Boobs v Belly: Prone Pose Perils

I recently shot with the fun and beautiful Stacey but I got a pleasant surprise when I first saw her topless. Looking at her portfolio, I had thought she was pretty flat chested, but when we started shooting I found out that wasn’t the case.

Stacey E

As you can see in the image to the right, Stacey is in no way flat chested, so why’d I get this idea? Because all of the images in her portfolio were of her laying down on her back.

When a model lays down the direction of gravity changes and it deforms her natural proportions. In some cases this maybe useful, but mostly they are problems. Let’s talk about some of these changes.

Flattening

If she is on her back, then her breasts, belly, and even her face are flattened. Gravity is pulling everything towards the ground and her back, so things get flattened out. When shooting glamour you generally want larger breasts and only artificial ones defy gravity.

The title of this post does tell you when you might want some flattening. The belly is also flattened, but it is also spread out. So if you have a model who’s stomach you want to look flatter, you could put her on her back. That will only work for a little stomach flattening because the spreading will make her look wider.

Limited Movement

A standing model is in her most dynamic position. Once she hits the floor or a bed she is limited in the movements she can make. So you generally get more “relaxed” poses and less dynamic ones.

Posing is that flexes muscle is more beautiful and interesting that relaxed ones. This is one of the reasons a model gets tired while posing for a shoot. She is constantly getting into positions that require muscle activation and holding those positions.

The problem when she gets prone is she doesn’t have to use muscle and she’s more used to relaxing while laying down. An experienced model will realize the limits and pose more dynamically, but a new model will lay there and look for the more comfortable, but less interesting poses.

One way to overcome this is to tell the model to writhe around, grip the sheets, raise her hips, or arch her back. These will add dynamism to her pose.

As a number of models have told me, the more uncomfortable a pose feels, the better it looks.

Limited Angles

Lying puts limits on models, and it also puts limits on the photographer. If she’s on the floor, you can only be level with her or above.

It is common for a newbie model photographer is to shoot down at a model. We do that when we are taller and we do it when she’s in a lower position than us, like laying on something. You need to consciously avoid shooting slightly down. If you are going to shoot downward, do it from an extreme angle. Get on a ladder and shooting almost straight down.

Don’t be afraid to lay on the floor to get at or below her level.

Eide's Dynamic Prone Pose
Eide's Dynamic Prone Pose

This image of Eide shows all of the best practices to overcome the perils of prone poses. I’m shooting from the floor and she’s on an air mattress just a few inches above me. She’s in a very dynamic pose, one that was uncomfortable and looks almost unnatural in person, but great in this image.

When shooting glamour we almost automatically think about putting the model in lingerie and on a bed, but if we do, we need to be very conscious of the poses we use. We need to watch for flattening, encourage dynamic poses and use interesting angles.

Do you have great images with the model lying down? If so comment below and let us see them.