One of the things that I always see as an eye opener for people struggling with getting forward in Photography is pointing out what you can achieve with lights only. And to be honest that’s not that much. Yes you can make stunning images with great light, you can light models in a way that other people maybe aren’t able to pull off, but in the end for me that doesn’t make the shot. For me a good shot is carried not only by technique but also by pose, expression and of course technique but technique to be honest is just a small part of the total package.

To experiment a bit with this topic I asked Stephanie to work with me during a very quick photoshoot and just only concentrate on poses, so we used a very simple light setup (one light) and let Stephanie really be the center point of attention with her poses, and of course we also played a bit with some of her clothing like for example the shoes, just to create a fashion image you normally don’t see. As you can see in this series it’s very easy to shoot a model just standing there, but it becomes increasingly harder to find the curves, poses etc. that fit the model. This is also why I always strongly believe in the fact that if you pay a model because she is better than the models you normally shoot on TFP (Time For Print) you will get a lot better in your photography, they can teach you so very much just by showing you the poses, and you can build from there.

In this pose I just loved the way Stephanie is all stretched (almost planked) but the pose is completed by her just tilting up her toes, this for me makes the images complete, would the toes be just pointing down the image would have failed.

Same goes for this image, although I love the angled pose, the image (again) is completed by the way the feet are working the pose, watch the foot in the back, it’s not on the floor but it’s slightly angled, this gives the images it’s power and “realness”.

I’ve already talked about motion, and here you can see a fine example of that, however by keeping her feet on the floor the motion effect has a “weird” effect on the viewer which for me works very well.

And maybe you already noticed it, but feet are very important in a pose, and they can in all honestly brake or make a shot. For example when you want a model to look longer make sure that the she extends her toes, this will make her leg look much longer. Unless you want something else…..

And of course you don’t need to stand up for something like this to work. But always remember to find the angles and the right lens, in this case a medium tele lens gave me just the right “distortion” that made the foot a bit bigger, combine that with the right angle and you have a very nice angle and a nice play with triangles in the pose.
The fact that Stephanie did NOT extend her toes works in this case due to the kind of shoes she is wearing.

Adding a little bit of expression can also work wonders, in this case we did not aim for the perfect fashion shot, but we wanted something off beat, weird, funny or different, and with a model like Stephanie… well that’s not hard.

Also always try to find angles in the body of the model, I sometimes call them S-curves, but in essence I just love the more rounded shapes.

As you can see in these examples you can play with poses for a long time and never get bored, try this in your own studio or on location. To be honest I’ve been asked a lot about the so called “posing guides” and to be totally honest I don’t believe in them, every model is different, every location or accessories or clothing piece demands a different approach, please don’t be forced into a certain pose because you liked it on paper in a booklet. The best way to learn is I think to experiment, look a lot at fashion magazines and pick out the images you love, that jump out at you and try to figure out what makes them special and I think that in 90% of the cases it’s not the light but it’s the styling, the pose etc. and I think when you really look it’s often a combination of all those factors that make an image rock.


One more from this session by the way, nothing special, but I love the image for the expression and pose, it’s subtle but still shows a lot of power for me.
 I would like to add that all these opinions are my own, especially with this kind of topics there is no real truth, it’s all in the mind/vision and imagination of the photographer/model every one will do is different, sometimes slightly sometimes totally different. These posts are only there to maybe inspire you or push you somewhere you might have not gone yourself.

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5 replies
  1. Delmarkj
    Delmarkj says:

    I looked at all of your lessons on Kelby Training.. I’ve learned so much, thank you…..

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