Photography Tips for Models, Actors, Artists for their Portfolio
What good is a nice physique if it isn't displayed properly?
When placed in front of a camera, most human subjects tend to get very stiff and become self conscious. They often assume a very static body position that is not conducive to good photography.
Portraiture is a synergy, a dance between you and the imager. Be bold, be unique, and never be afraid. You are beautiful and it will show.
Posing is a powerful psychological tool for a photographer. Along with expression, it plays a big part in conveying the photographer’s message, since the position and relationship to the camera of a subject’s body can reveal much about the subject’s character. The pose should not only complement the subject, but should also suit the type of portrait and its intended use.
Posing is like performing, or should I say posing is performing. If you are an actor or musician, you may relate. If your are looking to prepare for posing, do so in front of a full-length mirror. Your face is your best asset, don't worry about the placement of your hands or position of your body as much - concentrate on your face. Try different facial expressions to see which ones are "you." After all, you want to capture YOU, not a phony. It is easy to see who is trying too hard to pose and those pictures are unsettling in my opinion.
I would suggest that you be relaxed and just be your charming self. No unnecessary gestures, no false smile if you don't feel like smiling. Serious pictures are beautiful too, some mystery in your eyes too, a bit of flirt to the camera. In other words, don't pose for the camera. Try to relax and be yourself. You can move around a lot and have your photographer get multiple shots flipping your hair, cocking and turning your head, etc.
Best of all, have fun. If you are having fun at the shoot, it will come through to your audience. Those tend to be the BEST shots.
Look in the mirror and say cheese. You will notice that the grim smirk on your face looks a little like a smile and when there are more than just a few people in the shot, they could be thought to be smiling.
One workshop suggested having the person in front of the camera say the letters "a", “e" and "u". Each of these letters causes the mouth to look a little differently.
Some General Posing Tips, Practise before you perform
During a photo shoot, the photographer will usually direct you for any specific poses that the photographer is trying to capture, but it helps if you know what to do without a lot of direction.
When posing for a photograph, point your body at a forty-five degree angle toward the camera. Then turn your head to face the lens directly.
Point the foot closest to the camera directly toward it and point the other foot parallel to it.
You don't want your head and body to face the camera straight on.
Rest most of your weight on one foot or the other instead of evenly on both feet. Doing so makes poses look less artificial and gives a slight slimming effect in most positions. Weight on front foot can look more slimming.
One shoulder should be higher than the other; the line of the shoulders should not be parallel to the ground. With the shoulders at an angle to the camera, the head is then turned or tilted at a different angle than the shoulders. This causes a small slant to the natural line of the subject’s eyes.
The head of men should be tilted toward the low shoulder helping to promote manliness, aggressiveness and strength.
With women, it is tilted toward the high shoulder to create the impression of mystery and vulnerability.
Avoid having your arms hanging flat against your sides. Instead, bend your arms slightly, place your hands on your hips, or try other poses that involve alternate placements of the arms.
IF IT BENDS, BEND IT! (Fingers, elbows, wrists, knees, etc.)
Don't hold your breath for a pose. The concentration usually shows in the picture.
Do not be tight lipped. You can drop your jaw till your lips are about to part or may be your lips can be slightly parted.
You can also try sucking in your cheeks a bit and pout your lips a bit.
Hold in your stomach to give a more toned appearance to the abdomen (even if you are in great shape).
Keep your back straight and your shoulders back. Sit or stand erect. Do not slouch or haunch.
Keep your chin up to avoid chin wrinkles or double chins and slightly bring face up & toward. Try not to look as though you are bird watching!
Don't always look straight at the camera. Instead, use a variety of head and eye positions: Try turning your head, tilting your neck to one side or the other, or looking off to the side for some poses.
Glasses can be tipped forward to avoid reflections. Best would be to have anti glare coated glasses and to carry atleast two to three pair of spectacles.
Shiny hair looks great in photos so blow dry with frizz control product and finish with shine spray. Be sure that your hair is out of your eyes. Tuck any stray hairs behind your ears.
Check and correct posture, adjust clothing problems, etc.
When sitting or reclining, roll one hip up slightly from the resting surface so that most of your weight is on the back of one thigh or the other instead of evenly on both thighs. This gives a slight slimming effect and makes the pose look less artificial. Lean forward from the waist to create a slopping line to the shoulders.
Whenever possible, try to "point" your feet i.e. extend them as much as possible, putting the foot in the same line as the calf. The traditional reason for pointing one's feet is to tighten up the calf muscles, making the calf look more toned and to give the illusion of longer, leaner legs. But relax your toes, or even flex them a bit the other way.
The obvious is to be sure to smile. However, you don't want that "stiff" look. Try to remember something funny (a joke or a funny moment you and your significant other had). Don't use a big smile for every pose. Sometimes try a small smile, a pout, a laugh, a scowl, or even a frown, to give some variety to your facial expressions.
If you are afraid that you are going to blink, do not widen your eyes. This will give you a creased forehead. Instead, shut your eyes and then open them slowly.
Posing Confidence: Looking Natural Can Take A Lot of Work
Practice makes perfect sense: before heading off to a photo shoot, go over some of the poses you have learned from previous shoots, or try out some new poses you have seen in fashion or glamour magazines.
Practice in front of a mirror until you feel comfortable and confident. This look of confidence will be a great asset during the shoot – even if the poses never come into play.
Pay attention to body language as well as facial expressions. Close your eyes, imagine a thought or feeling, and then open your eyes and project that look and attitude.
Maybe your body stays in the same basic position. But the energy you project with your chosen attitude will alter your body language in subtle ways that can then be captured by your talented photographer. Practice this technique and your photos will come alive.
