Whether you’re frightened about an upcoming photoshoot, or you’re simply trying to improve your Instagram content, posing for a photo is often a stressful practice, but it doesn’t have to be. Of course, it is easy to be intimidated by the concept of being preserved in a still image, or perhaps you’re threatened of the photographer’s impression. Modeling is not an easy business, and I am no professional myself. However, I have gathered a few tips on how I create a visage of looking as though I know what I’m doing during photoshoots until I feel comfortable enough for the posing to become natural.
Moving in small increments
You might notice photographers will take several photos incessantly and too quickly for you to change position. This is your opportunity to get the best photo possible from the current pose you’re in. This tip I learned from a model in the industry, tilt the position of your head, hands, etc. just slightly in different directions in order to find your angle in accordance to the light position. Slight variations in head positions make all the difference since you cannot see the result yourself.
Run out of ideas? Sit down and you suddenly have an entire new set of dynamic poses. I personally find sitting is practically a no-fail position for those who feel uncomfortable starting off in a shoot. It is much easier to contort your body into atypical positions when your legs become a more easily accessible resource because gravity is no longer a restraining factor. Add dimension by crossing your legs, one in front of the other, not criss-cross apple sauce (example below). If you’re sitting in a chair, try putting one leg up, one down and so on. Your arm/hand position can follow the same rules of asymmetry unless your intention is to take a more symmetrical shot.
Using a prop
Perhaps you’re someone who struggles with your hands. If that is the case, perhaps bring along a prop or find one on the way. Having something to interact with can aid those who struggle with the attention of being photographed. With a prop, the eye transfers from the subject to the prop. When I say, “bring a prop”, this does not necessarily mean you must bring your dog, some flowers, or some other miscellaneous and cumbersome item. For example, you could use your hat or remove your cardigan and throw it over your shoulder. If neither of those are an option, find a railing or a chair and grab onto that!
This tip works best for those of you who live in an area blessed with frequent bellows of wind. We may not be so grateful for the aftermath of a windy shoot, hair knotting and looping whichever way it deems fit. However, it makes for an excellent shot. If you are not so lucky as to have the wind do the work for you, you can still show motion with what I’ll call a “rocking motion”. This motion is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Take a step back from where you should be and then rock back and forth. Exaggerate a little bit by doing a little bounce to capture the feeling of candid fluidity. Fair warning, you’ll probably feel a little odd doing this, but as long as you exude confidence, people will assume you know what you’re doing.
Speaking of exaggeration, another important tip is to exaggerate natural poses – or unnatural for that matter. This is incredibly important if you’re like me and lack curves which add effortless dimension to the photograph and make clothes look much more tailored to your body type. This will require you to leap outside of your comfort zone as you will almost definitely feel as though you’re trying too hard. Nonetheless being able to exaggerate your body position takes confidence that will translate into your photographs.
Positioning your hands
“How to pose with hands” might be the most sought after remedy for awkward shoots. I still struggle with this issue myself as I find it difficult to think of new ways to pose with so many limbs to consider. If you’re taking a portrait shot with no prop in sight and you’re struggling to think of hand placement, try tucking your hair or gently touching one wrist. Make sure your hand is twisted outwards so your palms are directed towards the camera, rather than your body. This will avoid making your hands look like fists.
As I mentioned previously, modeling is quite a difficult feat. It is mostly creative guesswork and often requires you to attempt to create something out of what you have. Even just summarizing the points above I found there is much more to say that I cannot include in this already extensive blog post. Some additional points I won’t go into detail about but should be considered are: asking for feedback, tend to the verbal or non-verbal feedback exhibited by the photographer, avoid copying “typical poses”, and save inspiration photos. Of course, I am not a professional and these tips are based on my own personal experiences and what I’ve learned through the course of the photoshoots I have participated in. I know the amount of knowledge to consider might be daunting, however, I hope you found these tips to be helpful and can apply them accordingly to your next photo session!