In order to improve your skills in directing poses, I highly recommend looking for inspiration in a multitude of artistic forms. Whether it is a classic painting or an online fashion blog, keeping an eye out for interesting, bold, and unique poses will influence your model and your ability to direct.
Understanding posing is not easy, and posing itself is not easy either. It depends on hair & makeup, or styling since these things are managed prior to the shoot. Posing takes place in the midst of shooting and this spontaneity and randomness can be hard to control without practice.
Obviously there are various people-photography genres existing that require different approaches for poses. So I thought I will break down the most important for once and actually show corresponding images. These images are worth more than a 1,000 words 🙂
Know the Types and Variety of Poses
Whatever sexy women photography genre you are in, not only do you need to keep the expression of an emotion in mind but you also need to convey this mood while still flattering the woman’s face and figure.
Professional models will easily go with the flow and bring inspiration for poses in a very natural way, but beginners are another story.
Here is where you need to take on the responsibility of posing. Whether it is for portraiture, fashion-like or glamour/nude, each realm requires unique poses. And you should have the skills that enable you to guide your newbie model accordingly. Here are a few basic differences you should understand when directing a model in these niches:
When shooting portraits you have to keep in mind that the positioning of the models figure, well…isn’t that important. Her physique is non-essential when it comes to showing off her beautiful face. So keep it simple since her body and its pose is not the focus of this image.
Of course there are bibles full of advices out there on how to position the upper body and all other tidbits to get the “perfect” shot. Yet for me is important that the model and I create and trigger a certain feeling in the viewer when looking at a final image.
This is where you and your model can flex your creative muscles. Fashion poses can be simple but they can also be wildly dramatic. Generally, they emphasize a specific mood or theme and contributing to these with your poses is important. A combination of complementing the style and form of the subject with a strong composition are keys to this genre. Focus on the overall idea of the shoot, captivating shapes and dynamic images.
Get ideas on combining creative fashion like nude poses here (ebook tip).
Glamour, Implied and Nude
Glamour and nude poses are going to be simple but they have a very specific focus. They rather contribute to a mood or feeling like in fashion posing, but glamour and nude posing is furthermore going to aim at your model’s chest, bottom and a sensual, subtle sexuality. Keep it engaging, but most of all beautifully flattering.
Control the Types and Variety of Poses
Now that you understand that within these different genres of photography you are going to want to utilize different kinds of posing, become familiar with the more detailed side of things. Regardless of what type of shoot it is, keep these important keys to posing in mind:
Thankfully, women’s bodies consist of beautiful natural curves. I look for ways to naturally accentuate these lines and make sure my image has lots of pleasing leading curves throughout. You can create curves by positioning her arms or legs or having her lean in a certain direction. Round, sweeping lines are engaging to look at and our eyes naturally seek them out. So just keep in mind that a woman doesn’t even need to be curvaceous, yet you can still create elegant power curves by directing her into the right pose(s).
The curvature of a woman’s body has a lot to do with this category. If you are looking for the natural curves of her body, you will see that you lose the curve of her waist when her arms are placed straight at her side. This in turn makes her appear heavier and wider because you are unable to see the contours of her body. Creating gaps with legs and arms shows off her curves and has a slenderizing effect as well. Whether skinny or heavy, this rule generally applies because a blob of blended body parts plainly isn’t attractive.
This is one of the most important things to always be looking for while posing. If you are having your model stand in an uncomfortable pose, keep it brief if you can. Not only does it show immediately in her expression and her posture but it can make other poses look unnatural afterwards. Maintain a good flow with your model and be aware of how she is physically dealing with the poses you and her are creating together.
Talking friendly and casual with your model results in getting her feel comfortable.
Read a great guest blog post from JimmyD (the Pretty Girl Shooter) here: “Model Lines” (= make the model feel like she’s the most beautiful, sexy, alluring, captivating woman who ever appeared in front of a camera.)
Start Your Own Cross Referencing
I guess these are the most important facts when diving deeper into “how to improve my directing skills”.
As always with photography, it’s the interaction of vision, planning and acting. I hope this categorized outline helps you to better cross reference the topics.
My Recommendation For Inspiration & In-Depth Knowledge
GLAMOUR, IMPLIED & EXPRESSIONS Bundle
Glamour Posing & Expressions.
Quick Reference Library
Communicate and act professionally and your model will trust you. Get a profound and easy overview on the essential top glamour poses, gestures, expressions and acting you will need to understand to direct your model.
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FASHION, FREEFLOW & CREATIVE POSING Bundle
Creative Posing & Working With Models.
Learn how to expand your vision and build an exciting portfolio. Get inspired by a load of sexy, professionally performed poses that give you a general idea of how emotions, presence and settings for your future stories can be adapted.
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