Posing women and posing models are two complete separate and different skills. Posing women require a different set of skills, higher that the one needed to photograph models. Clearly we know that models are women, but the distinction here is between a woman who is used of being in front of the camera and one that is not.
Many photographers build up their portfolio by photographing models, and one of the issues in doing so is that when they get to posing women, they fall short. A model is a woman that knows her body better than a normal woman and knows the best angles to give a photographer. If you are starting up with your photographing, posing models is a great start, but posing women who are not used to being photographed is a much more valuable skill.
In this post, we will go through the main differences in posing women vs posing models and how photographing camera-shy people can help your business.
Posing Women: You have to speak up
The first difference in posing women is that you should always remember that they don’t know what is going on on the other side of the camera. A professional model may be used to many different photographers, and she may understand that long silences may have many technical reasons. Women do not. Posing women means filling the silence to make them feel in the know. If you are just checking your light, tell her. If you are looking at the detail, to make sure it looks right, tell her. In telling her, you will avoid the silence that, in the mind of someone not used to being in front of the camera, may trigger negative thoughts.
If you are posing women, fill the silence with positive reinforcement and don’t let their mind wander. I know this is not, strictly speaking, something about posing, but it is one of the most important lessons we have learned.
Posing Women: Make it simple
Models know how to pose, or at least they should. If you tell them to sit down in a certain way, they will know how to listen to you, they will know how to understand your directions. Women needs to be guided more, step by step. While posing women we first show the final pose, breaking it into small parts: feet, legs, hips, arms, shoulder, chin… we make it simple. When they start getting into the pose, we repeat the small parts, visually indicating what they should position next. Posing women is slower, but from a certain perspective it is more rewarding, as they will see themselves in a way they never considered.
Show it step by step, then make them do it again
When our customers are in the pose we are looking for, we need to make sure the pose looks natural. Posing women and posing models is simple, the difficult part is to make that pose look and feel as it was a normal way of being for them. So, one of the things we often do, when our customers are in the right pose, is to make sure they understood how to get there, then we ask them to step away from the pose and go back into it. The more they are confident they are doing the right thing, the more they will relax and make the pose look natural.
Moreover, while they step away from the pose, to go back into it few seconds later, will give you the possibility to shoot some extremely natural “in-between” moments.
Incorporating women’s personal traits in the pose
Posing women means making them feel at ease, making them understand that it is ok to be themselves. We are not interested in making everyone look the same as we want to incorporate our customers’ natural characteristics and movement in the pose or photo. While posing a model, we may not necessarily need this personal touch (even if we always look for it). Posing women while keeping their unique characteristics is crucial, as when they see the images you took of them, they will recognise those characteristics, creating a bond with your photographs.
The key to posing women
The secret to posing women is to give them confidence. Confidence that they can actually pose, confidence that being themselves is good, confidence in themselves. Posing women is preparation and fun, as the more you will be able to give them the confidence they need, the less you will need to pose them later on.
Of course, if your goal is to photograph real women, then knowing how to pose them will give YOU the confidence to be professional when you will step in front of your customers because you will know you can do it.