Get the most out of your model
Start your shoot in the right way and choose poses that will suit the model you are photographing
Finding the right pose for your model and the type of image that you want to create is one of the most important elements of any nude photography shoot. The pose you choose will determine the mood and feelings that the image conveys, and it will also influence which part of the body becomes the main point of focus. With fine-art nude photography your goal will most likely be to depict the body in a creative, but sensual and artistic way. Being able to identity the types of poses that will flatter your model is key, and you’ll also need to adapt to their body shape as well as their own insecurities.
So, before we discuss key poses we should first think about how to direct your model and ensure they are completely comfortable. The model will be in a vulnerable position and will be putting a great deal of trust in you as the photographer. Have a coffee with your model before you begin (fully clothed of course!), and discuss the direction that you want the shoot to go in. Ask if they have any questions and if there is anything that they are worried about.
It is important that you know what sort of image you are looking to get before you begin your shoot in order to be able to explain your vision to the model. Look online at nude imagery and choose a few key poses that you’d like your model to try. It can be a little daunting on your first nude shoot and conveying your vision to the model isn’t always easy anyway, so having visual examples of the poses you want can be really helpful. “Find inspiration (for example in journals and on photography sites) and think about a nice
“Posing defines whether the image is artistic or erotic, powerful or delicate, conveying emotions from the model”
project. Be open and be very clear about the intended results and the procedure,” explains talented photographer Till Schmitz (untillphotography.com /home).
Directing your model into poses can be difficult at first, and sometimes it is hard to describe the pose you’d like. Don’t touch the model though, instead mimic the pose you would like them to do. If you feel stupid doing it, just remember that you are asking them to do it too, and it might help break the ice and ease any tensions if you are willing to look a little silly. The visual examples of poses mentioned already will help here too.
“Posing is equally important to lighting. It defines whether the image is artistic or erotic, powerful or delicate, conveying emotions from the model and invoking feelings from the viewer,” explains Mike
Parker (mikeparkerphotography.com). “In the case of bodyscapes we are often trying to create shapes that mimic the environment, such as mountains, valleys, sand dunes or rugged terrain. Lighting must complement or purposely contrast the pose to create an exceptional image.”
Generally when it comes to taking pictures of women you should concentrate on their curves. Female bodies tend to be made up of soft lines and smooth shapes, whereas men are often formed of straighter lines and more angular shapes. This obviously isn’t always the case, but it is a good starting point.
Try to concentrate on poses that will accentuate the curves of your female model. Creating an S curve with their back is a popular pose and should probably be the first one on your shot list. It emphasises the curve of the hips, bust and the waist, while also making the waist look smaller – ask the model to extend their hip and drop their shoulder for the best results. With female models keep it sensual and delicate. In contrast to female bodies, men tend to be far more structured and angular, so poses that accentuate muscle and deep lines around the body will be the most effective.
Keeping the poses as natural as possible is important as you will be able to tell instantly in the final shot if the model was uncomfortable. There’s no point trying to get your model to do a sexy handstand or balance awkwardly unless they have a core made of steel – keep it simple.
Left Masculinitythis stunning image taken by dmitry Zemenkov (@dmitryzemenkov) shows the male form beautifully. it depicts strength and powerRight SimplicityPositioning your model tohide their most intimate body parts is a great way to ensure the image is tasteful
LeftMuscle definitionFinding poses that highlight the muscles in a male body are usually the most effective, like this shot by ZemenkovLeft Creative posingexperiment with different poses, but make sure the pose you select is within your model’s abilities