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A Guide for Modeling Poses

Updated on December 10, 2015
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years. Hope you enjoy my hubs!


Models; Adriana, Catherine and Alorra
Models; Adriana, Catherine and Alorra | Source

Another important piece of technical advice is that the photographer should provide samples or sketches of modeling poses that fit the style.

Many photographers can do a rather decent job of sketching sample poses but if not an artist can take care of the issue rather quickly.

However, paying for this service is usually not cheap so if you can do it yourself then even better.

You can always cheat and trace sample poses directly from your computer or better if you just print them.

The key is for the poses to approach what the sketch or printed sample shows but not to duplicate it exactly. Add your on touches and your own variations.

One of the fastest photographic styles is boudoir photography. This technique relies heavily on creating visually stimulating photographs that are nothing short of pure sensuality.

Like in boudoir many other photo shots featuring models need to have people who are adept at striking the right pose that is in tune with the particular theme.

That is why top models work very hard at keeping in touch with styles and poses to fit any situation. It's not just having a pretty face or a nice body, there is more to posing than just having the body or the face.

There a lot of techniques and props to enhance the scene but if the pose does not fit the theme or rather if the pose is not in tune with the theme then no amount of props or pretty scenery will make the shot stand out.

However, there are many photographers, some amateurs and other not so much, who pursuit the style yet often miss the mark by not posing their models in poses that are meant to elicit the sensuality in the model.

By far the best method that I have seen in order to create good poses that will fit the theme is to look at many samples of models who pose for this style.

Some are better than others but by looking at many samples you as the photographer and your model can get a better understanding of what poses work and which fall short.


CC BY-ND 2.0
CC BY-ND 2.0 | Source

There are also many photographers who for lack of experience assume that the models will know exactly what pose to present and leave it all to them.

The photographer has to work just as hard as the models in communicating to them what it is that they are looking for. It helps if the photographer explains in dept what sort of look he or she is looking for and how will this look will affect the shot.

It is always advisable to show sample poses of the style in mind to the models and let them work their magic. If the model is savvy enough and has enough experience in modeling he or she will more than likely know what poses will fit and which will not.


CC BY 3.0
CC BY 3.0 | Source
Model: Catherine Garcia Digitally edited for effect
Model: Catherine Garcia Digitally edited for effect | Source

Everything is also very dependent on the purpose for the photographs. If the photographs are for a fashion ensemble, then the poses may be much simpler since the need to highlight the clothing instead of the model.

If they are for boudoir or other styles that focus more on the human shape or are meant for many adult styles or themes, then the pose acquire more of an important role than whatever the model is wearing.

This is specially if the modeling is for a nude portray like the ones featured in artistic nudes. In this case there are no clothes to worry about but the modeling poses then becomes a crucial part of the entire operation as well as the background or scenery.

If for artistic purposes then both the pose and the clothing take on equal degrees of importance. If the shoot if for a specific theme like a costume shoot, a cosplay convention then the poses are more important than the articles of clothing or the costume itself but nevertheless the clothing must be given a proper role in the shot or scene.

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One of the best techniques is to have your models be relaxed. If they are tense or uneasy this will show in the photograph.

Another often overlooked factor is that many new models often get the "deer in the headlights” look. They look afraid and completely lost. research common techniques for relaxing and let the model feel comfortable and let her tell you when she is ready.

Breathing exercises always work well but so does a short chatting session as well as small breaks between shots.

One piece of the body that is often overlooked by many models as well as by many photographers are the hands. Clenching them or making a fist is never a good idea. hands should be relaxed yet posed in a pleasing way.

Poses should be held for no ore than 3 to 5 seconds once the photographer is ready to press the shutter. Anything longer usually invites tension in the muscles and this tension can spread to the rest of the body as well as the face.

This can become very apparent if the model is striking a rather uncomfortable pose like standing on her tip toes or and if the atmosphere or ambient conditions are humid, cold or hot.

Ask your model to keep asymmetry in mind so that everything seems natural and balanced, however the photographer can see this better than the model so you have to work with her and pose her accordingly.

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. | Source
used by permission
used by permission | Source

Models should be aware of their body at all times and pay extra attention to body parts that are often overlooked such as the hands.

She should have a good posture. Modeling relies heavily on the body position. the body should be positioned in flattering angles and interesting shapes, it is therefore important to have an overall good posture to begin with. Hunching and tenseness rarely work.

The hands should always remain graceful and appearing "soft" and this is regardless on what part of the body they are resting upon. They are easily forgotten so it is important to remind the model not to clamp them or close the fists.

For sitting positions keep in mind that the model may be more relaxed but it also limits the available poses. One good technique however is to have a sitting model raise her heels away from the floor and only keep her toes on the ground as this tends to add tone to the legs and presents the feet in a more elegant pose.


 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic | Source

Also very important is to ask the model not to look directly at the camera. Better is she looks into the distance like if she were daydreaming.

Remember that it's quite acceptable if the model looks away and it can actually be better if she does.

The model may also stare at a point above the camera or slightly to the sides but never directly at you if you are using a camera mounted flash unit as this increases the likelihood that you will capture an image with the dreaded "red eye" look.

Try to use models who have some experience as practicing modeling like practicing anything else can improve and even be perfected the more it is done.

© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida

      alancaster149: You seem to be a walking , living encyclopedia of almost anything, I envy your knowledge Checked the link I sent you?

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      You're up my street, chum!

      Hello again Luis. Me on my own again? Not for much longer I hope.

      To business: Ever see the film 'Blow Up' with David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave? That was where I got my inspiration for taking up the camera (only amateur, mind. It was some years before I managed to get myself an SLR camera, my first being a Zenith. I got two, one for b/w and the other with colour slide film and swapped the lenses around. Kept the top of the film box in the back panel to remind me which film was in which camera).

      Anyway David Hemmings, young blade that he was, working with topless models and being faced with Vanessa Redgrave in her prime because she was trying to get hold of a film... Know the story? Saw it about three or four times. Got some ideas from watching that.