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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

3 Common Mistakes a Photographer Should Avoid When Directing And Posing a Model


Recently I was invited to take part in a workshop titled, Lights and Shadows. Demo models were available and various photographers were shooting in a temporary set photographic studio. I could not help but notice impractical mistakes done repeatedly by some of the photographers present. This led me to write this article, in order to pin point three basic mistakes that you should avoid when shooting a model, in particular a female model.

Discretion at All Times

Before you start shooting a model, it is a very sensible to check that your model is excellent. You should check that makeup is to your liking, hair is set well, clothes are not creased, clothing labels are not visible, in short that your model is nothing less than perfect. Unfortunately, it is not if this particular task is carried out but it is more about on how it is done.
Jessica Alba
Referring to the above mentioned workshop, I was appalled by the way some photographers were probing their models before and during the photo test. In making sure that the model is perfectly set, there is no need to feast your eyes all over her body from head to toes and vice versa. This type of attitude makes the model feel uneasy and uncomfortable. You simply make the model feel like she is another item on a shelf in a super market. So how is the proper way to do it?

The answer is simple. Always look at the model through your lens behind the camera. Your first couple of dummy shoots should do the trick. A full length shot, frontal and posterior, and a close up portrait should suffice. Analyse intently these few photos on your camera display and take note of anything that could ruin your photo shoot. Politely ask the model to follow your directions. And this brings me to my next point.


I have learned that fortitude is a needed virtue for photo shoots. There is a way and a way how you approach a model and direct her. You simply cannot look nervous and stressed out cause you cannot get you message through to your model. You cannot grumble or use slang words because you have lost control of the situation! Believe me I have seen these kind of pitiful situations.
It takes discipline and training to learn to go along with models, particularly novice models or models with a certain attitude. You have to master your emotions and be calm and polite at all times. If you cannot get a pose right, just move on to something else. There is so much that each and every model can give you back.

Appropriate Clothing
How does a model feel if a photographer is wearing a tight shorts and a flimsy shirt with half his chest bare? I think the average sensible person would say, uncomfortable. I could not agree more. In making your model feel at easy you should watch your language, have a nice attitude and above all dress appropriately.

So next time you are preparing for a photo shoot, review your clothing items before discussing the model's outfits! They should be fresh, fitting and inspires a sense of business and respect for your profession.

A way in helping you to be in control of most situations, when guiding a model to pose during a photo shoot, is to be confident in how to go along and direct a model properly.

Posing Secrets - The Photographer's Essential Guide Vol.1  by Malcolm Boone is a unique and practical tool which will guide you step by step, in mastering the art of posing a model.  I strongly suggest that you give it a thorough look.  It is definitely worth the money!

Author: Michael Abela

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