How to Strike a Pose for a Photo Shoot

A photographer's lens can capture every essence of its subject. A model has a task to convey emotions that a photographer would like to convey. Here are some pointers on how to strike a pose for a photo shoot.

Listen. Follow instructions or directions from a photographer. If the photographer says smile, go ahead and smile. If the photographer says look sad, go ahead and look sad. If the photographer says pout, go ahead and pout. The following steps offer some ideas on how to perform these common facial expressions.

Practice in front of a mirror until you perfect each facial expression.

Conveying different emotions during a photo shoot can be challenging, especially for first timers. If you are planning to become a model, you would need to present portfolios to be accepted by talent or modeling agencies. It would be good to practice different facial expressions in front of a mirror in the comfort of your own home. Have someone take a picture of your pose at home. Ask someone you can trust for an honest opinion. Having someone do an honest critique can help you improve and hone your craft. Ask tips or suggestions from the experts if you are not sure where to begin.

A beautiful smile.

Smile: Practice smiling naturally in front of a mirror. Your lips should not show tension. Sometimes, even with an inexperienced pair of eyes, you can notice a forced smile. A great smile is a smile that shows your front upper and lower teeth. If you have dimpled cheeks, they would prominently show as well. Your eyes will show you are really smiling. In other words, you should look happy. To help you practice, think of something that makes you happy--an experience you remember that brings a smile to your face.

The sad look.

Sad Look: For a sad look, think of something that makes you cry. A sad movie, or a sad experience that you once had. Practice looking sad with the eyes drooping down a little. Your eyes should look as if they are ready to cry. Do not cry, unless of course the photographer wants you to. Crying and looking sad are different things. Your lips should be closed and should point downward. It is the reverse of a happy face.

What could she be thinking of?

A contemplating look: This look conveys that of a person thinking or contemplating on something. This can be done looking down or up. Oftentimes, the photographer would direct the model to look away from the lens or to look sideways. Mouth is partially opened or completely closed. Eyes look as if intently examining or staring at something. A person examining this type of photograph would try to guess what the model could be thinking of.

A model laughing.

Laughing look: To show this type of pose, make sure that your mouth is open, showing your teeth and a little bit of your tongue. Your cheeks are stretched on each side. Your eyes should be squinted a bit showing some laugh lines by the corner of your eyes.


Pouting look: This can be done by putting both lips together and pushing forward.

Alluring look.

Alluring look: The alluring look can be accomplished by opening the mouth, showing part of the teeth and tongue. Eyes should be slightly squinted, sort of tantalizing and looking romantic. The neck should be raised a little upward with head slightly tilting backwards. This is one of the looks that is tough to achieve for first-timers. Practice makes perfect in each case.


  • Attend modeling seminars and classes. Hire a modeling coach to show you all the poses that you would need to learn. Don't be shy. Be aggressive and confident. Modeling is not for everybody. People who are scrutinizing your every pose may be tough to deal with and harsh with words. This is not for a person who is sensitive to constructive criticisms.


  • The model used in this article is not a professional model. She just loves to pose at home for her mom who happens to be the author of this how to article. This article only showed some of the basics in facial expressions. Striking a pose may involve not only the face but other parts of, or even the entire, body.

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