Directing your models on a shoot can be one of the more challenging aspects of a shoot. For the record, there is a huge difference posing and shooting fashion as opposed to lifestyle, which I shoot. When shooting lifestyle, I’m always trying to find the unexpected “real” pose the person in front of my lens is portraying. In fact, I don’t even like to use the word “pose,” it’s more the reaction to something that is happening in a real situation. So many times when shooting people, especially when shooting “real people,” not models, the subjects will get in front of the lens and say,”so what do you want me to do.” Yes, valid question. The trick is to set an environment as to where they are free to move about, and not think about actually “posing”. Again, this is true in a lifestyle shoot, not so much in a fashion shoot. This is one of the challenges I love about shooting lifestyle. The trick is to make it look REAL.
Now the reason behind this post. I love to observe people on the street, or where ever, and study their body language. Just using my iphone, I’m starting to build a library of real people, in real situations with “poses” I love and would find challenging to use in a commercial situation .
This takes me to this iphone image I just grabbed at a bookstore recently. I love all the subtleties of the boys “pose”, his little hand cupped on his lap, crossing of his legs, his pant leg a little dis-shuveled showing his white socks, and his head buried in the book. Now if I was shooting a lifestyle image for a client, and we wanted a very “real” look to it, not overly styled and posed, this is what I would try to re-create. Maybe it’s an ad for child education and the need to keep kids interested in books. Don’t you think this would be a stronger image then one where the kid is sitting straight in the chair with perfect posture, his pant leg is perfectly pulled down and he has a fake smile on his face., I think so.
The trick is to really set the mood on the set where the actors/models can feel comfortable to move about and let them play a role in the scene. This is the main reason I prefer to cast actors as opposed to fashion models for my lifestyle shoots, let them ad-lib, thats what they love to do. Here are just a couple of examples from a shoot I did for cell phone provider. I just directed the talent to have a good time taking pictures of themselves with the phone, and let them come up with the actual body positions. It will ring much truer if you don’t over direct them too much.
Now just for fun, I Googled, “posing tips for photography,” It found, 210,000 items, Wow! Here are a couple of images I found interesting.