My name is Anna Targoniy and I’m a professional international model with over 10 years of experience on multiple continents and in several countries.
Including my native country of Kazakhstan, I have also worked professionally in the United States of America, Belgium, Bulgaria, Poland, Greece, Russia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
In my career as a model I have worked with some of the world’s top brands, including Calvin Klein, Armani Jeans, New Yorker, Guess and La Perla.
Along with that, I have also won multiple beauty pageants, including the 2016 Model Management Fresh Faces Worldwide Competition.
When I was 14, I was scouted by an owner of a model agency in my home city Astana, Kazakhstan, and that moment was when my model career began.
I don’t consider myself “talented” nor “gifted” in this industry, especially considering that my height is only 5’8”/173cm. I know that I am tall for a regular person, but in the model industry, my height made me go through a lot of trouble. Not only considering my height, I also grew up as a shy, closed girl, who wasn’t spoiled with male attention.
I was the youngest model in my agency, as well as I was the only girl without any makeup, hairstyling or “dressing up” experience.
Every time I was asked by my agent or brand representatives to “do something about my hair” or “what is that are you wearing,” all the other models giggled and whispered about me that I would never make it into this business.
If you prefer to listen to me talking through some of these tips, check out this video!
My First Photoshoot Experience
I like to share my first photoshoot experience since explaining how awkward it was helps to understand how unimportant your natural posing talent is.
When I was 14, I was accepted into a modeling school for free. When I just met my agent, he promised me a “scholarship” at his agency in exchange for working for him free of charge for some time. I accepted that offer since going to model school costs a fine amount of money.
In the school, we were taught posing, etiquette, the basics of acting, how catwalk, how to make makeup and hairstyles, light psychology, and so on. However, I was the worst one in the group at everything!
During school, we had two photoshoots for our first portfolio. The first one was in little black dresses in front of a plain white background (you could use a white cube as well), and the second one was in the Radisson Hotel in wedding dresses.
I am that person who always rushes and try’s to “jump in” for everything as soon as possible, and during our first photoshoot, I volunteered to be the first model to work.
Although I was brave enough to go first, when I stood in front of the actual camera, I became numb. I felt paralyzed, I began to shake, and didn’t know what to do. I was young and felt awkward about my body, and I felt like my every move was deprived of grace and femininity, which seemed like every other model had more than enough. At the end, I just said: “I don’t know what to do” and ran away. I cried and felt like a failure.
The photographer told me to look at the other models and go last.
When it was my turn to do the photoshoot, the photographer helped me and told me multiple posses I could use, but the most ironic part is that at the end, I tried a couple of my own poses and photos. The photos where I was posing by my own were not just chosen as the best ones, but the agency owner asked me to repeat them and make a photoshoot with him!
Afterwards, I found these photos (just of me with the agent) in a magazine! I was chosen as the “face” of my agency, and I was on all the banners and in multiple publications!
As you can see, having a bit of courage can pay off more than you can imagine! However, it’s not always working that way, and I was rejected by so many brands at the beginning of my career. Yet, you always have to try!
The Best Posing Tips You Can Find!
I will not tell you “unnecessary” tips like “turn your head this way,” nor give you already existed poses to copy. Instead, I will help you to develop posing skills, as well as your own style!
There are some rules I want to mention, but there are not many of them.
1.) Hold Your Body “In the Air”
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But, let me explain.
When you are lying down and pressing your body against any surface, you won’t get a good photo. Your body will simply “sink” and “flatten” all over the surface, and it’s what we want to avoid.
For example, if you are sitting down, try to lift yourself a little bit from the surface and hold your body only by your muscles. If you are pressing your arm against the floor, imperceptibly lift it up and hold yourself in that position!
Try it on your own and see what happens with your shoulder when you are pressing your full body weight towards your hand, and then try to hold it slightly above the surface.
See the difference?
You are welcome!
The same trick works with every part of your body. If you are taking a photo where you are leaning against a wall – try to hold yourself by your muscles. If you are sitting on your knees, try to hold your butt above and not sit on your legs.
Want to try a lying position? Use your arms to elevate your waist, legs and the rest of your body, but make sure that you control how your shoulders appear.
2.) Think About Anything!
When you are thinking about absolutely nothing, it appears in your eyes! They are “empty” and “unintelligent,” so make sure that you think about anything (literally anything) during your photoshoot.
