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Friday, 25 January 2013

In the Studio - Modeling Positioning Tips


Before we discuss modelling poses, let's talk about the portrait session itself. It should be shot in as comfortable environment as the photographer can make it for the model to be able to pose well for you, the photographer. Consider the temperature, changing facilities, the use of props including couches and seating, and of course engage with 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 types of poses. What will suit one model will not suit another. The professional photographer should recognise this and should try and emphasize the model's unique characteristics in the finished photos. The model and the photographer should view a compilation of photos or sketches showing different types of poses and agree on an approach for the portrait session before they start. This way, the session will be conducted smoothly and with as few problems as possible.
The focus point of any portrait, whether it is a head and shoulder shot, half or full length body shot, is usually the model's eyes. They can be looking directly at the camera lens to create a real sense of connection with the viewer, or they can be looking off camera to create a sense of intrigue at what the model could be looking at, or it could make the shot more candid in its nature. Alternatively, have the model looking at an introduced prop within the frame so that it becomes a second focal point, with the added ability to tell a story.
We all know that people who appear interested in what we have to say, their body language is such that they lean in towards you. When taking an upper body portrait a simple way to make your subject appear more engaging and friendly is to have them lean in towards your camera a little. Not much, just a little.
The classic pose for any model is one where the model faces to one side away from the camera and then turns their head towards the camera, but not all the way. The model's eyes then look into the camera lens. Include some different facial expressions such as smiling, laughing, being thoughtful, or being sensuous. As the model relaxes, the photographer can reposition the model so that they are facing more directly to the camera or the model can move their hands so that they appear in the frame. Sometimes, it's better to give the model a prop to hold onto so that the pose appears more natural.
Another basic pose is standing tall so that it appears the model looks confident and self assured. In this pose, the model is standing with their shoulders square, the feet are positioned shoulder width apart, their head is thrown back and their thumbs are hooked into their belt or on their hands on their hips. A natural and casual look can be achieved with what's called the wall chill, where the model leans with their back to a wall and with one foot slightly against the wall. One hand, usually the more forward facing hand, is placed in their pocket to accentuate the casual stance.
Consider other poses such as the model lying on the floor, leaning on an elbow supporting the head which makes for an open and inviting pose. Shooting at this level adds a different perspective to any pose where the model is lying on the floor. Having the model lie on their back with their hands casually on their chest and their head turned towards the camera is another variation of this theme. Try different hand and head positions and remember to focus on their eyes for maximum effect. Alter their positions so that they are sitting up, hugging one knee with the leg stretched out in front of them, or holding their ankle with both hands in the same pose, while leaning forward, produces simple and friendly looking poses.
The following positioning can help the more self conscious model. Ask the model to twist their body slightly at the waist which gives the impression of a thinner tummy area. Ask the model to arch their shoulders back, emphasizing the bust line. Have the model cross one leg over the other while standing which gives the impression of narrowing the thigh line. Have the model angle their shoulders so that they are not square onto the camera. This gives the effect of lessening the width of the shoulders slightly.
Hopefully, this article gives you an idea of different modelling poses that can be adapted to suit the model. Each pose can have endless variations.
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