How to learn model poses and facial expressions
A good experienced photographer will be able to provide as much instruction & direction as needed to get great shots. However, it is a significant help if the person being photographed has an understanding of what their body looks like in different positions and to also understand how their face feels when they’re making different expressions.
I recommend that all first-time models, and anyone relatively new to modeling, practice posing and making different facial expressions in front of a mirror. It may feel silly to practice such things in front of a mirror, but it is a great way to prepare for what it will be like in front of a camera and should actually make doing your shoot easier and more comfortable.
Although interpretations of different expressions & looks may vary, please practice a variety of different looks so that you are at least somewhat prepared should you be asked for a specific expression, such as: “sexy”, “intense”, “serious”, and “pouty”. Again, a good photographer will provide as much direction as necessary to get the look & expression desired, but the more prepared you are, the easier it will be for both of you.
If you have a tendency to show a lot of your gumline while smiling, you should also practice smiling without showing as much of your gums. Don’t worry, you’ll likely get plenty of photos with your beautiful & natural smile, but the tendency in professional photography is to limit exposure of the gumline.
Learning model poses:
Some of the best reference guides for posing are fashion catalogs and magazines. Study them. Pay close attention to the position of hands, the different angles the body makes (including the tilt of the head, arms, torso, thighs, and legs), and facial expressions.
Depending on your primary interest, I’d suggest requesting catalogs from popular clothing companies.
Here is a list of 37+ clothing catalogs and links to where you can sign up to receive them.
If you can’t wait for a catalog to arrive, then go to your local bookstore and browse the magazine stand for magazines that feature poses you would like to achieve.
If possible, practice these poses in front of a mirror.