If the girl is thin, and it's just sloppy posing, or she loses concentration, I usually say "suck it in, fatty". They usually laugh a little and realize that they weren't doing what they were supposed to.
If the girl is not thin, and it's through no fault of her posing, I say something like "be tall" or "extend your body up". About half understand it the first time, the other half get it explained once and then the rest of the shoot know exactly what I'm asking.
I recently had an older photographer tell me "Suck in your gut!" It caught me off guard, but I was in no way offended. I was glad he was noticing that detail before snapping away and coming back with images that were less than flattering!
Just say it. I tell my photographers this all the time. I'd rather be told to suck it in rather than seeing a picture after the shoot that I'm unhappy with because of something I did or didn't do. Then again I have no delusions about my body...If she looks hurt or self conscious after saying this you could always try to work something in like "I just want you to really love how you look in these shots"
The results are what matter to me,and I'm sure other models feel the same. I read a similar story on DeviantArt awhile back about a photographer spotting a hair growing out of the model's neck. She brushed the model's hair over her ear and pulled the unwanted neck hair out and said "oh my god I'm so sorry I didn't realize that was attached!" The model exclaimed "that was attached! I can't believe I missed that, thank you so much it would have been so embarrassing to be photographed with that!"
I don't suggest touching or pulling hairs out models of course, but that story proves that it's the photos at the end that matter the most. If your model has something making her look less than perfect, chances are she'd rather hear it than see it in the finished photos.
Dave McDermott wrote: "Suck in that tummy" seems polite enough to me. I'd be more concerned about asking a model to reveal or conceal her breasts. What's the best way to say that?
LOL I giggle when photographers stammer trying to tell me too much or too little is exposed! You just gotta say it! The best way is to have a very comfortable yet professional relationship established with your model right from the get go. Talk together before shooting and it'll be easier to say "I'm getting a little too much nipple in that pose" or "could you just show a little side boob" or the greatest "think you can really press your breasts against your chest to get that big round look?" lol Being able to openly communicate with each other makes for a really relaxed and fun shoot while still keeping a professional attitude.
With experienced models I simply tell them to suck in the belly.
With newer models, I shoot one or two without telling them. Then I tell them to suck it in and shoot a couple that way.
I show them the difference it makes on the LCD and they almost always prefer the sucked in look... Then I give them tips on how to do it better as well as telling them to tense the body and relax the face.
I generally work with male models though so not sure how much would apply to females.
I've seen very thin women look like they have a big tummy by the pose and angle of the shot. If they model frequently, they should be aware of this too. They can't see how they look and expect you to give good direction and catch things like this so they look good. If they get hurt by you telling them, "Suck in your tummy," just know thats the level of inexperience they're at.
Anecdotally, I had a portrait with my wife and our first baby right after my wife gave birth. Her stretch marks were well defined and very redish. The photographer never told her lower your shirt a little, your stretch marks are showing. I thought it was a good picture. Good facial expressions, everyone looking at the camera, good background, good exposure. The only thing my wife saw was the stretch marks. She wanted to throw away the picture and we didn't order any more prints or recomend the guy. I know now after getting into photography that it was the photographer's fault. He should given direction at theshoot and certainly never given us the prints after the fact and offered a reshoot, but I know better now.
Trust me when I say let them know while shooting, they should appreciate the favor.
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
"Suck in the tummy" is just fine, its not offensive. I'd rather be reminded when I'm focusing on other parts of my body Though I remember a lot more now!
I was joking about this with a photographer friend a while back - the difference of tummy suck! We took a couple shots to test the difference. (I did suck in a lot just to show the extreme difference )
Definitely wouldn't want shots coming back with the little pudge! Oh god >.< Would definitely rather be told!
Natural Means wrote: Without that hurt look thing that girls do.
That is exactly what I say, just say it nicely. Most models know if they have a tummy or not. It isn't an insult, anymore than when you tell them to raise their neck, or to stretch out their torso to improve their lines for a photo.
Miss Morbid Kitty wrote: LOL I giggle when photographers stammer trying to tell me too much or too little is exposed! You just gotta say it! The best way is to have a very comfortable yet professional relationship established with your model right from the get go. Talk together before shooting and it'll be easier to say "I'm getting a little too much nipple in that pose" or "could you just show a little side boob" or the greatest "think you can really press your breasts against your chest to get that big round look?" lol Being able to openly communicate with each other makes for a really relaxed and fun shoot while still keeping a professional attitude.
LOL, right? Just come out and say it if something fell out, and I didn't notice. x-P
I'm honestly scared to ask this in any way cause I just found out two of the models I've worked with regularly have had eating disorders in the past I don't wanna do anything to make that worse and I'm worried someone else now might have body image issues and I'm just gonna send them into a shame spiral if I say something.
That being said sucking in your gut makes to look so much better and I feel like it's an easy trick to make a model look better in certain poses without them having to be dangerously thin.
Ariadne Photography wrote: I don't wanna do anything to make that worse and I'm worried someone else now might have body image issues and I'm just gonna send them into a shame spiral if I say something.
Technically they don't suck it in, more like flex their stomach muscles. Same as flexing ones arm as opposed to having it straight and limp. It gives form and definition. Choose a phrase that would sound more positive like "work those muscles" if you're worried over how they are going to take it.
i never have an issue with someone saying "suck it in" ooh that sounds dirty but you know what i mean.
anyway i have met other models (skinny ones who aren't used to hearing it! but we all have to suck in a bit) who didn't react well to hearing that.
i think a good way to say it is to mesh it with some other directions:for example:
shoulders back, stomach in, eyes out here, etc
I honestly get so annoyed if a photographer doesn't tell me if a hair is out of place or if it looks like I'm 2 months pregnant because of a weird angle. Almost everyone has a little bit of a tummy pooch if arched incorrectly and/or semi-new to posing.
I've noticed that female photographers are far more inclined to say something, where as male photogs will usually just keep it quiet. Kinda wish everyone would just be cut and dry. If a model has an issue with criticism then they probably should consider a different industry to work in.
Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
I think it's fine to say it directly. Even really skinny girls have to be aware. I'm a size zero and I've had it said to me directly and honestly, I appreciate it! Gets us through the shoot faster and I don't want unflattering photos of me floating around!
Monmouth, Wales, United Kingdom
Any experienced model will be used to it and prefer 'chin up's and 'tummy in' to bad shots. When contorting ones body sometimes other things like tummy and chin may 'give' so we will want to be reminded rather than give a bad shot. This is part of modelling it is a simple instruction we know you don't mean we are fat. It is no different to being told to wipe lipstick off teeth or point a leg.