One of the most challenging aspects for a photographer when shooting a model are the hands. That's right. Where should the hands be placed? What should the hands be doing or holding? How should the hands be posed? These are just a few of the many questions, that photographers come up with when directing model's hands. So let me share with you a few tips, that I am sure they would help you to unblock and clear your mind when shooting your model.
Hands in Pockets
As a general rule, if you are directing a female model to insert her hands in her pockets (for trousers) then ideally, four fingers are placed in the pocket while the thumb is left out. On the other hand if your model is a male, the opposite must be done i.e. the thumb is inserted in the pocket while the other four fingers are left out.
Framing the Face
|Diagram thanks to DigitalPhotographySchool|
When you are shooting glamorous portraits it would be a thing to frame the face of your model with her hands. Pose them in a way to direct the viewers eyes to the model's strongest features. So if for example, the eyes are one of the model's best assets, the hands must be placed to complement her eyes. In framing the face you add more interest to the portrait and find a purpose for those hands!
Proper Care of those Hands
The style of shooting you are doing should proportionally reflect the amount of attention the model's hands are given. If you are shooting just a couple of straight forward, executive close up portraits than the hands are of no real concern, but, if your model is posing for a jewelry brand wearing bracelets, rings and other adorning accessories then it is a game changer.
Having said that, if your model is not specifically modelling jewelry, I recommend that you do without any rings, bracelets etc as these tend do distract a lot since they add needless noise to your final photo. Remember a basic rule; keep it simple!
Needless to say, the hands must be nothing less than perfect, meaning, that the model's hands must be manicured properly by a professional person.
The hands ideally are not left idle doing nothing during a photo shoot. If a model is wearing clothes for an advert it would be a good thing to hold a jacket over her shoulder or on her arm. Likewise she can hold the collar of her top or play with her hair. Direct the model to do things and be playful. Keep those hands busy!
In order to help your model you can throw in some props in line with the theme. This would greatly help a model that is uneasy with her hands.
In conclusion, you just need to be imaginative and create ways and means to make the model's hands work for you rather than against you. With some practice I am sure you can get better as you persevere in you work.
If you would like to take this more seriously, I encourage you to have a look at this fantastic ebook by M Boone - Posing Secrets - The Photographer's Essential Guide Vol.1 Many have profited from the sound and professional advice this ebook offers.
Until the next, keep on shooting!