5 Posing Tips for Glamour Images With Impact with Vicky Papas Vergara
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Every photo session is as unique as the women I photograph. There are so many aspects to each shoot that I need to consider when I create. Here are five things you can add to your skillset in photographing women.
I draw a great deal of inspiration from watching ballet dancers. The way they create expression with their hands is amazing. What I want to achieve with the shoot—feminine goddess or powerful warrior—influences how I direct the model to pose. We discuss our goals before the session.
If I want a delicate look, I ask her to relax her fingers and palms. I shoot the hands from the side for a more delicate look. The fingers should be curled slightly and relaxed. I enjoy working with dancers and art models who are in tune with their bodies.
I avoid the claw and flat palms to camera, which looks awkward and chunky. But there are times when a soft cupping of a breast looks great, like in my photo of sassy Sina King, with her sexy, fun expression!
I always shoot loads of photos, experiment a lot, constantly review my results—and from there I just keep improving.
Body Shapes and the S-Curve
My love of painting the female form has helped me understand the magic of the feminine curve. When posing models, I emphasize the dynamic S-curve. All I need to do is look at my fabulous Grecian ancestors, who had it tied up. The beautiful statue of Venus de Milo is all about the S-curve.
If the model is in a fitted garment, I push out her hips, tilt the shoulder, incline the head and bend a knee to create the curves. I direct her to work through the different movements to give me options. If I want more drama, I exaggerate the tilts and bends, which changes the dynamics of the overall image. Every body is unique. I work with the potential of the model, always exploring what works best for the outfit, lighting and overall look.
I love to create a sense of elevation, elongation and grandeur in my models. To achieve this, I work at mid-height or below waist level to the subject. One of my favorite posing props is a pedestal that I get the models to stand on. This takes the elongation to the next level, giving us the illusion that the model is 7 feet tall. It adds drama and makes the model look powerful and statuesque.
I celebrate women by literally putting them on pedestals!
Posing & Styling Go Hand-in-Hand
My sessions revolve around the garments and wearable art I create. The styling plays a huge role in how I pose my model.
I use the body to dramatize and enhance the model’s clothes. I want the model to take on the personality of the garment to help her get into character.
If you are going for a Renaissance feel, with flowing soft fabrics, the posing needs to reflect that. You want S-curves and classic posing. More funky, fun clothing may work for more abstract and distorted poses.
Coaching for Great Expressions
Creating great rapport with my models comes first. I get to know them, and have fun learning about who they are and what their story is. I plan my shoots with their input to get them excited. It’s so important to communicate exactly what I want to achieve. Then, as a team, we bounce ideas off each other and create together. It’s a partnership.
I direct them not just physically but also emotionally to get that perfect expression I want. I avoid awkward, stagnant poses and expressions. Keep it real and genuine.
I coach for an emotion and an expression that works best for the garment.
Get your model into character to make that connection with the viewer all the more real. Communication is key. It’s a powerful partnership.
I need to gain trust and create comfort to get them in the mod. If it’s dramatic and thoughtful, then it’s up to me to create the trust so they can surrender their emotions to create the feel I’m after.
Navigate them into an expression. Is it dreamy, joyful, fierce, proud, sexy, defiant, sensual or melancholic? It’s like being a theater director. The models are your actors. Together, you create amazing images from a place of trust, understanding and, most importantly, fun.