Useful Tips

The secrets of photogenicity: how to become a professional model


“The camera lens cannot lie, but it can be a tool of lies.”
Harold Evans

There is no experience in the modeling business, but I want everyone to be delighted with your photos on social networks? Portrait shooting has many important nuances, and if you neglect them, you can get far from the most beautiful pictures at the output. After all, the result depends not only on the photographer, who must expose the light jewelry and reveal your personality, but also on the model itself! We have prepared some simple tips that will teach you how to properly control your body in front of the camera.

Photogenicity. Key concept

Photogenicity is not ideal facial features, but the ability to like the camera. The cult model of the 60s did an excellent job at first glance. Verushka. Here is how she describes the filming process: “Filming is a love triangle for me: a photographer, a camera and me. The camera is my lover, and we have a fascinating flirt. With a loving gaze, I look either at the camera, or somewhere to the side. And the photographer presses the button at the very moment when I found the desired pose and facial expression. This is a very exciting experience - when such a relationship arises between the camera, the photographer and me. And there are never bad pictures. ”


Verushka clearly proved this theory in the film Antonioni "Photo Enlargement", where her heroine in just 4 minutes manages to demonstrate the virtues of her body and drive the photographer (David Hammings) crazy, who falls on her knees in front of her with a camera in her hand.

Shot from the film “Magnification” (1966)

This scene was called the most erotic in the history of cinema. But universal enthusiasm, like general bewilderment, caused Verushkin extraordinary thinness ...

Before filming in “Photo Enlargement,” the model was on a starvation diet and drank only water. “I lost a lot of weight and was very weak when I starred in this film,” she later admitted. Of course, it was risky. Leading photographers do not recommend diet on the week before the scheduled photo shoot - traces of malaise and exhaustion will be visible on your face. However, there are several tricks that will help you look slimmer in the photo:

Direct posture. Whether you are sitting or standing, a straight back will help you feel (and therefore look) taller and slimmer.

45 degree rotation. The favorite pose of the catwalk models, which allows them to look even worse than they actually are in numerous backstage shots. Turn 45 degrees to the camera, one leg is set forward and slightly bent at the knee, body weight is transferred to the second leg, hands on the hips.

- For full-length shots, ask the photographer to shoot low camera angleThis visually lengthens your legs and improves proportions.

- To avoid excessive width, do not cross arms and legs, avoid a large number of massive accessories, do not wear baggy clothes.

See also Pleasant with useful or How to combine sports and housework

High heels lengthen legs and allow you to feel more confident (high-heeled shoes, like any shoes at a photo shoot, should be comfortable and relevant in size - any inconvenience will instantly be reflected in the photo).

Leslie Hornby’s wardrobe (better known as Twiggy) consisted of miniskirts, dresses with a simple print and was distinguished by the simplicity of shapes and colors.


This determined her image of a teenage girl and elevated her to the podium of the cult model of the 60s.

Clothing as a symbolic attribute of any photo shoot not only emphasizes the advantages and hides flaws, but also reflects the inner world, the momentary mood of the model.

- When choosing clothes for a photo shoot, do not try to be like someone else - give preference to those wardrobe items that go for you.

Avoid outfits of shiny fabric, fabric with large asymmetric patterns, clumsy prints (horizontal stripes are full, monophonic things can make your image vague and even reduce it to nothing).

- Tight or too loose clothing - taboo for any professional model.

- When choosing the color of clothes take into account your skin tone, hair color, complexion.

- Ideally, clothing should reveal your personality and match the environment in which you find yourself.

It seems art make up - This is the prerogative of stylists, and for those who want to look good in the photo, it is enough to turn to a professional for help .... However, many supermodels prefer to apply makeup on their own. After all, no one knows their face better than themselves (just remember the cult model of the 60s Twiggy, who came up with tinting the lower eyelashes so that her style is still copied, only false eyelashes are successfully used instead).


In general, the art of make-up models was and remains an illusion, which is not so easy to translate into reality. So, sleek, without a single flaw in the body and face of the Victoria’s Secret “angels,” is the result of 3-5 hours of work by stylists and makeup artists. To achieve such an effect for an amateur photo shoot is not always realistic and almost always unjustified.

For natural pictures that are as close to life as possible, the “angels” VS themselves advise the following: “Less is better. “I want my makeup not to look overloaded and the skin to look fresh and not look like a layered cake,” says Alessandra Ambrosio.

Alessandra Ambrosio

“Red lipstick and nude makeup in the photo always look amazing!” Miranda Kerr and Candice Swanepoel.

