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Poses for a Portfolio

Sean Breadsell , Jan 03, 2009; 09:59 a.m.

This month I have two portfolio shoots to do for potential models, this is soemthing that I want to get more into and have some good ideas for shoot locations etc.
My questions are...
1) how many photos/prints should give to the models for their portfolios?
2) what sort of poses are a "must" in a portfolio?

Responses

Johnny McMillan , Jan 03, 2009; 10:04 a.m.

Firstly unless they ask for prints or an agency asks for prints, I wouldn't bring prints up and just give a cd instead, means less the expense for you. As for poses that are a "must"....really there isn't any. If future clients are looking at your work and your portfolio, they'll be more interested as to the quality and perhaps the individuality of the images instead of wondering has he got the two arms on the hip with the elbow's purtruding shots...if this is something that's new, your best thing is to keep it as simple as possible to start with, make sure that you get everything right from a base level and then work it from there. Unless you have some payment coming in from these shoots, prints for models etc. will just be an added expense, and the way to counter that is to offer more of a selection of images for them compared to what I hear some photographers give.

Charles Heckel , Jan 03, 2009; 02:50 p.m.

As you're working with potential models, let them start by giving them a feeling to express or something to do, let them do what comes naturally, and then suggest small changes to make the shot read better. If they could really be contenders--only one in two thousand people have the DNA for it--a successful portfolio shows the model knows how to give the feeling associated with a variety of markets, sport clothing, cosmetics, hairdo, you name it. You'd want heads, three-quarter length, full-length, standing, sitting, in motion--a feeling of versatility.
If you want to get modelly about it, rip out pages from a fashion magazine and try to imitate them--better yet, ask the model to find some as she will feel more invested in the image. Stylized poses are not that hard to copy, but it's quite difficult to keep them from looking fake. Best single technique for a natural, appealing expression is to have the model listen to her favorite music, or even lip-synch to it.
If you're looking for a guide to interesting poses, try this:http://www.vci.net/~mmorgan/pg2.pdf

Robert Cossar , Jan 03, 2009; 04:22 p.m.

And keep in mind that the images are made to impress someone looking for a model. They are NOT to be shot as a showcase for the photographer. Tempting as that can be.....") Bob

Hansen Tsang , Jan 03, 2009; 06:15 p.m.

Just as Bob said don't go too artsy with the shot. A lot of agencies prefer to have polaroids of the model with no makeup. That said do some face shot to show off the face and do some full body shot to show off the entire model. Too many photographers like to show off their artistic talent at the expense of the model.

Nathan Stiles , Jan 05, 2009; 01:44 p.m.

If the girls (guys?) really are pursuing a competive/professional modeling job, then it won't matter. The agency will have a certain look they want and will use your pictures only as an eval if they want to send them to one of their oncall TFP shooters to get the first set of comp cards done free/cheap. In this area, after they know they can book a model, they then will invest in a comp card by a house photographer.

If they are entering the minor leagues of modeling, like model mayhem, then all "standards" are off. Where a comp card requires (99% of the time) a head shot, MM seems more interested in bikini shots. Where a comp card can't be over photoshopped, MM will give you a whole set of plastic models.

If you were the comp card shooter, then the agency probably has different requirements for the job they are submitting to. If the client is too short, and is only a bikini model, they may not even need a head shot, just a 1/2 or 3/4 shot. And a bikini will be required. If it's a commercial/catalog/lifestyle model, then a creative, headshot, and mock ad (normally w/ the model laughing) will be used. A serious and smiling picture is normally requested-- and bikini's are normally _not_ on these comp cards.

Ralph Berrett , Jan 05, 2009; 04:10 p.m.

When I try to pose a model I try to pose their strongest asset. Every model is a little different some have stronger feature than others.
The more experienced the model the more they know how to pose themselves. I try maximize shoot by knowing what the model looks like, the type of modeling. Different modeling types need different type shots.
If the model is looking for commercial work in your area, you may what them dressed in business suit. I have lots of hospitals in my area of Central California. I might pose them, dress as medical personnel with a medical chart. The poses depends on the body type of model, the type of modeling, and who is audience.
You can buy a posing guide at http://www.photographytips.com/page.cfm/5177
I am now reviewing a copy for a story it looks like it might be a good resource for a beginner. I am also reviewing the Posing Guide app for the iphone which again looks like a good resource for the beginner.
I also recommend looking at different magazines to see what the photos look like. Finally check out iStockphoto.com you will se lots of different poses for different genre.

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