Confidence in posing was my biggest struggle...
I have been modeling for over 10 years and I have learned so many amazing tips and tricks from every shoot I have been a part of. And I understand how intimidating social media can be. LOOK AT ALL THOSE PRETTY GIRLS AND THEIR POSES! HOW DO THEY DO IT? They make it look super easy and seamless- with their perfect outfits and lighting. The sun somehow is always shining in just the right spot on their body, their hair and makeup is done super well and they always look so damn happy. Well, I am here to tell you that a LOT of practice and thought goes into one simple shot. They might not have a team behind them like Coco Rocha for Vogue, but they have inspiration, ideas and someone who is somewhat experienced behind the camera.
The key here- and the most important thing you should learn here is: Confidence is key and that speaks volumes in a picture. Even when you feel like garbage and have to fake it- it makes a world of difference if you understand what fashion poses work for you, for your shoot, your vision and what you are capable of. I didn’t learn this overnight- I practiced because I enjoyed it and took it seriously. If I wanted to get the shot in 30 degree weather, in the snow, in nothing but a blanket… I had to know what the hell I was doing.
Granted, Instagram fashion poses are a little less intense and require less teamwork, but I am gonna teach you what you need to know to get better and feel confident in front of the camera!
Here are my 10 secrets to nail any fashion pose for social media!
1. Get Inspired
First things first, you gotta get inspired. Editorials and models are literally everywhere on the internet.
1: Pinterest. Endless amounts of inspiration and by my far my favorite source for fashion poses. You can follow mine here. (I have over 900 images just dedicated to editorials).
2: Find Instagrammers who inspire you, models who you love, themes and editorials that you want to try. Poses that you love, beauty looks- everything. Save them in a Pinterest board, on your IG, wherever.
3: Bookstores are great for fashion magazines- and I love flipping through them for inspiration. Something about tactile things makes me inspired.
Read fashion books from fashion designers, photographers, creative directors, stylists, makeup artists. Some of my favorite books for inspiration are below, so you have an idea.
4: Keep in mind the overall mood/tone and attitude of the shoot you are inspired by. Is it dark and moody or colorful and fun? Is it tense poses or loose and free-flowing? These are all important pieces of the editorial. Does the pose set a happy tone or an intimate one?
After I save my images to Pinterest, I start practicing! And this can be anywhere in your house with a full-length mirror. Put on some good music to get you moving, do some dancing and start realizing your angles and what pose they are doing. You might feel ridiculous, but that is how you LEARN YOUR BODY AND ANGLES. Figure out what you feel good doing, what makes you feel confident in the fashion poses. Keep reading to know what the next step is while you practice!
2. Move Move Move!
I learned really quickly that posing doesn’t mean standing in one position or place the whole time… You gotta move to make something happen in a shoot. So remember that movement=excitement in the picture. And excitement in the picture means it is engaging and captivating, which is KEY for social media. Standing straight on with no shape, no negative space and no movement isn’t really going to catch anyone’s attention, right? The pictures of people moving, engaging and being silly are the ones you notice first- so never stop moving.
A fun rule of thumb that I use is every click of the camera that I hear… pose.
Click, pose. Click, pose.
Now you don’t have to nail this immediately, but keep it as a personal goal to lock down your fashion poses.
So dance around, move your limbs, exercise your facial expressions and work on being flexible and loose in the shoot. This creates more images in the long run!!
– Keep your limbs moving
– Move your face and hands
– Have music playing in the shoot, it keeps your motivated!!
3. Open Your Mouth
This tip seems weird, I know… but let me explain.
I went the longest time without opening my mouth and it just looked so flat in the camera! I had no expression, no depth to my images.. they were kind of emotionless. And then a photographer said, you notice how every single model has their mouth open in all their fashion poses? I hadn’t even realized! Looking at all the magazine editorials, I noticed they all had their mouth slightly open!!
Basically, the open mouth is part of a well measured and tested pose that conveys a specific message to the viewer: I am sexy, I know what I am doing, and I am confident. Granted, it isn’t always necessary to open your mouth if you are going for a certain look or style, but it adds so much to the image. Practice that sexy face in the mirror, practice emotion and what your face looks like with different expressions. My portfolio page and Instagram has lots of inspiration for this!! You will thank me later.
4. Create Negative Space
This tip goes along with moving and keeping your poses active. It is important to understand what is around you and make negative space whenever possible. Whether that is raising your arms, bending your legs, sitting down and tilting… it makes the area around you bigger and your body look longer and in motion.
Things to remember:
– Don’t just stand straight- create space around you!!
– Your limbs bend, so use that to your advantage to make more negative space in your poses.
– Walking and posing is create for creating motion and negative space.
This image to the right was taken in very cold ocean, and it ended up being one of my favorite images ever. I knew that it would suck to get in, but sometimes you gotta do what it takes to get the shot. Notice how I created negative space with my arms and my legs being open instead of closed off. When you keep your limbs closed/twisted/clenched or in an awkward position, it gives the impression of anger or aggressive body language, which is what you DON’T want in a picture.
So practice bending, doing yoga poses, stretching and using props around you to make negative spaces in your fashion poses.
5. Keep Limbs Loose
When you are working on your poses, try to keep your limbs as loose as possible. Unclench your hands, loosen your legs. Keeping your hands in a fist isn’t always creating the space and emotion that you want, unless it is necessary for the shot (like a boxing shot). In these images I kept my hands completely relaxed and delicate to add something more to the fashion pose, a little element of movement and ease.
