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Posing Tips From the Neck Down

While some women can pose with ease, most will benefit from reading my list of posing tips from the neck down. It’s easy to assume a woman with a size two figure and hourglass shape produces the best poses, but in reality, great poses can be taught, and anyone can execute them.

Posture and body control can make or break an image. With proper coaching and encouragement, the photographer should be able to help the model maximize each pose’s potential. The following list, while not all-inclusive, contains the most common instructions I provide a model during a shoot. Naturally, not all of these are required for each shot, but many images require two or more of these considerations. Practice the following in front of a full-length mirror and see if you agree with the causal effect of each exercise.

  • Relax your hands: This is usually the first instruction I provide. Tension and nervousness are often manifested in tightly clenched hands. So until the model settles in with the shoot I’ll keep a close eye on them to avoid the clubbed fist look.

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  • Stomach in: The importance of this should be pretty obvious, but it’s difficult to maintain in every pose and therefore constant diligence is required.

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  • Shoulders back/chest out: These are two requests, but executing one usually works in tandem with the other. Doing so lengthens your torso creating longer, more sensual lines. It also has the secondary benefit of pushing your chest outward thus raising your breasts and improving your hourglass shape for side shots. Frontally, shoulders and back broaden your chest while also lifting your breasts.

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  • Arch your back: Arching your back is a close cousin to pulling your shoulders back. Where I typically ask for arched backs without regard to shoulder posture is while the subject is lying on their stomach, or back, or positioned on their hands and knees. As with the image below, this posing request is typical when shooting the model’s side.

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  • Arms together: Bringing your arms together does a great job of framing and shaping your breasts as well as creating additional cleavage.

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  • Raise your arms: Raising your arms is another method for lifting your breasts and/or lengthening your torso.

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  • Point your toes: As with many of my posing instructions, pointing your toes aids in lengthening the lines of your figure. Your legs will look longer and leaner while doing so.

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  • Bend your knees/off-set your legs: These two requests often go hand in hand but can be done separately as well. It’s simpler to show in a photo than describe in words. In the image below you can see that bending one knee more than the other offsets the legs. It’s also a great illustration of how toe pointing elongates a leg.

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After a multi-hour photo session I can assure you that executing these poses will leave you a little sore the next morning. Consider it a secondary benefit to learning how to strike excellent poses.

To find more posing tips, check out these other posts: Posing Tips From the Neck Up, Symmetry vs Asymmetry, Revealing the Hourglass, and Master the Contrapposto.

“I’ve worked with Doug several times on location. He’s crazy about details and is always prepared for the unpredictable nature of outdoor shooting. I love, love, love what we’ve done together. He rocks!”

Sofia Love