2 posing tips for beginner models

2 posing tips for beginner models

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Basic Model Poses

When you are first starting off it can be hard to know what to do with your body and face. SDS has put together a few basic poses, or “looks” everyone should know. Even though these poses are basic ideas, they are the starting points for most poses. Once you master these two ideas you will be able to do any pose with purpose and meaning.  It is a good idea to practice these poses in front of a mirror to help develop your poses. Know how these ideas work will help you create the right tone or mood for any project you work on.

We will cover 2 basic poses ideas:

  1. Looking straight into the lens
  2. Angling your shoulders

1) Looking into the lens

It’s a simple idea…Looking into the lens. However, it’s highly important to know when you should look straight into the lens and when to angle your body. Usually, straight-ahead looks are used to create strong tension between the model and the viewer. It can be used to show confidence, sadness, or even melancholy at a deeper and stronger level.

You’ll always want to focus on how far apart your lips are, the angle your head faces, how high/low your chin is, how much “white” of your eyes are showing,  how open your eyes are, how your hair looks, is anything blocking your face, and how clean your face is. Any of these details will sway the viewer from one emotion to another.

Here are some photo examples of “Looking into the lens”. Even though All of these models are looking into the camera, every detail from the angle of their face, how their hair blocks part of it, to how their lips are open combine to create a different feeling or emotion than the others.  Some show sadness, other happiness, some are flirty, some are aggressive.



Things to practice:

  1. Eye placement
  2. Mouth (controlling breathing and how wide/shut your mouth is)
  3. Smile variations
  4. Head control and dexterity (Being able to tilt and hold it for long periods).
  5. Being aware of anything that may be obstructing your face

Let’s touch on number 5. A lot of models that I have worked with struggle with self- awareness. In the sense that they are unaware of what their body is doing. If you can notice a piece of hair is hanging in front of your face, or maybe that your nostrils flare with your breath will help you in posing. It will help the photographer because you will be able to correct issues before he notices, or if you practice,  you can avoid the distractions altogether. It really takes a lot out of a shoot to have to stop to move hair or ask you to breathe through your mouth. As the model, you should be most aware of your body and it’s behaviors.

2) Angling in poses.

When taking portraits of people, one simple posing tip that I’ve picked up over my years as a photographer is to angle the shoulders.

While the shoulders might not seem like an important aspect of a portrait they can actually set the tone for an image as they’re the widest part of your body and they are visually what the main point of focus for your image (the head) is sitting upon.

Generally speaking, angling the shoulders slightly gives you shot balance or edginess and helps lead your viewer’s eye into the shot towards your main focal point. It also stops your subject seeming out of proportion as it lessons the width of the shoulders slightly.

Shoulders, along with some of the facial expressions we discussed, will help to enforce the feeling or mood you are implying in the photo. Getting the right effect might take the time or even feel uncomfortable, but it’s worth practicing how your shoulder and head interact to create certain moods. If a photo isn’t popping with the right mood, you may need to lean in one direction or another, simply turning your body a little, or looking over the shoulder.

You can get interesting effects by playing with the should and head interactions. Always – experiment with posing in a variety of ways and see what works best for you and the set.

  1. How much should you turn to get the right emotion/mood
  2. How to look into the camera with an angled look
  3. Head control and dexterity
  4. How your shoulders work with other leading lines in the image. (Take the example of the female sitting on the pool edge. See how her shoulders are parallel with the pool?
  5. Know when you should turn vs when you should look straight into the camera.
Let’s touch on number 2. Once you’ve got facial expressions down pat from looking straight into the images, you can apply those same techniques and emphasize the mood or focus with the shoulder angle.
Ideally, you’ll want to start practicing looking straight into the lens. These poses will be bolder and require more focus on facial expression to emphasize the tone. Once you start understanding how your eyes, mouth, chin placement, and others create the mood, you can start adding different shoulder angles/depths to emphasize the overall tone.

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Photo by @rtaylorphotographs


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