A Model’s Job vs a Photographer’s Job

I’ve read numerous articles and comments about who should bring what to a photoshoot.  I read a comment recently where a model was asking about poses.  The comment was that the photographer will tell you what he or she wants.  That can be true to the extent that a photographer may have an exact vision of what he wants and will give very specific instructions and direction.

Often, though, if the two are doing a model shoot(testing – TFP) there may not always be something specific planned. Either way a new model should learn some basics.  Years ago when learning I had a chance to work with a professional model where previously I had been working with people who were learning.  We were shooting a wedding gown for a client.  Once finished, we had a bit of time and so we decided to a couple of rolls of regular film.  (Yes, this was before the digital era.)  I shot two rolls of 24 (48 pictures).  She gave me a different pose and look after each click of the shutter.  Every shot was fantastic and it took us all of 15 minutes.

I asked her afterward about this ability.  She said it was hours of practicing in front of the mirror.  This was for her facial expression and her body pose.

So, I suggest as a model or soon to be model: get a full length mirror if you do not already have one.  Look in magazines for poses that will work for your body.  Get at least 10 poses that work for you.  More if you can remember them.  And try different facial expressions.  I have seen what otherwise would be a great shoot but the expression on the model’s face is exactly the same in every photo.

For a genuine smile that gets all the way to the eyes, check out this video by    about the ‘Squinch’:

https://photo-photo.com/blog/peter-hurley-and-the-squinch/

Now, if you are doing a shoot modeling a evening gown, your poses would likely be different from the poses that you are going to use for a bathing suit photoshoot.

Spend time in front of the mirror.  There are tons of samples of poses online – try Pinterest.  Work it until you have several standing, sitting or laying down.  The photographer may ask you something to tweak the pose but by bringing a number of good poses that you already know work well for you, the photographer can work on light and shadow and getting these perfect for the shot.

Another video that needs to be watched by anyone getting their picture taken is this one:

https://photo-photo.com/photography-tips/peter-hurley-video-headshots-and-the-jaw/

It is also by Peter Hurley. Practice this until it is second nature.  Again, I’ve seen more pictures ruined by a double chin where the person is trying to look cool or sexy and they have not looked in a mirror to see what it looks like ahead of time.

All this observation of yourself in front of the mirror will also help you get a better idea what type of clothing works for you; what hides curves you want hidden and what enhances curves that you want enhanced.  What poses make your legs look smaller or larger depending on what is needed.  A little bit of side advice here: don’t ask your friends to tell you what looks good or doesn’t.  This is your job; you are the professional; you need to get your judgement to the point where you are certain. And that comes from observing and understanding what works and what doesn’t.

If it is your first photo shoot or so just start with a few and try and increase your list of poses as you go.

The photographer should be bringing his or her skills of lighting, framing and knowledge of the camera and similar tools.  Make each shoot a collaboration.  This may change if the photographer has something very specific in mind.  In this case he has likely hired you for a specific skill set or look.  But have some ‘stuff’ up your sleeve so you can contribute if asked upon to do so.

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