Learn Posing From a Pro Model
Whether it’s for a portrait, fashion or wedding shoot, posing someone who’s not used to doing it takes a lot of skill from the photographer, which takes time and practise to learn.
A great way to learn posing techniques is to invest in a professional model to teach you. I know that sounds a little odd because surely it’s the photographer who should be in charge of a shoot?
How to position hands and feet so they look elegant instead of clumsy, how to stand, position shoulders, tilt of head and a lot more besides goes into creating a pose which works for the sitter. And whilst figuring that out, you’ve got to deal with exposure, composition, light, focal length, depth of field etc. You still have to think like a photographer as well and unless you’re very experienced, this is a lot to take on.
To pose someone appropriately a photographer has to not only have a creative eye, they need to understand shape and form of the human anatomy or they can end up making their sitter look weird, lumpen and misshaped, which isn’t flattering and certainly won’t improve sales if you looking to earn money.
When you hire a professional model you’re not just hiring a pretty face or great physique, you are hiring years of skill and acting ability. An experienced professional model will know how to stand, create interesting body shapes and angles which look great on camera because they’ve been doing it for years.
A good professional model will also understand and be on the look out for lighting issues. Don’t forget they have spent years working with professional photographers using both natural and studio lighting, reflectors, backlight, hair lights and they can usually help you with these as well as the pose. Ask them…
Tell the model before you hire them you are learning. Ask if they’d be prepared to help you by teaching you some poses, body shapes, show you what works and what doesn’t. The key is to be totally authentic, tell them exactly where you are with your photography and let them know you truly want to learn from their experience.
When I say a professional model I mean a professional. You need someone who has earned a full time living working on professional shoots for at least three years. Buying some beers for a pretty girls or boy in your street won’t help you because they won’t know what they’re doing.
View this as an investment and don’t be cheap. Many photographers will happily spend £300 or more on a lens they often don’t need and certainly won’t improve their skills. Why not invest that money in a day of learning new skills, which will stay with you forever.
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The 7 Building Blocks of Photography has massively improved my photography overall. It has made me think about how I want an image to look, rather than just going out looking for an image, then get home and be disappointed. My approach now is to visualise, construct it block by block then make it happen. My 'hit rate' has soared.
- Neil Hanson -