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Modeling 101: Posing Tips with Rocio Valenzuela and Jeff Otto

Modeling does not often come very naturally - it takes time and practice to improve your skills. A lot of models who are just starting out, or people who want to get into modeling, often wonder where they should begin or how to get comfortable posing in front of the camera.

Today, I brought on two special guests, Rocio Valenzuela and Jeff Otto, to give you all some tips on posing if you're just starting out or a model who wishes to improve your skills!

Tips from the Model:

Rocio Valenzuela

This past September, Valenzuela took a trip to New York City to attend Coco Rocha's modeling camp - since attending the camp, she has gained tips on adding dimension and personality to her modeling that she is willing to share with us today!

Use Your Hands

"Using your hands is very important because no one wants messy hands in the shot - have graceful hands. A lot of times models say, 'Well, I don't know what to do with my hands...', it's always good to get in front of a mirror, look up reference photos, and practice what you see - that's something that definitely helped me.

One thing that I learned from Coco Rocha, is to always have soft, ballerina hands; that's what will always sell the photo and make it look more high-fashion/editorial. It's also more beneficial to use one hand instead of two because sometimes using two can look messy."

Show Different Sides of You

"For your portfolio, it's good to show different sides of you with different faces - bring out your emotions to show that you have range, that's what makes a good model. All the pretty photos are nice, but the most memorable ones that make the most impact and help you stand out are the ones where you are making a face in front of the camera."


"Who do you look up to when it comes to beauty shots?"


"Mostly makeup artists' accounts on Instagram - they mostly want to show shots that highlight the makeup so when you're doing beauty shots, it's important to show off the work. The makeup artist would probably appreciate if you close your eyes or look down to show off the eyeshadow they did."


"Who do you look up to when it comes to body shots?"


"Definitely Coco Rocha. She just has this way of moving her body where it will look very weird to everyone else, but once you see the end product, you're like, 'Oh, that does look very high-fashion and editorial!'

There's just such a variety of things that you can do with your body. Sometimes you're like, 'Well, this feels weird...' or 'I probably look dumb', but that's actually what [the photograph] needs.

Coco Rocha suggested not doing so many structured poses such as putting your hand on your hip - it's always good to move around and get loose. One of her tips was to kind of be a marionette. Hop around and move."


"How do you personally show emotion through your posing?"


"If I get the chance, I usually create a playlist; so, if someone tells me what types of emotions they want for the shoot, I will create a playlist because music always gets me in the mood whether it's being sad, happy, or whatever the mood is for the shoot.

I also always look up reference photos and practice in the mirror because what works for one model's face may not work for yours. It's always good to educate yourself on your own emotions and what benefits you.

One area that's super beneficial is the brow bone - even the slightest lift of an eyebrow gives so much emotion."

Posing with Props

"When you're posing with props - let's say you're posing with a chair, don't just sit on the chair. When you're a model, the chair's not for sitting anymore. You have to get really creative and think outside of the box; sitting on the chair is already expected as a pose, but if you can do something different, then that will make you stand out and photographers will want to work with you. That makes them think 'She's actually thinking, she didn't just show up, do her thing, and then leave.'

In my recent shoot, I stood up on the chair, tipped the chair, and used it as a tool."

Tips from the Photographer:

Jeff Otto

Be Versatile

"Be willing to work with different photographers who have different styles; it always helps you gauge your own style, how you pose, what works and what doesn't work for you. It's important to understand where you're at as a model so that you can know what areas you can improve.

While working with different photographers, they may be able to help you showcase something that you didn't even know you could. You might find something that you're strong at or weak at which helps you analyze where you need to go."

Don't Just Be Pretty

"Work on showcasing your emotions. This may sound harsh, but a lot of models rely on just being pretty - pretty can get you a long way and help open doors, but to really stand out and be taken seriously as a model, you have to be able to be more than that. You have to be able to sell a story with a single look. Whether it's a tilt of the head, raising of the eyebrow, or a quick smirk, it helps sell an image.

Same goes for the body. If you just stand there and look pretty, you're just that person who looks pretty. But if you know how to move your body and showcase the story, you will get noticed and people will want to work with you because you have dimension, versatility, and the ability to go beyond what other models are doing which may be thinking that they can get by with just being pretty."

Be Willing to Get the Shot

"Always be willing to make something work.

Don't ever do something that you're uncomfortable with and the photographer should never ask you to do something that you're uncomfortable with.

But, if there's a certain shot in mind, be willing to try new poses and expressions just to see if you can do it. Climb up something...

Just be willing to try something new and different because you might be surprised of what you're capable of and what a good photographer is able to bring out of you."

Modeling in Pairs:



"It's very important for models to actually talk to each other and get to know each other before the shoot. I think it's great to get individual shots first when you're working with a lot of models so you can see how each model works; you can see how they pose, what works best for the their body, and that really helps models understand how they can compliment the other model while also making his/herself stand out."


"Group shots also show that you're willing to work with other models and that you're able to do certain poses in order to get a particular shot in that moment."


"Some people just have more chemistry in-person or on camera and it always shows. One of the ways that you can help build a bit of chemistry before going on camera, is just getting to know your fellow models for a few minutes because then you'll be able to understand their personality a bit more.

Whether you like it or not, your personality will always show on camera and it's usually your dominant personality traits that will take over when you're modeling - that's what the camera will see. For example, Rocio quite often goes for more powerful poses and facial expressions, and if you ever get the chance to speak with her, you'll see why that is her dominating personality trait on camera."


"Whether or not you connect with the other model, always shows on camera, no matter how good of an actor you are.

During the shoot, just communicate. Be willing to take turns in terms of who is being more dominantly showcased at the moment. When you're doing group shots, there's always going to be someone who is the primary subject and someone who's the accent."

I hope you all got some helpful tips that you'll be taking with you to your next photoshoot; I know I did!

If you have any questions and any other advice that you'd like to share with your fellow models, don't hesitate to leave a comment down below or message me on Instagram so that they can be included in another part of the modeling series!


"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God."

James 1:19-20

-- Faith Blackshear

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