tend to now know what to do with them. Creating fists and tense the fingers tends to be the go-to positions for them but this does not transfer well in an image. One way to loosen up your arms and hands is to shake them and release any tension you may have. Positioning your hands to the side instead of straight on can make them look elongated and more feminine, whereas having them straight on can look more masculine.

Unless you are told not to, each time the camera clicks try moving your body or head a tiny bit in order to create another option for the photographer. You may not think that moving your head to the side a couple of centimeters can make a difference, but when lighting and location is involved it can make a huge difference.

You can accentuate your natural body shape in many ways by moving certain parts of the body. Moving the hips into different positions such as pushing one out subtly can create more of a curve. Pushing the chest out creates more curves whilst curling the chest inwards will create less curves. Be aware of your body and how you can change the appearance of it by subtle body movements.

The more confident you become as a photographer with shooting models, the easier you will find it to direct them. You automatically become more aware of what body shapes work and which don’t, or how to instruct the model in a constructive way. It is important to not forget about other elements of the photograph such as lighting, focus and composition when working with a model, as all of these building blocks make up your final images. If the model looks great but the lighting is poor, you will have an average photograph. Practise will make perfect and experience creates more knowledge.

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