Posing Tips

Although I do have a page of general advice, here I'm adding specific modeling tips to help you to learn your craft! You'll hear this from me time and again... LEARN YOUR CRAFT! Do not rely on photographers to always tell you what to do or how to pose. There are no poses numbered or sequenced like a dance so you can show up, do your routine, get paid and leave. Different genres have different rules and different ways to do similar poses. So some of what I will be telling you could be contradicted in different genres

So before we get into posing instruction, here are the other elements of a shoot you need to know about...


When getting on set (studio or location) see what you'll be working with. Background, props, wardrobe, know where your primary and other source or lighting is coming from. You want to make sure (unless otherwise instructed) your face is lit and anything else that is important to the shot. 


There are several genres of modeling...

Fashion- This is what you see on ANTM, Vogue, Style. You are the prop and the outfit, jewelry, accessories are the subject. Your job to make them be focus and still be seen

Glamour- This is the sexier side to clothed modeling. Swimsuit should be included as well. There is usually but not always some form of exposure as well due to being partially dressed or see through clothing as examples 

Boudoir- Even though it typically means Bedroom, it includes lingerie' as well as nudes.

Art Nude- These are figure nudes, bodyscapes usually done in Black and White and can either be fully lit or heavily shadowed 

Lifestyle- These are shot naturally, usually on location to where the model does not acknowledge the camera

Pinup- These are early style glamour/swimsuit/lingerie' shoots first brought about in the mid 40s and carried through to the early 60s. Everything about them is unique from wardrobe, hair, makeup and yes the poses from all other genres


Before you can start posing, you need to know the "rules" to each of these you plan on modeling. Since I'm not familiar with Fashion, I wont cover it in order to not give out bad information


Posture- Shoulders back, chest out, tummy in. Basically arching your back. No slouching.


Head- Look with your nose, not your eyes. In other words, if you want to focus on something with your head turned to the right (say in a 2 o'clock position), make sure its something your nose is pointed at and not have your eyes continue to the right trying to see whats further right. Creates too much white on one side of the pupil. Now it is perfectly ok to have your head at a slight turn and your eyes on the camera.

Keep your chin away from everything. It hides your neck. When you bring your chin down, push it forward. Prevents double chins. If you have longer hair, unless told not to, keep your hair on the camera side behind the shoulder. Again to expose the neck.


Extremities- Shoulders to your fingertips, hips to your toes should be relaxed unless its bearing weight. When posing barefoot, alway keep at least on heel off the ground. Barbie toe the Hell out of that foot!

If it bends, you bend it. Wrists, elbows, knees. Angles create interesting things to look at. Remember, you're posing not taking your 5th grade class photo.

Torso- It does twist. You can bend at the hips. When leaning or twisting or sitting down and you start to get those little rolls, adjust your posture and or angle to the camera

Changing Positions- I know of two basic ways to posing... Fluid movement and more robotic. Both work pending the lighting and camera settings.

Fluid movement is when you slowly change from one pose to the next in a ballet type movement. Its very graceful and when you see the full set on playback you can see fluid movement

Robotic is just like it sounds. Pose, click, pose, click. You just keep changing the pose after every click of the camera and when you see it on playback, its looks more chaotic.

Both work for different models and both can get you great images. Some photographers  prefer one over the other so it is good to have some knowledge of each

Expression- Facial expression can make or break an image. This is where studying how to emote properly based upon the concept of the set. Can you smile? Show anger? Sadness? Sensuality? or any other number of emotion beyond the deer in the headlights? These take time and practice and lots of study to perfect. When starting out brand new, I suggest perfecting your smile and being able to project two things from your eyes... Fuck You! and Fuck Me! No, I'm not kidding! If you're doing more of a fashion shoot, the the Fuck You attitude work great! Doing glamour or something on the sexy side, the Fuck Me is where you wanna be! But there are a whole lot more expression out there. Google them and practice.



Lighting is key to any image. Its what sets the mood for a shot. You need to know how you're being lit up, whats being shadowed. 


Talent- Something you're born with

Skill- Something you learned

Some have one or the other and a few both

Armpit pose: Time and again I gotten a model who tells me she can pose and the first thing she does is place her hand on her head! I dont wanna see your armpit Darlin! Esp if its full of stubble! Seriously, if you go look through ANY model's portfolio it wont take you long to find this pose in some variation and you'll probably find several variations. Yes, it looks good when pulled off correctly but you dont wanna live off it.