Working with a new female model can be challenging for both you and her. You need to work on building a rapport and making her comfortable before you take your first shot. You can do this while setting up your lighting and fine-tuning your equipment—ask her about her day, make her laugh, be genuine. However, even with the best lighting, perfect makeup, and tuned in camera settings, without some basic poses, you could end up with something more akin to a mug shot.
Fortunately, there are some basic poses you can use when working with a new female model that will make for a more rewarding experience for all.
1. Over the Shoulder
There is nothing worse that have a model standing straight and looking straight into the camera (think of that aforementioned mug shot). Instead, have the model look over her shoulder. It’s a simple stance that gives some interest to the shot.
2. Hands Around Her Face
Have your model place her hands around her face. Here you want to see only the sides of the hands and you don’t want flat palms, which can quickly kill the shot. Have her play with different positions of her hands while looking at the camera.
3. Hand on Hip
While standing, have your model place one had on her hip (elbow angled), while running the other hand through her hair. Have her look around while doing this, both into and away from the camera.
4. Hands in Pockets
While standing, have your model turn slightly to the side and place her hands in her back pockets (or that general vicinity). Be sure she angles her elbows slightly as well and looks into the camera.
5. Leaning Forward
Continuing to stand, have your model lean slightly forward. Along with adding some angles to the shot, this pose is also a very attractive gesture and is a subtle way to emphasize upper body shapes.
6. Seated, Looking Up
Have your model site down, knees together, and shoot her from slightly above. She can move her arms around her body for added interested, all the while looking into the camera.
7. Get on the Floor
Have your model lie on her back and begin with getting on the same level as her. Here she can look into the camera or away and can cross her arms around her torso to begin with.
8. Holding Her Head
Stay on the ground but have your model turn on her side and hold her head up with one of her arms. Be sure she angles her wrist to give an added element to the shot while looking straight into the camera.
9. Holding a Leg
Have your model sit on the ground, facing forward, and place one leg across her on the ground with the other angled up (knee about her chest). Have her hold on to the ankle of the angled leg with both hands, offering a friendly and inviting pose.
10. Lean Against a Wall
This is intended to be a relaxed pose, with your model standing upright and supporting her back against a wall. She may use the wall not only to support her back, but also to put her hands on or resting a leg against it.
Keep in mind when trying any of these poses that they are general suggestions with many varieties available within each. Even just changing the hand that is in her hair can make a noticeable difference to that pose. Also, while guiding her, be sure to keep your focus on her eyes and show her some of the photos as you take them to help build her confidence.