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Photographer
Edward Lian
Posts: 24
Orlando, Florida, US


Hi guys!  I'm new to MM and could use all the help I can get in every aspect of the field. One of the biggies that drew me to this community, is that it's a grab bag of folks in all walks of our industry. 

There is still soo much for me to learn, for instance... directing a model.  What to have him or her do and why.  How do I turn my model and why?  What kind of emotions do certain expressions evoke?  These are things that I think I can see, but have a hard time pinning down and replicating.  I simply haven't really seen anything that explains all of that!

Any insight, links, e-books, examples would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!
Feb 05 13 08:42 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Good Egg Productions
Posts: 15,123
Orlando, Florida, US


Practice.

Books can't teach you personal interaction.
Feb 05 13 08:48 am  Link  Quote 
Model
DaniNikole
Posts: 129
Sacramento, California, US


Just be personable with the model. Nothing ruins a picture like tension between photographer and model
Feb 05 13 08:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marin Photography NYC
Posts: 6,811
New York, New York, US


Digital Portrait Photography by Steve Sint. That my help you with posing and how to light models etc.
Feb 05 13 08:52 am  Link  Quote 
Model
angel emily
Posts: 1,020
Boston, Massachusetts, US


Edward Lian wrote:
Hi guys!  I'm new to MM and could use all the help I can get in every aspect of the field. One of the biggies that drew me to this community, is that it's a grab bag of folks in all walks of our industry. 

There is still soo much for me to learn, for instance... directing a model.  What to have him or her do and why.  How do I turn my model and why?  What kind of emotions do certain expressions evoke?  These are things that I think I can see, but have a hard time pinning down and replicating.  I simply haven't really seen anything that explains all of that!

Any insight, links, e-books, examples would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

Avoid some of the older books (i.e., 1980's) - the poses, particularly for portraiture, are really cliche and cheesy -- just my opinion!

Some of the tips found within these books, though, are classic.  For example, models should (in general) take care not to create "broken limbs" with their bodies - the feet, for example, should be pointed, not bent out.  Hands should be relaxed, natural, no "lobster claws". 

The best photographers I've worked with give simple direction -- "Go here, lean against that", "Put your hands on the railing", "Play with your hair", etc.

The worst I've worked with micro-manage or just stand there and say "OK, do something interesting".

Everyone's different!

Feb 05 13 09:09 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,062
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


It depends on the model, but the main thing usually is not to overdirect.

Most of the models I work with can pose themselves better than I could pose them - and with more natural results.

At the beginning of a shoot, I tell the model the looks, moods, expressions, etc., that I want. Actually we’ve also discussed this in emails before the day of the shoot, and most of the times we’ve exchanged photos illustrating those overall looks.

I tell the model which is the main light and how much freedom of movement she'll have (and again each time I change the lighting).

I also tell the model when I'm shooting full-lengths, 3/4 lengths, waist up, etc. - so she'll know what area her hands need to be in. (If you're shooting waist-up shots, you don't want the model's hands below the waist. Either you crop off her hand(s), or you turn what was intended to be a waist-up pose into a 3/4 length or a full length.)

If the model gives me the poses and looks I want, I give only minor instructions - as briefly as possible to avoid breaking the flow of the shoot. These are mostly just minor adjustments. While most models instinctively know that their pose is good, they can’t see it from the camera position, and they can’t see the lighting on them.

"Head back." "Chin up." "Eyes toward me." "Right hand above your waist." "Arch your back." "Head slightly to the right." Things like that. Once in a while I'll suggest a completely different pose.

Same with expressions. "Pouty." "Angry." "Sultry." "Confused." "Fierce." "Vulnerable." "Attitude." "Part your lips." "Stare me down."

Sometimes I'll use my left hand to show the model where to look - so there's white on both sides of the eyes, for example.

If I say "that's great" or "let's work with that," it means we've found a sweet spot, and I want very small variations in pose for the next several shots. If I say "perfect light," that means I want very little movement in the model's head position for the next shots.

