Posing on Camera
Not everyone is a model, and when it comes to posing on camera many people, and even some models, feel uncomfortable. I often assist people with various poses to get the best look, but when you become a professional model, posing for the camera is expected of you. Though many photographers will have a posing director to assist with poses for official shoots like magazine covers, models need to be able to pose on their own without direction. Posing is an art form of its own and takes practice.
The most important thing to remember is to understand who you are posing for and what is wanted. If you are posing for yourself you need to think about what you want from your shoot and the look you want to portray. Practice this in front of a mirror, but also remember that not every photo will have you looking at the camera (if that is what you want). The secret is to create variety, emotion, feeling, shape, form and expression.
What you can pose
Posing is not just about making your face look good on camera, but creating a look using your entire body. Use facial expressions, turning and tilting of your head, use your shoulders, your arms and your hands, use your legs and your feet. There is no right or wrong pose, unless you are trying to convey a specific look.
If you are posing for someone else, like a magazine cover, then you need to know exactly what the magazine is looking for. Let’s assume you get an assignment and they say they want “something funny”. You need to find out what their definition of “something funny” is. Do they expect you to dress up as a clown and pose with joyful smiles, or should you just be yourself and smile and be silly by pulling funny faces? You need to make sure you have as much detail possible.
Posing for yourself on camera
We have all seen them… those cliche photos of young ladies on facebook and other social media all staring up at their mobile phone camera with various looks, but what if you want to have professional photos done of yourself in studio or somewhere else. Looking up at the camera as you do with your mobile phone is going to give you a few good shots, but what then? You have a whole shoot to complete and you need poses!
Many photographers can come up with creative ideas to help you with some poses, but this is you allowing the photographer to define what you are, not who YOU really are. This discussion can go on for many pages. In my studio I like to chat with a person for a while before we start shooting to find out what they are after and what they expect from the photos so if they run out of poses I can assist to get THEIR look without imposing my own idea or mood.
Click to the next pose
Now you are in front of the camera and you hear the first click of the shutter and the flashes go off. What now? Should you wait and see? Is the photographer happy with the shot? Should you change to the next pose? When you go for your first shoot these and many other questions run through your mind. As a general rule of thumb, when that camera clicks, change pose. Lift your arms, play with your hair, change position of your shoulders, move your hips, change your leg and foot position, turn away from the camera, look over your shoulder, look sideways, just anything which is different. If the photographer feels they would like another shot at that pose they will ask to try that pose again, but when that flash goes off, don’t wait, just change again. There is no sense in getting 100 photos which all look almost the same, you want variety! When you think you have run out of poses, return to ones you did before with slight variations (one smile face, one serious, one looking away, up, down, shoulders tilted, lean forward or back, etc.)
Feel you need guidance?
If you still feel like you don’t quite understand or still feel you cannot learn to pose on your own you can always book a “Teach me to pose” shoot with me in studio. This is a basic Studio50 Shoot (see price list) where you will also receive 50 edited photos but I will teach you to pose in various positions. I will show you the basics which will help you understand the process of posing so you can come up with your own and never run out of poses again!
Below is a video anyone who has ever considered becoming a photographic model should look at over and over again. Notice how this model changes every pose and look. Some may be funny and may not “work” for the what was required, but the fact is, each one is different and a good pose in itself.