Strike a pose; snap the pic; save the memory. That’s usually how it goes, right?
But how do you know if you are doing it well, the “strike a pose” part? We’ve clearly evolved into a species that loves to document every stop, drop, and roll sequence with photos; and who doesn’t want to have reliably flattering poses up her sleeve? The truth is, everyone is capable; it’s simply a matter of learning the technique. I received some valuable insight from Ray Lata, Director of Wilhelmina West - Wilhelmina, as in major U.S. and international modeling agency as well as Alyx Evans, one of the models I’ve had the pleasure of styling on a few occasions who is with L.A. Models. Both had many a great tip to share!
1. Practice makes perfect. It is just as true here as it was when you were practicing for those 3rd grade ballet recitals. Sometimes, awkward as it may feel, it can help to stand in front of the mirror and move around to find the angle you like best. That way, you know what to highlight the next time someone flashes a camera in your direction. Don’t kid yourself; every model has probably done this to find her most flattering angles too. What’s more, she probably then practiced that posture or expression a thousand times until it became second nature.
3. Be Yourself. “When things look organic, that’s when you get the best shots,” says Alyx Evans. So, to start, do what feels natural. If you’re with your best gal pals and you’re taking photos every five minutes because you haven’t seen them in forever, think of the moment when you first got to hug them. That genuine happiness will radiate through your expression. Forget what’s going on around you and focus on the memory you’re making with the friends you love. Alyx always makes a concerted effort to think about her whole body and not just her face. “Everything from your fingertips to leg placement can convey the mood.” She’s totally right: sitting with your ankles crossed has a monumentally different message than sitting with your knees gaping apart; yet the physical difference is a simple split-second adjustment. If you happen to be taking a full-body picture, while you’re being yourself, be aware of your whole self – so to speak.
The best piece of advice I received from Ray was, “When in doubt, smile!” Similar to Alyx’s instruction to be natural, there’s nothing more beautiful than true happiness. People tend not to notice the small details in a photograph if your eye-catching smile gets their attention first. (Insert: teeth whitening plug here!)
Of course, reading all of this and actually remembering to think about it in the moment probably seems silly, but according to Lata, “When you’re modeling, if you don’t feel silly then you’re probably not doing it right.”
That’s all. *Meryl Streep, Devil Wears Prada Voice*