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Essential Basic Facial Expressions for a Photo Shoot

Much of the attention in photo modelling is given to the way a model poses and dresses. Yet, little or no attention is giving to facial expressions. Expressions will make or break a photo shoot. Photos will be soulless and tell nothing. It is suggested that every model has a couple of expressions, which she is good at, up her sleeve. That way it gives character and meaning to her photos. I would like to advice some of the very basic facial expressions, which a model should practice in front a mirror and master.

In order to improve the overall facial expressions when posing for a photo shoot, a model should use her hands, palms and fingers in a way to compliment and maximize her expressions.


This should be a straight forward and easy emotion to get across in your photos. Think of enjoyable moments with your family and friends, or funny situations that keep bringing a smile on your face.

You can run your fingers through your hair or hands can be held over the tummy when laughing out loud.

Loneliness and sadness

Here you should let your mind drift and detach yourself from your surroundings. You should look deep within you and come face to face with your worst fears and heart aches. In order to bring out the best emotions you should feel them rather than act them. Your facial expressions should be tense and stressed.

Palm of the hand can be held over the mouth or touching your temple.

Day dreaming and fantasizing

This is a pensive mood in which you dream about your aspirations, nostalgic moments and sentimental places. Your facial expressions should be calm and relaxed.

Chin can be cupped in both palms of the hands or head leaned over palm of the hand. Head can be rested on both hands too.

Sensual and seductive

For many models it comes naturally while others have to put more work in it. Most of the expressions should be transmitted through the eyes and the tilting of the head. Your facial expression should hint lustfulness and seductiveness.

Fingers can touch softly the lips with mouth parted. Your fingers can touch delicately other parts of the face like the cheek or the neck.

If you still find the above emotions difficult to master, I recommend you visit the nearest drama centre in your locality and apply for a short drama course. You will definitely find it very helpful. From my experience, I can say that models with a background in acting and dancing, usually find it very easy to express a wide range of emotions through their face and body.

I recommend visiting my web page in order to enrich your knowledge in posing and dressing for photo shoots. Here you will find various sources which will help you in giving your best in your future photo shoots. Sincerely I wish you the best of luck!

Author: Michael Abela

I have been fascinated by the human body since the tender age of 7, always with a pencil in hand sketching figures and models. Photography for me is a way through which I aspire to capture the beauty, emotions and passion transmitted through the human body.


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