A very important part of looking good in front of the lens is knowing how to pose.  Many of my beginner models tell me that not only their photo shoots are more successful once they learned to pose, but even everyday photos with their friends and family look different.  Once you learn how to position yourself on camera you will see a drastic change in the way photographers work with you and an increase in demand from clients.

A photographer, during a photo shoot, will direct you to capture a specific look, but your creativity and input is what makes the entire process successful.  The thing to remember is to listen to the photographer and give them more than they expected with as little direction possible.

The first myth to get over is some people just look good on camera.  Not true, so many things are involved in a successful photo shoot that saying a person looks good no matter what is unrealistic.  It’s a combination of a good photographer, the correct lighting and a model that knows her positioning that make a good photograph.  I’ve worked with some models that most people would never image being professional models.  But, once in front of the camera, they get to work and know how to pose and look to make the image work.

Another important thing to remember is to listen.  The photographer will be complementing your poses and keep taking shots.  With the advent of digital photography, the concern of running out of film is a non issue, most cameras can take several hundred shots in a session without stopping.  Because of that fact a photographer will continue shooting as you change positions.  Listen to the shutter click, if the photographer isn’t asking you to hold a position, change your pose.  Some photographers, like me, will hold a model into position and them move around the model to capture different angles.

The best way to learn how to pose is to practice in front of a large mirror.  Pretend the mirror is the camera and hold positions for a count of 5 then move to another pose.  Do this for 10 minutes at a time to condition your body, posing is tough work!

There are 4 types of poses:

Lifestyle

This pose is used mostly by product and stock photographers.  In order to be good at lifestyle posing, you must be able to create common emotions.  Training and experience in acting is a plus.

Movement

Just as it sounds, motion is key in this type of work.  Train for this pose by doing an action (jumping, dancing etc.) and smile at the same time.  Feels weird but looks right on camera.  Women’s health magazines are filled with these kind of shots.

Portrait

The focus is on the models face.  Jewelry and hair photography is the most common use for this.  Make sure you take care of your skin and hair to be in demand for this work.

Body

Full body shots are commonly used for clothing catalog work.  Use the posing tips below to be great at this.  Photographers love to shoot full body shots and make use of the entire model.

The following tips will help you pose better during a shoot and become more in demand.  Remember that most models rely on their posing skills to continue working and always practice.

  • Breathing

Don’t hold your breath.  All that odes is make you look like your holding you breath.  Leave that to the photographer (photographers commenly hold their breath to keep their camera steady).

  • Posture

Most of us have bad posture, but bad posture is terrible on camera.  Keep your back straight and shoulders up.  Avoid slouching, not only does this make you look taller, but your tummy flattens out.  Also, flex your stomach by sucking it in, even if you have a belly this helps you look tone.

  • Arms and Legs

Do something with those limbs!  If it bends, bend it.  Straight arms and legs are boring and creepy looking.  Do the same with fingers.  Bend fingers in front of a mirror and you’ll notice how straight fingers look like you’re missing fingers.  Bending your fingers shows all your fingers.  Lean on one foot when standing.  Shifting your weight helps you look comfortable.  Do the same when sitting, shifting your weight from one thigh to the other while raising one hip up.  Don’t hang your arms, bend the elbows and wrists, rest your hands on your hips or something else.  If you do straighten an arm or leg, make sure the other is bent.  Be as asymmetrical as possible.

  • Face

We’re raised to smile at the camera.  Unfortunately, to succeed in modeling, you have to unlearn a lot of things.  Smiling is good, especially if you have a good smile and nice teeth.  But, being versatile is important, change it up by throwing a serious look or a cute crooked mouth while looking up.  Add the rest of your body into the mix.  When you put on a scared expression, run your hand through your hair or cross your hands when you pout.  Change the size of your smile throughout the shoot, letting the photographer see how you look helps them come up with other ideas. Practice facial expressions by standing in front of a mirror, close your eyes, think of an expression, make the expression and then open your eyes.  If it doesn’t look right, try again until you get it right.  You can’t see your face during a shoot, so practicing will help you know what you look like.

  • Head

Most photographers will focus on your head, keeping your head as the key point of the image.  How you pose your head is very important.  Try this out: look in the mirror, straight on, now turn your head to the left an inch, put your chin down then turn your eyes towards the mirror.  Compare the two looks, they are like night and day.  Try tilting and turning your head at the same time.  Don’t always look at the camera, look away and when you do look, peek at the camera lens while turning your head.

Keep all these tips in mind the next time your at a photo shoot.  Practice every day!  And remember, not all positions will work, learn from your bad shots as much as you do from the good ones.

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