If I'm working with a very experienced model I've worked with before, I may appoint her vice president in charge of posing (inside joke) at the beginning of the shoot - but I still give direction as needed.

I don’t say something every time the model shows a split profile, turns away from the main light or hides one arm behind her so that she looks like an amputee. I just shoot it and move on. (It wasn't so back when photographers used film, though, because film costs money.) Most of the time it will be corrected with the next pose, and I don’t want to break the flow and rhythm of the shoot.

If it becomes obvious that more direction is required, I give more direction until I have the look I'm going for.
Feb 05 13 09:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Toto Photo
Posts: 2,428
Belmont, California, US


For fashion direction watch any season, but older are better, of America's Next Top Model. Mere humans will probably never be able to afford those sets, lighting, pro makeup, props, rigging etc. but there are tons of good examples of excellent direction each week.
Feb 05 13 11:15 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,215
Salem, Oregon, US


show the model a good time and you will be rewarded. no, i didn't mean that way! sheesh. lol.

create a comfortable environment on set and let the model do her thing. if the model can't do anything she's not really a model is she? and that's where you need to know some poses. it's hard at first but it gets easier in time. the main thing is to avoid having every shot be DMV square to the camera. mix it up. have the model standing, then squatting then laying down. maybe sitting. shoot from up high. down low.

get their hands up above their waist. they can play with their hair, their jewelry or caress their face. i tell them it's time for some "self love" (no not that kind!)

this dude did a creativelive and had some brilliant ideas that i use on every shoot:
http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Perfect-P … 0321803531
Feb 05 13 11:16 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
paragonfl
Posts: 288
Saint Petersburg, Florida, US


YouTube has many short clips on how to work with models... how to pose... lights... etc.
Feb 05 13 11:24 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,215
Salem, Oregon, US


the thing i've seen is some people are easy to work with. others not so much. i've had brand-new first-time mom models do way better than experienced ones. you can't just stand there stiff and expressionless and call yourself a model. but some do. and those models really take a lot out of you trying to get some sort of performance.

so my advice would be choose good models that don't need a ton of help.

paragonfl wrote:
YouTube has many short clips on how to work with models... how to pose... lights... etc.

Feb 05 13 11:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
PDF IMAGES PHOTOGRAPHY
Posts: 4,602
Jacksonville, Florida, US


an experienced model will know poses without having to be directed, unless you have a certain look you are going for, then you can direct, myself I try and allow the model to choose poses and I click away and watch for things like hair out of place, awkward looks that doesn't enhance the shot, this is a time where I would direct......so yeah shoot TF and practice/ learn .......good luck smile
Feb 05 13 11:55 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JaneyGarnet
Posts: 85
Portland, Oregon, US


This is something I've been struggling with. Last time I was shooting a lot, I was working mostly with strippers. They knew their angles and poses pretty well.  Several years later, I'm now working with very new models. They're game to try things, but they don't know how to pose themselves yet. It's very hard for me to articulate what I want -- especially when I just want to say "Get that blank look off your face."  I'm going to practice on the kids, I'm used to bossing them around.
Feb 05 13 11:58 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Four-Eleven Productions
Posts: 742
Fircrest, Washington, US


Edward Lian wrote:
Hi guys!  I'm new to MM and could use all the help I can get in every aspect of the field. One of the biggies that drew me to this community, is that it's a grab bag of folks in all walks of our industry. 

There is still soo much for me to learn, for instance... directing a model.  What to have him or her do and why.  How do I turn my model and why?  What kind of emotions do certain expressions evoke?  These are things that I think I can see, but have a hard time pinning down and replicating.  I simply haven't really seen anything that explains all of that!

Any insight, links, e-books, examples would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

1. Create and bring a 'shot list' of photos you admire (and which fit with the body type of the model and the level of exposure agreed upon), and use the imitation of each of them as your starting point. An iPad is perfect for this. When you find something that works, explore variations on the theme.

