Tips For First-Time Models

by David Jenyns

posing for beginners

posing for beginners

Footwork is best initiated by your model because she usually knows her own balance and can, in most instances, suggest a stance that is not impossible to maintain while other parts are being adjusted. Before you begin to tell her exactly what to do, see if she herself can approximate a position. If you are striving for a more creative or unique leg position than she can offer or suggest, it becomes advisable and necessary to direct your attention to the model’s feet and to help her construct her leg position through your direction.

In order to translate your ideas into her action, you must have a keen understanding of body balance and leg mechanics. You must also be able to visualize and analyze both basic and creative leg positions.

Collect, for observation and evaluation, at least 50 illustrations of leg positions. Separate them into two piles according to weight distribution:

1) Equal (weight evenly distributed)
2) Unequal (a basic-foot and a show foot- i.e.unsupported foot)

Invert pile 2 and make a diagram of each picture. Note and compare the difference that the placement of the show-foot has made on each. Select the leg positions you prefer. Try to execute them yourself. Of course you are no model, but if you will experiment with each position in private, you will learn several things:

1) Methods of directing a model you never thought of before.
2) How to think clearly and quickly from your viewpoint and that of your model.
3) Exactly how the legs balance the body as weight shifts from point to point.

Several years ago this floor-clock method of placing feet was used as a class experiment. A gawky teenage boy was selected as the subject for demonstration. Modeling was the furthest thing from his mind. He was given three simple rules of the game. He became interested. In less than five minutes he was complying with every foot position at command and feeling pretty proud of himself!

The three-point briefing he received was this:

1) ‘There is an imaginary clock encircling your feet on the floor. 12:00 o’clock is directly in front of you’.
2) ‘Pretend that the foot in the center is an hour hand (basic-foot) and your other foot is the minute hand on the clock.’
3) ‘Put one heel in the center of this clock and shift all your weight to that leg.
Notice how the toe of this same foot can point to any hour on the clock without taking your heel from the center.’

The instructor began to call time and the class watched him respond. Try it with your next inexperienced model. It is easy. And interesting.

Direct someone who has never heard of a floor-clock. Direct your model’s feet into the positions you like. This will help you remember the positions that you prefer (or variations you have seen and liked) for the next time you want to use them.

If, instead of having your model’s weight unevenly distributed, you want it equally distributed on each foot – give her these four simple directions:

1) ‘Keep your weight on both feet.’
2) ‘Let your body face – ‘ (direction).
3) ‘Space your feet – inches apart.’
4) ‘Bend (or straighten, or cross) your knees.’

Such leg positions, you’ll notice, are generally used with the straight, long-line body and carry out the characteristics of the severe T silhouettes.

When the weight is shifted to one leg, you will probably use ‘C’ and ‘S’ curves with the silhouettes carrying out their flow of line and character.

Here are answers to two of the problems we all meet in working with live models.

Hips are not facing the camera at a flattering angle.

If the change is to be great, assign a new number for her basic-foot. If it is slight she will be able to twist her hips without disturbing the position of her basic-foot.

Feet look ‘pigeon toed.’

Simply ask her to fan-out the toe of her show-foot until it is either parallel to, or pointed away from the toe of her basic-foot.

For effective photographs, focus on the model’s feet. Make sure you pay attention to foot work and your photographs will improve.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Next post: