In the studio – how to pose!

How to pose like a pinup?

This post was originally made in Norwegian for Retro Pinup Norway, click here if you would like the Norwegian version.

Here I will give some tips and advice on how to pose like a pinup the «right way».

Having your picture taken is not as easy as it seems! Even though a model in a picture looks relaxed and comfortable, the truth is quite the opposite. It is an art to twist and bend your body to make it look good and at the same time look like like there’s nothing to it.

My advice nr 1 is that it is SUPPOSED to be uncomfortable. You have to learn to fake it, even though your pose hurts like Hell you can’t let that show in your face.

Pinup posing should look feminine, playful and coquette. There are different directions within pinup – cheesecake, boudoir and the glamorous Hollywood-style.

Cheesecake might be the images that comes into mind for the most of us when we think of pinup – humorous, innocent and cute images, like this:

Boudoir is often in a bedroom setting, a nice hotel room, a vanity or just a chaise lounge with the model wearing underwear or peignoir. The images are sexy yet tasteful.

Both of these images are by Gil Elvgren, look him up to see more examples of pinup posing.

Then we have the glamorous Hollywood-style. Often with elements from the 1940s and always classy and elegant. Dita von Teese is a good example of that style.

A general tip for posing is that all limbs should be visible (two arms, two legs). If not, it may look awkward in the end.

You should have an invisible thread through your body from your hips up to your head and to the ceiling. With that I mean that you keep your shoulders back, chest out (this will make you straighten your back) and chin slightly up and forward. If you want to tighten that double chin press your tongue against the roof of your mouth, that works best with your mouth closed/slightly open.

Pointy toes! Like a ballerina, even if you are wearing shoes. This make your calves tighten and your feet look feminine. This is most important when you are sitting or laying down, no need to be tippy toeing around if you are standing up.

Pretty hands, also like a ballerina. Don’t clutch your fists or hold things tight. Be relaxed. If your hands are close to your face, just barely touch it. Don’t rest your head in your hands like you usually do, kinda just hover with your hand near your face.

Don’t look straight into the camera, focus just beside it.

Your legs should be closed in your pose. Either by your knees or by your ankles, never spred your legs towards the camera!

Don’t be afraid to «over do» it. That is nearly impossible! Put your hip out for all you’re worth, so far out you just feel plain silly. That is how you enhance your curves. Less is NOT more when it comes to posing.

Faces, honey! Practice your faces in front of a mirror using the vowels, A-E-I-O-U. Not all at the same time, but one at a time. See how your mouth forms and how the rest of your face should be (big eyes, eyebrows lifted etc).

If you nail the pose – don’t relax! You will ruin it then. Keep all muscles tense, and yes, you WILL get warm and sweaty! It looks sooo easy when you look at pictures but you will learn that that is not the case. It can be hard, but don’t give up!

Things close to the camera will appear bigger than they are, like feet. If you stretch your legs towards the camera, or the photographer is placed so your feet gets closest to the camera your feet will look big compared to your body.

In pinup there is a rule saying that images should only be «implied», never show tits, ass and meow meow. NEVER be vulgar! Its ok to have sheer nighties, or just wear underwear but don’t let anything show. There is some images who show breasts and ass, and they can still be pinup as long as they are tastefully done. Its up to you as a model how much you are wiling to show.

If you have booked a shoot so spend some time looking around the Internet for inspirational photos, this will be of help to both you and your photographer. Look for what kind of style you want, poses, themes.

This is just a short list of tips, I could go on and on! Please don’t hesitate to ask if there is anything else you might wonder.

And don’t give up! It may seem like a whole science, but the more you learn the more fun it is. Bottom line is, try to have fun at the photographer, be playful, relax and just take it easy. You’re doing this for you, so there is no pressure.

If you get too nervous, just do what I did; take a shot of vodka! Or two. Who’s counting, anyway.


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