Working With Models - How to interact, pose, direct ?

thekidwho

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Hi there!

I'm a 19 year old photographer and I want to start working with models as I move into more professional stuff. However, my biggest struggle is posing people. Even with my friends, who model for me all the time, I struggle with telling them how to pose and what to do. And this struggle makes me feel somewhat unconfident when it comes to interacting with the model. Sometimes I even have to resort to showing them a picture of what I want them to do, which for me feels like cheating since it then becomes less original. So, I was wondering if you all had any tips or tricks for posing that you could share? Also I've been trying to find videos of photographers working with models, but I can't seem to find too many. So if any of you know any good videos of that sort that you could share, I would greatly appreciate it! I find it really useful to watch professional photographers working with models because it really shows me how I should be interacting and what good interaction is like. Thanks in advance for all your help!
 
This is perhaps my all-time favorite instructional video on how to interact with models!!! Enjoy, and pay close attention to his subtle techniques.



I hope this helps. I know it's old, and when this was made you were probably about three years old, so it MIGHT be considered kind of out of date. ;-)
 
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Everything I wanted to know about working with models... no need to start my own thread now. :lmao:
 
Maybe there are some resources in your area - a camera club, art center, community center, etc. where you could connect with other artists/photographers. I'm thinking someone might be willing to let you sit in on some sessions to learn techniques they use so you could figure out which might work best for you.
 
Camera clubs and workshops are great resources if you have access to them. Another one is Creative Live. They regularly present seminars taught by top photographers and posing is an oft-discussed topic. It's a bit of a pain in that you can only watch the seminars without charge if you can watch them during the live or re-run broadcast, but many of them are well worth the ~$100 price-tag.
 
If you work with proper models, you won't need to tell them how to pose.

Pro models are exactly that, pros. They don't require direction. You may need to say to them, I want you to stand here and do XYZ, but they already know how to pose properly.

If you work with girls who are not pros. It's good to look in to magazines at how models are posing in adverts/fashion shoots to get some ideas on what poses work well.
 
Welcome to the forum.

Sometimes I even have to resort to showing them a picture of what I want them to do, which for me feels like cheating since it then becomes less original.
You need to change that train of thought and realize that pretty much every pose, every angle, and almost anything else...has been done before. But they may not have been done by you and with that specific model...so it will be original in it's own way. And really, the posing is only one part of creating a portrait photograph, exposure and lighting are just as or more important.

It has been common practice, for many years, to get example shots to guide or inspire photographers. They used to be called tear sheets, because they were basically just pages torn out of magazines. Now, you could just save photos from the internet and print them (or display them on a phone or tablet).

There are even posing guides...which are just a bunch of example photos. Lookbook | Photographer's Tool Kit

You are young, so don't feel bad about replicating or finding inspiration from what others have done before you. As with most things, it's best to learn the rules...before you break them. So I really do encourage you to 'think outside the box' and try for new and unique things...but you'll do better, in the long run, if you acquire some strong fundamentals first.

Here is a great place to start. Zeltsman Apporach to Traditionla Classic Portraiture
 
If you work with proper models, you won't need to tell them how to pose.

Pro models are exactly that, pros. They don't require direction. You may need to say to them, I want you to stand here and do XYZ, but they already know how to pose properly.

If you work with girls who are not pros. It's good to look in to magazines at how models are posing in adverts/fashion shoots to get some ideas on what poses work well.
Good (sometimes professional) models are often very good as posing...but that doesn't mean that they know what you're trying to accomplish....or what the client or creative director wants. A good model can often work without direction...but a good model should also be able to take direction well.
 
If you work with proper models, you won't need to tell them how to pose.

Pro models are exactly that, pros. They don't require direction. You may need to say to them, I want you to stand here and do XYZ, but they already know how to pose properly.

If you work with girls who are not pros. It's good to look in to magazines at how models are posing in adverts/fashion shoots to get some ideas on what poses work well.


Thats a new one on me, going by what you say all the top fashion photographers should have the same shots :er: Richard Avedon's photos where nothing like David Bailey's
 
You have to learn how to pose. This means books, videos, workshops and webinars. You have to learn the principles and the methods. Posing is a skill and an art, and it can set you apart. But you need a foundation on which to build.
 
