Model Posing Tips: Getting the best shots
When working with new models, there is a chance you will need to help direct them on posing. Now my goal is not to explain the exact poses. My goal is to help you communicate with your model what you might be looking for. Having some base model posing tips always helps make the process a bit smoother and helps you get the shots you want.
Gathering inspiration first
Before we jump into model posing, I would highly recommend you do some research first. Analyze some of your favorite shots, and keep a collection of some of the best poses you want to have your model replicate. Now, I don’t recommend just copying all the poses you see on Instagram or Pinterest.
What I do recommend is studying and seeing how the photographer helped the model get into a specific pose. Much of the time the model is moving and naturally flowing based on a mood or theme. So, communication is key when collaborating with a model onsite.
I always refer to my model posing styles in 3 ways. Now, there may be a more technical term for these posing styles, but this is how I always refer to them.
Stop Motion/Still Shots Posing
This is best for portrait photographers who are needing the model to stay still for their poses. You may be working with intricate lighting or slow shutter speeds.
I refer to flow posing when I need a model to be in constant motion. This works great for dancing or models that have high energy and you want very fluid shots.
Just like flow posing, I am having the model interact with a specific location or props in a scene. Think of this just like acting and you are constantly capturing the action. This works best in location or in fast-moving areas.
Model Posing Tips
Here are some of the small tips I share with the model along with the posing styles from above to help them work a scene more naturally or match my speed with the camera.
I love doing more fashions style shots, and I am learning to get the model getting out of her comfort zone. Many new models will not know much about posing in general, but I like to give them this tip. When thinking about your pose, think about exaggerated body movements.
- Standing on your tiptoes to make you look taller
- Stretching forwards or backward to elongate the torso
- Bending arms inward to convey emotion
- Stretching arms outwards to showcase length
I also love explaining to the model the mood of body contrast. For example, if you have one arm up, then you have the other arm down. If one arm is bent, the other is straight in another direction. If the model is sitting, then one leg is bent and the other is straight. If your weight is along one side, then exaggerate your limbs to compensate for the other side.
I always have music playing at my model test shoots. This is for two reasons. One, so the model doesn’t get bored, and the other so the model can move naturally to a rhythm of a song. It’s always so much easier to flow pose when you have music playing.
Acting and emotion
When the session calls for it, one of my tips to my models is to convey an emotion or act out a specific theme. For example, if you’re doing a moody or sad theme, this will be way different posing versus a happy or excited emotion. Sometimes helping the model understand your concept with words of emotions can make the session go so much easier.
Communication is key to posing
At the end of the day, your level of communication to your model will help get you better results. Being able to put your ideas into clear directions will help the model express your ideas more clearly in his or her posing. Sometimes it can be best to take a few mins and talk between sets to make sure the team is on the same page.
These model posing tips can apply to all types of shoots. No matter what your concept, just be sure to do your homework and be ready for collaboration!