Posing A Model PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jay Allan   
Sunday, 21 September 2008 19:29

Show Her You're A Pro.

For an amateur photographer posing a naked model can be a pretty intimidating experience. The Erika Campbelbest thing you can do to make your first shoot go smoothly is to do a ton of preparation. Know exactly what you intend to shoot before the model arrives. Knowing how you are going to pose the model, and when, will make your life a lot easier.

It is very important to give a model direction. In fact, the first sign of an amateur photographer is when the photographer just starts shooting while the model is moving around. All amateurs do this, and models immediately know that you do not know what you are doing. Even a very seasoned professional model wants to be told what will make her look better. Models cannot see themselves while you are shooting, so they have to have confidence in your shooting abilities. If you are directing them while you shoot, and encouraging them by saying things like “yes, that’s good!” or “wow this is amazing” - even if you are lying - then the model will gain confidence and it will show in the shots that she is more comfortable.

Tear Sheets

Always make a shot list of poses before the shoot day. I recommend pulling tear sheets from magazines and studying the poses that you like. I keep a book of tear sheets in my desk, and when I see something I have not thought of before, I file it away for future reference. Get a three ring binder, or scan the images into an iPhone or something so you can refer to them on set. Don’t let the model know about your book as it may erode her confidence in you. How the model perceives the photographer has

everything to do with how the final images turn out. You can tell through subtle body language if a model was comfortable or not during a photo shoot. With nudity this becomes paramount. I shoot a lot of first time girls who have little or no experience. To capture them fully naked and completely at ease is challenging, but incredibly rewarding when you succeed.

Erika On Floor

I recall shooting a model named Sunny Leone for Penthouse magazine. She had never posed for anything before, and we had to shoot her completely naked (obviously) for 4 straight days. She was in front of my crew of about 5 guys, and she was very nervous. By taking charge as a photographer, I was able to build her confidence and get the images out of her that I needed. By the second day I was able to show her carefully selected slides from the previous day that showed her spectacularly. This built her confidence even more. Now you can do the same thing with a laptop and digital images much more immediately.

Pace Yourself

Once you have your shot list, sort it in an order that makes sense. Try to group similar poses so that the most limited lighting changes have to happen with each transition. Make subtle changes in the poses as you shoot. Don't be afraid to experiment. Many of my best images happened by exploring a variation of something I have done the same for years. Some photographers over shoot everything (I call it the shotgun approach) and then select the best images from that. Others painstakingly pose the model to perfection then take one shot. Both methods are correct, and each has it's strengths and weaknesses. In todays digital age I lean towards shooting more and getting an edit. I find this works best with amateur models because the camera firing a lot is a confidence booster. The downside is that I end up with a shitload of frames to go through in Lightroom. With pro models I shoot a lot less. I spend more time perfecting the pose. Cover shots are a good example of this. I only need one shot, and it has to be perfect. You will have to decide what works best for you, and shoot at your own pace.

Erika Don't Take Off Your Clothes

If you are going to shot a model from fully clothed to fully naked, as in a magazine pictorial, then you will want to shoot it in reverse order. Put the clothes on instead of taking them off. This may seem bizarre at first, but it is essential to keep the clothing from marking up the models skin. Many girls have very sensitive skin and the clothing like bras and jeans will really leave red marks and slow you down. So shoot without them first. Once you have shot like this a couple times that will become second nature.

I See Trouble

The female body naturally creases in different areas when it is contorted into the wonderful positions we like to put girls in. Learn where these “trouble areas” are and then figure out clever ways to hide them. This is where shooting a naked girl is much more difficult that shooting a clothed girl. One example of this is when you have a girl down on all fours. Shooting her from the side a great shot is have her bottom towards camera slightly, and her face to camera with eyes on you. This is a tricky shot because all girls will get a nasty wrinkle it there waist due to twisting toward camera. If you have the model drop her hand down to her thigh closest to you it will perfectly hide the wrinkle.



All of these steps will put you on the path to better images. As you shoot more models, you will gain experience in what works best, and apply that knowledge to each subsequent shoot. Every model's body is different but most of these techniques will work on just about everyone. The difference is that on some models, a certain pose will look amazing, and on others it will look just awful. That is why this job is endlessly challenging, and wonderfully different every shoot.


(c) 2008 Jay Allan Productions.

May not be reused for any purpose.

Last Updated ( Friday, 10 October 2008 01:13 )