2. Expressions are as important as poses, in my opinion. I always remind the model each expression should say SOMETHING...either 'come closer,' 'go away!' or some other meaningful look. I hate the expression that only says, "I'm getting my picture taken today" and which looks remarkably like the expression in a snapshot taken in front of the Grand Canyon.

Feb 05 13 12:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bobby C
Posts: 1,709
Portland, Oregon, US


models that over pose and photographers that make them over pose will look stiff and awkward. glamour shots work only in very exceptional ( usually in the haute couture universe ) cases. the average joe/jane ( most MM photographers and models )doing glamour shots will look silly. the fakeness of forced "sexiness" will show in the pics and won't be a turn on. trying to be overtly dark/emotional/goth just by applying makeup and wearing dresses won't produce  powerful photographs. darkness has to come from the artist's psyche. no matter what genre the photographer works in, the photographer has to be in touch with his/her humanity in order to create immortal works that surpass their genre. Avedon, Penn are  good examples of this.
Feb 05 13 12:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Boreal Photography
Posts: 292
Duluth, Minnesota, US


Google contrapposto, that is a posing technique you see all over the place in modeling, art, sculpture, swimsuit and fashion posting. You see contrapposto all over the place with swimsuit and fashion poses, works for standing as well as kneeling poses
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-MeCXIMCkMBI/T … 1600/8.jpg

I also sometimes have models close their eyes, then I get a facial pose I want and then ask them to open their eyes and I grab the shut at just the right time; otherwise I sometimes get squints, deer in the headlights gazes, etc. Study other poses online and in magazines.
Feb 05 13 12:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Rachel-Elise
Posts: 1,650
Grand Rapids, Michigan, US


Consider paying an experienced model, whose work you admire, in return for her expertise. It's amazing how even just one shoot with someone who is further along in the realm of experience can improve one's work.
Feb 05 13 01:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Shaun Tia
Posts: 1,696
Phoenix, Arizona, US


Jaime Ibarra and I are producing a video for just this purpose smile
Feb 05 13 02:55 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Four-Eleven Productions
Posts: 742
Fircrest, Washington, US


Bobby Ctkr wrote:
most MM photographers and models )doing glamour shots will look silly.

Huh?

Feb 05 13 03:52 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Rainbow Candy
Posts: 118
Seattle, Washington, US


I admit I am a bit inexperienced in posing - but with EXPERIENCED photographers I have worked with, I find good direction and yet with amateur or less experienced photographers we have created some great shots and enhanced BOTH our portfolios because of the candid 'posing' I tend to do.

I look at it this way - and I have seen a similar theme in some of the responses - have a good time. And shoot. Play with some ideas.

I think of every picture as a 'rough draft'. You might end up with a few hundred, but out of those few hundred, you may end up with a few good gemstones. Now if you're looking for a very particular shot, keep working at it with the model - but i find that best photographs comes from genuine, candid shots that are taken as the model is doing something, as she or he moves about and goes about her 'task'.

I suppose it differs from 'genre' to 'genre'
You wouldn't want a model just 'doing her task' for artistic fine art nudes, now would you?
It really helps to also tell us where the main light is, and how far we can move in and out of the preferred space. Otherwise, we might just move in horrible ways while you're snapping the shutter, and get awful shots in the shadow.
Feb 05 13 10:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Little Ginger Lamb
Posts: 62
Atlanta, Georgia, US


Do everything you can to make a model feel comfortable or "at home" in front of the camera. A relaxed model is a lot more likely to give you a better shot than someone nervous or uncomfortable. This can be as simple as letting the model wear a coat when you're not shooting him/her or a offering the model a water bottle on a hot day.

