Saturday, 17 January 2009

Why do I need a "Professional" Photographer?

I work with up and coming, aspiring models, and if there is one question that I'm frequently asked, it is probably this one; "Why do I need a Professional Photographer?"

It is a common falsehood amongst models and indeed many photographers that anyone can photograph model portfolios. Really!

However, when you get married - are you going to accept the first photographer who comes along simply because they are free and available and has a camera? Or are you going to use a professional who is experienced and enjoys a reputation for competence in their particular field?

It doesn't take much thinking about really, does it? But how many models actually bother to get professional portfolios done? Take a look at P#**storm and the likes and you will soon see that the answer is not many actually - which is why most potential models get off to a less than flying start and quickly fall by the wayside even if they have potential.

Why would any serious photographer or client want to book a model who has a few amateur snaps or even camera phone pictures (yes, a lot of "models" do!) on their portfolio? Exactly!, they wouldn't.

People will tell you that the best way to get into modelling is by doing TFP/CD (time for print/CD's of pictures) with any photographer who will give his time and that you should spend 6 months doing this before you even think of asking for payment. Now, in my opinion, this is a piece of good, sound, advice. Its through this way, that you can see if you really have any real potential as a photographic model and get a portfolio into the bargain. However, when you pay a professional photographer you might think you'll be getting a decent professional portfolio done by a competent photographer, and generally that is the case. However, always be sure what you getting into, and be sure of the quality of the finished images, because bad photographs on your portfolio are worse than no photo's at all.

But a professional portfolio costs a fortune. Does it? That depends. And this is where you can really make TFP work for you. Take a look at some of the published images here on TFPModel, and find a photographer who showcases images that you empathise with, that you aspire to be in, because some good photographers are here as they are also happy to exchange their time for yours.

My own policy is that if I can use your images commercially, that may be enough to cover the cost of your folio, so it may not cost you anything other than your time. Obviously this is only possible with a small number of potential models, but who knows, maybe you fit the bill.

Again, just my thoughts, please feel free to contribute your thoughts and lets discuss?!

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Tips for modelling poses

Taking beautiful photographs of beautiful people is not easy. However, it can be a whole lot easier if the model understands a little more about how to pose for the photographer/camera. Here are a few thoughts:

It’s a common misconception that naturally beautiful models take naturally beautiful photographs. The truth is, without modelling poses and modelling tips, perfect photographs are harder than you think.

If you are a professional model, a photographer will most likely guide you through a variety of model poses throughout the photo shoot. But if you are an aspiring model and are still working your way up to the top you may have to control your poses to ensure great head shots and sample modelling photographs.

Live show models, promotion models, photographic models, and runway models all rely on professional model poses to succeed. Whether you aspire to appear in print magazines or fashion shows; if you want to be a model, pay special attention to your modelling poses.


Although sometimes concentration enhances a good photograph, obvious concentration can distract and often ruin a good photograph as well. Do not hold your breath for a modelling pose; always remember to breathe and appear at ease.


Bad posture is an unrecognised flaw in many people. However, and especially for models, posture is a harmful flaw. Always remember to keep your back straight and your shoulders up. Slouching affects the mood of the photograph and enlarges the appearances of your stomach. In addition to your back and shoulders, always remember to flex your stomach muscles. Despite your weight or state of shape, your abdomen will appear more toned if you flex.


Symmetry is officially out in the modelling world. When posing, make sure to differentiate your arms and legs with asymmetrical poses. If you have one arm long and straight by your side, make sure the other arm is bent. Whether a big or small angle, the bend will make the modelling pose look more real, less artificial. Continue the asymmetry to your legs. If one leg is locked straight, give the other leg a casual bend.


Although the camera is the ultimate focal point of a modelling photo shoot, great models do not look directly into the camera. To enhance the quality of your photo shoot, look away from the camera with a mix of head and eye poses. Looking off to the right or left side, or tiling your neck to either side can help you avoid direct eye contact with the camera. In many cases, your head and neck can remain stationary in your modelling pose, and your eyes can do all the work. Head and eye positions, coupled with personable facial expressions make for great model poses.

Sitting Poses

If you are sitting down during your photo shoot, don’t think that it’s OK to slack off. In fact, sitting photo shoots require a lot of extra work. If you are sitting down or reclining, it’s important to put your weight on the back of one thigh, rather than distributing your weight equally on both thighs. If you roll one hip up from the ground or surface, shifting your weight will be simple. This pose results in a slimming effect that you don’t want to miss out on.


To make sure your best assets shine, there are a few basic guidelines to follow. Based on two distinct poses, a forward lean and a backward lean, any model with any breast size can maximize cleavage. When leaning forward, either bring your arms together at your waist, keep your arms straight at the elbows and clasp your hands together below your waist, or simply cross your arms. When leaning backward, raise your arms about your shoulders and head, keep your arms apart, and always slouch for the best cleavage results.


If you have a naturally beautiful smile, show your pearly whites with pride, just not every time. If you smile in each modelling pose, modelling agents will notice your lack of versatility, not your smile. To add variety to your modelling poses, try switching up your smile with a cute frown, a bratty pout, a friendly laugh, or even an edgy scowl. Your facial expressions can make or break your modelling poses. Let your smile show, but make sure to show what else you can do.

In addition to these tips, every model should be aware of the basics of posing. There are four main types of model poses: lifestyle pose, movement pose, portrait pose, and body pose.


The lifestyle pose evokes a sense of everyday living with common body movements and facial expressions. Throughout the day, moments of happiness, love, anger, and hope arise. To succeed at the lifestyle pose, each model must be able to recreate these everyday emotions.


The movement pose captures a specific action, such as running or jumping. Because this pose is most often used for a marketing photo shoot, the model is used to promote a product. Each model must be able to smile and laugh when using the products in the photo shoot.


This modelling pose emphasises the face of the model, and relies purely on facial features. The model will be in modest make-up and relaxed hair and should pose with a casual, genuine smile. Many portrait photographs are taken close up and emphasise details of the models face. If you are scheduled for a portrait photo shoot, make sure to pay extra attention to your skin and drink at least 8-12 glasses of water a day.


Full-length photographs require body poses. Models are encouraged to shift weight between hips and make arms and lengths into asymmetrical stances. Although many body poses do not require specific facial expressions, putting your entire body into character during full-length poses helps your body find a natural balance.

Keep these thoughts in mind during your next model photo shoot. Whether you’re an expert or an ambitious beginner, all models have the ability to excel in photo shoots. Focus on your posture, attitude, and facial expressions to succeed beyond your wildest expectations.