Expressions, Hands, and Posing

When you watch a model that has some modeling experience under her belt, you’ll notice that they are constantly on the move. After they have been informed about the general theme for the session – they just go – holding only briefly between poses for the shot (2 to 3 seconds), and then moving on for the next pose. They need very little direction.  This is good, and more productive for everyone concerned. The idea is not to rush the session through – but to keep everyone focused and on subject.

In order to do this however, a model needs to have a repertoire of poses, and expressions at her disposal to work from and utilize.  The best way to do this is to practice in front of a mirror!  It might seem weird practicing like this, especially for guys, but girls are actually pretty good at doing this already because a lot of them do this regularly while taking “selfies” to post on Instagram and Facebook!  πŸ™‚

Expressions or Emotions

It’s important for a model to know how to create different expressions to evoke emotion in the photos. Using a mirror, practice different looks and angles of the head to come up with different expressions.

  • Happy
  • Serious
  • Scared
  • Fun (laughing)
  • Flirting / Seductive
  • Broken hearted (sad)

Try variations for each of the expressions too – changing just the eyes, or the mouth, or the tilt and angle of the head, and don’t forget to use your hands to help with conveying emotion.

Hand Positions

  • Under your chin
  • Over your forehead
  • In your hair
  • Moving your hair
  • Touching your shoulder (opposite shoulder as well as the same shoulder)
  • Lightly holding a shirt collar or scarf around the neck
  • Touching your cheek
  • Covering your mouth
  • Behind your head

Keep your hands and fingers “loose” not stiff, you should have the hands and fingers of a ballerina! Combine the use of your hands with your facial expressions to convey different emotions.

Body Poses

If you have a full length mirror, it’s a good idea to practice complete poses as well. When standing, shift your weight from one leg to the other – this naturally rotates and places emphasis on the hips. Try some poses with the feet apart, but your knees together – this also emphasizes the hips and the feminine shape. Turn away from the mirror, and then look back over your shoulder. Dip one of your shoulders. Those are just a few suggestions – pose variations are endless – standing, sitting, and laying down.  If you are looking for posing ideas to try and to emulate, then you needn’t look any further than the internet!  A simple Google Images search for “model poses for fashion photography” will give you enough poses for 10 lifetimes!  Study them, look at the expressions, the hand placements, etc.. (From a photographers perspective – study the lighting used, the overall environment, etc…)

  • Generally speaking, be asymmetrical (each side of your body is posed differently)
  • Turn your head and body so it’s not square on to the camera
  • Don’t always look at the camera – change your expression
  • Keep you arms, hands and fingers fluid and natural
  • If it bends, bend it!

Practicing in front of a mirror will allow you to find out before hand what works, and what doesn’t, plus it will make you more comfortable posing in front of a photographer when you’re at your session!