If you work with proper models, you won't need to tell them how to pose.

Pro models are exactly that, pros. They don't require direction. You may need to say to them, I want you to stand here and do XYZ, but they already know how to pose properly.

If you work with girls who are not pros. It's good to look in to magazines at how models are posing in adverts/fashion shoots to get some ideas on what poses work well.


Thats a new one on me, going by what you say all the top fashion photographers should have the same shots :er: Richard Avedon's photos where nothing like David Bailey's

Baby steps. If you spend a few shoots (or many shoots) copying poses, but you learn to nail down things like lighting, you've already gotten pretty far.

Plus you'll learn to build up. Your first poses may be copies, but after enough shoots you'll start naturally learning how to post people

Lastly, don't underestimate the value of just taking time for a coffee before hand. One of the things you may not realize is human beings are prewired to tell what's fake and what's real. To really get a picture to speak., you'll want to have a picture of a genuine smile -- not a "CHEESE" smile. To get this, you have to build rapport with models, and get them to smile for real. Which means spending time getting them comfortable with you as a photographer. If you do poses that are a little more uncomfortable for the models (like nudity or even just bikini) this is even more important.
 
If you work with proper models, you won't need to tell them how to pose.

Pro models are exactly that, pros. They don't require direction. You may need to say to them, I want you to stand here and do XYZ, but they already know how to pose properly.

If you work with girls who are not pros. It's good to look in to magazines at how models are posing in adverts/fashion shoots to get some ideas on what poses work well.


Thats a new one on me, going by what you say all the top fashion photographers should have the same shots :er: Richard Avedon's photos where nothing like David Bailey's

What are you talking about ?

Where did I say, copy exactly what has been done before?

or

Where did i say that pro models know how to pose, but they all use the same poses?

I think you may have misinterpreted what I was saying.

Professional models flow, they have a natural ability to pose and to give the photographer what he/she needs. The do not need to be told exactly where to place every extremity of their bodies.
 
Sometimes I even have to resort to showing them a picture of what I want them to do, which for me feels like cheating since it then becomes less original.
Don't worry about the originality of a pose.
Because, there are no original poses.
Every pose possible has been done repeatedly over the couple thousand year history of the visual arts. Especially the bad ones.

I suspect you could benefit from learning more about the fundamentals of posing.
Posing Techniques for Photographing Model Portfolios
Master Posing Guide for Portrait Photographers: A Complete Guide to Posing Singles, Couples, and Groups
Doug Box's Guide to Posing for Portrait Photographers
Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs (Voices That Matter)
 
Professional models flow, they have a natural ability to pose and to give the photographer what he/she needs. The do not need to be told exactly where to place every extremity of their bodies.

Speaking of which, thekidwho, if you really do hire a professional model, be ready to take pictures as they come, which can mean fairly quickly.

If a pro model gets to moving from pose-to-pose without much time in between, then she is used to shooting many shots fairly quickly, and you need to be ready, or you're wasting your money.

Your camera and your lights need to cycle quickly or you'll start missing shots.
 
...Where did I say, copy exactly what has been done before?

or

Where did i say that pro models know how to pose, but they all use the same poses?

I think you may have misinterpreted what I was saying.

Professional models flow, they have a natural ability to pose and to give the photographer what he/she needs. The do not need to be told exactly where to place every extremity of their bodies.
I have to agree with Gary; the tone of your post implies that professional models just show up and pose without direction. What professional models are best at is taking direction, and can often bring their experience into play to assist with suggestions. With respect to the issue of pictures, this is definitely NOT cheating, especially when working with less experienced models. I have several 'posing guides' on my iPad, and I will often use them to convey the general idea of what I want to the model, and then fine-tune the pose with verbal direction.

Things to remember are: Look at and talk TO the model. Don't mumble from behind your camera. Be definite and clear about what you want. "Move your leg" is NOT direction. "Can you place your right foot just behind your left and then lean back slightly" is. Be polite and professional, and don't touch the models without asking first.
 

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