Before we talk about modeling poses, let’s talk about the portrait session itself. It should be shot in as comfortable an environment as the photographer can create so that the model can pose properly for you, the photographer. Think about the temperature, changing rooms, using props including couches and chairs, and course handle the model so that they are relaxed and have confidence in you.
One of the first tips for shooting portraits and positioning models is that each model is comfortable with different poses. What suits one model may not suit another. The professional photographer should recognize this and emphasize the unique features of the model in the final photos. The model and photographer should review a compilation of pictures or sketches with different poses and agree on an approach to the portrait session before starting. This way, the session will run smoothly and with as few problems as possible.
The focal point of any portrait, be it a head-and-shoulder, half-length, or full-length body shot, is usually the model’s eyes. They can look directly at the camera lens to create a real sense of connection with the viewer, or they can look outside the camera to create a sense of intrigue as to what the model might be looking at, or it can be the make photo more candid in its nature. You can also have a model look at an introduced prop within the frame, making it a second focal point, with the ability to tell a story.
We all know that people who seem interested in what we have to say, their body language is such that they lean towards you. When you’re shooting your upper body portrait, an easy way to make your subject appear more attractive and friendly is to count them slightly toward your camera. Not much, but a little.
The classic pose for any model is when the model looks to one side of the camera and then turns its head towards the camera, but not all the way. The model’s eyes then look into the camera lens. Add several different facial expressions, such as smiling, laughing, thoughtful, or sensual. As the model relaxes, the photographer can move the model to look more directly at the camera, or the model can move their hands so that they appear in the frame. Sometimes, it is better to give the model support to hold to appear more natural.
Another basic pose is standing up straight so that the model looks confident and self-assured. In this pose, the model stands with their shoulders directly, feet shoulder-width apart, their heads were thrown back, and their thumbs hooked into their belts or on their hands on their hips. A natural and casual look can be achieved with the so-called wall chill, where the model leans with the back against a wall and with one foot slightly against the wall. One hand, usually the more forward-facing hand, is tucked into their pocket to accentuate the casual attitude.
Consider other poses, such as the model lying on the floor, leaning on an elbow supporting the head, making for an open and inviting posture. Shooting at this level adds a different perspective to any pose where the model is on the floor. Another variation on this theme is having the model lie on their backs with their hands casually on their chests, and their heads turned towards the camera. Try different hand and head positions and remember to focus on their eyes for maximum effect. Changing their jobs to sit upright, hug one knee with the leg extended in front of them, or hold their ankle in the same pose with both hands while leaning forward produces simple and friendly-looking poses.
The following positioning may help the more confident model. Ask the model to turn their body slightly at the waist, giving the impression of a thinner tummy. Ask the model to bend their shoulders back and emphasize the bust line. Have the model cross one leg over the other while standing, giving the impression that the thigh line is narrowing. Have the model bend their shoulders so that they are not directly facing the camera. This gives the effect of reducing the width of the shoulders slightly.
Hopefully, this article will give you an idea of different modeling poses adapted to the model. Each pose can have endless variations.