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Directing Models without Posing

People look their best when they are genuinely happy and having a good time. It’s essential that nerves, tension, and self- consciousness take a back seat on a shoot. This will allow freer movement and relaxed expressions, so you can capture the essence of who that person is in a beautiful carefree way. I like to accomplish this by focusing on fun during a shoot and by coaching actions.

COACHING ACTIONS
When you’re coaching a model to perform certain actions, a few things happen. First, she transfers her focus on performing the action instead of trying to pose and look good. Second, you create some natural movement to capture instead of stiff static poses. Third, you begin to exhaust her nervous tension by keeping her in motion and repeating the action. This keeps her engaged, can revive expression and is one of my tricks to create emotion.

DO IT AGAIN!
When I ask a girl to repeat an action over and over again it gives me multiple opportunities to capture something gorgeous, and it’s my secret ploy to annihilate her nervous energy. It’s hard to be tense when you’re exhausted!

DEMO THE MOVE
Take the performance pressure off of her, and give her a quick demonstration. With my camera in hand, I will quickly just demo the action I’m asking her to do. I go way overboard with it, so she doesn’t feel silly doing it because I just looked so silly a second ago and who cared right?

THE BEST 3 EYELINES
The first thing a non-model will ask when she steps in front of the camera is, “Where do I look?” I give her my three favorite eye-lines right off the bat. One, look at the light source. Two, look down your body. Three, look at me. I tell her to just move between the first two, and I’ll ask her for the third, since it’s my least favorite. Eyes closed technically isn’t an eye-line, but I often ask for that one too.

EXTREME POSTURE
I demonstrate what I call extreme posture to most of my models right up front. I want them to see that when I stand simply with normal everyday posture, it’s a bit… well, unremarkable. But when I reeeeally stretch and pull my hips and shoulders out and arch my back like I never thought I could and lift my neck up and out, then it’s suddenly a lot more flattering and significantly more dramatic. Try it yourself in the mirror – huge difference. So I often will coach her with “…more extreeeeme, keep going, keep going, more…” until she falls over and laughs (another great shot).

HAVE A LOOKBOOK
Some people are visual creatures and respond better to seeing the posture or action you are trying to coach. They feel safe duplicating something, and then you can coach them along to put your own spin on it. Lookbooks are also great if you run out of ideas or you are shy and don’t really want to coach, or you’re male and you’d just rather not demo a hair flip.

If you’d like to learn all of my boudoir photography tips and tricks, head on over to the brand-spanking new ONLINE BOUDOIR WORKSHOP site, and join the awesome group of photographers already signed up for this fun-filled info-packed success-focused course starting this Tuesday, June 14th!

So excited!!

x. Christa

ps. can you handle more cool free stuff and special deals? I am wheeling and dealing with each of my Sponsors & Vendors to give every single attendee joining the ONLINE BOUDOIR WORKSHOP the sweetest swag! I’m so psyched with what they are offering you guys!! So head on over to the new website to register and lay claim on your spot and the goods! I’m just sayin 🙂