Good modeling poses will guarantee successful photographs. If you show your model exactly what you want, you will give her confidence and thus you'll soon turn a stilted subject into a sympathetic and creative model.
Fortunate is the director who works with a creative model. But most fortunate is the creative director who knows how to exploit a model's creativity!
When your model suggests poses by initiating action and you select what you want, a casual or candid type picture usually results. In order to save great amounts of time, you would do well to give your model a quick summary of key points in arm movement related to the camera as a basis for making more of her suggestions photographically useful.
If, on the other hand, you have a predetermined position that you want the model to assume as naturally as possible, you must be able to give simple and precise direction to bring it about.
Close your eyes, think of an arm position down to its smallest detail. Direct some model in the position of which you have been thinking. Ask yourself this question: Does it fit the mental image? Teach your mind's eye to see a picture first... then all you have to do is direct it
When you have a talented model who is able to create arm positions; when you have become a skillful director, able to select and correct, the basis for arriving at natural and interesting arm positions has been established. Pictures resulting from such a set-up invariably rate high.
Self evaluation . . .
will show you in which departments you need to develop more skill.
Go back to some old prints of yours (the good and the bad ones) and look through them for examples of:
1) Arms that flow in the right direction.
2) Arms that stop the eye when you want it stopped.
3) Positions of the arm that parallel the body, the page, a prop.
4) Arms that seem to balance the body nicely.
5) Mismatched hand sizes, excessive foreshortening or distortion.
6) Variety of arm angles. Do you seem to have any favorites?
7) The upper arm in positions other than the out and down sector.
8) Soft flesh pressured out of its natural position.
9) The elbow touching the waistline. (Is there separation ... either through a change of tone or through a trap?)
10) Arms crossing the body and not interfering with waistline definition.
11) Bulky hand positions used to advantage.
12) Right angles at elbow or wrist used unintentionally (combined with acute or obtuse angles).
13) Right angles put to dramatic use.
14) Foreshortening of the forearm.
15) Elbows too near or too far away from the camera.
In other words, can you direct your model to achieve good modeling poses and does your use of arms show variation, creativity, ease and naturalness?
Have you leaned too heavily upon one or two hand-stops without suggesting others? Are any positions masculine that should have been feminine? Any feminine that should have been masculine? Are any sophisticated that should have been adolescent or naive? Are any candid and loose that should contain dignity and formality?
Further your self-evaluation by doing a little research into the methods of current photographers who are having their work more frequently published than you. From several different magazines (in order to get a good cross section of work) clip all the hand positions you can find.
Now start evaluating the pictures in each pile. For instance: hand on the hip. Are some hands placed lower than others? Do some use the thumb in front of the body instead of the fingers? Do others, with the fingers in front, use a different break of the wrist? Can you see more of the back of the hand in some? Note the most effective variations and try to determine what they add to the picture as a whole. Did you find any new ideas?
Now you will know just how to work to get the best from your model, and help her achieve good modeling poses.
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