If 75% of being a model is about having the look, then the remaining 25% is definitely about knowing what to do with it.
Posing is one of those things about modeling that doesn't come naturally in the least: it's a learned, practiced thing; like dancing or gymnastics, it's about understanding how your body moves and what the camera sees. For models, that means lots of time in front of the mirror and lots of time in front of the camera.
As a photographer, when you work with a model who both has the look and knows how to use it...well, it's a dream. Suddenly you understand what all of the fuss is about. You're no longer working with a model, you're working with a Model.
The image at left is Megan from Muse NYC from a test shoot this week. Click through for behind the scenes video and info!
First off, a video: watch both Megan and Adesuwa move through the entire setup in time lapse, paired up with every frame that was shot in the setup! Head over to Vimeo to watch it large, if you like.
A little background: this was the final setup of the day for both Megan and Adesuwa, though we had one more model coming in after them. We had already shot both "clean" studio and natural-light looks with both of them, so I wanted this to go in a very different direction. I knew from the beginning of the day that I wanted to use this look, and knew that it would require heavier makeup and hair styling than the others, so it was naturally moved to the last setup for each girl.
The lighting setup:
The background lights are set to pretty safely blow out the background, as I wanted to ensure a clean, graphic white, but the reflector panels minimize any blowback onto the models. I wanted a crisp, moody foreground light, so a single head with 40-degree grid rakes across the models from high and camera-right. It's close enough that there's a pronounced falloff of light across the model's body, soft enough to render smooth and beautiful skin but hard enough to leave detail in hair and fabric.
The direction to the models was pretty simple: move. We wanted dramatic shapes and poses, which meant moving. So we cranked up the music, turned on the fan and let 'er rip!
Images are below.
For those of you within a reasonable distance of NYC, don't forget that the April 10-11 workshop sessions will be using an entire day to cover model directing and posing! Visit the workshop page for more info, registration or to get on the mailing list.