How To Pose

A good photographer will be able to help you with your poses, especially if youíre a beginner, but you need to do a lot of work yourself.

Look at magazines and note what makes the poses work. Ask yourself why they work. What is the mood of the picture? How was it created? How is the pose related to the clothes? How is the model standing or sitting? Where are the modelís hands and feet? Are they looking at you? What could they have done to make it a better picture? Is it funny, dramatic, Ďnormalí or clicheéd? Itís a good idea to keep a scrapbook of all the different poses you like, and that you think might suit you, to use as a resource while youíre practicing. And you can show a photographer the ones you want to try and recreate.

The next step is to practise the poses in front of a mirror or video camera. Try out the poses you liked, and other ones that come to mind. Note how changing small details, like how you hold your hands, alters the mood of the pose. Try and move gracefully from one pose to the next, because thatís what youíll be doing on the job. Itís like a series of stills, but constantly moving. Clumsy transitions wonít make friends of your photographers. Also work out which poses suit you. Some will not bring out your best features and should best be avoided. Work out ways, in case you are called on to pose in that manner, to minimize the weakness. Donít despair about having weak features or poses: every model has them. But good models know how to overcome them. Furthermore, try and find new poses. It helps to watch people in many different situations to find out what different ways of standing, sitting and walking mean. Different positions of the body and face give very different messages, and they often can change dramatically by altering a very small detail. Learn how your body and face works so that you can instantly create a mood.

Even when you think youíve covered up all your weak points, some photographer will ask you to uncover them for a particular pose. Itís no good arguing, because often photographers have methods that they use to enhance certain shots. You might be very surprised to discover that what you thought was your worst pose turns out to be your best in the hands of an experienced photographer.

There are some basic rules that apply to everyone, no matter how unique youíve worked on becoming. For example, high heels cause your spine to curve, which rounds your buttocks and calves, pushes out your bust and gives the hips a larger sway. Make it seem like youíre wearing high heels simply by pointing your foot. Other ways of emphasizing parts of your body are to push your shoulders back (shows off your bust), turn your waist (narrows your waist), pull in your stomach (flattens it), and cross your legs (makes your lower body thinner).

When youíre in a pose, donít lock up your joints. Stay flexible, especially at the elbow, wrist and fingers. Keep away from awkward bends. A visit to the hospital or a strained wrist wonít help you much. The best thing to do is to stay relaxed, which might seem easier said than done when you first start. If youíre relaxed itís easier to stay in a pose, too, which is very important, even if the photographer is adjusting equipment. If you move then you, and the camera and lights, might have to be repositioned again.

Other simple tricks are to keep your fingers apart (if you hold them together in photographs it can make your hand look deformed), tilt your head a little, learn to blink less and when you want to, and keep your makeup fresh (ask someone to check it, or do it yourself, if you think itís messy).

Once youíve mastered as many poses as you possibly can, and learned the tricks above, all you have to do is ensure that they are all executed smoothly and seemingly effortlessly.