Posing Models Part 2: How to Pose Models for Fashion Photography

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  By Jennifer Berube
Posing Models Part 2: How to Pose Models for Fashion Photography www.sleeklens.com

Fashion shoots take a lot to organize, and moving from concept to set is no easy task. It can cost a lot to run a shoot. It will cost more if you have to work overtime. The best way to avoid this is to give clear direction to the models. In Part 1, How to Work with Models, we gave some advice for maintaining clear communication on set, now let’s look at how to pose models for a fashion shoot.

Brief the Model

Briefing the model is always where you should start. As it’s a fashion shoot, the client should have given an idea of the style they want the photographs to take. Convey this to the model, along with any other information about featuring the products. The model will have a better understanding of how to pose if they understand the needs of the client. You should also quickly let the model know which lights are the main lights so they can position themselves accordingly. Don’t be afraid to ask them to move out of or into the lights.

Once you’ve briefed the model, use the following quick tips for fashion posing throughout the shoot:

  • Fashion tends to be high energy, and the model should maintain tension across the entire body to create the right effect.
  • Unless you’re looking for action shots, tell the model to make small adjustments instead of drastic changes as they shift poses. This will ensure there’s no motion blur in the image, and small changes actually make a big difference between photographs.
  • Make sure the model knows which products are being featured, and encourage them to play around with the props and featured products or accessories. If they are modeling pants, make sure they keep their legs at least slightly apart.
  • The model’s expression should reach the eyes. If it doesn’t, the picture will fall flat.
  • Don’t let them get too close to the lights to avoid a high white balance in parts of the image.

Use Posing to Create the Illusion of a Perfect Body

Many believe that you need a nearly perfect body for modeling. The truth is, there are a lot of tips and tricks that models use to create this illusion. If you’re working with someone new to the fashion photography, don’t be afraid to offer some advice throughout the shoot.

Here are some quick tips that will help to correct any flaws:

  • Keep arms away from the body. Placing hands on the hips will create negative space around the torso and make the waist look slimmer.
  • Keeping the knees turned in will create slimmer hips and negative space between the thighs. This can also be achieved by angling the body to the side while shoulders are turned towards the camera.
  • Leaning forward with the back slightly hunched will minimize a bigger bust.
  • Keeping the chin raised will make the forehead appear smaller.
  • Avoid keeping the arms pressed against the torso. Even when the elbows are not angled out, the model’s arm shouldn’t completely touch the torso. This will result in a slimmer arm.
  • Elongate the neck. This does not feel natural for the model, so they may need you to remind them.

Face, Hands, and Feet

No one forgets how important the face is to the shoot, but you shouldn’t underestimate the feet and hands either. If the feet or hands fall flat, the image will not be as good as it could have been.

Here are a few notes to pose models with feet and hands in mind on your next fashion shoot:

  • Keep the mouth slightly open. It adds vulnerability to the image while also creating a “come hither” look that is inviting to the viewer.
  • Avoid showing too much white in the eyes by telling the model to look in the same direction their nose points.
  • Keep the chin down while also extending it out. This will help elongate the neck without losing definition in the chin.
  • Unless the purpose of the shoot is to highlight a shoe, make sure the model’s feet aren’t the closest thing to the camera. What’s closest is also biggest, and that can create a strange effect.
  • Always show hands angled with curled fingers. A straight shot of the flattened back of the hand will make them appear large and unusual.
  • Feet and hands should have tension. If the model is having a hard time with the feet, get them to jump around or take big, slow steps.

There will be more detailed information about hand, face, and feet posing in Part 3 of this series. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are if you can’t work with the model properly, so check out the entire series on how to pose models to make sure you’re ready for your next big shoot!

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Before I became Editor-in-Chief of PHLEARN Magazine, I spent over five years specializing in Photography Writing and contributed articles regularly to sites like PictureCorrect, Sleeklens, and PhotoWorkout. Photography has always been a huge passion of mine; I may not be professionally trained in the art, but the knowledge and experience I have gained writing about photography techniques, interviewing some of the biggest and most inspiring photographers out there, and covering industry events has been invaluable!

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