7 Vintage Pin Up Photography Tips

A camera on a table

Pin up photography is very popular, we hear about this genre constantly but many of us don’t have a precise idea of it’s meaning… in case you were wondering: “A pin-up model (known as a pin-up girl for a female and less commonly male pin-up for a male) is a model whose mass-produced pictures see wide appeal as popular culture. Pin-ups are intended for informal display, i.e. meant to be “pinned-up” on a wall. Pin-up models may be glamour models, fashion models, or actors.”

Get to know your client

An old camera

Sitting down before your session & meeting with your client is essential. It gives you the opportunity to find out what they are looking to achieve with the photos as well as what they do & do not like about themselves to help you produce an image they will be sure to love.

Do your research & gather inspiration

A camera on a table

Taking a look at the work of some of the great pinup artists of the past such as Gil Elvgren or Bunny Yeager is a great way to come up with fun ideas to try in your modern day pinup sessions. It also gives you a chance to study what they would wear or how they would pose as these are two very important pieces to creating a great pinup image.

Props & wardrobe

Making sure you have the right props & wardrobe to bring your vision to life is a key factor. Take some time before your session to visit some local thrift stores or antique shops to find perfect & unique items that will add that touch of vintage to your photos.

Hair & makeup

One of the most important factors of a pinup session is having the right hair & makeup. Hire a stylist who has experience doing vintage styles. Even a nude subject can instantly be recognized as a “pinup girl” simply by nothing other than the appropriate hair & makeup style.

Creating the perfect lighting

The first thing you must do is figure out the mood of the photos you will be taking. For example if you are going for something more glamorous or old Hollywood style your lighting techniques should be more dramatic, whereas if you are going for a more cheesecake style of pinup your lighting techniques should be more bright & poppy.


Make sure you’ve done your research on pinup girls from the past to see what kinds of poses they did the most. You will notice one common factor, they are all posed in the most flattering positions for their bodies. Make sure to help your subject show off their assets & hide their flaws. Remember, they cannot see themselves the way you can see them. Always make sure if you are seeing their feet in the images that their toes are pointed- this is far more attractive in photos.

Have fun

Make sure your subject knows just by being around you how much fun you are having photographing them. If you’re having a blast your subject will too. A happy photographer always gets the best smiles!

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