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Model Posing Tips: Working to get the best shots

Model Posing Tips: Getting the best shots

When working with new models, there is a chance you will need to help direct them on posing. Now my goal is not to explain the exact poses. My goal is to help you communicate with your model what you might be looking for. Having some base model posing tips always helps make the process a bit smoother and helps you get the shots you want.

Gathering inspiration first

Before we jump into model posing, I would highly recommend you do some research first. Analyze some of your favorite shots, and keep a collection of some of the best poses you want to have your model replicate. Now, I don’t recommend just copying all the poses you see on Instagram or Pinterest.

What I do recommend is studying and seeing how the photographer helped the model get into a specific pose. Much of the time the model is moving and naturally flowing based on a mood or theme. So, communication is key when collaborating with a model onsite.

I always refer to my model posing styles in 3 ways. Now, there may be a more technical term for these posing styles, but this is how I always refer to them.

1. Stop Motion/Still Shots Posing

This is best for portrait photographers who are needing the model to stay still for their poses. You may be working with intricate lighting or slow shutter speeds.

2. Flow Posing

I refer to flow posing when I need a model to be in constant motion. This works great for dancing or models that have high energy and you want very fluid shots.

3. Lifestyle Posing

Just like flow posing, I am having the model interact with a specific location or props in a scene. Think of this just like acting and you are constantly capturing the action. This works best in location or in fast-moving areas.

Model Posing Tips

Here are some of the small tips I share with the model along with the posing styles from above to help them work a scene more naturally or match my speed with the camera.

Exaggerated Poses

I love doing more fashions style shots, and I am learning to get the model getting out of her comfort zone. Many new models will not know much about posing in general, but I like to give them this tip. When thinking about your pose, think about exaggerated body movements.

Standing on your tiptoes to make you look taller
Stretching forwards or backward to elongate the torso
Bending arms inward to convey emotion
Stretching arms outwards to showcase length

Body contrast

I also love explaining to the model the mood of body contrast. For example, if you have one arm up, then you have the other arm down. If one arm is bent, the other is straight in another direction. If the model is sitting, then one leg is bent and the other is straight.  If your weight is along one side, then exaggerate your limbs to compensate for the other side.

Just dance

I always have music playing at my model test shoots. This is for two reasons. One, so the model doesn’t get bored, and the other so the model can move naturally to a rhythm of a song. It’s always so much easier to flow pose when you have music playing.

Acting and emotion

When the session calls for it, one of my tips to my models is to convey an emotion or act out a specific theme. For example, if you’re doing a moody or sad theme, this will be way different posing versus a happy or excited emotion. Sometimes helping the model understand your concept with words of emotions can make the session go so much easier.

Communication is key to posing

At the end of the day, your level of communication to your model will help get you better results. Being able to put your ideas into clear directions will help the model express your ideas more clearly in his or her posing. Sometimes it can be best to take a few mins and talk between sets to make sure the team is on the same page.

These model posing tips can apply to all types of shoots. No matter what your concept, just be sure to do your homework and be ready for collaboration!


Jason Dallas Portraits Model Test ShootsJason The Creative – Dallas Portrait Photographer

Photography just decided to grow on me and I never looked back. I am a portrait photographer growing and specializing in model test shoots. Every one starts somewhere and this is my story. Instagram.com/jasonthecreative


What’s in my camera bag

My Portrait Photography Gear for Model Test Shoots

Sony a7riii Mirrorless Camera
High Resolution Studio Camera
Sony a7iii Mirrorless Camera
Great Photo & Video Camera
Sony 85mm f1.4 GMaster
Best Portrait Lens
Sony 35mm F1.8
Great wide lens for lifestyle shoots
Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8
First lens I purchased – Amazing and light
Sony 24-70mm F2.8 GMaster
Best all-in-one Portrait Zoom Lens
Sony 24-105 f4.0 G Lens
Best all around walk-around lens

Secondary Portrait Photography Camera and Lens

Sony a6400 Mirrorless Camera (crop-sensor)
Small & amazing quality
Sony 16-55mm f2.8 G Lens
Super sharp and versatile

Sony Mirrorless Bodies You Should See

Sony a7rii
High Quality Studio Camera
Sony a7ii
Great General Purpose Camera
Sony a7sii
High Quality Video Camera
Sony a6600
Photo and Video Camera
Sony a6500
Crop Sensor Video Camera
Sony a6300
Amazing Budget Starter Camera

Full-Frame Lenses You Should Check Out

Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Lens
Great budget option zoom lens
Sony 70-200 F2.8 Lens
Amazing Quality Zoom Lens
Sony 16-35mm f2.8 Lens
Superb wide-angle Lens
Sony 85mm F1.8 Lens
Great Budget Portrait Lens
Sony 24mm F1.4 Lens
Sharp Wide Prime Lens

Crop-Sensor Lenses You Just Might Need

Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Lens
Great budget option zoom lens
Sony 18-105 F4.0 Lens
Awesome Video Lens
Sigma 16mm F1.4
Great YouTube Lens
Sigma 30mm F1.4
Sharp & Light Weight Lens
Sigma 56mm F1.4
Go-To Portrait Lens

My Current Off Camera Studio Flash Lighting / Location Kits

Profoto Air Remote TTL-S
Remote Trigger
Profoto B2 250 AirTTL Location Kit
Portable light strobes
Profoto OCF 2×3 Softbox
Portable soft light modifier
Profoto OCF Softbox 2ft Octa
Small direct soft box
Profoto 41in Deep Medium Umbrella
Main studio modifier
Profoto OCF Speedring
Modifier connector


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