Fashion Photography Poses

Posing women is both easy and challenging. It is easy because there are so many possibilities. I love posing women because a pose can take on any feeling: it can be dance like, or aggressive, or relaxed, or anything you want it to be. It is challenging, however, because there are so many possibilities, and you must pose in a way that most flatters the woman's face and body. With models, you can easily go with the flow and let them bring inspiration for poses through their movements. With women who aren't models, however, the responsibility of posing is on you.

Posing for portraiture, fashion, and glamour photography varies. It is a continuum with no definite distinctions between the three, but you should still be aware of the general differences.

It is easy to accidentally pose clients in a glamorous way. Glamour poses emphasize the chest, buttocks, and sexuality of a subject. Many attractive young women may automatically pose this way.

Unless you are doing a glamour or boudoir session, you want to avoid too much sexuality. It's not classy or high fashion. There is a balance you must maintain between emphasizing the beautiful parts of someone's body and making the image too sexual.

Figure 4.6 is a balance between a fashion and a glamour pose. The curves of the body are sensual, and the dramatic lighting emphasizes the sexuality of the image. The image is classy, glamorous, and fashionable. I chose this pose for the subject because she indicated that she felt "the sexiest she had ever felt," and we wanted an image that represented her state of mind.

Figure 4.6 is a balance between a fashion and a glamour pose. The curves of the body are sensual, and the dramatic lighting emphasizes the sexuality of the image. The image is classy, glamorous, and fashionable. I chose this pose for the subject because she indicated that she felt "the sexiest she had ever felt," and we wanted an image that represented her state of mind.

Fashion Photography Dramatic Posing

Figure 4.6

This image is classy and glamorous, helping the subject demonstrate how attractive she feels through the curves of her body.

Portrait poses are often uninteresting and nonessential to the image. They are simple and focus on basic, flattering poses. They are not the focus of the image.

Fashion poses can be simple, but they can also be dramatic. They usually emphasize the mood or theme of a photo and can contribute to the mood and feel of a scene. Often, fashion poses complement the clothes and form of the subject. Furthermore, they may create a strong composition and captivating shapes within the composition.

When posing women, there are a few important things you want to look for: curves, separation, and comfort.

■ Curves. When posing female subjects, I try to create natural curves. I'm looking for the women's bodies to create leading lines and naturally pleasing curves throughout the image. This can be created by the location of their arms, the way they lean, and so on. A woman does not need to be curvaceous to create elegant curves in her pose. Figure 4.7 is an example of how I have used a subject's arms and hands to create a leading line throughout the image.

Photography Leading Line

Figure 4.7

Try to create compositional curves through your pose selection. Here, the subject's arms give leading lines to pull the subject through the image.

Figure 4.7

Try to create compositional curves through your pose selection. Here, the subject's arms give leading lines to pull the subject through the image.

■ Separation. Watch for the natural curves of a woman's body. For example, if you put a subject's arms straight at her side, you make her look heavier and wider because you cannot see her natural contours. In Figure 4.8, notice the space between the woman's left elbow and the rest of her body. This shows the natural curves of her hips and waist and gives a slenderizing effect. If her arm were flush with her side, the effect would be much less appealing. This technique generally applies to any subject, whether skinnier or heavier. You don't want the body to be a blob of parts blending together. This is especially true with bulky bridal gowns or less form-fitting clothing.

Fashion Poses For Women

Figure 4.8

Here the separation between the woman's left elbow and her hip flatters her natural lines and makes her appear more slender.

Figure 4.8

Here the separation between the woman's left elbow and her hip flatters her natural lines and makes her appear more slender.

■ Comfort. If your subject isn't comfortable, it will show immediately. If you have the subject in an uncomfortable pose, keep it extremely brief, and focus on making it look natural.

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