Being in front of the camera for the first time can be a very intimidating and daunting experience, so how do experienced models make it look so easy? The answer is practice and experience.
When I work with new models with very little experience I always get the same questions; “how should I stand?”, “what do I do with my hands?”, “how should my legs be?”. This is why practicing your poses is so important. Not only will you understand how your body moves and what you like about your body movements but you’ll also gain confidence in front of the camera. Doing more poses during a session is also a huge benefit to both the model and the photographer since there will be many more images to choose from at the end of the session, and more chances of having that perfect shot.
Even if most poses look natural and comfortable, performing them in front of the camera is usually nothing but. The first thing you have to understand about photography is that what you are doing will translate differently on the screen or on print. There are two main reasons things look different. The first is because an image is static, it is a single frame, a frozen moment in time. Video contains many frames per second which explores depth with various angles and under various lighting conditions but there is no way to explore other angles in photography, at least, not in the conventional sense. The other reason is that it looks differently is because there is no depth to an image, there is only height and width, which is why photographers and models have to work together to create that sense depth using lighting and various techniques while shooting and sometimes accented during the post process.
So how do you learn all these poses? There are a few ways. First, I suggest you get a fashion magazine and you examine all the different poses, then try to reproduce them in the mirror. This is what is referred to as “mirror work”. Practicing poses in the mirror is how you actually practice modelling. A guitar player will pick up his guitar and play the same parts over and over in order to improve muscle memory which is required to get the fingering right. In the same sense, a model needs to practice her poses, her facial expressions, and her body movement in order to be proficient in front of the lens.
Another good way to learn how to move your body is to find posing tutorials online. There is a plethora of great modelling videos online that can help you step up your game. Some of these videos go in great detail on how certain angles will create the dynamics and poses which photographers are looking for. Topics cover body angles, triangles, facial expressions, hand position, which position works best for your body type, and so much more, all of which is worth investing time into. All you have to do is search those various topics on YouTube. Once you’ve viewed these videos, put them to the test in front of the mirror. After you feel comfortable doing that, turn on your camera phone and start recording yourself doing the movements, until you are getting them down naturally.
Some photographers like to direct models and tell them exactly how to pose, often with an idea of what they want they image to look like. Other photographer direct very little focusing more on the technical aspects of their craft. If you work with different photographers you’ll notice the difference between them. Understanding how your body moves is beneficial in both situations. You can help those who like to direct by giving them exactly what they are looking for and you can also help those that don’t by offering many poses from which they can pick out the ones they like.
Most Photographers are likely to take a great deal of pictures. If you’ve worked with some, you already know that “one more shot” rarely ever means, just one more, so don’t concern yourself about looking silly since most of the shots won’t make it anyways. Professional photographers know how to pick out the best images, they wouldn’t put something out there that would make them look bad, so they want to make you look great just as much as you do. So, don’t hesitate, move, move and move. If the photographer needs you to look a certain way, he’ll let you know and together you will end up working in harmony on the trek to achieve that perfect shot.