Practicing Facial Expressions – Pre-Shoot Tips for Models

in Tips For Models

Katie MM#827353 Using her Face to Express Emotions

I often work with new models, usually women whom are testing the water to see if modeling is something they’d like to pursue or something they can have fun doing and eventually earning some extra income from.

It’s hard for a photographer to work with new models because of the extra amount of direction they typically require so I’ve put together this list to give out to a few of my new models to help them prepare for their upcoming shoot.

Facial Expressions Exercise

It’s important for a mode to know how to use their face. try this exercise to feel more comfortable using your face to express different emotions or lack thereof.

In front of a mirror, for at least 20 – 30 minutes just use your face to convey emotions.

Emotions or Ideas to Convey

  • Generally happy / content
  • Fun, laughing and playful
  • Scared, trapped or lost
  • Sad or broken hearted
  • Serious model face
  • Empty, lonely or bored
  • Fantasizing or day dreaming (happy)
  • Fantasizing or day dreaming (sad)
  • Scheming and flirting

Try and focus on different options for each emotion for each area of your face, you eyes, mouth and angles you can tilt your face to try and more strongly emphasize the emotion.

After you’ve done that, spend another 20 minutes using your hands in close proximity to your face.

Sample Hand Positions

  • Under your chin
  • On you cheek
  • Covering you mouth
  • Behind your head
  • In your hair
  • Moving and shaping your hair

Also try with an open hand, closed hand, fingers together, fingers apart. Then combine using your hands with your face to convey the emotions listed above.

See where this is going? You’re practicing like the mirror is your photographer.

It may seem like a silly exercise and it may take some time to get it right but it is time well spent.
When you know how to make an expression you can contribute by going to an emotion without the photographer prompting you which makes for excellent collaboration. The better a model can work with their photographer the more it will show in the end photos.

New** Recommended Reading

Someone turned me on to this eBook, Let's Model: Your Complete Modeling Guide, and for under $20 it’s wonderful it’s got lots of really helpful tips for new and aspiring models. It’s the kind of ebook that I’d like to email to all of my models before I work with them!
– Terri Ann


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