Does the ringing silence scare you while filming? The model does not know where to put her hands and how to stand up, what to do with her face, freezing facial expressions in the spirit of “duck lips” from 2007? Is it scary that a client after a photo session will complain that he could look more presentable (slenderer/bigger/higher/legs longer), and his photos from the shooting are no different from the selfies that he could take himself?
We share the secrets of how to beautifully pose and photograph a model, as well as make sure that the person after shooting is satisfied and feels that he is working with a pro.
How beautiful to put the model
In order for the portrait to turn out to be pleasing to the eye and favorably emphasize the dignity of a person, it is necessary to comply with the conditions: relax the model, choose the most favorable poses and choose a good angle. Let’s break down all three components.
How to relax the model
- Everything starts with a conversation. Strike up a simple, light conversation. Talk about past or upcoming holidays, hobbies. This way you will not only get to know the person and relieve tension, but also get to know the character and preferences better, which will certainly affect what the client expects from the shoot.
- Turn on the music. This will relieve awkward silence, set the mood. You can ask the model ahead of time to create a playlist that she thinks will fit the atmosphere of the shoot, or prepare your own playlist in case the client has no ideas.
In studios, portable speakers are often given, and on the street, if there is no suitable device, even music from the phone will do. Let it be quiet, but it’s better than silence.
- Don’t hide behind the camera. Carry on a dialogue, “get out” from behind the camera so that the model does not have the feeling that she is alone with a soulless silent lens aimed at her.
- If a person finds a good pose, even if you didn’t manage to catch it, mark it and praise it. This way you show the client that he or she is on the right track, inspire confidence in him and at least relieve some anxiety that he or she is doing everything wrong.
- Many are lost in front of the camera — direct your models, boldly suggest how and where to turn the face and body, put a foot and move a hand.
- It happens that from excitement or inexperience, the model’s arms and legs become stiff, which makes them look constrained, tense, pinched. To get rid of this, ask the client to “shake” the limbs — this is the method that removes the clamps used by professional models. Another method is to ask the person to tense their body strongly for a few seconds and then relax.
- The same thing that happens with the legs sometimes happens with the jaw. A person can unconsciously squeeze it, this makes the face tense. In this case, ask the model to slightly open her mouth. Or the simplest exercises for articulation will help — let the client make a “tube” of his lips a couple of times, draw a circle with them clockwise and counterclockwise, puff out his cheeks, move his jaw in different directions. Another way is to engage the model in a conversation. This will help remove the clips and increase the likelihood that you will capture sincere emotions, laughter, natural facial expressions.
- If, on the contrary, you need to tighten the model’s body in order to show the relief of the body in the photo, ask them to do small exercises before shooting and even between shots — stand in the bar, do push-ups, shake the press, squat, etc.
Secrets of posing and angles
- To make the model visually taller and legs longer, photograph from the bottom up, squatting down.
- To make the model appear slimmer, shoot from above. This will make your face appear sharper.
- To make the waist appear thinner, ask the model to put her hands on it so that the thumbs are looking back and the rest are looking forward at the camera. So the hands will hide the volumes, visually making the model narrower.
To show the figure, to highlight the silhouette, backlight, exposed behind or behind and to the side of the model, will help. You can achieve it with a reflector or stripbox. A more budget option is a regular flashlight, which you can buy at any hardware store.
- Ask the model to stand up on her toes to emphasize the relief of the calves, visually make the legs longer and thinner.
- Do not allow the model to fall deep into the chair or lean completely on the chair (unless the idea dictates it). If she sits on the edge, she will be able to straighten up, beautifully position her legs so that they seem longer. Professional models often sit on one hip with their legs elevated so they don’t “flatten” against surfaces.
- Often people throw their head back to the left or right side. This even adds a second chin to a person without excess weight. Follow this, ask to tilt your head in the opposite direction, put it straight.
- Ask the person not to press their hands close to the body, even if they are standing with their arms crossed. This will also make them visually slimmer as they won’t flatten out.
To create a gentle female portrait, it is better to use diffused light. It is provided by softboxes and umbrellas. The main thing to remember is that the larger the size of the nozzle, and the light source itself is closer to the model, the softer and more accurate the light. In general, the brighter the frame and the more diffused the light, the worse minor skin imperfections and wrinkles are visible.
When shooting male portraits, the goal is exactly the opposite — you need to show volumes, muscles. In this case, ask the model to press their hands a little harder to the body. A good pose for demonstrating biceps is arms crossed on the chest, but always tense so that the muscles are in maximum tone.
If you want to emphasize brutality, use hard light. Special nozzles for light will help to create it: a beauty dish with honeycombs, a tube or a reflector.
- If you want the model to touch her face with her hands, or shoot her lying down when she presses her head against some surfaces (own hand, pillow, etc.), make sure that the model barely touches the surfaces or hands. In fact, the head of the model should actually be supported by weight, and not leaning on it. So the face will remain more accurate, without dents from the fingers and compressed, deformed cheeks.
- To achieve a slight “lifting effect”, ask the model to raise her chin or try to stretch her ears up. So the face seems thinner and toned, the neck is stretched, visually lengthening, and the line leading from the chin to the neck becomes smooth and even — this also visually slims and rejuvenates.
In order not to distort the proportions of the face, use portrait lenses. These are lenses whose focal length is equal to or greater than 85mm. For example, Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L, Nikon 85mm f/1.8G, Fujifilm XF 90mm f/2 or Sony FE 85mm f/1.8. Otherwise, the optics can change the proportions so much that even for a model with a small, neat nose, it will take up most of the frame.
- Make sure that your arms and legs do not look directly at the camera — this “chops off” them, shortens them, and makes the picture flat. Professional models work in a parallel camera plane — their arms and legs, as a rule, are directed not to the lens, but to the sides. For example, the classic pose with bent arms near the face. The model’s elbows will be pointing left and right, not forward, towards the photographer.
- If you are shooting the model from the back or in three quarters, pay attention to how the neck looks. Some people have a lot of folds on it that look unaesthetic.
Ask the person not to curl as much, or be prepared to partially remove them in post. The main thing is not to wash everything at all — this is a natural anatomical feature. No need to “break” a person’s neck, just make a couple of folds invisible, thereby smoothing out the feature that will be striking in the photo.
- Often inexperienced models are constantly moving in the frame, falling out of the light spot. For example, because of uncertainty and fear, they try to snuggle up to the background, move away from the light source.
The pros work by standing strictly on one point — this helps the photographer not to shift the light scheme after each frame, following the model. But in real life, especially if the model is inexperienced, she can often move, because she does not understand the specifics of how light works, or she just gets worried.
Ask the studio administrator to give you the largest octobox on the crane (a light stand that allows you to turn the source at any angle and even raise it high above the head of the model) as your light. The larger the nozzle, the softer the light, which will avoid unsightly, harsh shadows, and the wider the area in which the model can move.
Another life hack that will be especially useful if you are working with a hard directional light, where even a couple of centimeters of shift is critical, is to stick a strip of tape on the floor and ask the model not to leave it. But, keep in mind that the client can forget about the request — the photographer still has to follow this.