In the last three parts of this series, I shared my one rule of fashion posing, my system of creating within short “idea sets” of 3-5 images, never shooting the same thing twice, and balancing the war in the mind between the technical and creative sides of the brain.
We showed how that works using a shoot I did as a crowd demo while instructing at Texas School. Even though the metadata showed under 5 minutes of shooting, I ended up with 35 really good un-retouched, un-corrected and un-cropped images because of my normal pre-flight systems check.
Again, no matter your time frame, the goal is always quality, not quantity.
We already went through the first part of the shoot, so let’s look at the rest.
A few minutes in, she worried that her hair was losing volume. We were running out of time and she wanted to leave to fix her hair. Instead I had her flip her head upside down and I shook her hair out vigorously. I had her flip her head back up and we began the next set of images with our new impromptu finger-ratted hairdo.
The fullness and randomness of the hairdo worked amazingly well. I said, “It’s really good, don’t touch it. Just hold still and try one hand on your hip.”
If a model will move slowly and take posing direction, then I can direct from a distance on the details. If everything wiggles when she should move one thing, I have to move up next to her and pose her directly. In this case I had a great model that could be directed, and the trick is to notice everything quickly.
In Example #10 her weight is on the back leg, waist twisted, waist showing on both sides and it looks great. I thought it could be my favorite, but needed to refine it just to see.
For Example #11 I said, “Switch your arms up.” She also happened to turn and switch her hips (which worked), I turned her chin to the side (which had potential but was better straight on), but she bent her one wrist out (which was okay but had potential).
Refining from there, I thought her arm down was too much of a straight line so I had her move it behind her and turn her chin towards me for Example #12. I liked almost everything in this better but she bent her one wrist out even more to where it became a distraction.
However, the expression is great and the pose works, even with the forward break in her wrist, but I tried one more shot to fix the wrist, Example #13.
Though I like the expression better in #12, the next image #13 is an overall better image.You can see that everything either works for an image or it works against it. So even though all four images in this set have good hips, waist and shoulders, the two best images have the removal of the distraction of the wrist, #10 and #13, and they are the clear winners.
For the next “idea set” I wanted to change something big, so I had her make another new impromptu hairdo by pulling all her hair up with one hand really quickly for a tousled look. I like mixing control with randomness, and this fast one-handed-hairdo added the fun and randomness I wanted.
For #14 I said, “Hold that, but bring your other hand down to the side somehow,” and she naturally hitched it on her belt loop (a natural occurrence from my previous direction). She let her elbow go back behind (really good), but her other elbow was pointing right at me (okay, but not great).
But with the expression and everything else working, I took the shot, letting the little things go. I made a joke and she laughed for Example #15, which I like for the honest expression and brightness to the eyes.
Then I refined that elbow by bringing it down a bit and twisted her waist a little away from me, and worked on two serious expressions, #16 and #17, both working really well.
There are more images from the shoot, but let’s end by looking at this image set where I turned her waist clear to the side for an even smaller look. Of course twisting her shoulders back towards me adds curves and opens the neck area, and finding something to do with her hands and arms to keep them from blocking up the waistline is important. I told her to hitch one hand and play with her hair with the other.
Example #18 is good but needs refinement. Her upper hand is curled in (which is good), but could still move further away from the camera and more behind the plane of her face, making her entire hand smaller. The lower hand was distracting too by being behind her belt loop and in her pocket. One or the other would work, but both didn’t.
Making those changes with both hands combined with some interaction for a great serious expression, and we have Example #19.
This is a winner but a little refinement can’t hurt. I had her hold everything while just bringing her hand out of her back pocket just a little to create a bend in her wrist. A little direction for expression and Example #20 is the result, and completely wins this set.
Let’s see how some of these look finished and retouched.
Again, taking control of exposure and color balance at the time of the shoot may take a minute or two, but it saves me tons of time on the computer later. Computer time then becomes a breeze because if you do what I teach, then there is no need for adjustments. Lighting was specifically used to flatter and make her skin and eyes pop. That means I don’t need any over-the-top skin blur techniques and I don’t need to add fake catch lights in her eyes.
My computer time is just being picky to select favorites, and then jazzing them up a bit. Compare these final versions to the previous un-retouched versions. I did some slight retouching, I created some color effects using light leaks from my PowerPack Action Set, and I finished these off with some of my own custom edges from my Edgy Edges Collection. These are now signed, ready for printing.
Now that you’ve seen the shoot, go back and review the other articles in this series to see how all these parts worked together. Make it a new habit to try the elements on every shoot from now on and see what a difference it makes for you.
You’ll soon see the details of a pose quickly, you won’t need posing guides, you won’t be looking at the back of your camera. Instead you’ll be more creative and technical while creating within idea sets, never shooting the same thing twice.
Of course, I teach all of this and more at my live workshops. Come train with me on fashion lighting and posing, and getting everything nailed so that your computer time is fun.
Good luck and Happy Shooting!
– Bry Cox