Becoming a good model and learning how to look you best in front of the camera can be a long process for most of us. Coming up with a range of poses and facial expressions that come across well on camera takes time and practise, so I thought I'd pass on a few things I've learned from my time on both sides of the camera. These tips are mostly geared towards female models, because hey, I'm female myself, but some would be useful for the guys as well. In fact, they're all good for guys, just try to make them less effete.
So without further ado, here are some simple pointers and ideas you can use to look more at home in front of the camera.
Throw out your hip.
When written like that it sounds like something grandma did last year. But if you thrust one hip out to the side and thus shift your centre of balance, it gives a much more pleasing, curvaceous shape to you body. Obviously you need to do more to make a great pose, but throwing out the hip is a very good place to start.
Pay attention to your hands.
Often times a sign that betrays a newbie model in a photograph is awkward hand positions. Practise things to do with your hands, lots of things. Practise how to flare your fingers in a natural seeming way, how to hold your hand near your face and the most important one - learn how to hold your hand straight by your side without looking like a wooden soldier. I won't say that learning how to pose your hands well is easy, because for some people it isn't, but being able to make your hands look natural even in the most weirdly contorted positions can make a great difference to how a photo turns out.
That hand position, for the record, feel extremely odd. But it doesn't look it. Hand posing is one area where it's really important to have confidence in what your photographer is telling you to do, because if it feels weird we think it looks weird, but that really is not the case a lot of the time.
Tilt you head.
When moving your head around, don't just give the photographer your left side, right side, front on. Try tilting your chin down, turning your head to the left but then cocking your head back to the right. Tilting your head rather than simply turning it from side to side can give a whole range of different subtleties to a shot. With this tip, it's also important to remember not to tilt your head to an extreme angle, because that can look rather silly. Practise in front of the mirror to find out what head tilts make you look cute, sexy, dark, high fashion, whatever.
Loosen it up a bit.
Relax. Really. It makes a big difference. One particular failing of mine as a model is that I tend to make my legs too rigid and in shots where my knees are bare that can make them look pretty ugly. How to fix that? Whenever I notice I'm tensing up and getting really locked into a pose I make myself relax. I bend my knees slightly and take a couple of big breaths. This is also really important to remember for facial expressions. Blink between shots, and drop whatever expression you are holding and resume it in time for the next shot. We all know how terrible a held smile can look, but holding any expression so long it goes wooden looks bad.
Know what you need.
Now this tip is a bit vaguer. Know what you need in a shoot to make you pose the best. Sometimes it may be handy to have some pose references on your phone to take a look at, maybe you like to check out the photos on the camera as you're shooting or perhaps getting very specific direction from a photographer helps you. Have a chat to your photographer before the shoot and explain that you need to check you phone poses, want to see the photos regularly, would like lots of direction, whatever.
So. There are five ways to easily improve your modelling skills. No go forth and model for awesome photographs!
All photos in this post were taken by my lovely James man, and you can see more of both our work over on our facebook page. My make-up and hair in the top photo were by Amy.