Forums > Model Colloquy > Whats the nicest way to say "suck in that tummy"?


Sarah Ellis

Posts: 1285

Portland, Oregon, US

NicoleNudes wrote:
Telling them to take a deep breath in could also work - just have to make sure that their expression is still good.

I don't really care if someone tells me to suck it in (as long as they're not rude about it. ex. Suck in your gut) - I normally do anyways so I don't need to be told.

Agreed.  Although I don't get offended when photographers ask me to "suck in my tummy," I think it's always best to direct with positive rather than negative language.  Another example could be saying, "lift your chin," rather than, "don't look down!!"  When photographers give positive directions rather than telling me what they don't like, the whole mood of the shoot becomes more collaborative and less stressful.  Also, I don't particularly like cute or childish language like "tummy," especially if I'm naked and trying to look regal or sexy.  If you want to make a model feel like a sexy, empowered woman, treat her like one.

Sep 27 13 03:28 am Link


Christopher Hartman

Posts: 54167

Buena Park, California, US

Natural Means wrote:
Without that hurt look thing that girls do.

Leave out the tummy.  Just say "Suck it in for a moment." [click] "yeah, awesome, thank you.!"

If they get hurt, I suspect then that perhaps they are a bit delusional or playfully giving you a hard time.

Sep 27 13 07:29 am Link



Posts: 3061

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Natural Means wrote:
Without that hurt look thing that girls do.

If you have to say anything beyond gentle coaching you have:

A) Casted the wrong model

B) Casted an amateur model who doesn't have a good idea of her body and posing

Here is the thing though...are you certain it's the model and not you...asking her into positions that make her look big or sloppy?

Sep 27 13 07:40 am Link


Swanson Studios

Posts: 403

Galesburg, Illinois, US

Suck it in and push em out works every time.  If they have modeled at all they know to suck in the tummy and push out the breasts smile

Sep 27 13 07:42 am Link


kevin bellanger

Posts: 465

Albany, New York, US

Natural Means wrote:
Without that hurt look thing that girls do.

..the same way you ask for no cheese on the hamberger

Sep 27 13 12:41 pm Link



Posts: 3656

New York, New York, US

hahaa you can say...


Sep 27 13 01:13 pm Link


Amber Dawn - Indiana

Posts: 6255

Salem, Indiana, US

If you don't want to hurt feelings then try photo shopping it out.

Sep 27 13 03:03 pm Link



Posts: 8524

Davenport, Iowa, US

I shoots lots of hunched poses, so I always say "suck and tuck".  If the model looks butthurt, I just let them know the pose will make anyone look not as small as they are, hence the suck.

After I know a model well enough, well then I don't preface a statement (or end it for that matter) with any kind of niceity.  They know me well enough by that point that I'm not being mean, I just know what the pose needs.

Sep 27 13 05:20 pm Link


Ben Hinman

Posts: 596

Westwood, California, US

Just say it like it is. Don't beat around the bush, if they can't handle it this isn't the business for them.

And don't listen to the people who say you should say it "positively", thats just stupid. its not supposed to be positive or negative, its just abs. jesus.

communication is key, so ideas like "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" only get in the way of true art

Sep 27 13 05:29 pm Link


Personal Photograph

Posts: 245

Davenport, Iowa, US

Inhale and hold it.

Sep 27 13 05:38 pm Link



Posts: 28

Peel, Peel, United Kingdom


Anna Adrielle wrote:
for beginning models, showing the difference on camera also works wonders. Often they don't know yet how much a difference a little change in posture can mean. So show them a shot where they were a bit slouchy and not sucking it in, and then show them a shot where they elongate their body and let the tummy stick out a bit, and the difference between the 2 shots will be very motivating smile. After that just say "remember the tummy" everyone once in a while, or "tummy!" or "stand up straight!"

Sep 27 13 05:46 pm Link



Posts: 35440

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Arch your back, stomach in, boobs out.

If they cry/get offended if you ask them that, tough titties...

Sep 27 13 06:23 pm Link



Posts: 1208

Ormond Beach, Florida, US

"....when's your baby due?"   (kidding)

Sep 27 13 06:26 pm Link


Abby Hawkins

Posts: 2004

Boston, Massachusetts, US

"Tighten up your core!"
"Hold in your stomach!"

To be honest, I don't get offended when a photographer tells me that.  I recognize that the tiniest little "fleshy" part in real life with be amplified based on the outfit, lighting, pose, angle, etc.  Plus, it's an ab workout!

If you really want to be gentle with the model, point out that holding in your stomach/flexing your abs actually straightens your back a bit, so you avoid any unflattering hunches.

Sep 27 13 06:33 pm Link


- Aina -

Posts: 747

Redlands, California, US

"Pull your stomach in" has been one that I have heard before.
I tend to not like the sound of the word "gut", personally. Regardless, I don't feel that it isn't a big deal to be told to suck it in. Others, however, may have different feelings.  Some of the earlier posts have splendid ideas that are very neutral.

Sep 27 13 06:48 pm Link


Seker Pare

Posts: 186

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

I'm fine with suck it in...
I appreciate it when people let you know something doesn't look quite right. If I notice when someone is showing me some of the shots... I'll ask to do it again. It just wastes time if you're not honest about things easily fixed

Sep 28 13 09:22 pm Link


Bare Essential Photos

Posts: 3605

Upland, California, US

I use the word "inhale." I then model it.