Miranda Kerr

With studio production, makeup rules change. A natural look requires careful, step-by-step make-up application (moisturizing, applying concealer 2-3 tones lighter than skin tones, applying foundation or powder on the face and neck, applying eye strokes, using shades of lighter shades that will make the eyes more “ alive ”and erase traces of fatigue, the use of persistent lipstick, while dark colors should be avoided, otherwise the lips will appear thinner, the lip gloss will give extra volume).

However, some photographers prefer their model to apply makeup directly in the studio, under their strict control.

In any case, there are some makeup taboos:

To avoid oily shine on the face (stylists advise using oil free tones, such as the Lancome Photogenic Foundation).
To avoid products with sparkles and mother of pearl (they will give unnecessary glare to the photo).
To avoid tanning the day before the photo shoot (artificial tanning is applied a week).
- never do not apply new make-up, especially if there is no certainty about how you look from the side (exception: makeup was done by a professional).

Facial expression

An open, radiant smile - what could look better? That smile belonged to the 80s supermodel Christie Brinkley, known for advertising Cover Girl, and was associated with thousands of girls with the same lipstick.

Christie Brinkley in Cover Girl commercial

“I think my smile was my hallmark in the modeling business. A smile sends a signal to your brain and makes you immediately happy, ”says Christie.

Christie Brinkley

However, not every smile will look good in the photo - the key here is element of naturalness:

- To avoid an unnatural, tortured smile, think of something good: about a loved one, a funny event from your life. Your face will instantly reflect your thoughts, which in turn will be reflected in the photograph.

Keep calm - This will relax the muscles of the face and give it a natural glow.

Remember that a smile is not a mandatory attribute of a photograph. In the arsenal of any model should be a whole set a wide variety of expressions: from serious and neutral to playful and cheerful. All facial expressions for beginner models are advised to train in front of the mirror.

An alternative and more professional option is acting lessonsthat you can sign up with at modeling agencies.

The ability to pose - key for the profession of the model as a whole and for a single photo shoot in particular. But no matter how great the variety of poses, which are full of glossy magazines and advertising catalogs, and no matter how great the desire to copy them, for each model they are purely individual. It is no coincidence that iconic photographers and models of the past turned the ability to pose as a whole art, made it the corporate identity.

So dynamic style Richard Avedoncomplemented by sculptural poses of his favorite models: Susie Parker, Dorian lee, - created the effect of being here and now. But the 60s models: Twiggy, Verushka - already sought to push the boundaries of the present, and their free, unrestricted poses allowed them to rush into the future.

See also Zipflop: sneakers with zippers, interchangeable panels and a health bonus.

Photographer Richard Avedon

Sexuality of the 70s gave way to unquestioning, aggressive self-affirmation (portraits Lisa Taylor the photographer Helmut Newton).

Lisa Taylor

Following them came the era of supermodels of the late 80s, led by Stephen Meisel, who defined his style as “something a little outrageous, crazy and painful,” which did not slow to affect the poses of his models.

Photographer Stephen Meisel

Photographer Stephen Meisel

Recent decades have been nothing more than an attempt to combine all the accumulated experience. This continues until today, when the art of posing with the help of reality shows such as America’s Next Top Model, once again turned into a routine with the need to have time to combine the desired facial expression with a properly selected "catchy" pose before the judges criticize you.

America’s Next Top Model TV Show

Howbeit, rules and taboos when posing models remain the same for all times:

- In the modeling business, the key is the concept better angle (best angle). You can find the right angle by experiment with a digital camera - so you will see each pose immediately after shooting and you can evaluate which one looks the most advantageous.

- When shooting, try move all the time - this will help to avoid unnatural, “frozen” poses.

- Do not make sudden movements. All model movements should be smooth and flow from one to another (the ideal is Verushka model in Antonioni’s film “Magnification”).

Verushka (example of shooting from a low angle to create the effect of “long” legs)

- If you raise your hands (pull back your hair, put your hand behind your head), try to elbows were not directed into the lens, and divorced to the sides.

- Try to watch just above the level of the camera and always through it - so you avoid the problem of closed eyes (this technique was successfully used by Jacqueline Kennedy).

- If a you are filming while sitting then the legs should be brought together or one leg is elegantly thrown over the other, while the toe of the shoe should be facing the floor, not the camera (the ideal is a photo shoot Eva Herzigova for Chopard).

Eva Herzigova for Chopard

So, photogenic models:

- Know how to be relaxed and happy in front of the camera.
- We are confident in how to show their advantageous traits and hide unwanted ones.
- Not afraid to make a bad shot.
- Enjoy the shooting process.

