Portrait Photography Tips

Implied nude female model laying in red balloons in photo studio

I often get asked by professional and amatuer models alike what are some tips I can offer them before a shoot. This is also the same list I send anyone that is going to work with me.

 

It amazes me that so many models do not do this already, what amazes me more is that photographers don’t correct them. And without a doubt, every rule is meant to be broken at some point, so think of these as more like guidelines…

(1) ..Every joint should be broke. This is not a die-hard must, but a great rule of thumb to follow; elbows, wrists, knees, neck, waist – nothing should be straight – a small break in the joints looks SOOOO much better. Get in the mirror and practice your poses with this in mind.

(2) ..You hardly ever shoot straight on at the camera. Again, always exceptions, but 90% of the time you want your body slightly angled to the camera, and your head turned back to the photographer. It’s pretty simple, this presents a slimmer profile. Maybe a football player wants to be straight on, so it’s a bigger profile, but other than that…

(3) ..DO NOT Hyper-extend!!! I really can’t recall one good photo where the model had her arms hyper-extended and locked. It just ain’t pretty…

(4) ..Please, oh please, do NOT raise your shoulders! Put a chair in front of a mirror, turn sideways and lean on the chair with one arm. If you see your eyes, your nose, and then your shoulder – trust me, it looks HORRIBLE! Keep your shoulders down. No one wants to see your head sunk down between to lumps. I don’t care how sexy you think your shoulders are – it isn’t a good pose. Necks, and the neck line are beautiful…show it off.

(5) ..Pointed toes makes legs look longer. Don’t curl your toes around a rock – you are not a squirrel or a monkey, don’t cling. Always try and point your feet if you are not standing on them. (And drink lots of water to prevent them from cramping on you)

(6) ..The eyes should always look forward, or close to it. You really want to avoid showing the whites of the eyes by looking out of the corners of them.

(7) ..This is a pretty good one..don’t let the nose, break the plain of the face. The photographer should be able to tell you if you are to much in profile and your nose is standing out on it’s own. LOL

(8) ..Pose the hair! Yep, it’s all about the details! You want a clean shot of the face… Hair on the shoulders is probably the last place you want it, but not always a bad thing.

(9) ..The chin / ears should be pulled forward. Well, yeah, it feels weird, but so does a lot of posing and it really does look better. Don’t over do it!!!

(10) ..Sometimes, you can turn your head all the way across the center axis, and bring your eyes back to the camera. Just don’t overdo it…

 

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