Female Fashion Posing Guidelines
So we're going to talk about photographing for fashion photography. Here's the thing. In fashion, there aren't any rules. In fashion, there are no rules for lighting. You do whatever you want. If it looks like it's on purpose, you're good. For concept and for posing, I mean, you've seen the shots where the girl is like, slouched in the corner and like, it's a terrible pose, but it's expressing despair or whatever. Okay, so there aren't any rules in fashion. However, I'm gonna teach you my fashion rules, 'cause I have my fashion posing. And there are some distinctive differences. So the number one thing that I definitely want to encourage you to keep in mind is really, for sure, number one, you're posing to communicate the shoot's mood. So the way that you pose the subject becomes far more important than any of the other posing that we've done. 'Cause all the other posing we've done is just to flatter your subject. Okay, well this instead is not only to make the clothes look good, but t...
o also further your mood. So if you want something dark and creepy, you could have the person just stare straight at the camera. That's fine. Or, if you want it to be able sensuality and seduction, you could do a whole lot of curves. Or, if you want it to be about graphic shapes and patterns, you could do big negative space and movement. You could have the dress flying in the air, whatever it may be. So there aren't any rules, but if you were going for something quiet and subtle and creepy, you wouldn't be doing this. It just, it doesn't work together. And I would say, when I critique a lot of people's fashion work, that's something that I critique, is, okay, maybe the light was good and the environment was great, but that pose doesn't fit. You look like you just wanted to do a fashion pose, which people perceive as maybe over the top, so they did that, and then it was too much. 'Cause there was pose and the light and the hair and makeup and the location. So just make sure you keep that in mind. It's communicating something about the entire story. Number two, my style, is triangles and negative space. I mean, okay, I'm not gonna lie, it's easier to have negative space with really skinny girls. There's negative space built in. But, that being said, when I'm posing for my style personally, I have a lot of triangles and negative space, and that's kind of what it's all about. I do have curves sometimes, but it tends to be more about graphic posing for me, versus curvy posing. It tends to be more graphic for my style. That's me personally. So we'll take a look at that. I am going to direct the model somewhat, but then I am also going to have her do a few poses and I would tell you, okay, when she does that, here's what I don't like, so when I would be shooting, what I would direct to change. Sometimes, I'll have girls that have been shooting for four, five, six years, and they're great, and I basically just say, here's the mood we're going for. I show them something called a mood board. A mood board is a series of images that express the theme or feel of the shoot. When I show a mood board to a model, that's how I'm saying, this is the feel we're going for. So then I can give them an idea of what to pose for and I direct them. Sometimes they can just go and that's it. And then other times I have new faces that might have done two shoots before. And they have no idea what to do. So in fashion, it's not as easy as people think, by far. Especially if they look great here, you need everything else to look great for the fashion shoot to be successful. One thing that is constant is elongating the neck and making them look taller. There's, I mean I don't know of hardly any fashion shots where the model is made to look shorter. If you look, they're all impossibly tall looking. Some of them are in fact impossibly tall. That's true. But it's camera angle and the way that they have been posed, the way that they pull down their shoulders, elongate their neck, pull up through the top of the head, pull up through the core, all of that makes them look impossibly tall. I mean you get a lot taller than if you're just standing here normally. So that is something I'm watching for. And the neck is even long when you have a shoulder up. You can still always see the neck. It's never like this. I see that in people trying to be edgy, like trying to build their fashion portfolio. You don't see that in high-end fashion. Always elongating everything. Number four is fashion photography is where you see the most potential for movement in poses. And I use a lot of movement in my poses. I had a critique recently by an agency that I hired to take a look at my portfolio, and they said that was something that was strong. Even if the model's not caught mid-action, there is a feeling of movement. It has energy to it, it has a direction. So I'm actually gonna give you a couple tips in a second on if you actually did want to involve some movement. And then, of course, elegant and well-posed hands. Hands are like, almost always purposely posed in fashion. Sometimes you can get away with palm because it's clear that they were trying to do that. So fashion, like I said, you're kinda breaking the rules. Sometimes you can get away with that. Same way sometimes you can get away with this. But the hands are definitely elegant and well-posed and contributing to that mood that you're trying to