March 3, 2021

Directing Models

I have loved photography from as early as I can remember and have always leaned towards working with people. I find that working with people holds more emotion and the images can feel more personal than simply taking a photograph of an object, in my personal experience of course.

My experience with working with people began all the way back in 2014 when I was in year 10 of high school. I had absolutely no idea what to say or do when working with models so I opted to working with friends and family as I felt way more comfortable interacting with them. my vocabulary was very basic so showing them the poses I wanted to do was my way of directing. Evidently my images were very staged and my images looked very wooden.

Moving into my college experience, I wanted to take my photography more seriously and I knew that directing my models correctly would lead to a more successful image. I ended up turning to youtube to learn from my favourite photographers at the time how they pose their models and generally how they interacted with them whilst on a shoot.

These videos helped me so much when it came to directing models and I found since watching them my overall image quality began to improve.


I worked predominantly with my sister throughout the pandemic so it was really good experience for me especially getting to interact with someone I was completely comfortable around whilst still gaining knowledge and figuring out what vocabulary I should use to help my models understand what I wanted.

Moving into my final major project I decided to ask my Nanna to model for me which I though would be interesting for a project and to push me out of my comfort zone. I had no idea what I was getting myself into working with an elderly model! Don't get me wrong, she tries so hard but directing someone who isn't quite as agile and never experienced anything like this before was difficult.

she was quite clearly uncomfortable in the beginning, as was I as I didn't know how to communicate what I wanted her to do with her finding some of the poses difficult and overall just looked awkward. After a few times working with her she began to feel more comfortable in front of the camera and began to act more like herself which is exactly what I wanted to capture.


My advice to others working with models

if I was to give any advice to someone who had never worked with models before, it would be

-To act as confident as possible around your model, even if you feel a bit nervous. your confidence will rub off on them and they will start to feel confident too.

-Make sure you give simple and direct instructions if they have never modelled before.

-Play some music and ask the model to move freely to the music you are listening to.