• Julie Gallahue

Posing Lesson: Hands

I’ve worked with many photographers over the years and they report that they can tell how much experience a model has within the first few frames of taking their pictures. It’s easy to identify the models that are less experienced. How do they know they're shooting a newbie?

Hands down, it’s the model’s hands.

Here is a quick rundown on some of the basic do’s and don’t so you can increase your chances of capturing workable images and put your photographers mind at ease.

Give away number one

Model shows signs of discomfort by covering up the body with "jazz hands" or keeps fingers tightly pressed against each other. Neither of these look natural and instead send a message to the viewer that you are really uncomfortable. If you are uncomfortable, they are uncomfortable too.

The solution

Step one, put some seperation between your fingers, but not too much! And create a pocket of air between the palm of your hand and the surface you are touching. In this case it is your legs. Take note that the fingers are gently bent and not straight.

And now, move your hands to the sides of your body. When your hands are in the front of you, you are covering up important details of the outfit you are showcasing.

Give away number two with solution

One the left you can see that the hands are shoved deeply into the pockets. Pockets are a major plus in adding variety to your poses, but when your hands disappear, you add bulk to the front of the pants and look as if maybe you had a terrible accident that left you without hands at all.

It's a simple fix by pulling your hands out so the tops of them are clearly visible and your thumbs are on the outside of the pockets. This looks natural, keeps the front of the pants flat and lets the viewer know you are in possesion of all your digits.

Give away number three

It might feel like your making a statement of power with your fists on the hips, but it doesn't ususally register that way. Again, it's hard to see those fingers, and you should endevour to never loss them. But, don't go all the way in the other direction and splay those fingers out with miles of space between them. In this situation, you've brought the "jazz hands" out again and these only work on a dance floor.


First, find your waist. It might be higher then you think. It's that area between your breasts and hips and it curves in. Now gently put your hands on them with four fingers in the front and the thumbs in the back. Do not push or squeeze into your waist. Simply let your hands rest there with slight seperation between fingers and that invisible air pocket under the palm of your hand that you used before. Take note that this invisible air pocket will be used frequently.

Just to switch things up, you can turn your hands around with fingers in the back and thumbs in the front and this works well. Photographers like variety, and this is a simple switch up to give them what they want.

Give away number four with solution

As a general rule, unless your selling something other than the jeans, you should try your best to keep your hands out of your crotch. I won't say it's always wrong, because it definately gets the job done if you want to imply the jeans will lead to sex for the person wearing them or possibly the person looking at them. But, if this isn't what your goal is, get your hands out of the private zone. In the top image, it's a simple fix by moving the hands to the hips. In the bottom image, the solution lies in a loose grip with the fingers pointing upwards.

Now that you have some new information, get out their and show your photographers you know how to handle your hands!

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