Cross your legs!

Another way to look slimmer in the photo is to cross your legs. Pay attention to the photos of fashion bloggers, they often pose with crossed legs, and not by chance! So the legs seem longer, and the whole figure is thinner.

Hand on hip, legs crosswise. Taylor Swift knows how to pose for a photo!

Watch the proportions!

What seems closest to the camera in the photo. If your head is closest to the camera, you will be a tadpole with short legs in the photo. If the legs are closest to the camera, they will seem infinitely long.

If the loop is closest to the camera, the loop will be the most in the photo!

If the photographer is taller than you, ask him to sit down. Otherwise, the camera will distort the proportions and visually shorten your legs.

Photographer distorted the proportions of Jessica Beale

Relax, you are being filmed!

No matter how perfect your posture is, if you are tense, the photo looks artificial. Relax and act naturally!

The most successful pose for a photo is natural!

To pose correctly for a photo, stop posing! Be yourself, be free - this is the best way to look good in the photo.

1. Work on the hair

Many people think that hair is difficult to control, but in fact you can do it! If the hair is ugly in the picture, this is the first thing you notice in your photo, especially if the hair is long. Each person has an individual appearance and how best to remove hair will depend on the particular case.

Suppose you are taking a portrait of a person without the participation of a stylist or makeup artist. The first thing to remember is that the hair on your shoulders looks terrible.

Hair options

5 ways to remove hair:

  1. Hair scattered on the shoulders
  2. Hair behind
  3. Hair in front of shoulders
  4. On one side
  5. On the other side
  6. Pick hair

Option number 1 is best avoided. Which way to choose depends on the model and the image that you want to get. Often in the picture, the hair on one side will look better than on the other, pay attention to this.

The collected hair is suitable for shooting close-ups of the face, it does not distract attention and looks very good in portraits.

2. Pull your ears forward

Sounds weird, doesn't it?

When a person is in their usual relaxed position or even straightens for a beautiful pose, the chin often looks sluggish. But if you tell me to pull it forward, then the person will direct it directly into the camera and raise its head slightly up, which will end with the shooting of the model’s nostrils. It looks very unattractive. Better advise to pull your ears forward. In an attempt to fulfill this instruction, a person will more correctly stretch his neck without lifting his nose up.

Before and after the instruction, pull your ears forward.

Same thing from

This, of course, is a bit uncomfortable, but the results are worth it.

An example when shooting a man. Athletic guy in great shape, but his natural posture is not very photogenic.

3. Raise your hand

Even if a person is standing right with his hands down, several problems may appear. Firstly, a feeling of awkwardness, and secondly, it relaxes the muscles, and the arms seem larger than they really are.

Do not press your hand to your body

You can correct the situation if you raise your hand up a couple of centimeters, and it will “float”, and not look pressed. In addition, you can change the position, for example, put on the thigh. In the photo, the red line shows the width of the hand when it is pressed to the body, the same line is transferred to the picture with the correct pose. Thus, it is clear how important this is.

4. Leave the visual space behind the waist

Everyone wants to look slim in the photo. The best you can do is show their “natural” waist.

show the natural bend of the waist

In the first photo, the model put her hands on her hips, the lack of space and her right hand visually expands the middle of the body. In the second photo, on the contrary, the right hand is forward, which left a free spot at the waist and emphasized its harmony.

5. Turn your shoulders

Very simple advice, but quite important. The shoulders directed directly into the lens visually increase the body. Maybe a good option if you take pictures of the director of a large company or a football player, but not for shooting a regular portrait.If you turn your shoulders, the figure looks slimmer.

The red line shows the width of the body of the model. In the first photo - the figure is visually expanded, in the second - the shoulders are turned, a more harmonious profile is created.

6. Do not show whites of the eyes

If you want to capture a dreamy look or a look directed not at the camera, the best solution would be to ask the model to look at some object behind you, and not just somewhere to the side.

First, I asked the model to look at the door next to us, the picture is not very successful. The second option, the model looks at the window next to the door, a more attractive portrait, we see her eyes, not the whites of the eyes.

Do not show whites of the eyes

7. Watch your nose

Photographing a face in an incomplete profile, so that we see both eyes in the frame, with a strong turn of the head, an effect of imbalance can be created, the nose will seem longer and as if breaking the line of the face. If the model turns its face a little towards you, so that there would be a space between the tip of the nose and cheek, the profile will be beautiful, the proportions will be preserved.