You can think that “it’s a good day” or “I am so beautiful sitting right here” or any other silly thing, just keep thinking and don’t worry!
3.) Elongate Your Limbs!
Limbs are the best “tool” you can use for your photos! No matter how long your legs and arms are, just use them to make your photo graceful and beautiful.
Make sure that your limbs are not pointing at the camera directly and are slightly turned and demonstrating an inner part.
You can experiment with this technique as much as you want.
For example, you can stand on your toes and point one towards the camera, lift your arm(s) up or open them sidewise, you can lay down and extend your legs, sit and extend your legs as far as you can, and so on.
Make sure that your limbs are slightly relaxed and a bit folded.
If you are extending your arms, make a small curve in your elbow or even fold one of them. If you are stretching your legs, make a small fold in your knee, or fold the other one, even more, to play on contrast.
It will make your legs look even longer!
Having limbs looking graceful on photos are over half of the success. The main thing I do during posing is ensuring myself that my legs and arms are looking beautiful because it will be the first thing you will notice on the photo.
Having not pointed toes, unnaturally opened fingers, “shortened” arms or legs will spoil even your best shot.
And believe me, it is a really annoying situation!
4.) Enlarging and Shortening
Remember that everything you are pointing closer to the camera will appear bigger, and contrarily, everything you move further from the camera will appear smaller.
So yes, if you will move your breast or butt closer to the camera, it will look more significant. If you move your stomach away, your waistline and belly will appear smaller.
Again, you are welcome!
The same way works for everything. Your nose will look larger if it’s the main focus, or you can focus on your eyes and move your nose away from the camera, and boom you have a smaller nose and bigger eyes!
If you will move your legs closer to the camera and the rest of the body slightly away, yes, now you have longer legs!
Often just flipping your camera upside-down or making a photo from a lower perspective will help you to make your butt or legs closer to the camera, and you will see how this trick works!
Tempering Expectations for Your Photos
As sung by Three Days Grace, “Expectations; Go to hell…”; and that describes everything I will explain in this topic.
Don’t have any expectations about your photos. Just don’t!
First of all, they never meet what you will get. I mean, you can expect a good photoshoot with great photos, but never picture in your head directly the photo you want to get.
Let me explain.
There is always a big chance that when you are asking somebody to take a photo of you, preparing for a photoshoot, or just trying to take a photo of yourself, that you already pictured how exactly you will look on the photo, with which face, filter, pose and so on.
However, it doesn’t work this way. It just doesn’t.
There is such a tiny chance that you will get the exact picture you imagined, so you have a bigger chance of being disappointed even if the picture looks great! You are just blinded by your own expectations, so you don’t see the beauty of your photo.
It’s great to think about your poses and looks ahead of time, but please, don’t feel that you have to look like what you imagined in your head. Each photographer sees the world differently and will perceive you in different way, but it never means that your photo is bad simply because somebody did it in a different way than what you saw in your head.
Just let it go, or you are risking having a disappointed and angry face on the rest of your photos, or you simply will never be satisfied with your results. Just let the photographer do his/her magic, and no matter if it is a professional photographer or your mother who doesn’t know how to use your phone, be kind.
Don’t let some picture crush your relationships, good mood, or your self-confidence.
When I prepare for a photoshoot, I simply think what about I can expect and just pose how I feel. I don’t re-do the same pose over and over until I hate everything, I just move and hope that one of the shots will be great!
Being In-front of the Camera
Here we go! You are in front of a camera! It’s the exciting moment! Yay!
What to do now?
First of all, don’t panic. Remember all the tips you read above and try to act as natural as you can.
Just express yourself as much as you can, pose as you feel, and don’t be afraid to experiment. What can be the worst case of trying a new pose?
Well, in the worst case, you will get a wicked photo which you will just not post anywhere or even might delete (what a nightmare, right?). The positive sides of you trying something new will be your growth in experience and self-esteem, tons of positive emotions, and you might get a great photo out of it!
Don’t be afraid to look silly, no one cares (seriously), photographers or who might hold a camera love this stuff because it’s fun!
Don’t visualize how you look at that moment on the photo. Just flow with your moves, make short stops while you are moving from one pose to another, and change them as much as you want.
Also, don’t hold one direct pose for a long time because they never look natural.
