How the right model can determine composition

Pro vs amateur models

It might seem evident what the differences between a pro model and an amateur model can be. The most obvious reasons a professional model can be good is in their ability to give you a great pose, experience with how to respond to your demands, and the superficial reason of being great to look at. But no one really talks about the fact that a great model can actually determine the composition of your photo.

What is most important to understand in the model/photographer relationship is that there is a feedback loop between the two. When a certain pose is asked of a model, they usually follow through with what she/he thinks the photographer wants to see. This is also usually followed by guessing, via poses, of what variations the photographer might like to see. If one pose works with a pro model, that toolkit of poses tends to be more elaborate and plentiful than with an amateur model who lacks the experience of shooting. What I have mentioned is relatively obvious. Although it is a point that is still important to note, it also drives home another new point I want to talk about.

Enter Stephie

That toolbox of poses can actually determine where the photographer will be going with their composition, framing, lighting, and communicative decisions. I realized this so much while shooting with a pro model Stephie who spends his/her time shooting shots with me for an ecomm company up here in Québec. We both had decided to shoot in Montreal downtown but Stephie’s schedule was delayed and we were forced to shoot mid evening in the downtown streets. Because of the fact that we we had no light, we winged it and started to shoot in the streets without any sort of goal. What Stephie had done was to feed me so many different poses that I had actually molded my shoot around how and where she was posing.

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The street scene

This concept of a model determining a photographer’s composition was really put to the test when we shot directly on a street nearby. I asked Stephie to stand in the middle of the street at a traffic light to give me a backlight using the car headlights. She started doing all kinds of positions and poses that not only delivered the shots I saw in my head but also inspired me to actually shoot a couple of concepts I had not thought of. Inspiration though great posing for sure. I wanted to initially get a silhouette effect but, due to the poses Stephie suggested, started to see a lonely excited girl in the streets theme. I started shooting accordingly. I am not one to say that this will not occur with an amateur model, but because of that model toolkit of experience and craft, it all tends to go faster.

In fact as Stephie posed, I seemed to see a vision that was not there before two seconds ago. Her ability to bring in new and novel was to pose in front of cars on the street brought about more and more great images.

Here are a couple of other cool Behind the scenes videos:


In this video and photoshoot, I used the following equipment

Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon 50-140 f/2.8. I also used the Fujinon 56mm f/1.2

Links for those products will be below

To get to Stephie’s Instagram click here: Stephie.Heron

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