My dad has this horrible tendency to make his photographic subjects extremely uncomfortable. He's not a creepy dude in any way and he is a pretty decent photographer. However, he just has this sense of pressure that you HAVE to get the right shot. There is no "right" shot. There's just good shots and bad shots that happen. If a pose looks good to you, shoot it.
Feb 05 13 10:37 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
1472
Posts: 1,025
Pembroke Pines, Florida, US


lol well you want to know what i did on my last shoot

get in there and do the pose yourself
or push and pull the model to the pose you want

thats what i did on my last shoot
Feb 05 13 10:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,062
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


JaneyGarnet wrote:
This is something I've been struggling with. Last time I was shooting a lot, I was working mostly with strippers. They knew their angles and poses pretty well.  Several years later, I'm now working with very new models. They're game to try things, but they don't know how to pose themselves yet. It's very hard for me to articulate what I want -- especially when I just want to say "Get that blank look off your face."  I'm going to practice on the kids, I'm used to bossing them around.

Back when everything was on film, photographers and models did one pose at a time, or at least the pace of a shoot was much slower than it is now.  Typically an hour was about a 36-exposure roll of film.

Now models do what I call “modeling in motion.” They flow from one pose to another, making minor changes from one pose to the next. They’ll do several poses per minute. When everything is in sync, they may be doing 20 or so perfect poses with perfect expressions per minute. This pace doesn’t last long – maybe a minute or two. But it’s normally when you get the best photos.

Some models learn to model this way from other models, from pose coaches, or from photographers.

Mary Duprie, a former model and now a photographer in the Detroit area, is one person who teaches this method. Several agencies from Michigan and surrounding states send their new recruits to Mary for their first shoot – because she can teach models things in one shoot that local and regional agencies just aren’t equipped to teach.

Mary has done two instructional DVDs – one for photographers and two for models. I only know Mary by reputation and from her DVDs, which are excellent.

http://www.photographingmodels.com/index.html

http://www.photographingmodels.com/pmdvd.html

A photographer or model can learn more from these DVDs in an evening or a weekend than some learn in five years.

Feb 06 13 12:08 am  Link  Quote 
Model
V for Victory Modeling
Posts: 436
Roseville, California, US


I really like it when the photographer gives me some idea of what he/she is looking for as far as posing. It makes it easier to do. Sometimes when I've tried posing in certain unique ways (somewhat new to llamaing still) I get told to look and smile at the camera and thus like another member pointed out, a lot of my photos look like senior portraits. For example if the photographer is looking for something dramatic, solemn, happy and communicates what they'd like etc, it's easier to pose.
Feb 06 13 12:50 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Edward Lian
Posts: 24
Orlando, Florida, US


Wow!!  Thanks for all the insight and references!  I'm definitely going to have to look all of this stuff up!

The reason I brought this up, is because I like to practice lighting setups and stuff with my wife, but she has no idea how to pose.  She also has somewhat of a low self esteem despite what I tell her, and her defensive mechanism is OVER-posing in a silly manner.

Also, the first model whom I had the pleasure of shooting had not much experience and asked me for poses.  I was almost at a loss, but in an effort to keep tension low, I kept it to myself and told her it was fine and that we'd just experiment.  The shoot was a blast, but we didn't come out with the number of images I would have expected from a 2 and a half hour shoot...
Feb 06 13 10:26 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,062
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


Edward Lian wrote:
Wow!!  Thanks for all the insight and references!  I'm definitely going to have to look all of this stuff up!

The reason I brought this up, is because I like to practice lighting setups and stuff with my wife, but she has no idea how to pose.  She also has somewhat of a low self esteem despite what I tell her, and her defensive mechanism is OVER-posing in a silly manner.

Also, the first model whom I had the pleasure of shooting had not much experience and asked me for poses.  I was almost at a loss, but in an effort to keep tension low, I kept it to myself and told her it was fine and that we'd just experiment.  The shoot was a blast, but we didn't come out with the number of images I would have expected from a 2 and a half hour shoot...

Different things work best for different people.

