Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Photography tips: Modelling for women

Okay, slightly off the photography tips here, but for portrait photography a big factor for your photo is the model! Now unless you have a professional model, you or your friend that’s posing for you are probably going to be feeling a bit awkward and all ‘I don’t know what to do’.
I know you’ll probably look at my photos and go... uh... Grace, you can’t model – why would you tell us how to? But point is... I can’t model, but I know a few tips that are supposed to make you model better that people I take photos of use and it seems to work. When it comes to me getting photos of myself though I just fail miserably but you know what they say: those who can’t do, teach!
(I’m not talking like high fashion modelling here, just wholesome basic stuff :p)
A lot of these are tips that I’ve picked up from the people I’ve photographed, a lot of people have their own little secrets. They’re also be a bit of stuff in here about how to angle your photo to make it more flattering.

Tip 1: Get the model to interact with something. Unless they’re amazingly confident with you, your model will likely freak out when you tell them to just stand there and look good. The most common thing I say is ‘why don’t you lean on that wall’ or ‘why don’t you sit down’. If you get the model to interact with their surroundings then they’ll instantly relax a bit. The amount of times people say to me ‘... I don’t know what to do with my arms.’

So to get them to relax, try getting them to lean on a wall, fence or pole, or get them to sit down. Sitting on the ground, chairs, etc, all works.

Tip 2: Take the interacting further. The model can do more than just lean on things and sit. You can get them to touch things around them or hold on to things. Get them peering through windows or something, anything! You can always get them to pick up a leaf or a flower and look at it. Some things will feel really stupid/sound really stupid (‘Can you just pick up that leaf and look at it? Now.. show me the leaf.’) but it tends to work.

Tip 3: Tips for standing. Sometimes you want your model to just be standing there doing nothing but looking hot, and that’s cool, but there are a few poses and things they can do to make it easier.

Justine who I photographed recently and who is a bit of an uber model told me that someone told her to play with her neck/face/hair area and it does work quite well!

Get your model to run their hands through their hair, play with the ends of their hair, play with a necklace they have on, play with their clothes or just touch their neck. This is obviously a very feminine thing.

Tip 4. Experiment with ‘poses’. A model gives a lot away about them depending on the pose they’re doing. Here are a few that I know of!

If they can pull it off, the standing straight up with legs together and hands in pockets or by your/their sides is kind of cool. You would have seen it around a lot with indie fashion photography.

The one leg straight, one leg bend. Like you’re leaning a bit on one leg. You can put your hand on your hip or play with your hair or anything like that.

Face away from the camera and turn back. This one’s a bit cheesy but it can work if you do it right. I like the photo of Zoe that I have below, bit of a come hither look :p

One of my favourites is the arm in hair one. You put your arm up so it’s in your hair and the other arm can go on your hip or just somewhere else and it just... works. I think.

Angles to flatter models.

Some people you photograph will look good at every single angle you photograph them from, but that’s not so for all of us! Haha, so here’s some tips for making sure, as the photographer, you get flattering photos.

Photos from the above are almost always flattering for girls. Stand on a chair or something and shoot down at them and it will slender out their face and make their eyes look huge. I personally don’t do this too often though because I get a bit sick of it. It’s flattering but also a tad boring.

Shooting from below is a bit of a no-no for some people. I have the ‘pelican neck’ problem and will not let anyone take a photo of me from below lest I enter double-chin-ville. In saying that though, if a girl has a really crisp chin and neckline then that’s probably a pretty cool way to shoot the photo.

If all fails, just try to keep the camera around the eye-shoulder line and you should produce something that’s nice.


If you have any tips for modelling I would love to hear them and add them to this post! And as usual, if you have any questions about photography just ask!

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