What makes a moody, sexy nude photograph? The look! Here I will give you my model’s insider view on how to master the art of facial expressions and gestures.
When we think about nude or glamour photography one of the last things that come to mind is facial expressions. We think of the model’s figure and not about the look on her face…or do we? As a successful model I have realized that body language, gestures and facial expressions are like a secret weapon.
That is the difficult part however, as a model or a photographer… how to produce those “natural” looks when you are “faking it”. Well I am here today to give you some insider modeling tips on how to master your expressions as a model and how to get the looks you desire as a photographer.
Facial Expressions in Nude Modeling
To start off with I think it is important to realize that in nude and glamour modeling, your facial expressions are vital to an effective image. The nature of nude and glamour images makes them naturally attention grabbing, vivid, and alluring. Since you have a particularly captive audience, don’t take advantage of that benefit by boring the viewer or the photographer with the same looks over and over again.
Mood is an especially important element in this niche of photography and your facial expression is one of the most effective tools you have at creating this. Personally, I would say it is the most effective. Looking at an image of a sexy woman who has the look of a dead fish, is off-putting and no matter how beautiful the composition is, it’s the simple glint in her eye that delivers the mood.
When we flirt in a social gathering, nearly all of the queues we give to the other interested party are nonverbal. There is a special advantage to working in nude and glamour photography, in that you are able to use these body language secrets to communicate with the viewer a multitude of messages.
Now that we understand the importance of a models facial expressions we should move on to the actually doing aspect. We emote thousands of times a day, without knowing it. Whether it be while we are alone in front of the TV or in a big circle of friends. We do it so often, we rarely think about it. Therefor being able to control your expressions can be quite difficult.
- Practice, practice, practice.
Like any other craft, modeling takes a lot of time and effort. Some models find it easier and some find it harder. Having a background in acting defiantly gives you an edge in the gesturing and expressing department. I even recommend if you feel you are having a really hard time in this, pick up an acting 101 book or take a free class.
- The mirror debate
I hear both sides of this argument all the time and I think both are valid so I will present both sides. A lot of models will say the only way to really get muscle control and good at your expressions is by practicing in a mirror. I certainly have done this, but didn’t do it as frequently as I have heard suggested (20-30 minutes a day!) The other side of this argument is that if you have to look at your face in order to express an emotion than you will never truly be able to do so when you are modeling in the photo studio. There are no mirrors! You need to be able to it without seeing your reflection. This moves us on to my personal modeling tip for mastering facial expressions.
That’s it. It seems silly but it really works. If my photographer asks me to look pensive, then I think about the times I didn’t study for an exam I had the next day. Or if I am requested to look joyful, I think about cuddling my kitty. You have to start with those true feelings and then go with it. Either express more or less, just listen and communicate with your photographer.
Don’t Be a One Trick Pony!
Happy, sad, creepy, awkward, sexy, soft, fierce, tempting, erotic, scornful, coy, cheeky, sweet, nonchalant, curious, dreamy, shy, and I could on and on and on.
These are just a few of the emotions you are going to need to understand. Nobody expects you to always be able to nail some of the weirder less common expressions, but you should always at least know what they mean and how they look. A good trick that I did starting out was watching movies on mute, that way I could watch the actresses’ faces without being distracted and see how different emotions are expressed.
It isn’t just about the muscles in your face either. Being able to place your hands in flattering ways near your face adds for even more versatility. You can work on different combinations of hands with expressions to see which work and which to do not. Don’t be scared to do something bold, the photographer will appreciate your attempt at something creative rather than safe.
The Photographer’s RoleOf course, the model is the person in charge of bringing the human emotion to the shoot, but the photographer is vital as well. They are not just machines clicking away, they need to provide input, support and their own emotions as well.
Talking is a great way to create an actual emotion. If a photographer makes me laugh and then takes my picture, those images always turn out great because it was a sincere feeling. The more comfortable a model feels with the photographer, the easier it will be for her to open up and give great looks.
Music. Now, I know some photographers and models prefer quiet but I am a firm believer that music can really let a model relax and have fun. I know some of my first shoots where really scary and intimidating until the photographer put on some dance music. It really can transform the mood.
The Look is Everything
The subtle movements of our faces are subconscious for the most part. When I am feeling sexy, I don’t really think of raising my eyebrow…I just do it. In order to have an edge in any form of modeling, but especially nude and glamour you have to make a special effort to notice. Notice the wide ranges of human expression and also notice the little details you can add to add spice and boldness to your looks.
Putting in the time will in turn allow you to be able to master any look. Photo shoots are fun experiments in facial expression and less nerve racking because you know you can deliver the goods. Being bold, being aware, and communicating with your photographer are what will give you a special edge and allow your career in nude and glamour photography to skyrocket.
Photography is about communicating a message to the audience, whether it is a scene of tranquil peacefulness or a sexy pinup giving the camera a knowing wink. In photography and just in plain old life we use our facial expressions to tell others around us how we feel.
Facial Expressions for Nude Photography
"Expressions" does not only imply facial mimics but also hands and specific gestures that play a pretty important role. Know the power and subtlety of expressions and direct your model to create the desired moods and emotions.
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