Posing for Video: How to Pose Models in Video Shoots

Posing in photography and videography is critical for keeping viewers engaged and showing off clothing or accessories. Video implies motion, so you need to keep your actors dynamic. Whether the camera is moving, the model is moving, or a combination of the two, a modeling video is anything but static. A simple pose isn’t going to be enough! In this article, we’ll be covering how to direct your models how to pose at a video shoot, and even a few ways to handle a camera around them.

Camera Movements

Shooting a static video on a modeling shoot is going to result in a pretty boring final product most of the time. There is no right or wrong way to move your camera. But a few techniques will really show off your subject.

  • Orbit objects to give depth or the opportunity for transitions. While the focus of model videography is the model or the clothing they’re wearing, it is also an outlet for a lot of creative video work. Shoot in an area with lots of objects like tree trunks, concrete columns, and things like that. Moving the camera past these objects can give depth to the shot, and gives you the opportunity to create a cool transition. You can use this object as an outline to mask around and wipe to a second shot. Give yourself these creative opportunities while filming, even if you don’t end up using all of them.
  • Pull out and push in. Continuing with depth, one of the most common types of camera motions while filming models is to either move the camera directly toward or away from the subject. This is usually enahanced with some speed ramping in editing. This is a good establishing shot, and the close-up on the clothing serves as a great moment for a transition to or from a different shot. You can spice up this motion with camera twists and additional movements.
  • Close ups. Close ups are critical if you’re modeling clothes. It’s important to have a variety of types of shots – both wide and close up. Your close ups show the details of the clothing you’re showing off. Be sure to use an orbit or some sort of zoom to make these shots more interesting. A close up orbit is a great way to show a front and a side view in the same shot!
woman posing for photo shoot as a man takes her picture

Model Poses

Your talent should be (pun intended) talented. But that doesn’t mean they know the intended mood of a shoot well enough to pick the perfect poses. They also may not know what details need to be shown off. So it’s your job as the videographer to get the shots you need. So ask the models you’re working with to pose specifically for you to capture them.

Close Up Highlight

When you need to highlight a detailed element like a watch, a shoe, or some other accessory, you should use a close up shot, but you should also direct your model. To bring attention to that accessory, have them roll up their sleeve to reveal a watch, have them tie their shoes or pull up the tongue, or even have them put on or take off an accessory.

Simple Clothing Adjustment

Especially if your talent is modeling clothing, you should capture a lot of shots of them making subtle adjustments to the clothing to bring attention to it. Have them pop the shoulders of a jacket, have them straighten or zip up a coat, or have them throw off a hood. For shirts, they can straighten a sleeve or pull down the bottom of the shirt over their waist. You’ll probably want this movement to look natural and effortless. So make sure the model’s hands return to a relaxed state afterward.

photography model photo shoot pose

Hand Movements

Even models with plenty of experience with how to pose sometimes don’t know what to do with their hands. If it feels like the model is awkward about where to put their hands, there are a few things you can direct them to do. Run their hands through their hair, rub their hands together like they’re planning something devious, or just simply direct them to put their hands in their pants pockets.

Natural Movements

When in doubt, rely on natural movements. Unless they’re soldiers standing at attention, most people tend to bounce their weight between feet while they stand. Have your model shift their balance while standing or moving to make their motions feel natural. You can also just have them walk. Walking up or down stairs can feel really dynamic. It can also give you some great opportunities to use railings or steps as a creative transition point.

Acknowledge the Camera

The most interesting shots are when something changes. In this case, that change is in where the model is looking. Having them turn toward or away from camera – both with their body and their eyes – is an interesting transition that makes or breaks direct eye contact with the viewer. Locking eyes with the viewer can be engaging, and suck the viewer back in. Alternatively, looking away can signal an upcoming change in the background scenery or can signify a transition to a different model.

Models won’t always know how to pose on their own. As the crew behind the shoot, it’s your responsibility to know what shots you need. You must direct your model in such a way that you can capture those moments. Remember to always focus on capturing your model looking natural, always in motion, and with a variety of angles and distances from the camera. It may take some practice to become comfortable with this kind of direction. But knowing what you want out of your models will produce a result worthy of showing off.

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