The life of a Victoria’s Secret angel may seem glamorous and easy-going (and at times, it really can be!), but becoming a well-renowned name in the industry like Alessandra Ambrosio takes a lot more know-how than you might think.
If you’ve ever put yourself in front of a camera lens, you might be familiar with the level of discomfort of being the center of attention, the sudden heightened-awareness of your body, and the awkwardness of what to do with your hands! To get those picture-perfect shots, we’ve taken some of the best tricks of the trade that will make you feel fierce and camera-ready. Just think to yourself, “WWAAD?” or “What would Alessandra Ambrosio do?”
Learn the Model Gaze
Whether you’re shooting an editorial look or a sweet portrait, having strong eye contact is key to elevating your shot. To do this, relax your face and let the eyes do the talking. Bring your energy and focus to your eyes, as if you’re channeling your emotions through your gaze. Think about anything that makes you feeling confident and fierce so your look can pierce the lens. A slight squint of your eyes will cheat this effect. A squint gives your eyes more intensity; just be sure not to do too much where it looks like you’re struggling to see! Practicing in front of the mirror will help you perfect your squint.
It’s All About Angles
Everyone has a different face and body type, so getting to know your best angles is a matter of trial and error. However, there are some rules of thumb to live by that will ensure that fire shot!
Lighting is KING. Be sure to always find the light so that your face is highlighted. This typically means that the light is in front of you or to the side of you. For a standard headshot, angle your chin towards the light source to get your maximum glow.
Be sure to always have a little asymmetry in your pose. Whether that means having one shoulder higher than the other, or your torso tilted to one side, asymmetry in photographs creates more interest and depth to your figure. For instance, the golden rule for getting a great ab shot is to never stand with your abs directly facing the camera! Whether or not your abs are sculpted, the right angle for your tummy is never head on as their dimension gets lost at this angle. The slightest turn with your hip bone can give the perfect angle for your stomach.
DON’T Strike a Pose – Flow Through Movements!
A common mistake many make in front of the camera is to strike a stiff pose, thinking to themselves “so vogue!”. Although it might seem like models strategically think out their poses, the reality is modeling is a lot more about being natural and candid. Start off in a comfortable position that you’d naturally be in if the camera wasn’t on you, then make your model eye contact. You’ll find that these candid shots wind up not looking forced, just like Alessandra’s work!
Once you’re in a pose au naturel, you probably won’t get the perfect shot on the first take. Flow through the pose with small adjustments, such as a slight rotation of your hand, a variation of your facial angle to the camera, or a slight twist of your torso away or towards the camera. These variations might not seem like much, but they make all the difference when choosing the best take. Make these movements flow into your next pose, almost like a slow dance with you as the leader and the camera as the follower. If you still feel discomfort, try asking the photographer for some feedback while you shoot. They can see the full effect of the shot, so minor critiques such as “turn your chin up a little bit” will give you a better spatial sense of your pose.
Create Negative Space
Modeling is from head to toe, which can be a lot to think about all at once. When it comes to ¾ and full body shots, it can be difficult to have full awareness of all of your limbs. However, if you create negative space with your limbs, you are automatically making more shapes with your figure while also helping your features look slimmer. A small arch of the back or an arm angled out further from the body can make all the difference to your shot.
Perfect Your Pout
Your lips can give a lot of attitude to your look, but oftentimes, being overly aware of them does not translate well on camera. When you’re trying to convey sexy or fierce, it’s almost instinct to pucker your lips or clench your jaw, but a duck pout or a stiff jaw-line is the opposite of what you want on film.
Always remember to relax your mouth; anything too poised can look unnatural on camera. An easy way to achieve this is to breath soft, continuous exhales through your shoot, which naturally forces your jaw to relax while giving your lips some life. And that sexy, parted lips Alessandra (and models alike) are always doing? That perfect parting can be achieved by slightly opening your lips and teeth while lightly pressing your tongue against the back of your bottom teeth. This small movement creates a defined jawline without the clench, and creates the perfect space between your lips that isn’t too wide nor too narrow.