– Use that mirror at home to stretch and let out any tension before a shoot
6. Look Away
Just because their is a camera in front of you, doesn’t mean that you always have to look at it. I learned to love my profile more and more with my shoots and noticed that it was a strong pose for me. Look other places besides in the camera- left, right, turn your head up, turn to the side. This just keeps it interesting and makes the viewer want to know more. What is she looking at?! It’s just way more fun and keeps the images different than just staring in the camera. Turning your head completely down can add a little mystery too, and show your hair!
– Focus on something next to you that is away from the camera.
– Look just above the camera or directly below it.
– Work on your profile (your side of face) often to see what you like most. I have a side I prefer. Everyone does.
-Look at editorial shots on my Pinterest and notice that they are often turned to the side.
7. Use Your Surroundings
There are endless places to shoot and find inspiration and while I was in my element, I used what was around me to make the image pop. This is very important on Instagram! Use the wall, the railing, the seats, the city around you. Maybe you are shooting in the forest or in a studio. Interact with the trees, the lighting setup… even the backdrops.
Keep your props in mind (a chair, sunglasses, rocks, etc) in mind when you do a fashion pose. It can make or break an image!!
Notice how I tried to use everything around me in these images. The truck, the leaf in my hand (cuz fall!), the trees in the background. Again, adding movement, motion and emotion. You are telling a story in the fashion pose and in the photos, so don’t be afraid to use what is around you!
– Try posing with strange props (cups, headphones, books, pillows)
-Shoot around staircases and railings, curtains and windows.
-Trees and outdoor locations are great for endless options.
Hands down, this is one of the most important elements of a photoshoot. Communicating what you want from a shoot, what fashion poses you are comfortable doing, or may want to try, how the makeup and hair needs to be done, etc. Showing up to a shoot or having a friend take your picture isn’t going to work as smoothly if there is no idea of what needs to be shot and portrayed. I have found that discussing everything beforehand is VERY necessary.
Things to think about before a shoot:
– Discuss what you want to get out of the shoot: What is the theme? The tone? Do you both know how to get there?
– What do you feel comfortable doing and not doing? (This is really key, especially for safety!)
-Did you decide on a location? Time?
– Do you know what poses need to be done and tried?
– Do you have the right wardrobe and inspirational images?
This is why I love Pinterest and things like Milanote/Trello. You can keep everything in one place with multiple people added to the moodboards and photoshoot plan (ideal for big teams or large shoots).
Keep everything organized and planned, and be understanding if things change last minute. Schedules change, things happen… so keep that in mind!
In the end, your photographer is a professional, but not a mind reader. So asking questions and communicating your goals can make it easier for them to realise your vision for your photo shoot.
Remember that you can also ask questions after the photo shoot. Whether you want to see the original photos (before they’re retouched) or whatever your request, your photographer can assist. I look at the images right after I pose because I want to know how I am doing. It improves your posing and you can discuss what needs to change and why.
9. Use Your Clothes
LITERALLY SUPER IMPORTANT for you to keep your clothes in mind when you do a fashion pose. Social media is all about the wardrobe and the clothing. So how you manipulate and work with the garment can set the mood for the image.
When I know what I am wearing for a shoot, ex: a dress, I will move a lot and twirl so that I can add motion to the image. I know that the garment doesn’t have a ton of structure so I can use that to my advantage by dancing around, kicking my leg up, walking or running.
If I am wearing something like a cotton top- I can create texture and motion by ripping (pretending), bending or pulling the piece.
If there is structure in the garment, like a suit, wedding dress or couture/designer pieces, you may not have the option to move it a lot. So work on sitting, bending the knees, hands on hips etc to create negative space and show the clothing off. My favorite part is the clothes. They set the mood of the shoot and how you pose!!
Some tips for different types of garments:
– Dresses: twirl, spin or lift from the sides
– Place hands in suit pockets, jackets, trousers
-Tug at swimsuits around hip area/straps
-Play around with lingerie and add a little sex appeal (cuz why not)
-Work with cotton tops and loose garments by walking/running and creating motion.
-Fun shoes can be touched at the ankle, or lifted up
-Jewelry and sunglasses are EXCELLENT for posing. Use them!!
See what you have in your wardrobe that can be manipulated easily. Also, hats are my favorite!! Get different sizes and have fun!
If you need some advice on what to put in your wardrobe for a great shoot, my post on wardrobe essentials has all you need to get updated.
10. Have Fun!
YOU GOTTA HAVE FUN WHEN YOU’RE SHOOTING.
Fashion poses aren’t all serious.
I try to laugh at myself and what images I create, while also keeping a positive and confident mindset. Make sure that you are having a good time in your fashion poses and in your shoot, because that shows in the images! And a fun model, a fun influencer makes you relatable. And being relatable is what you want on social media.
Keep it light, keep it upbeat and work hard.
You have practiced your poses, learned your body’s angles and worked out all the pose kinks- now it is time to shoot!
Modeling and posing are meant to be fun, and are meant to show your creative side. It may be challenging at first, but with practice comes perfection. Do you think you feel confident enough to take the next step in fashion posing?
Is there anything else you want me to cover? I would love to hear your thoughts and challenges with social media and posing.
I really hope that this has helped you gain confidence and a better understanding of how to pose and what you need for a successful shoot.
Like I said, I didn’t learn overnight. It took multiple shoots, multiple months to feel comfortable and a long time to gain the confidence.
You got all the tips you need to nail your fashion poses, now get out there!!
CONFIDENCE IS KEY.
MAKE IT RELATABLE.
USE YOUR SURROUNDINGS.