Improving Your Shooting Sessions: Creative Ideas for Models

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  By Jonathan Ma
Improving Your Shooting Sessions: Creative Ideas for Models

Working with models can be both challenging and rewarding at the same time. Because models have varying amounts of experience, no two models will be the same. Beginner models will run out of poses and creative ideas quickly. Older and more experienced models, on the other hand, seemingly never run out of poses and creative ideas to try out. Because you never really know which of the two categories you will be photographing until you actually start shooting on location, it’s good to be prepared beforehand. The best way to prepare is to have a list of creative ideas to try out during the photo shoot when you and the model start to run out of ideas.

Here are some creative ideas for models that you should try out on your next photo shoot:

  1. Hide the model’s face, but leave the eyes visible
  2. Crop out the model’s eyes
  3. Have the model turn over their shoulder
  4. Bring a colorful prop
  5. Hands on the hips
  6. Take the model to a field of hay or grass

Hide the Model’s Face, But Leave the Eyes Visible

The eyes are the focus of every photo with a human subject. Why not take it a step further, by blocking all the other features of the model’s face – thereby bringing, even more, emphasis to the eyes? With this method, make sure that you use a non-distracting element to block the model’s face. A good example would be something that is one color, or something that is similar in color and contrast to the background. In the photo above, the flowers blend in nicely with the background, so they do not distract from the photo’s emphasis – the model’s beautiful eyes. Eyes are the window into the soul, or so they say. Evoke these feelings by eliminating distracting elements and focusing on the eyes only.

Crop Out the Model’s Eyes

On the other side of the fence, there’s a technique whereby the photographer crops out the model’s eyes entirely. This method is the complete opposite of the previous one, but can work just as well. The key for deciding when to crop out the model’s eyes is determining whether there is something important to focus on in the foreground. For example, take a look at the photo above. The model’s hands and ring are in focus, while the rest of the body isn’t. This naturally brings the focus to the ring. Without the ring, our eyes wouldn’t really know where to focus and would keep hunting around the photo. The rule of thumb then is to look for a point of focus before deciding to crop the eyes, because the viewer needs something else to focus on if the model’s eyes are cropped out.

Have the Model Turn Over their Shoulder

A classic pose to try that looks amazing when almost anyone does it is the shoulder turn. Tell the model to face their body away from you, then turn their head back naturally so that they can see you comfortably. With this method, you achieve a flattering 45-degree angle on the model’s face. Angles are great in photography, they help create interesting perspectives.

Bring a Colorful Prop

Who doesn’t love using props?! The photographer loves it because it keeps the photo shoot interesting and fun, while models love using props because it gives them something to hold and focus on during the photo shoot. Possible props could be: balloons, umbrellas, stuffed animals, books, musical instruments – really, it could be anything. By choosing colorful props, it gives the scene more of a punch. Bonus if the prop matches the model’s outfit! See the photo above for an example of a matching prop.

Take the Model to a Field of Hay or Grass

Fields are great backdrops for portraits. This is especially true when you are photographing models because the goal is to emphasize the beauty of the subject. Hay fields or grass fields both work well for this purpose. Before you decide to shoot at a location like this, remember to consult the model to make sure that they are okay with whatever option you choose. Allergies may be a determining factor in a situation like this.

Happy shooting!

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Jonathan Ma

Jonathan Ma is a freelance writer and professional photographer. He grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest of the United States. The natural beauty that surrounds this area has helped him to learn to appreciate art and photography. Jonathan's favorite styles of photography are nature and sports photography. He enjoys learning and teaching others what he knows.

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