Model poses and the 4x4x4 technique to photograph women

If you came on this page to find a list of model poses, you may be in for a different kind of luck. We have often said that having a list of poses is not always worth it; it locks you in a fixed mentality. If you learn to think outside the box, not relaying on model poses, you will expand the way you see women. By learning to see things, without remembering model poses, you will learn to take better photographs.

So, what is the 4x4x4 model poses technique? No, don’t google it, I just made the title up; however, it is the best way I worked out to photograph boudoir in a timely manner. If you want to challenge yourself, pushing your limit without following a model poses manual, you should read on.

Model poses by Faby and Carlo at London boudoir photography

A foreword on model poses

Good poses simply enhance the shape of women, but not all model poses work for every woman. This is one of he reasons we don’t love the much. If you want to capture the essence of the women you photograph, it is better for you to learn the building blocks of model poses. Try to understand why posing the feet or the hand in a certain way works, and you won’t need to remember any model poses.

I won’t dig deeper into the building blocks of model poses, it is a long and complex discussion. The goal of this post is to make you understand I don’t follow model poses. I don’t remember them, hence I don’t use them. This does not mean they are not advantageous, especially when you are staring. It means that they are a lazy solution. If you learn how they are made, you will open a new world of opportunities in front of your eyes! Don’t be lazy!

How can you challenge yourself?

In my book “pressure makes diamonds”. If you learn to work under pressure, you learn fast. So, in order to learn more, why don’t you put pressure on yourself? After all, if you are the one to apply the pressure, you are not going to risk doing it in the wrong moment. Today I write about model poses because I believe that the 4×4 technique should be learned facing models. Don’t try it with your client for the first time.

Model poses by Faby and Carlo at London boudoir photography

The 4x4x4 technique

Do you want to know how I can produce a set of 24 photograph, with four different outfits for a single model? I put pressure on myself, and I try to keep organised. The 4x4x4 technique is simple: for every change I take 4 slots of four minutes. I focus on model poses in each of the first three. In 4 minutes you can talk, build rapport, understand the person in front of you and organise one pose. Focus on one detail you like about your subject and make sure she falls into a pose where the detail you picked looks great. Then take a wide shoot, change position and take a detail shoot. The fourth slot is reserved to give your subject time to change outfit. Of course, it also give you time to regroup your thoughts and visualise what to do next.

If you repeat this routine four times, without counting the last change, you will see that you had 3 model poses per each of the 4 outfits with 2 photos each: 24 photos with an incredible variety. All of this in exactly one hour.

How to use the 4x4x4 technique

One word of advice: we do not use the 4x4x4 technique and the 12 model poses with our clients. We offer them a more relaxed environment and less strict times; however, there are two instances in which this technique is a gold mine; when you have a limited amount of time and; when you client is a bit more challenging to relax.

While the first point is simple, the second one has a bit more psychology to play into it. A structured environment is normally seen as more secure. When you face a client which is not so simple to relax, you can spend more time interacting with her at the beginning of the session; you can then speed up the shoot, leveraging a quicker time to take photographs while giving your subjects an organised environment.

Model poses by Faby and Carlo at London boudoir photography

The real secret about model poses in the 4x4x4 technique

There is one secret about model poses using this home-brewed technique. The secret is that the pressure you put on yourself will create diamonds! If you get used to a pressurised shoot, your brain will pick model poses out of thin air. When you will see your studio setup, you will think of five different options, five different model poses without difficulties. You won’t have to remember the model poses, they will jump to your head.

To get to a point where you are comfortable doing this, you need practice. You need a model that won’t expect stellar images, and your expectations should include frustration during and after the shoot. Don’t let go! Perseverance is the key that will lead you to create model poses instead of following them!

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