I've been having a conversation lately with a very talented Dutch photographer who directs every aspect of a shoot. He styles the wardrobe. He has had MUA training, and he communicates to the MUA exactly the makeup and hair style wants in great detail – in MUA speak. He conceives the exact poses he wants – and then demonstrates them for the model.

While I generally participate in wardrobe styling with the model, I am far from a wardrobe stylist. I convey to the MUA and the model the look and the effect that I want and them somewhat delegate in these areas. Experienced models can pose themselves much better, more gracefully and more naturally than I could pose them.

Recently I did a shoot with a young, inexperienced model who has a terrific look for fashion and meets agency standard specifications. Several minutes into the shoot, she confessed that she is not terribly confident in the area of posing, and she would like some direction.

I told her, “You need to be more bold with your poses. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Some of them will work. Some won’t. But you will learn from them.”

The rest of the shoot was largely an experiment in posing for her. She made some mistakes. For example, there were some poses in which she was stooped, and that detracted from her height. She repeated some of the poses several times with different wardrobe changes.

But overall her poses from that shoot were light years ahead of anything she had done in the past.

And all I did was tell her to be more bold and try new things – and make minor adjustments in some of her poses.

Feb 06 13 02:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,062
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


Edward Lian wrote:
Wow!!  Thanks for all the insight and references!  I'm definitely going to have to look all of this stuff up!

The reason I brought this up, is because I like to practice lighting setups and stuff with my wife, but she has no idea how to pose.  She also has somewhat of a low self esteem despite what I tell her, and her defensive mechanism is OVER-posing in a silly manner.

Also, the first model whom I had the pleasure of shooting had not much experience and asked me for poses.  I was almost at a loss, but in an effort to keep tension low, I kept it to myself and told her it was fine and that we'd just experiment.  The shoot was a blast, but we didn't come out with the number of images I would have expected from a 2 and a half hour shoot...

Btw, many models and actresses have low self-esteem. Even the most beautiful ones. I  learned this in the 1970’s. They work in an area where rejection is common – and where they are judged largely by their looks. There is always someone who is younger and more beautiful.

Even Marilyn Monroe, in her prime and at the height of her popularity, had periods when she was deeply depressed about the way she looked – at a time when she was widely considered to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. It’s in one of Norman Mailer’s books about her.

While unfortunate, low self-esteem is not in itself a barrier to success.

Feb 06 13 02:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jake Garn
Posts: 3,958
Salt Lake City, Utah, US


Feel free to PM me for a link to some information on this... but check out my work first to make sure you like what I make.   smile
Feb 06 13 03:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Edward Lian
Posts: 24
Orlando, Florida, US


@ Jake Just saw your post on another thread "Facial Expressions," where you had a link to your site.  Excellent information!  I love the examples and the in depth descriptions!  You're definitely gonna go on my reading list!
Feb 07 13 06:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L Cowles Photography
Posts: 832
Corona, California, US


I've worked with a teen modeling agency and school where many of the models are new to posing and need help.  I find the easiest thisg is to collect images of poses you like

It makes it easy to show the image to the model and ask them to copy the pose.  Most will come close and you just need to fine tune it with a little commect, chin down, a little more to the right, etc.
Feb 07 13 06:40 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carl Blum Photography
Posts: 544
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Edward............
First off, this is a rough trait to teach, instruct or learn. I have taken a few newbies with me to shoots, for them to learn. Most come away from the experience with their mouths agape.
A Majority, I want to say 90% of the girls in my port on here, were New to modeling when I took their photos. I do NOT let them call a shot, I do not Collaborate ( I always Laugh when I see that word).... For one reason and only one reason....
They cannot and do not know what they look like.
Making them comfortable and showing respect and manners is the Very first thing to learn...
Feb 07 13 06:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ShotbyRon
Posts: 767
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US


I didn't read the whole post, but I'm sure this has been mentioned.

