Posing 101 (part 2)

Posted on September 19, 2011

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Continuing with the posts on posing, this is the second installment. We covered some common problems like crazy eyes, broken joints, and not staying in motion. In this installment, we will cover some basics of standing posing, specifically the types of posing and giving you the ability to look at other people’s poses, and analyse what they are doing.

The first thing to understand in posing is that your shoulder, hip, head, and leg position mean everything. When you look at a pose, this is what matters in a base pose. Look at heights relative to opposite sides (tilts), rotations, and the angles they form. As you learn the base pose, you will work on expression, hand position, and feet positioning.

The first pose is one we all do. You have seen it in family portraits. Everyone is standing straight up, and tall. The arms are usually flat against their sides. This pose is static, not very dynamic, and usually somewhat flat in an image. This is the “I” pose because that is what everyone looks like when doing it. Weight is evenly distributed on both feet and the individuals are leaning back from the camera.

The second pose, an “S” pose, is the most common pose for models to do. It is characterized by the shoulders on one side being lowered, the hips on the same side being raised, and the head being tilted to the opposite side. If you look at the shape of the body, you will see the “S” in the pose. Frequently, with the “S” pose, the model will move their shoulders to face toward the camera or face close to toward the camera. The hips should never be straight on to the camera.

The next pose is a “C” pose. It is the same basic stance as the “S” pose, but the head tilts to the lowered shoulder and raised hip. If you look carefully, the stance forms a “C”. You may see someone sitting on a bench with their feet on the bench, and those are also “C” poses.

Know that you know some of the basic poses, let us talk a little about legs. When doing the “C” or “S” pose, you will find that one leg will always carry your weight, and one will always be an accent leg. The weight bearing leg will almost always be straight and should always be the leg furthest from the camera (there are exceptions, but let the photographer tell you when there is an exception). The accent leg should almost always be bent, and forming a slight to big angle. Your hips should never be straight on or you should not be in profile to the camera (unless the photographer asks for you to post specifically that way). With the exception of your weight bearing leg, if a joint can be bent or twisted, it probably should. This includes your arms and back. Try to avoid those limbs being straight. This brings us to keeping one foot always perpendicular to the camera to give definition of one of your feet. The other can be pointing any direction, but often forms a “T” with the other foot. Frequently you will hear this called a “T” pose because of the orientation of your feet. If you can use the accent foot to point to the camera and lean into the camera with your shoulders and face, you will see the images create a great line on the body and you will slim out your form. Try to avoid leaning away from the camera – most people will scrunch their chin into their chest when they do, creating a double chin look on the neck.

When you lift the accent leg to your knee, the pose is a “figure 4” pose. Again, it is called this because of the shape of the legs. This is one of the poses that some models have doing. If it is a problem, you aren’t wearing the right undergarments when you model. I make the effort to get models to wear short shorts or bathing suit bottoms when they are wearing really short dresses and they don’t want their undergarments to show to me. Remember this when you model – most photographers won’t care what shows to them during a shoot.

Speaking of undergarments, one thing that I find as a pet peeve is when a model wears undergarments that are too small. Make sure you have undergarments that fit properly and aren’t too tight. When in front of a camera, any tightness in clothing will create a line in the clothing that will either need to be edited out, or remains in and looks terrible. In addition, undergarments that don’t fit properly show more than those that do.

To bring this installment to a close, let me cover some of the basics. There are three types of poses that you see people do: C, S, and I poses. The “S” pose is the most often done, and looks the best. The “I” pose looks the worst. When we look at legs and feet, there are a few other poses to add to your knowledge: the “T” pose and “figure 4” pose. Finally, something you will find that most photographers and designers hate is when a model has undergarments that are too small because it leaves lines where they shouldn’t be and shows more than should be showing. If you think something may show that you don’t want to show, take the initiative to wear clothing appropriate for undergarments because most photographers won’t care what shows to them.

Some videos on You Tube that you will find helpful with posing:
Jennifer Olson Posing 101 tips
Posing tips for pictures

The infamous shameless plug at the end: If you are looking for a photographer for portraits, please take a look at XOIND Studios. More information can be found at XOIND Studios web page.

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Posted in: Modeling, Posing