Whether you want to become a professional photographer or model, learning the basics of posing are a must. Proper posing techniques should not only compliment the model’s body, but also be appropriate for the type of portrait and the intended use of the resulting photographs.
During a portrait session, the photographer is expected to have knowledge on proper posing techniques and to lead or direct the model for the poses wanted. While a subject may or may not have a great deal of experience modeling, it is up to the photographer to be able to understand and articulate the poses desired.
When just getting started photographing models, you will experience a great deal of trial and error. Many professional portrait photographers learned their craft through this method, as well as working with established professionals. One technique that has proven highly success for many photographers is to start by emulating the works of other seasoned photographers. While not copying, per se, the idea is to look at how other photographers have tackled similar subjects and learn from their techniques. Many photographers compile a “swipe file” or collection of images they like and study every aspect of the photographs…positioning of the head, what to do with the hands, how are the legs bents, where the toes are pointed, etc..I have found the use of the swipe file to be a highly effective training tool.
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In addition to mastering posting techniques, variety is not only the spice of life, but also of a portfolio. Experimenting with a wide range of poses will give you more opportunities to creating the perfect photograph of your model. One great pose does not work for every model.
There are many books on the topic of model posing, many of which can be found in your local library or readily available online.
Here are some excellent sites on posing techniques: