Working Your Pose

When working with a top photographer, you’ll find your photoshoot experience to be a breeze/ From concepts about the shot, to different pose ideas, to adjustments on those poses, all coming together to produce an image of yourself that you will most likely say is the “best” representation of you! But what happens when you’re not working with a top notch photographer, or maybe even someone who’s not a photographer at all. Maybe it’s a friend who just bought a camera or maybe even it’s a sophisticated selfie! In any of these less than ideal situation, you still want to achieve the most out of your opportunity to be in front of the camera and put the best you in front of the lens.

Here we will explore seven tips to take your photo from “meh” to model-worthy!

1. Pose The Hair

The hair frames the face and though we may not notice it, the frame is just as important as the picture in it! So you should know that you can move, adjust and manipulate your hair in a way which looks best for you. Take some time to ensure the length suits the shape of your face, the color compliments your skin tone and the style is cohesive with your rest of your look.

Let’s assume you’re doing a basic portrait session without makeup artists and hair stylists. The key thing to remember is that straight hair that just sits on the shoulders is never an option. This makes you look wild and incomplete. Here are some options you can always play with as a point of where to begin when on deciding on how to incorporate the hair into your pose.

  1. Hair all behind the shoulders.
  2. Hair all in front of the shoulders
  3. Hair all on one side.
  4. Hair all on the other side.
  5. Hair up.

2. Pull the Chin Forward

While it may feel comfortable to stand at your natural stance, you must remember that while in front of the camera, the aim is not look natural, however as a professional model would tell you, the more natural the look, the more uncomfortable it may feel while modeling it. A great example of how this works is the chin. At the natural relaxed stance, everyone including skinny people, tend to have a bit of extra skin right under their chin. A model knows how to elongate the chin away from the neck, just enough to highlight the natural separation but so not as to make it appear strained.

This is achieved by bringing your ears forward. Some photographers may say to bring your chin forward, but you may end up pointing the chin at them, which ultimately achieves an undesired effect. Instead, imagine bringing your ears forward like how a turtle comes out of its shell. It may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but the visual results are always guaranteed. Try it yourself with the mirror!

3. Lift the Arm

A major part of what makes a photo stunning is the overall shape or silhouette that is communicated through it, whether we actively see that when we’re watching it or not. As a model, one of the tools you have at your disposal to facilitate an amazing shot, its the shapes of your body or body parts. More specifically, in this instance, your arms. The arms naturally fall against the sides, but once again this natural stance doesn’t do the shapes of the image any justice.

Instead of standing at your natural position, try lifting the arm an inch or two so it is “floating” and not pressed against your body. Alternatively, you can pose the hand so the arm is in a different position, such as putting the hand on the hip, or under the chin. Also allow yourself to fall into the concept of the photoshoot so that you can pose the arm to give more of a story. This will translate through your photo in a way that will distinguish it from the rest.

4. Turn the Shoulders

Similarly, in the vein of framing the body and creating a dynamic silhouette in your photo,  if you simply stare at the camera head-on, your body will look bigger because of the natural proportions. Though this can work for some types of shoots, generally for beauty or pageant portraits, you don’t want this. Adding a turn to the shoulders will shape the profile of yourself looking at the camera, and thus create a slimmer look. By decreasing the appearance of the rest of your body, you also allow the focus to remain on the face and the rest of the image works to compliment that.

5. Keep the Iris In Frame

Sometimes we want to achieve a certain effect, but may not know how to make it happen and model it properly. A great example of this is looking off camera for a dreamy or sultry effect. You may find yourself just looking somewhere off into the distance, maybe even “somewhereS” 🙂

Work with your photographer to choose an eyeline – an object behind the camera that you can focus your eyes on. This will aid in the constant shifting or looking while being photographed. Also seeing too much of white of the eye and not enough of the iris (the colored part) is not the best for beauty shots. So it’s also key to choose an eyeline that keeps your iris in frame – there’s the beauty we want to see!

6. Don’t Go For Pinocchio

At times, while you pose, you may find yourself no longer facing forward, but turned to the side. As we’re not going for a full profile shot where the camera only sees once side of your face, you’ll be slightly turned with both eyes in frame. It’s important to work with your photographer while in the position, to pay close attention to the positioning of your nose.

If you turn too far it can “break” the natural curve of the face, and extend the length of your nose, thereby creating the “pinocchio” effect . You can avoid this by turning toward the camera slightly, and maybe even finding a comfortable range of motion with your photographer, so you know that if you go beyond a certain angle, it may make you look like you have disproportionate facial features.

7. Bring it All Together & Breathe

When you get to your next shoot, you now have a mini checklist you can follow to immediately get into exploring your best poses for the camera. Finally, after hair, makeup, wardrobe and set is done, right before the first shutter click, take a moment to take a deep breath and center yourself so you let the lens have it!

    • Hair is behind one shoulder, in front of the other
    • Chin is forward to create a strong jawline
    • Arm is lifted from the torso
    • Shoulders are turned
    • Iris is seen over the whites
    • Know the range of your nose
    • BREATHE!

When last were you able to use all or a combination of these tips, and how did they pay off? Post a comment or photo on how you made your POSE work!

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