Remember that moment when somebody took an unexpected photo of you or while you were doing an action (I know you had that one)? That what happens when you are moving in front of the camera!
Your poses will look beautiful and natural, just don’t forget to move slow and make tiny stops between them. Imagine that you are in a slow-motion video.
For feeling confident with how the photographer sees you, I usually ask to take a couple of “test shots” so I can see how the light is lying, how the person perceive me, and how I generally look on photos today. I don’t do it every single shot, just once!
Or, if I have some remarks or advice for the photographer, I always share them, but never push! It helps me to analyze how to pose better and what to expect.
The main thing is that you need to “flirt” with the camera. I know that this advice sounds weird, but it’s true!
Imagine that there is nobody around you outside of the camera (but be aware of potential danger around you if you are not in a studio). Just work with the camera, look directly in the lens, and try to visualize that it is somebody you like and how would you look at him or her.
I am usually imagining my husband, even if he is the one who’s taking pictures (lol), because you need to flirt directly with the camera, not the person behind it.
See Also: How to Look Like a Model
How to Practice Posing for a Photoshoot
All the time I hear how people advise to practice in front of a mirror, and I personally don’t like it at all!
It’s just not how it works. You don’t not look on camera how you do in a mirror (maybe you do, so lucky you)!
In a mirror, you see yourself slightly farther, there is a light which is reflecting straight from a mirror right into you, as well as photos “flatten” everything. So no, a mirror will not help you that much with becoming better at posing.
What do I do to practice my posing? I use a camera!
When I am alone at home, I put my phone or a camera in front of me and make myself a small photoshoot.
The best investment you can make for your practice and stress-free photo making is to buy a remote camera shooter such as the CamKix Wireless Bluetooth Shutter. You can purchase this simple device for $7.99, or you could purchase two of the Zttopo Wireless Camera Remote Control for $8.99!
I have the exact same one, and it is a lifesaver! I bought mine about three years ago and it’s one of the best things I own!
If you want better results, you can buy yourself a phone stand as well! For example, a great option is the UBeesize Portable and Adjustable Camera Stand Holder with Wireless Remote and Universal Clip. This product already comes with a remote shooter as well!
Another useful addition would be a phone light. A great example is the Meifigno Selfie Phone Camera Ring Light.
However, if you would like to save yourself some money and have your own “photo studio,” you can purchase all three of these items together!
If you want to purchase all of these items, you can buy the UBeesize Mini Led Camera Ringlight with Tripod Stand & Cell Phone Holder for only $35.99! Overall, this thing is just amazing! Honestly.
I love these small things so much, and you can’t imagine how much they can change your life (if you like to take photos)!
Learn More: Must Haves to Bring with You to a Photoshoot
Posing Tips for Mental Health
Make sure you are doing your best to stay mentally healthy because there is nothing more important than your mental state. Never let a bad photo make you upset!
We all have bad photo days from time to time. I know a lot of different models from various countries and various “levels” of work, and nobody has ever had every single photo perfect, as well as nobody looks perfect on a daily basis.
Never push and always be kind and loving to yourself! You are doing great!
If you can’t make a good photo this day, just let it go and try again later.
Make sure that you understand that your body will never look the same in all the poses, and it is alright! None of the big models ever care if their body looks a certain way, we just enjoy taking photos and how a photo looks in general. Never look at your photo “through a magnifying glass.”
If you like how it looks – just let others enjoy it too!
Never be afraid of negative comments as well, because nobody is immune from negative people. It is their problem that they don’t like something about you, not yours.
Ignore anybody who brings nothing but negativity into your life!
Don’t try to look perfect on every single photo; just enjoy the process. Don’t stand on the same exact pose on every single photo you take, it’s boring and shows that you are insecure about your body and afraid to express yourself in a way your body doesn’t look “it’s best.”
Nothing is causing greater mental stress then always trying too hard!
Concluding Thoughts – Posing Tips from a Professional Model
Woah! You did it, and I am so proud of you!
First, I want to thank you for trusting me and reading my article; it means a lot for me!
Now you know that you already have all the skills required for great photos, and you just need to learn how to express them. I shared with you the most valuable tips I learned through my career, and I hope they will help you to achieve your goals.
If you would like to see some more examples of model posing, check out this video of mine:
I will always appreciate it if you will follow me on my social media (Instagram: @Rebel_Hare) and continue to read my blog!
Thank you so much love, and good luck!