If you are just starting on your portfolio, I recommend getting the 3 basic shots as soon as possible.
– Editorial Fashion Images
– Full Body Swimsuit Images
– Head Shots
The following discusses posing for these shots. If you haven’t read it already, please see my Wardrobe Page for a discussion on what to wear for these shots.
The important thing for Fashion shots to work is to remember the fashion is the focus and not the model nor the background. These are the most challenging shots for me as well as the most rewarding when I capture one I like. The good ones tend to occur more by happenstance instead of any precise plan on my part. Generally I have difficulty posing a model standing up. I know it seems simple enough, but it’s not. Therefore I tend to take a lot of captures of models seated. When sitting down it is easier to create interesting angles with legs and arms. And even though chairs work, I prefer to have the model sitting on stairs or a wall where the background adds some interest without becoming overbearing. See the first Imani image below (Imani #1).
One of my favorite poses has really more to do with the upward shooting angle than the pose. In the images below of Imani (#2) and Danielle, you’ll notice this upward angle with a foot or shoe prominent in the foreground. All I can say is the global shoe market is approaching $200 billion annually, so I guess we all like to look at shoes.
Standing poses work well when the model is leaning on a wall (Daphney) or has her hands on her hips (Lizbeth). In almost every case, the model should have her weight shifted to one foot or the other and not just standing straight up like a soldier. I also like the pose where one knee is leaning inward (Stephanie).
I have experimented with all kinds but I have found 5 poses that I like for Swimwear. Two standing and three lying down. There are slight variations of all of these. My style is to shoot a lot of pictures from different angles and sort it out during editing.
1. The classic standing front-on swimsuit pose. If you’re not familiar with this pose, please watch this short YouTube clip.
The image below of Dainelys is a perfect illustration of this classic pose executed to perfection.
You can vary the look by making slight or even drastic changes with the positions of your legs and arms as shown in the images below of Ghetty and Stephanie. Another variation is to crop the shot above the knees as shown in the image below of Valene.
2. The angled rear view pose. I find this pose and angle can be flattering for a model with a less developed bust, as the bust is really not in the picture. When there is a railing to lean on as shown in the images below, it creates a very natural and relaxed look. Both elements which make for good captures.
3. Lying on the side with top knee extended fully down and the top arm behind. This pose is extremely well suited for showing off the female curves, especially if she has less pronounced curves in her backside. I normally shoot this straight-on while lying flat, so I’m at the same level as the model. Examples are shown in the images below of Dainelys.
Variations include the model lying on a bench as shown shown in the image below of Cristin.
Another is to shoot from an angle more towards the head as shown in the image below of Cristin. Often this angle can be more flattering than the straight-on shots.
4. Lying with hip raised facing forward. This very flattering feminine pose is actually my #1 favorite for a true Glamour shot. I think what makes this pose work so well is because it’s sort of like a close-up head shot with the model’s shapely rear end in the background. As you can see in the samples below, I’ve taken a great deal of time during editing to make the model’s face and eyes really POP, just as I would in a Head Shot. Depending on the model’s sense of modesty (and age), a molded bikini bottom or thong works best.
(A model that’s comfortable with her own body might even try this pose without a bottom, but such an image would not be appropriate for a beginning portfolio. As an interesting side note, I have shot the same model on the same day from the same angle, with and without a thong in this pose, and the capture with the thong looks better.)
If age appropriate, I often shoot this pose with the model appearing to be topless, even though this partial nudity is usually just implied. This can be accomplished by bringing the back portion of the bikini top around to the model’s front in such a matter that she is lying on it. See the images below of Mandy and Meka. In fact, Mandy was actually wearing a one piece suit, but we got creative to get the shot.
I normally shoot this pose lying down at the models level. If the model has less pronounced curves in her backside, I will shoot from a slightly elevated position as shown in the images below of Dainelys and Stephanie.
5. Shot from rear looking in the same general direction the model is looking. To me this pose seems to only work well at the beach and even though I live in Florida, I seldom if ever get to the beach to shoot. Without the beach this pose, which puts the models backside in the foreground seems somewhat voyeuristic. However, looking at the ocean is a very natural tendency and therefore makes this pose seem quite natural.
I have seen this pose done at various different angles, including some that don’t even show the models face at all. The angled view as shown in the image below solves this problem.
Practice. Practice. Practice. It is imperative that you practice your poses and your different facial expressions in front of a mirror. You can obtain a cheap full length mirror from someplace like Target, K-Mart or Walmart for very little. According to Target’s web site, they carry a 13.5″ x 49.5″ one for just $5.99 in their stores. At this price, you might want to get more than one and put them in a corner so you can see more of yourself.
And remember, practice really does make perfect.