Tips and Tricks for Posing Models

Tips and Tricks for Posing Models

Whether you’re creating a professional fashion shoot or capturing a family portrait, learning how to pose your subjects for the camera is one of the most important photographic tools you can have in your kit of photography knowledge. Before you begin, you’ll want to have some key equipment on hand to make posing your model effortless.

Basically there are 5 key points you need to remember at your next shoot:

1. Posture

In general it’s best to practice good posture by keeping a straight back and the shoulders up. Slouching will cause the stomach area to appear larger and create as somber mood.(1) In certain cases you may want to use so-called “bad posture” to great effect when creating more stylized or editorial shots.

2. Smile

Or as our favorite modeling diva Tyra Banks says “Smize”. In other words, get your model to smile with their eyes. She’s recently released the app “Smize Yourself” to help anyone perfect this technique.

3. Arms and Legs

Any photographer who has ever shot a wedding will know that stray limbs can create an awkward photo. Have your model play around with his/her hands. Try them wrapped around the face or head. Never show flat palms, and the hands should only show their sides.(2) For tight shots, alleviate strain on the model by providing a posing table that allows for comfortable support of arms and elbows.

4. Body

Full Length – Try a few shots with the model standing and adjusting her head or eye direction, turning the whole body slightly or leaning against a wall.(3) Use extremely high or low angles for a more creative portrait.
Seated – Seating your model will enable you use your chair as an effective prop. To ensure you will not have to continually reposition your camera, choose a posing stool that adjusts in height and can rotate to capture different angles of the model’s face. Experiment with various facial expressions as well – eyes up, down, to the side, mouth open and closed, big grin and slight smiles.
model sitting in front of blue collapsible backdropPhoto by Ryan Walsh, Featuring Chroma Green/Blue Collapsible Backdrop

5. Breathe

You want to achieve a relaxed natural pose from your subject. Develop a rapport with them to put them at ease and be sure to remind them to breathe so they don’t get the “deer in the headlights” look in their eyes. Holding poses for any length of time can create tension in the body. Use a professional footrest that provides support and allows you great control over your subject’s movements.

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