Manage your model & Framing
Hello everyone and welcome to this new article about a question asked by one of my students, how to pose my model?
To illustrate this article I used photos taken during my Meetup, featuring: Emily - Maki - Miwa, I invite you to go watch their Instagram by clicking on their name!
- Explain the theme to the model
- Elements of the scenery
- Static poses
- Moving poses
Explain the theme to the model
Before starting a photoshoot, I always talk to my model to explain the theme of the shoot and the kind of pose that I expect.
You have to know one thing: each photographer has his own style, and the models too, the goal being that the one brings to the other his creativity, in this way you will have unique photos.
You will have to trust your model and avoid over controlling him, if it’s a simple test in the street, without a story behind you can first tell the model to adopt a natural attitude, you will have beautiful images because the model can express itself in its own way, and in addition you can focus more on the background and the light.
Speaking about the light, it will help you a lot to manage the model, for example once we find the type of pose fitting to our shoot, with my hand I will only direct the model’s face, so that he is enlightened by one way or another.
I advise you to tell the model to take the light around him into consideration and avoid putting his face in the shadows.
For more elaborate shooting, it’s possible to be more directive with his model, but it will be necessary to have a moodboard and explain why such pose, attitude and expression. Usually if you have prepared pictures and give explainations, the model will be able to get in the character and so you will save a lot of time and get beautiful pictures.
If the model is beginner, here is what you can tell:
- turn your head slightly to have a different light and expression
- rotate, move the shoulders and bust to create dynamics and create an S shape with the body
- to cross, uncross your legs, walk to get some movement
- place the hands along the body, in the back, around and on the face
- do small jumps to have a natural movement
One important thing is to talk with your model, it’s imperative to create a link and keep in touch throughout the session. It may be only by gratifying, or by giving simple instructions, I think the guidelines are mostly there for that, keeping your style in the mood of the session.
On the other hand if you control too much your model, you will lose this contact, because the model will feel sometimes confused.
Elements of the scenery
As stated just above, trust the model will allow you to focus on the scenery and framing. Now you have to integrate well the model with the elements at your disposal, the model must interact with what is around to create a story and give strength to your photos.
Think in terms of volumes and contrasts with the things in the background and the model, create a good balance between empty and full areas, then dark and illuminated areas.
If your background is too full you can either blur it by closing the diaphragm, or turn and find an angle by looking for areas to give a breathe to the photo.
In case the background is rather empty / full, play with the light on your model to sublimate it.
The elements of the place will help your model to pose. For example a bike, crates, a pole, a grid, a staircase of people ... when you are looking for new place, you can already identify these elements if they are statics and imagine your model around, with a simple look it’s possible to know what kind of angle or pose would be nice to this place.
There are two types of poses, static and moving. Let's start with static, it will offer a stability in your photos and a stop in time, you will then give a reading to your photo by directing the face and model’s body.
It’s possible to adapt the pose of the model according to your environment, for example in a street with la small light or in the shade, it will be better to opt for a melancholic pose where the model doesn’t move, because you will need to have a slow shutter speed (unless you use a flash).
By using certain elements of the scenery you will get dynamic images even if the model is static, to do that you play with the guidelines and the parallels, stairs and electric cables are very good examples and are often available in urban environments. In the nature, using the horizon, a house, lampposts or trees will be very useful to your composition.
I invite you to have a look to the work of Jeff Wall who is an expert in static poses. What makes his work exceptional, he thinks a lot about his picture before taking it and he carefully chooses the pose of the model in relation to the desired emotion.
When it’s sunny you can afford to have a higher shutter speed, and therefore it’s possible to ask the model to be in movement. In addition, in your series it’s interesting to have movement in your photos to have a nice dynamic in your series.
The poses in movement are a little more difficult to achieve because it will exhaust the model and you must succeed in framing.
In order to avoid cutting the model’s hands during a movement, you can ask the model to keep the arms close to the body or put them in the air, bursts and decompose the movement (useful during editing).
If you want big movements with the arms, try to get back and have the body and arms in the frame, otherwise cut an arm frankly to give strength to the image. It’s quite possible to cut an arm as long as the photo remains strong and logical.
An important detail that can play in the movement (both in static poses and those in motion) are the hairs, if there is wind it’s imperative to take the advantage. If the model does not move, moving hair will offer a nice contrast and boost the photo.
Same thing if the model is in movement, the hair will come to reinforce the dynamics of the image, but it’s necessary to be careful that they do not pass in front of the eyes, I recommend you to make a lot of photos to compensate for this worries. I usually do not look at the pictures on the screen of my camera when I shoot, but to avoid any risks it’s better to watch from time to time and make sure to have the right pictures.
Frame a pose
I spoke briefly but the success of a pose also lies in its framing, it’s better in most of the time to take the picture from below (lie on the ground and lift his camera) to lengthen the legs of your model, especially if the model is moving.
For simpler poses, bending slightly will be fine, it will give stability to the photo and you will easily manage to focus the subject.
The choice of positioning the camera in vertical or horizontal will be an important choice in the dynamics of your photo. Here are some examples and explanations on the choice of vertical or horizontal.
The vertical is the classic framing for portrait, you will easily manage to frame the model. There are 3 classic frames, the close up, American plan and full body. When you arrive in a place I recommend you start taking the photos from afar for the full body, then gradually get closer to your model to make a close up portrait.
Close up: allows focused on the face, makeup and the chance to get a nice bokeh. When you make a close up portrait you will have a certain closeness with the model, take advantage of it to ask him to have a strong expression and hands close to the face.
American: the American plan is mid-thigh, here you will have better control of the background, it will be more present on the image and you can decide to make it more or less clear.
An important thing to know is that you must avoid badly cut the legs (hands and arms also) of your model, for the case of the American frame if the model is in shorts or long pants, it will feel it lacks members, which is to avoid, so prefer this plan if the model with a pants.
Full body: unlike two other frames, it offers you the opportunity to have a background much more visible on your photo and therefore integrate the model in its environment.
Depending on how far away you are from your model, you can ask him to extend his arms upward, so he will look taller and the limbs will look thinner.
The horizontal framing has the same properties as the vertical, except that there is much more space on the sides of the model, so take the time to observe the background that there is no uninteresting areas to your composition.
Thank you for reading this article on how to ask his model, I invite you to follow me on Instagram and leave a comment below
The next article will focus on how to manage your shutter speed in order to obtain very sharp or fuzzy images.