Tips for Working with a Model in a Studio

Studio photography is different than landscape, outdoors, animals, etc., where you have to shoot what is in front of you. In the studio, you are God and must design all. The light, dark, props, posing, the desired theme or mood of the photograph you are after. Working with studio models can be especially daunting for someone new, as it is on your instruction as to how the photos turn out. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you are new at studio work or even if you have started out already but are struggling to get your image right.

1. Get to know the model. Not her life story, but introduce yourself, ask their name, where they are from, what kind of modelling they have done. This helps break the ice and gets the model to relax, knowing you see them as a person and not just a canvas.

model posing photography

photo by Raya Manova

2. Be clear on what you want. What photograph are you trying paint with your lens? Explain to the model what you’re trying to do so it becomes collaborative. What theme are you after? Mood? Look? Be specific about what pose you want—use previously researched paintings or photographs. Be clear to the model as she is there under your instruction. It can help to discuss the theme in advance. The model may even have their own costumes, which can help immensely.

3. Choose the right model for the job. If you want dancing poses, ballerinas, nudes, flexibility, unique profiles, make sure you have the right studio model who can do the work. Check through their portfolio, ask them what the have experience in. Asking a fashion model to hold ballerina tippy-toe poses will do you no good… and you will tire your model out, still missing the desired outcome!

4. Get up close. Don’t be afraid to get close to the model if you’re trying to shoot something unique, but do not touch. If you want to move an item of clothing, prop or pose, ask the model first. This is especially important if you’re shooting nudes.

5. Don’t underestimate post-production. If you have the right pose, expression from the model and have framed it right, coloring, dark or light enhancements, etc. can all be done in post production so don’t waste too much time on aspects that can be changed with a little tweak.

With these few enhancements to your approach you should be able to improve your working experience with your model and get some amazing studio model photographs.

About the Author:
Natasha Spoors ( is a professional photographer covering both travel and studio shoots. Check out her blog for inspiration, learn more about photography or purchase some lovely canvas photographs.

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