Hi, everybody.Today I hope to share some helpful tips with you for how to model the lovely garments you make. If you’ve spent a lot of time making your own apparel, it’s a shame not to show it off in its best light, by modelling it on a real person. Your garment deserves better than to be photographed on that dress form–even if it is a really cute dress form. Show your garment in its element.
Some of you might have the same attitude I had about modelling:
“I can’t model. I’m not tall/pretty/skinny/[fill in blanks] enough.”
But who better to model your wonderful self-made clothing than…YOU.
If we always held back from doing things we’re not experts at,
none of us would have ever gotten into sewing in the first place.
Alright. Climbing down from soap box.
First of all, if you didn’t check out Part 1 on how to style your photo shoots, please check it out.
For Part 2 today, I’ll be sharing some tips I’ve learned about how to do poses that “read” well on camera. Again, thank you to the ever-so-talented stylists and photographers at Zulily, who taught me all summer.
I’ll structure this post by showing a photo and then pointing out a couple things I did “right” in them.
(I’m also making a lot of mistakes in these photos, but we’ll ignore those, shan’t we?)
Let’s jump in.
If you’re holding a handbag as a prop, face the palm of your hand toward the camera and relax your fingers. You can experiment away from this by looking in the mirror and trying different hand positions. This might sound silly–it sounded silly to me until recently. Yes, you can look in a mirror for an extended amount of time and god forbid, admire yourself. But still it might be embarrassing if hubby walks in, he just laughs at me. Oh well.
Look toward the light source, not away from it, or else your face will be cast in shadows. In general, shadows aren’t good (unless they’re all-over, even). Even on a gray day or in a shady spot (like we talked about yesterday), putting your eyes toward the light source makes your pupils small, which makes your eyes look big. Studies have shown that 99% of us, given a choice between two otherwise identical photos of a person, will pick the photo where the person’s pupils are dilated. (Don’t ask me why, it’s sorta gross, but take the advice.)
Don’t forget to smile. It’s just about the last thing I think about when I’m feeling self-conscious, but it’s nice to smile for at least some shots. And even when you’re not smiling big, try to still smile with your eyes (as Tyra Banks advises) or have just a small smile with relaxed facial muscles.
Also, in general try not to cover up the garment with lots of arms-in-front poses. However, it’s nice to do a couple poses with hands together, or an elbow propped lightly on a hand.
Assymetry is nice in your body. Try rocking back and forth, shifting your weight from heel to heel. Also, relax your hands. Most people have some anxiety about taking pictures, and they show it by clenching their hands. I did a lot of hand-clenching my first few times.
In general, keep your toes pointing towards the camera, and your knees close together. The exception is when you want to rock a power stance.
One hand on a hip is enough (not both). Relax the other hand and let it hang. Have fun squaring your shoulders toward the camera and moving your shoulders at different angles.
Also, when you have a hand on your hip, keep it lightly on the hip. You don’t want to wrinkle the beautiful clothing you’re trying to show off.
Touch your hair or neck sometimes, but in general keep your elbow in close to your body.
Rock back and forth to show off the movement of a skirt.
Feel free to look down at the ground sometimes. You don’t want to look straight down at your toes because you might give yourself a double chin (or is that just me?). However, you can look down at the ground a few feet away and it’ll look the same.
I’m not a fan of this shot overall, but I did a good job fake-walking. You can achieve a natural “walking” pose by shift your weight back and forth in a rocking motion from the foot behind to the foot in front. Give your arms a little movement too.
If your garment has pockets, use ‘em. Leave thumbs out, or sometimes you can put your thumbs in the pockets and leave the rest of your hand out. Do this lightly, you don’t have to dig in.
If you’ve got collars, pop ‘em. Do some with the collar down, some up.
Play with the garment. Touch it. Caress it…yes, that’s right ladies, I said caress it, settle down.
Hands on lapels and plackets looks nice.
You can see here, my weight is shifted so that one hip will stick out and my knees come together. Again, assymetry is nice.
