Posing and Expressions

posing and expressions

You don’t have to be professional model to work on your posing and expressions. Practice makes perfect. Actors act in front of a mirror so as a potential model, get comfortable in front of the camera. Listen to the photographer, director, as they have the knowledge and they know what they are doing.

As a want-to-be-model, here are some useful quick tips and advice:

  • Did you know smiling is a real skill? A professional model needs to be an expert at this
  • Practice in front of mirror and put your lips together and concentrate on your eyes – try and make them come alive
  • Smile without exposing your teeth
  • Then smile showing all your teeth
  • Always avoid a lifeless look, use your lips, eyes, facial expression to get across a message
  • Practice makes perfect. Get help from your friends and see if they can work out what pose/expression you are trying to achieve
  • More importantly, allow the client, agency and photographer to guide you. It is essential to listen and learn from them
  • When posing, always get in front of a full-length mirror. Yoga, dancing and gym workouts can assist you in posing
  • Your body is your tool to convey a message, move well in front of the camera
  • As a model you will be involved with products so get practice with props, products and a varied wardrobe. Remember, the product needs to brought to attention in front of the camera

Rule one, the mirror is your BFF.

Stand there, perfect your poses and learn how your body shapes. The mirror is a perfect tool to show you what the camera can see – try to imagine it behind your photographers head when shooting and always consider what can be seen from that angle. For example,  if you lean forward towards the photographer your head will be  the closest to the lens,  so it is worth remembering that your head  is going to be the largest thing in the picture

Create separation between your arms and legs from your body

Not only does it prevent the arm/leg from being squashed against you spreading out any fat, it is also an optical illusion for a slimmer appearance in terms of overall width and will give the impression of longer arms and legs at the same time. . A basic cheat that makes a massive difference.

If you want to appear slimmer you can create a ‘false waist’. You can do this by positioning yourself to camera, then creating the waist you want seen with the positioning of your hands on your ‘hips’. Allowing your knees to cross slightly will emphasize that ‘S’ figure with it.

Posing and expressions

Play with what is available

 If you are wearing a flowing dress, play with it by tossing it into the air or working the movement in the bottom. Remember if you are wearing trousers then your legs don’t need to be so clamped together.

Have a basic understanding of light

For example, if you raise an arm to the light, it could be a whole F-stop brighter in camera than your face (being the object closest to the source of light according to the inverse square law). It will also cast a shadow across you. You can counteract this by using your other arm (!)…or, move your arm a fraction backwards, away from the direct beam of light. Learning how lighting falls is invaluable. Ask which is your key light and then work towards it.

Posing and expressions

Recognize when your eyes are over-rotating.

It is always advisable to follow the line of your nose to keep your sight central. If you will tun your head to the right, you should try and keep your eyes in that direction as well.  This stops you from looking bog eyed from too much white of the eye showing.

Posing and expressions

Elongate your neck

Elongate your neck to simulate height and poise. Possibly one of the hardest things to remember because it genuinely feels unnatural. Stand in front of the mirror and look at yourself…stand normally, then roll your shoulders back allowing your face to come forward…notice the difference in the width of your neck? An instant slimming trick.

Go one step further by popping your jaw towards camera if you want a strong line created by the shadow.


Posing and expressions


You should have knowledge of what you are wearing and why. If you have been hired to sell a specific product, make sure you are pulling poses that are commercially complimentary and not hiding the product.

Own a ‘modelling kit’ and take it on all shoots.

These are the things you will need, but may not be directly mentioned in pre-shoot communications. They are; outdoor/studio shoes, nude/black underwear, face wipes, moisturiser/oil for your legs, a plain vest top, safety pins/clamps, a straw for drinks (as not to ruin your lipstick), your own water with a sugary snack to keep you going (your shoot location may be far away from shops), spare stockings for lingerie shoots….and also hairspray, a top up lipstick, hair grips, brush and eyelash glue (in case the MUA can’t stay). If you have been booked for a specific job such as bridal, it is also well received if you bring appropriate accessories i.e. a pretend wedding ring.

Be honest about your size and measurements.

Nobody minds how tall or small, big or slim you are…but they do need to know in advance for obvious reasons. You may be sent home unpaid if you have exaggerated the truth and wasted time by not fitting the casting criteria. Save yourself and others the embarrassment.

Most of all  be fun, easy going and willing to go that extra mile! If you are genuinely a delight to be around, you are 100% more likely to be rebooked.

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