establish. So I'm going to bounce around here. So that would be like my top five tips. The first one that I did wanna talk about was considering movement, just 'cause I probably will have her move about a lot. A couple tips for if you want to pose your subject with movement. Tip number one is don't just have them move a lot, because then you can't tweak and make it better if you're just letting them move. If I find something I like, it's close. I'll have them repeat that movement over and over again, each time saying, okay, again, with your chin a little bit to the right, again, a little bit longer. And so, for example, I'm gonna be the model right now. When you see in Harper's Bazaar or Vogue or whatever, all those shots where the model, they're jumping and their back foot's just barely off the ground, you see it a billion times, they're not always just going, they're not moving across, that doesn't happen. A lot of times what they are doing is literally this, ready? It's just the same movement. I'll say, longer neck. Okay, hand to your face. Like, and then you can just make tweaks, versus if you have someone jumping around, you can't, everything's changing. And then of course your composition changes. So same thing is true in all of my dress floofy shots. The ones where the dress is flying? This one made a huge difference for me. I don't just have the model throw the dress and look at the camera. You know what I mean? I don't have them twirl and look at the camera. Instead, what I do is, I'm gonna pretend this is my camera, I tell the model exactly what pose I want her to end in. So let's say, for example, I want this. Whatever. Leaning out, soft hands. Okay, so to get the dress to floof, I could do, for example, pick up the dress and kick it out. And the reason I'm telling this is I'm telling her where to feel at the end of that pose. At the end, when I click, you're gonna lock to that pose. And so it's back and forth. Pick up the dress, kick it. Versus like, you know what I mean? It's repeated action 'cause then I can actually tweak it. But more important is, the twirl? I'll say okay, let's say that I want you here. Hand up here, okay? If I want this dress floofing, what I do is I'll wind up their body. So maybe it's here, I'm going like this. I'll wind up the body behind, and then I'll say, and snap to the pose. And snap to the pose. Because how are you gonna get that if they're You'll never get the position. So I'm pose them exactly how I want it to feel, and then I add motion to it. And you'll see the motion I the hair. You'll see the motion in the dress. So a lot of times it doesn't mean that the dress is floofing up in all different directions. It might just be like, a little bit of fabric. Or a little bit in the hair. But it makes a difference, because it's what infuses that feeling of energy. Instead of being a pose it's a moment in time that you were able to capture just because of those little movements. So in the very beginning of this class, well, at the very very beginning, I did some of my contact sheets. And if you go back and look at that, one of them was on red, red on red. And if you noticed, there were two poses that were very very similar. And one of them, I didn't like her hand, and the other hand looked a little bit I was having her do this. Pick up the dress. And just changing it, just a little bit each time. But it was fundamentally the same pose and I'd say, great, elbow back a little bit, again. Softer hand, again. So that would be my tip, is for fashion, it's not just, next pose, next pose, next pose, twirl. It's, I mean it's precise. So if you wanna add movement, take more control, tell them what you want that pose to feel like at the end.
Do you also shoot those in continuous mode?
No, so, good question. Me personally, I don't shoot that in continuous mode. I usually try to click like, at that exact moment when I want it. That being said, when I've photographed dancers, maybe I would do more continuous if it's natural light. I do have really great studio strobes, but I find that me just clicking on continuous, it's often the in-between, I missed it. And so I'd rather try to just make that educated guess. And then also, I become more aware of timing. I can kinda get an idea so I can actually click more accurately than multiple pulses. Okay, cool. And you can ask questions. Iris, can we move the light?
One question from Adrian Farr in England. If shooting an editorial fashion story, is it better to have all the poses similar throughout he series, or can you mix the poses up as long as there's still an element of consistency?
You can mix the poses up if there's consistency, but it needs to be communicating the same thing. So if it's sexy in some shots, it should be somewhat alluring and sexy in all of them. Even if it's a closeup, it's a little bit sexy with the eyes or sexy with the fingers. I mean I can communicate that even just in like, you know, you can have one fashion look where it's really aggressive, or like, sexy. It's just in body language. So I, when I shoot, I don't even always pick, quote unquote, the best pose in my final edit. What I'm picking is how they lay out in a story. So even if I love this pose for the one model, but if she did it for three looks, I've gotta pick a different pose. So the layout actually makes a difference for me, in the end, which is a little bit different than in most traditional portraiture.