Times are changing, and so are the traditional Fashions on the Field competitions. For years FOTF was hosted at race tracks around the country with entrants showing off their creations and styling on a catwalk, twirling and smiling trying to catch the judge’s eye.
Now with the rise of the photo competition, it’s more important than ever to get your pose down pat and have a few tricks up your sleeve to ensure the photo captures the true essence of your outfit.
In this post I discuss some of the recent changes to the Myer Fashions on the Field state finals and ask racing fashion photographer Wendell Teodoro to provide some practical tips for how to pose when you find yourself in front of the camera.
The First Photo Competition
Two year’s ago, the first big photo booth competition format emerged at Royal Randwick Moët & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes Day with their unveiling of ‘The Fashion Chute’.
Entrants were skeptical about the new photo format with the majority being against the idea. How could you showcase your beautifully put together outfit with a quick snap in a photo booth? How can you make sure none of its beauty or detail is lost in the photos? And more importantly, how can it be an even playing field for those who don’t know how to pose or think they aren’t photogenic?
The first photo booth competition I entered, I had an average photo taken. I was one of the lucky ones. I heard many ladies complain the main detail of their outfit was on the back, and with just one photo taken for submission, the detail was lost.
Others said half their standout feature was the way their skirt moved when they walked or that their millinery was chopped off in the frame and that their photo was blurry or they weren’t ready.
Changes to the Myer FOTF State Finals
This year, Myer announced some big changes were coming to their annual National FOTF competition. We eagerly waited and waited, sending emails for any kind of confirmation there would even be a state final.
Finally, after a long, much anticipated 8 months and just 3 months before Melbourne Cup Week, Flemington released the information we had all been suspecting.
The Myer FOTF competition was moving with the times and would take on a fresh digital format. This meant the State finals would all be held via a photo competition, mostly on the same day in Spring. Hopefuls would head to the locations set out amongst each state to be photographed by a professional photographer.
The photographer would take ‘street style’ snaps. This means you won’t be standing up against a blank wall trying to pose but instead be captured with movement, taking note of up close special details. Three photos will be submitted to be judged by an esteemed panel who will choose the 1st, 2nd and 3rd from each state.
‘Uhoh, but I’m not Photogenic’
There was a lot of discussion in the Field Fashion Community Facebook Group, with many women worried they would not take a good photo, thus jeopardizing their shot at a state title.
With so much at stake I thought I would take it upon myself to interview established racing fashion photographer Wendell Teodoro to tell us his best tips for taking a great photo and posing the right way.
If anyone has worked with Wendell before, then you will know he makes taking photos easy with his expert direction. Even for myself, who cannot pose to save my life, he makes it seem effortless and always captures a great photo!! Mind you, he can often be heard yelling to me- “move your hands, look up!, switch your legs, be graceful!” … direction that I would be lost without.
I asked Wendell to share with us some of his easiest, fail proof poses that anyone can practice at home, best angles for faces and general tips to note when having your photo taken as well as what to avoid!
What are three must-know poses that anyone can master?
Pose 1: The A-line Side
Goal: Legs forming an A-line shape, one knee can be bent. Classic elegance.
There are variations of this pose, including standing straight to the camera and quarter profile. This pose is best for body contoured outfits or any dress that shows your hips and legs. Aim to show the side of your shoes to camera.
The upper half is a classic V-Line of the arms with hands together. It makes for a neat and elegant pose.
Replace ‘Moet’ glass with a clutch or a bag over one shoulder, bring your hands together.
Pose Two: A-Line Front
Goal: To show front body and show off the silhouette of an outfit.
Here Deborah Quinn poses with 2 legs firmly on the ground, separated with hands to the side. This pose is best to show off pants.
Pose 3: Twirl, Twirl and Twirl
Goal: Have fun.
This is a dynamic pose, if you have a dress that says ‘Make Way’ don’t be afraid to make way and twirl, just have fun! The more you twirl the better, but watch your footing and don’t get hurt.
Do you think it’s better to look at the camera and pose or try to have a more candid, natural look?
A key aspect to a good photo is ‘feeling great and therefore looking great’.
When you’re happy with your look and you’re not self-conscious, you subconsciously act and pose naturally.
If you’re not happy with your look or if you’re self-conscious about yourself, you project this feeling in the way you pose and act, so the key is; be happy with yourself and your look and project confidence. Looking and feeling your best will be captured by any photographer, even a stranger with an iPhone.
Of course some individuals don’t feel that confident in the moment. Recognizing that, I give that individual some encouragement and I work with them, one step at a time to achieve a good photo, either posed or candid.
Do certain types of outfits photo better than others (e.g. colours, fabrics, etc.)?
I have always an appreciation for great design and textiles, but I do have a liking for maxi dresses with flow, traditional tailoring and pleasing colour harmonies.
I believe in personal style over fashion trends, so I photograph every unique style as honestly as I can.
What should you do to show off your outfit?
Carry yourself like you love life and your outfit, having fun, laughing, twirling, high-fashion posing. Standing in front of clean or beautiful backgrounds that complement or contrast your outfit shows it off best.
What is the best way to hold/show off your accessories?
For bags, hold them comfortably and let them hang naturally. I do encourage interacting with your bag, using it as a prop, as it’s a key element to your look. For half length photos, try to pose with the bag closer to your face, and make sure you hold the bag delicately with ballet style fingers.
What should you do with your hands?
Good modelling is modelling from head to toe; a nicely finished posed ends with your fingers. Ballet teaches delicate finger poses, you can imagine playing with fairy dust, pointing angelically or even resort to playing the piano in the air.
When your hands are on your waist in a classic ‘hand on hip pose’ or elsewhere, instead of having all your fingers rest evenly together change one as if your pointing one finger out from the rest. These details show that you’re consciously finishing off your entire pose, with feeling and individual expression.
How should you position your face?
Depending on your look and how you feel about the most flattering angles of your face, do what you’re comfortable with. Most people look great with their head down or ‘chin down’ quarter profile or straight to camera.
What are some common mistakes people make when posing?
Incorrect foot placement, for a standard ‘leg crossover’ is a common mistake. Aim to pose allowing an extra foot width distance between each foot and half a foot length in front of the other for a tidy pose.
When posing in the classic ‘Diamond shape’, ‘Feet together’ is clean and neat.
People also pose in certain ways that are unflattering to the tailored lines of the outfit. Good posture and neat compact posing is best for dresses that have constrained movement. For the gents avoid raising your arms up or placing them on your hips as it opens and lifts up the jacket.
Gents maintain good posture.