First thing you need to do is make your model comfortable. Talk with them and be social. I like to take a 10 or 15 mins. before shooting just going over things, joking around a bit whatever. If it's a glamour shoot, I like to flirt a little. But nothing over the top or something that is going to freak them out. Once they are relax, then things become a lot easier.

I myself like to keep quiet when actually shooting. I'll direct her a bit by telling her to turn a certain direction or play with her hair or whatever. But I feel if you talking non stop or even giving them "encouragement", it kinda breaks the flow of things.
Feb 07 13 07:16 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
Rays Fine Art
Posts: 5,946
New York, New York, US


I've always found that having (1) a good idea of what I want to shoot and (2) being able to communicate it clearly is a good basis to begin with, so do your homework and try to go into every shoot with at least a few pictures in your mind that you want to create.  Go through the portfolios here.  Look through art and photography books.  Keep your eyes open when you're out and about.

Then too, flexibility is a must.  Your llama, if she's any good at all, will have ideas too.  Just by working together you will discover things and expand on them.  Don't let yourself become so fixed on one good idea that you ignore three or four others.

All IMHO as always, of course.
Feb 08 13 09:13 am  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
Rays Fine Art
Posts: 5,946
New York, New York, US


Carl Blum Photography wrote:
Edward............
First off, this is a rough trait to teach, instruct or learn. I have taken a few newbies with me to shoots, for them to learn. Most come away from the experience with their mouths agape.
A Majority, I want to say 90% of the girls in my port on here, were New to modeling when I took their photos. I do NOT let them call a shot, I do not Collaborate ( I always Laugh when I see that word).... For one reason and only one reason....
They cannot and do not know what they look like.
Making them comfortable and showing respect and manners is the Very first thing to learn...

I'd have to very respectfully disagree and since I shoot only TFCD I, too, have shot mostly newbies.  My experience has been that if I eliminate the obvious dilitantes at a pre-shoot meet, I'm usually left with very intelligent young women who have a good understanding of their bodies and how to work them.  But then, that's what makes baseball. 

The last sentence, though, has my complete agreement!

Feb 08 13 09:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Edward Lian
Posts: 24
Orlando, Florida, US


Thanks again for all the help!

As for expression sheets and pose sheets for the model to look at... I've been thumbing through magazines and tearing out expressions and poses that I like, but is there like a nice and tidy place where I can just print a collection of these?  Or should I just keep thumbing and tearing?

Thanks!
Feb 08 13 07:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Shemmai Torres
Posts: 39
Los Angeles, California, US


A good model knows her body and her angels but giving direction is still very important ....coming from a models viewpoint what helps me best when I'm at a shoot is when the photograpgher makes me feel comfortable and I'm Able express myself creatively through my body language ...I guess what I'm trying to say is it helps when the photograpgher gives little direction and allows the model to move naturally! Nothing's worse then a photograpgher who's constantly barking orders and makes you feel like your just a meat puppet little critiques do help tho or suggestions just don't go over board smile ....good luck to you!!
Feb 09 13 12:24 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Edward Lian
Posts: 24
Orlando, Florida, US


Shemmai Torres wrote:
meat puppet

Gross...  Thanks for all the advice guys!  Time to dive in!  I've got a few shoots coming up!

Feb 12 13 04:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mark Harris Photography
Posts: 491
Edison, New Jersey, US


Rachel-Elise  wrote:
Consider paying an experienced model, whose work you admire, in return for her expertise. It's amazing how even just one shoot with someone who is further along in the realm of experience can improve one's work.

This is so true! By photographing models who know how to pose and use light you will learn what works. As you gain experience and confidence you will find things you like and can begin to guide subjects there. Always remember to respect your models and give them positive feedback and you'll be fine.

Feb 13 13 06:16 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mark Harris Photography
Posts: 491
Edison, New Jersey, US


Sorry, accidental double post.
Feb 13 13 06:18 pm  Link  Quote 
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