Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Few More Thoughts on Posing

Blogger has been very twitchy lately. If you've had problems viewing the site or leaving commments, what can I say? It's not because of anything I'm doing or not doing. I'm semi-confident Google's geek-squad will have it under control at some point.

Back to posing.

I often begin a set by advising the model the first caps are simply about me checking the lighting. If she just stands there, like a lump, I ask her to give me something (pose-wise) so I can better see what the lights are doing while she's busting a few model-moves.

Often, this has less to do with the lighting and more to do (or as much to do) with appraising how confident and natural and (seemingly) experienced the model is in front of a camera. My meter has already told me most of what I need to know. A couple of quick snaps-and-chimps, checking the histogram and using the highly-calibrated technical prowess of my eyes, tells me the rest. But I usually persist with my "lighting" ruse for a while.

Hehehe... "snaps-and-chimps" sounds like something you eat.

Anyway, I also ask the model which side of her face she thinks is her best side. Usually, I've already made my own decision about that. But my initial decision isn't etched in stone. My opinion is often based on the individual size of the model's eyes. I look for which eye is the bigger eye and I turn the model so that the larger eye is furthest from the camera. Doing so evens them out, size-wise, in the images.

When a model seems clumsy and/or lacks confidence posing for the camera, I know I'm going to have to become a puppeteer while working with her. This doesn't always remain true throughout the shoot: Sometimes it takes a model a while to work into her groove and, once she does, puppeteering ceases to be a neccesity.

Experienced or not, I try to discover the model's comfort zone while posing. This comfort zone is as much about her physical comfort as it is her psychological comfort. That doesn't mean I'm going to let her remain in her comfort zones throughout the shoot. But, initially, that's the zone I'm going to permit her to operate in.

Many effective glamour poses are physically demanding. I sometimes tell the model, "If it doesn't hurt, it ain't working." Initially, I let her "warm-up" with less demanding poses. I've shot models who go through a series of stretching exercises prior to getting in front of the lights. When I see a model doing this, I know I'm going to be able to physically push her further.

I'm not talking about pretzel-bending poses. But when, for instance, you say to the model, "Turn and let me see your butt." And when she does, you then tell her, "Now turn your upper body so I can see your face and breasts," it's usually followed, at least from me, with directions to turn her upper body more... and more... and even more with additional instructions for her to push her butt out more... and more... and even more. This can be physically painful for the model. Too bad. I'm going for the killer shot. She should be going for the killer shot. No pain no gain.

If a model finishes a set and isn't a bit fatigued by the process, I haven't done my job properly. Some of her muscles should hurt or, at least, feel as though they've had a workout. We're creating fantasy and illusion in glamour photography and doing so often requires the model to twist and bend and turn her body in ways that might not feel so great. Even calling for a simple "S" curve often has me pushing the model to create a more dramatic, pronounced curve. "Kick that hip out! More! Kick it further out!" Oh well. I've not met a glamour model yet who was being forced to pose for the camera.

I would have liked to have posted some pics with this update but it seems Blogger is still being twitchy. I guess the Google-geeks are still battling bugs.

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