If it bends, bend it.
Curves are good, they draw the eye in, you see them all around you, that meandering stream, waves crashing onto a sandy beach, fluffy clouds, railway tracks, petals on a flower, branches of a tree, rolling hills and even that long and winding road (thanks Beatles). Curves create an interesting line for the eye to follow so it’s no surprise that it is used in portraiture too.
In portraiture curves encourage the eye to linger on the figure for longer, taking the eye on a journey along the form which is far more engaging than a straight line. That is why some bright spark came up with the rule, “If it bends bend it, if it curves curve it”
When posing a model, I make sure I introduce some bends and curves – this is not only attractive but produces a more relaxed posture. One way of achieving this is by creating a counterpose. This is taken from the term contrapposte, a sculptural scheme originated by the ancient Greeks.
Counterposing is created when on one side of the body you have a high hip point (created by pushing this hip out) and a low shoulder and on the other side you have a low hip point and high shoulder.
The example below shows this. You can do whatever feels comfortable with your hands but the hips and shoulders should be opposed as described. This is also known as the S curve because… well it produces an S shape (obviously). The S curve can be accentuated by adding a slight head tilt towards the “pushed out, raised” hip.
(Notice I said SLIGHT head tilt – don’t go overboard with that tilt.)
For a video guide to the counterpose, have a look at my posing guide: pose like a pro with your hands and arms.
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