Always worked for me.

Sep 28 13 09:50 pm Link



Posts: 5

Winchester, England, United Kingdom

PictureItYakima wrote:
I just kind of just spill it out when we're taking our first test shots.
"Okay here we go. Ready? Stomach in boobs out!  Lets go. 
Click, click.
I usually get a laugh.

This works for me, makes me laugh a little, humour always makes a shoot easier anyway.

Sep 29 13 07:10 am Link


Swank Photography

Posts: 19020

Big Pine Key, Florida, US

Natural Means wrote:
Without that hurt look thing that girls do.

I'm just honest with it. I usually say "Come on...suck that belly up, poke the girls out!"

Sometimes I say "Tits up!" (only if I really know you!)

Sep 29 13 07:39 am Link


Francisco Castro

Posts: 2312

Newport, Kentucky, US

Natural Means wrote:
Without that hurt look thing that girls do.

I use, "tighen your core". It's not just about sucking in. Most models with good abs want to show it off and tightening it shows the definition better.

I always tell the ladies, if you're shooting swimsuit and after the shoot you don't feel like you just had an ab workout, you're not doing it right.

Sep 29 13 07:50 am Link


Hugh Alison

Posts: 2125

Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

"I don't fix things in photoshop" works quite well smile

Sep 30 13 08:56 am Link



Posts: 14855

Fayetteville, Arkansas, US

I had a good laugh with a photographer, once, when he said "suck in your tummy!"  I said "it is!"  Hahaha!

It doesn't bother me what a photographer says.  If I wore panties, they'd be the big girl kind.  I'm fully aware of my shape, and hope that the photographer is, as well. smile

Sep 30 13 09:48 am Link


Risen Phoenix Photo

Posts: 3476

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

Please suck in your stomach.. Then I proceed to tell them why

Sep 30 13 03:07 pm Link



Posts: 328

Chicago, Illinois, US

"get really long"
"Engage your core"
"get tall"

Nov 01 13 12:26 pm Link



Posts: 10390

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Breathe in?

Nov 01 13 12:31 pm Link



Posts: 543

Boston, Massachusetts, US

*eats a doughnut*

Nov 01 13 12:36 pm Link



Posts: 543

Boston, Massachusetts, US

try "take a deep breath from your diaphragm and hold it, but don't look like you're holding it" ? idk maybe

Nov 01 13 12:39 pm Link



Posts: 581

Bothell, Washington, US

PictureItYakima wrote:
I just kind of just spill it out when we're taking our first test shots.
"Okay here we go. Ready? Stomach in boobs out!  Lets go. 
Click, click.
I usually get a laugh.

Me too. I sometimes do it subtly by asking the model to arch her back or put her hands behind her head or something 'as it's flattering to your tummy' - once a model knows you're working with them to show them in the best way - they are usually well on board.

Nov 01 13 11:02 pm Link



Posts: 1107

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

They don't need to tell me.  I'm constantly reminding myself, inside my head,  ''for God's sake, suck in your gut..."

Nov 02 13 04:08 am Link


Magda Kulpinska

Posts: 688

Paris, Île-de-France, France

Everybody has To stuck in tummy for shoots. Its normal...

Nov 03 13 01:40 am Link



Posts: 868

Jessheim, Akershus, Norway

PictureItYakima wrote:
I just kind of just spill it out when we're taking our first test shots.
"Okay here we go. Ready? Stomach in boobs out!  Lets go. 
Click, click.
I usually get a laugh.


Nov 03 13 01:29 am Link



Posts: 74

Hingham, Massachusetts, US

I worked with a model who was concerned about her "tummy".  I advised her not to be so and just face the camera facing forward.  Unless the model is "with child" it does not show.  Photos from the side are a different case.

Nov 03 13 06:53 am Link


Amul La La

Posts: 885

London, England, United Kingdom

Do you shape shift..?

Nov 03 13 08:47 am Link

guide forum



Posts: 4254

Los Angeles, California, US

I usually just say "suck in your tummy", or "elongate your body"

I'm part of the team that strives to make the model look her best, and usually when models review some preview shots, they ask me to remind them to suck in their tummy.


Nov 03 13 09:50 am Link


Demeter Photography

Posts: 550

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Natural Means wrote:
Without that hurt look thing that girls do.

Book models that do not have one?  If it's so important to you, book the 'right' model.

Beyond that, just say 'can you draw your tummy in a bit please?'

Nov 03 13 09:58 am Link


Meghan Hale

Posts: 335

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

"Tighten your ab muscles".

Nov 03 13 12:05 pm Link



Posts: 543

Boston, Massachusetts, US

push em out shove em out waayyyyyyyyyy out

oh wait. that's the wrong way, but bill cosby knows some things big_smile

Nov 03 13 12:16 pm Link


Vanished Gone

Posts: 2531

Los Angeles, California, US

"Tuck in that tummy"
"Stomach in"
"Hold your tummy in"
"Hold your abs tight"

I would say just avoid the word "gut". But it doesn't really matter. It's really not something that should offend you as a model. No matter how skinny you are, you have to hold your stomach tight.

Nov 03 13 12:31 pm Link


Snowmonkey Design

Posts: 4633

Esher-Molesey, England, United Kingdom

hmm, I would say er if I wanted to shoot a beached whale I would do a self portrait ...hold your posture please, ta very much. smile

Nov 03 13 01:46 pm Link