Posing Mistakes Photogenic Models Never Make

Most obvious statement of the year: Models are extremely photogenic. They spend the majority of their working hours in front of the lens, so they've naturally figured out exactly what it takes to look amazing on camera, whether it's for a professional photo shoot or just an iPhone selfie. So, as we do, we went straight to the source and asked model Emma Sanders for her best tips, and the native New Zealander (who is now based in NYC) was filled with useful advice.

Sanders, who has modeled for Christian Siriano, H&M, and ASOS, to name a few, has an Instagram feed that's composed of one example after another that proves just how photogenic she is. She's clearly a natural in front of the camera, so we were anxious to hear what she had to say on the topic of the posing mistakes photogenic models (such as herself) never make.

Keep reading for Sanders' tips and a slew of examples that show how she and her fellow models expertly pose for the camera.

Mistake #1: Not Knowing Your Light

"When I'm about to take a picture, I always do a quick assessment in my head as to where the light is coming from. I try to angle my face so it's shining directly frontal to my face (like standing right in front of a window) or slightly from the side. If you tilt your face a little bit sideways, you might catch that light to highlight your cheekbones. I try to avoid direct sunlight from the top, or light from the bottom. If it's a photo in the middle of the daytime, I'll tilt my head up into the sun and smile. It's a cute pose and that way the face catches the light and you don't have to worry about unflattering shadows on the face. I guess there's a reason all professional photo shoots take a longer lunch break on location to avoid that harsh top light. Knowing your light is the absolute make or break for a great picture." — Emma Sanders


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Mistake #2: Don't Copy the Poses Everyone Else Is Doing

"Don't copy the pose everybody else is doing in the photo. If everybody is doing the same 'standing at a 45-degree angle, hand in hip and head tilted smile' pose, the picture will seem too posed and boring. Find your angle, channel your personality or what you're feeling in that moment, and just act natural." — Emma Sanders


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Mistake #3: Grimacing 

"Lastly, when a model takes a portrait shot, she knows that it's all in the slightest changes in the face that will make one shot be the winner over the other. Don't grimace your face with your eyes wide open and with too pursed lips. You'll look like a deer in the headlights with duck lips. Some insider tips are to slightly open your mouth like you're whispering the word 'marmalade' (that purses the lips a little bit and parts them just enough to make your mouth look relaxed), try and exude a warmth in your eyes, or when going for a big smile, push your tongue up the the roof of your mouth to elongate your jawline and avoid a double chin. Finally, make tiny, tiny adjustments in tilting your face and see the difference these changes make when you practice taking portrait selfies." — Emma Sanders


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