If you’ve got hoods, do some photos with it on, some off.
Also, try looking in all directions: straight at the camera, at the light source, towards the ground, above the camera, all around.
Walking: You get some really nice movement, especially for drapey garments, if you walk diagonally towards the camera. Swing your arms a little exaggerated, and take slow strides.
Here’s another one where I was shifting my weight back and forth. In real life I was moving, but on camera it looks like just a nice still shot.
Eyes on the ground toward the light source, hand lightly on hip, weight shifted, power stance with toes towards camera.
Okay. If you can get a blank look in your eyes and get to the point where you feel somewhat at ease, it’ll show really nicely on your face. Relax. (Nobody dies in modelling.) And if that’s too hard, there’s the trick I learned from one of the photographers: turn away from the camera, then look back quickly and instantaneously take the picture (if you’ve got a remote clicker). If you have a self-timer, set it and then look away right before it starts taking pictures.
That look in your eyes, of you still searching for the camera, is a much more natural, caught-by-surprise, candid look than your slightly nervous smile.
Smiles generally look great (at least for me) when I look proud in the photo,
like, “I f***ing made this garment.”
A leg crossed behind the other leg is a nice easy pose.
Also, this feels really silly, but the photographers ask me to giggle. It gives a more natural smile on camera, and nice relaxed eyes too.
Can’t giggle on cue? That’s okay, just take a friend with you for your photo shoot, someone who makes you laugh. Be silly in front of the camera, or have your friend be silly off-camera, and your shots will capture you in the very best way–the way your loved ones see you.
If it’s a skirt, feel free to swish it sometimes. Lift it, and then drop it. Your arm being out and the garment gently falling will look spontaneous.
Give your skirt a sense of movement by turning away from the camera, then with one foot, turn around and take one step towards the camera. Then, bring the other foot along.
Tilt your face sometimes when you’re looking at the camera. It’s less direct/scary-eyes than looking straight at the camera, and it makes you look like you’ve got some secret going on.
Also, lips parted is a nice look. You can go really sexy with lips parted and bottom eyelids slightly squinched.
If you’re turned diagonal to the camera (which is a really nice thing to do), even though your body is diagonal turn your shoulders both toward the camera. Your back arm can partly be behind your back, but don’t let it hide completely.
ONE FOR THE ROAD
I find it’s very easy to be horribly self-critical, even more with photographs than with what I see in the mirror. I’ve heard lots of you say critical things too, about your own blog photos–either for the quality of your photograph, the mistakes in your garment, or how ugly you think you look on camera.
Ladies, we need to STOP THAT.
Don’t be hard on yourself when you see something you don’t like. I spent the first couple Zulily shoots embarrassed about my smile, to which the stylists and photographers replied, “What? I love that smile, It looks real.” What you think looks silly might be something others really like about you. We are our own worst critics, not the least because we’re not always accurate about ourselves. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said to my husband, “Ugh, I really hate my [feature],” and he says “I love that [feature].” We are NOT THE BEST JUDGE OF OURSELVES.
Hubby shared a great quote with me yesterday.
“We compare our own behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.”
Any time you see a gorgeous model, what you don’t see is all the tons of prep and “trickery” and effort from an entire team of specialists, the binder clips making her clothes look perfectly fitted, the eye makeup and brow makeup that looks great in the photo but totally garish for everyday life; the leaf blower making her skirt and hair billow; the post-production photo editing. Don’t have ridiculous expectations that every picture you take of yourself will look great. The Delete button is your best friend.
The photographers take probably 300 pictures of me, just to get one good one. That means there were 299 that weren’t good enough.
You can’t take that personally.
Keep taking pics and over time you’ll start to recognize your best features, your best side, your best angle, your best lighting…
We all have a million things we don’t like about our appearance
(double chin, lopsided grin, short eyelashes, whatevs),
but don’t let that hold you back from acting as if
YOU OWN THE WORLD.