Many photographers don’t mind if you come to the shoot with some of your own ideas for posing. Even if the photographer has his or her own directives dictated by the kind of photo shoot, (e.g. for an advertising agency), you can still be prepared with some suggestions.
Always work with a photographer you feel you can trust. This will make communication between the two of you easier and give you the confidence to express your own ideas. But listen to what they tell you, after all, they are the ones looking through the lens and will see things differently than you might think.
If the photographer says he or she wants something different in the pose, try looking away from the camera or giving a unique facial expression. This is where your practice in front of the mirror really pays.
Most people have a "good" side and a "bad" side. For obvious reasons, make sure that you point the good side to the camera as much as possible (you'll enjoy your photos more!).
Electric? Great in the eyes, bad on the head. Prevent static electricity by always applying a rinse-out conditioner to add moisture and shine.
Towel dry and then massage in a few drops of leave-in moisturizing product – don’t go overboard, though!
When on holiday – whether swimming in the pool or the sea, make sure you use a special sun and sand hair care regime.
Consider having a sleep-over with your favorite deep-conditioning lotion. Wake up in the morning with softer, shinier hair! (Make sure you don a plastic shower cap to keep the conditioner in your hair, not on your pillow!)
Clothing and accessories
I recommend you wear your "comfort clothes" - the ones you have almost worn out because you feel so good in them. You can make this as casual or glamorous as you wish. Hopefully this will be an experience that you can have fun with yourself.
Choose solid dark colors. Busy patterns can be distracting in the photos.
Avoid stiff materials, go for clothes that have proper fitting and nice silk like fall.
If you do not know how to wear a Saree please bring someone who can do it for you nicely.
Bring changes of clothes, no matter what.
Unless we are going for black and white photos, I would discourage solid white or solid black clothes (unless they are textured) - the details get lost too easily.
Knits and sweaters need to fit well or they look like they are hanging on you.
Coordinate colors whenever possible, backgrounds, clothing, and props.
If you are carrying something valuable like real jewellery bring someone to take care of that, only you are responsible.
Don't worry about covering blemishes. Those are easy to zap in Photoshop (wouldn't that be nice to have in real life?!).
Just go for your overall preferred skin color.
For a more statuesque poster, wear your highest heels.
You could construct a mock profile using photos from magazines to collect head and body shots that you could see yourself replacing the model. Fashion magazines seem to be a good source of some nice shots to use.
Keep accessories subtle.
Props - use them.
Use different articles of clothing or accessories. Grab a classic microphone and sing, REALLY sing into it. Get a guitar and strum. Don't rule out anything. Tools, toys, balls, surf board, guns & swords, sunglasses half-way down the nose and peering over the top, splashing in the water or mud, leaves, dandelions, roses, scarves, camouflage, face paint, house paint (holding a brush dipped in red paint and having it splattered on the hands, clothing, face can be an interesting effect), watering can with water, Easter eggs... the options are limitless - use your imagination. Props help you focus on something else besides the camera, make for interesting photo-shoots and help you do find something to do with your hands.
Listen to what the photographer tells you. He can see you through the camera. You can't.
Stuff you can carry for the shoot
Formals, Traditionals, Casuals, Jeans, T-shirts, Shirts, Salwar-suits, Chaniacholi, Sharara, Saree, Jodhpuri, Kurtas, Jackets, Pullovers, Matching accessories, Jewellery , Shoes, Caps, Sunglasses, Plain glasses, Shoulder bag, Scarfs, Shawls, Watches etc. Your own makeup kit. Music that can make you peppy.
Points to keep in mind while getting your portfolio done
Your model portfolio is an essential part of your self-promotional tools and you will find it one of your most important assets as you seek modeling jobs. Therefore it is important that you keep updating your portfolio regularly, and follow some tips to help you build a top-class portfolio.
1. Use only your absolute best photos in your portfolio. The weakest picture will bring down the impact of a great portfolio. (Avoid the “lowest common denominator” effect.)
2. Give the prospective client a chance to see how you look in a variety of situations, in a variety of poses. Ten shots of you in similar clothes, locations, and poses will not say much for your flexibility and adaptability.
3. Show the client that you have experience as an experienced model not an amateur. It goes without saying that the shots should be professional quality, of you in a professional situation. Photos taken with your friend’s cell phone are not easy to pass off as professional efforts. When describing the portfolio entry, take care to use professional-sounding terms. Find a title you are comfortable with, but avoid titles like ‘me trying on clothes in the mall.’
4. Make sure all your pictures are in perfect digital condition. You wouldn’t include a torn or damaged photo in a hard-copy edition of a portfolio, so avoid the digital equivalent. Remember that your photos are viewed online. Too many great shots have to be refused because the scanning job or resizing job left them extremely unclear (fuzzy or grainy), dark, or uncropped.
Take a critical look at your photos before you upload, email or submit them anywhere. A very good free software to resize your images is VSO image resizer.
Suggested photographs to include in your portfolio:
Headshots, Full length photos, One or two action shots, Photos with various hairstyles
So remember, you may have the client “hooked” with a great headshot, but a fantastic professional-quality portfolio will help you to “reel them in.”
Keeping with the fishing metaphor, good luck at “landing” your next job.
Some ideas for expression
Kindness, Joy, Curiosity, Delight, Courage, Relief, Respect, Gratitude, Interest, Inspiration, Playfulness, Relatedness, Awe, Love, Happy go lucky, Smiling, big cheesy smile, Laughing your heart out, Giggling, Naughty, Gay mood, Jolly, Energetic, Playful, Sporty, Sensual , Shy, Thoughtful, One sided smile, Half smile, Sly smile, Wicked smile, Parted lips, Contemplating, Lost in thoughts etc.
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