Fashion Versus Glamour Posing

As a photographer, one has a tendency to be preoccupied with lighting setups and other technical aspects. But when assessing final pictures in an unbiased way, it is rather apparent that the single most important success factor in people photography is expression. Expression mainly takes place in the face, but also the overall pose defines expression. The more of the body is visible in the picture, the more important the pose.

Many amateur models and beginners are interested in taking pictures as shown in fashion magazines like Vogue. In the studio, I have often experienced fundamental misunderstands of what modelling for fashion photos is all about.

The pictures below illustrate the difference between fashion and glamour: The fashion look is about triangles, straight lines and clearly defined angles formed by various body parts. The much more soft, female glamour poses target curve shapes (the famous “S shape”) with as many body parts as possible.


A lot of models (but also photographers are unaware of these differences. I don’t know how many pictures I have seen with beautiful models, fancy dresses, carefully applied makeup – but the wrong poses. Without consistent posing, one will never achieve that “fashion look”. Fashion lighting and styling combined with glamour poses result in pictures that will look amateurish and undefined.

Unfortunately, the hard fashion look we are used to also creates a demand for skinny models. The more skinny, the easier it is to form the sharp angles which define the “fashion look”. Personally, I do not believe anybody in the fashion industry promoting more curvy models unless the standard poses in fashion magazines start to change. And this is clearly not happening. Maybe, one day, it will. It actually used to be the case in the 40t/50ties, when s-shapes were the norm also in fashion photography.

The illustrations shown are not my own images. The copyrights belong to the respective photographers.