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Model Posing Tips for Beginners

By Abby Rozens

There is no doubt that the modeling profession is challenging to break into, but it's not as challenging as you might imagine! Even so, you may think posing just comes as a natural instinct. But there is so much more to how you can better a photo with simple techniques.

Posing may seem like an easy thing to do. When you see it in magazines or your Instagram feed, it looks like it’s done so effortlessly. But sometimes when you get in front of the camera, your mind can go blank – I’ve felt the same way! Not to mention that that magazine cover was one of dozens of images and as many poses, the rest of which didn’t make the cover.

As we start going more in-depth on the art of the pose, and practice, you’ll start to feel more assured in your appearance and have a better understanding of how to capture great photos. Beauty comes from the inside out, and when it comes to posing, confidence can make all the difference. Take a look at what I’ve compiled to help beginners (or anyone else!) with posing.

5 posing tips and tricks for models

Let’s start from the top…

  1. Facial expressions for models

Every shoot has a mood, and it is so important that your face captures the emotion of what you are trying to convey. Usually, you don’t want anything that may look tense or awkward. You can improve facial expressions by practicing in front of a mirror – different things work for different people. Remember that the camera can detect and reflect everything you are feeling.

Make a list of the types of modeling there are (Lifestyle, Editorial, Runway), and you’ll want to know what expressions work for you for each of themRelax your face in between each individual pose and see what you can do differently. Even subtle changes in your expression will be captured, for example, your eyes are looking in a different direction, a “tiny” opening of the mouth can give a sense of sultry, or your eyebrows can share a story of how you feel. All of these things can dramatically change a photo.

Facial expressions shouldn’t look forced, but subtle. Start by moving your face in different directions, then the corners of your mouth. See how you can mix it up by adding a “smile” to your eyes, or a laugh. Try to smile without using “all” of your muscles as how you would normally when your mom is taking a picture of you. As you pose your face as a model, keep in mind that confidence, ease, and naturalness are principal. So don't be afraid to try different things and see what suits you the best!

1. Chest and shoulders for model poses

First and foremost, your body should be moving from side to side. Create those diagonal lines by rotating your shoulders in different directions. Pulling them back creates a more poised type of photo that would look great for digitals. Pointing them forward, or having one poke out more than the other makes it look editorial. Over-the-shoulder poses are also common. Experiment with how the upper half of your body looks from different angles. Photos don’t have to be taken straight on. Take a look in the mirror and think about how your body would look from an upper, or lower shot. There are so many options for how we can angle ourselves, even a slight movement can change the scene of a photo entirely!

2. How to use your hands in posing

Give the hands the job of something to do or touch. In my opinion, your hands are the best tools for a great capture! Just like our facial expressions, hands can portray our emotions as well. In photos, we don’t want our hands to look stiff, so when we touch our face or use a prop, we want them to look relaxed, with our fingers spaced a certain way to look soft.

For instance, when you touch your face, you don’t want to press them onto your skin, or else it would look as if your face was indented. Try gently placing them closer to your cheekbones, or on the top of your head. It all depends on how comfortable you feel, and how expressive you want to be! Some common poses with your hands are, placing each hand across to the opposite shoulder, or running your hands through your hair. Think about your triangles from our head to our hands, how many shapes can we make by just our hands doing the job?

3. Posing with legs and feet

Not only can our hands make shapes, but so can our legs. As a petite model, pointing our feet in a certain way helps give an illusion of how we look. For example, some of my favorite go-to standing model poses start with placing my chest back and legs forward – this makes you seem longer than you are! You can also bend your legs to distort your lines. When sitting on a chair, try having one foot on the ground while the other is on the seat. This creates dimension, and you can play around with it however you see fit!

Photographer: Joe Underbakke

Keep in mind that this is an artistic endeavor, and it is lovely to observe others produce through their work, especially yours. Start little by little and things will come together to create something huge that you can share with others.
  1. A timeless position is perfect for any picture shoot to display your sense of style and self-assurance. For a classic appearance that will stand out when you wear jeans, hook your thumbs through your belt loops, or simply put your hands in your pockets! To make your shoot genuinely distinctive, get imaginative and look to publications for inspiration on the countless poses that they provide!Full body model poses

Beginner models must practice until they are familiar with their bodies and how to present themselves in the best light! Now let’s put this all together. When shooting your full body, we are going to use everything that we learned. Remember that each part of your body should be doing something. Think about asymmetry, what you’d like the viewer to see, and how you can appear your best for the camera! And, as with facial expressions, know what industry and look you’re going for – runway fashion model poses are different from model poses for photoshoots, and even those are different from editorial to commercial.

Leaning forward is one of the best strategies. By doing this, the camera will be able to focus on your face, while elongating your body. This creates an “S” shape that makes you appear longer. There are plenty of different poses that you can try doing, and there’s no judgment to any unique pose you think of! While you are standing in front of the camera, think of the following questions, “Do I appear tall? What am I trying to convey? Is there anything I can do to make my poses more unique? What can I do with this arm or my leg?” Doing this mindfully can help you thoroughly understand how every aspect of your body appears from every angle, and practice until you are comfortable with how you look.

Keep in mind that this is an artistic endeavor, and it is lovely to observe others produce through their work, especially yours. Start little by little and things will come together to create something huge that you can share with others. Give yourself enough time to practice and prepare for your future shoot. I hope my tips and tricks have helped you create a better understanding of how to model and bring your poses to light! Being a part of a community where everyone supports one another's growth is tremendously rewarding. I look forward to helping you showcase your talent in front of others, as well as seeing you develop and pass on your own skills!

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