What constitutes a good pose? I honestly can't answer that. For me, it's one of those "I know it when I see it" kind of things. One pose might look great on one model and not-so-great when another goes for it.
Great-looking poses from one model which might look lame on another are the result of many variables including body type, height, wardrobe, the lighting, the environment the model is posing in, her level of confidence, and much more. Posing guides can be helpful, especially for less experienced shooters, but can any posing guide take into account the considerations I just listed? I don't think so. That's where the shooter's eye and aesthetic sensibilities come into play. That's why posing, from the photographer's perspective, is so often an "I know it when I see it" kind of thing.
I'm not saying there aren't tried-and-true poses, some of which will work for most all models. And there certainly are good posing habits models should learn and shooters should recognize. But if you think the rules for things like lighting and composition are important to understand, whether you religiously stick to them or not, a lot of the so-called rules for good posing go out the window depending on the model's ability to pull off poses that break away from the norm.
When I'm shooting a model for the first time, one of the first things I want to learn about is her level of experience in front of the camera. Most of my game plan depends on the model's experience and her level of confidence. An experienced and confident model makes things so much easier for the shooter. I've shot models who can strike almost any sort of pose with very little direction. Less experienced models are another story. Sometimes you have to treat them like meatpuppets and direct nearly every aspect of their physical being in front of the camera and, in the end, a lot of it still doesn't work due to the lack of confidence and insecurity of the newbie model. Personally, I hate having to be a total puppeteer. It takes energy away from the shoot and doesn't permit me to focus on other aspects of the images I should also be concentrating on.
When it comes to posing, learning what works and what doesn't work, plus developing a discrimating eye when it comes to model poses, are as important as what you learn about lighting and exposure and composition and all that stuff.
I'll probably be writing more about posing in upcoming updates.
The lovely lady posted along with today's babble is Nikita Lea. Nikki's a very experienced glamour model and has often been seen in magazines and on the net.