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Tips on Model Photography

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 1/20/2011

Want to learn how to do model photography? Well, it's not as difficult as you think. Learn some model photography tips and tricks in this article.

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    Setting Up Your Studio

    It seems that everyone has their own take on how to do model photography. While pictures in magazine can vary greatly in tone and style, there are some standard techniques that all photographers use when taking pictures of models. With adequate practice, you can also take model photograph, but you do need the right equipment.

    Before you can start taking model photography, you need to invest in a studio setup. This means a good camera on a tripod, external lighting and different backgrounds. While some model photography takes place outside, most of it is done in a studio. This allows you to control the settings to create different picture moods using different lighting settings.

    Generally, model photography is not actually about the model. It’s about the clothes, hair, makeup, etc., or what the person paying for the shoot wants to sell. What you focus on depends on what the client needs.

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    Pinup Shot

    For example, if you are taking pictures for a hair ad, then you probably can completely forget about what the model is wearing. So, the by Cillian Storm first step to taking model photographs is understanding what your client wants. Talk to your client long before you start setting up shoot so that you can get a feel for what you need and the mood of the shoot.

    The mood is created a variety of ways. Makeup and costumes help with this effect, but so do poses. For pinup type photos, you want to capture nearly the full length of your model. Position the model so that they are to either the left or right side of the shot, and only take a picture of about half of the model. The background for this type of shot can be solid. But, this also works well as an outdoor picture with a mountain, lake or waterfall filling in the rest of the shot.

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    Sexy Shots

    If you need a sexy shot, imitate animals. Have your model slink around like a cat. Frog-like poses also work well, with the models hands and feet on the floor. You can have her either looking up or down. If it’s a hair ad, then looking down works well with the focal point her hair.

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    Photographing Clothing

    For clothing shots, head shots become less important. Instead, fill up the camera frame with the clothes. One interesting shot is having your model face to either the left or right, and only capture about half of her face. You can even have her with her hands on her hips to create a haughty or superior look. Then, fill up the rest of the frame with just the clothes.

    Add extra lighting to the clothes, and leave the face in shadows. This will create a good contrast of light and dark, and brings the focus onto the clothing.

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    Makeup Shots

    Unlike the other two types of shots, makeup photographs require that you only focus on the face. Fill the frame with the face, and enhance the makeup if necessary to ensure that it shows up on camera. Use both fill flash and reflectors to remove any harsh shadows from the GregDawson 

    Try different shots with the face at different angles. Take some shots with the flash and some without, and then see which ones look the best. Frame out the shot with exterior objects for a more dramatic effect.