Jul 15 2009

Model Posing Techniques: Foot Posing

Published by at 6:54 pm under General

The face of a model posing is her fortune.  Usually, it is the face that most people this of as the most vital part of a good fashion shot.  However, this is not entirely accurate.  Every part of the model, from face to feet, work together to create the clean lines that make up the composition of the shot.  Nothing should detract from the final shot, but a poorly placed foot or an awkwardly cocked ankle can draw the eye, thus ruining a great shot.

The ankle can be a very expressive tool in foot posing.  It acts as that pivot point for the foot, allowing it to roll in and out as well as up and down.  Moving the ankle itself from side to side is a common foot pose.  The best way to view this is from the front where the foot, ankle and leg can be clearly seen.  The starting point for the ankle is in a straight line directly over the toes.  From there, it can “cock” in toward the other foot or “cock” out, away from the other foot.

Photographers and models refer to the movement of the ankle as “rolling.”  When the photographer tells the posing model to roll her ankle in, he means for her to roll it toward her other foot.  When he says to roll it out, he means for her to roll it away from her other foot.  There are many points between the two extremes of the rolled out and in ankle, each bears its own conveyance of attitudes.  The wise model knows, though, that too much of an angle breaks the line and interrupts the flow of the lines of the leg.

The universally ultra feminine foot pose is that of the ankle rolled in, or cocked toward the other foot.  This pose lends a very graceful curve, a nice line that conveys sophistication, elegance and femininity.  The basic foot pose and its modifications are often seen in fashion photography using this technique.  In the basic foot pose, one foot (the cocked foot) is placed slightly in front of the other with the heel of the forward foot placed at the arch of the rear foot.  The rear foot is turned out slightly.  When the right foot leads in this pose, models sometimes call it a “right hemisphere.”  When the left foot leads, it is called a “left hemisphere.”  Modifications of this pose include sliding the front foot forward or to the side a few inches.

When the model keeps the ankle straight, so that the leg posing is directly in line with the foot, she can convey strength, haughtiness and arrogance.  In the fashion world, this is a very strong foot pose and is generally used when the overall feel is less feminine or androgynous.  It may even be considered a masculine pose, but when an overly feminine style is not desired, many female commercial models will employ it.

A rolled out ankle, or ankle that is cocked out, usually lends an air of immaturity.  A casual pose, it is also used quite a bit in high fashion shots when the goal it to achieve a chic or funky impact.  This pose is best done sparingly, though because it is not appropriate for many types of shots.  Depending on the tone of the set, the image you want to convey and the garment you are modeling, you may opt for this foot pose.

The foot is also a strong posing tool in that is moves in an arc, much like a fan.  Ankle and foot placement are integral to a good shot, regardless of whether the model is sitting or standing.  When she is standing, she is usually in the basic fashion pose, a right hemisphere or left hemisphere, where her weight is supported on one foot and the other foot is placed to the front or side.  In a right hemisphere, the right foot is slightly in front of the left foot, with the right heel positioned very close to the left inner arch.  By cocking the ankle at various degrees and moving the right foot forward or to the side, the basic pose can be modified.  A left hemisphere, of course, is simply the left foot placed in the front and the right foot in the rear.  The toes of the forward foot may be angled at various degrees to the body, either straight ahead, to the side slightly or even at a 90 degree angle out.

In modeling, the right hemisphere and left hemisphere are very basic poses, a beginning modeling stance for walking on the catwalk and for other poses.  However, another universally neutral foot position places the feet side by side.  From that position, the toes can be placed in a wide range of angles along the arc, from pointing in to pointing all the way out.  This position, though, is not generally used often in the fashion world.

While the foot has a wide range of motion, allowing it to move 90 degrees in either direction, it is rarely used at the extreme angles.  Most of the time, the foot of a model is slightly fanned out or in the neutral position, pointing straight ahead.

When the toes are pointing inward, the effect is awkward and pigeon toed, usually associated with playfulness, bashfulness and childishness.  It can also indicate inexperience and naivity.

Fanning the foot outward at the extreme angle denotes a casual attitude or lack of sophistication.  A popular teen model pose, it is used to convey a nonchalant attitude or rocker image.

The model must understand how each part of her body works to convey a particular tone, mood or image and how just one misplaced foot or awkwardly cocked ankle can throw off the entire shot.  She should have a very good grasp of posing and controlling the various parts of her body so that the lines she creates are clean and unbroken, which is what the photographers want.

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