You can pick up scaffold poles cheap and do interesting things with them.

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This sequence of images is shot around a scaffold pole hanging horizontally from a ceiling fitting. The fitting is very secure to allow the model to really hang from the pole. A lighting stand would not provide the level of support needed for this kind of pose.

If you can't hang from the ceiling, you could use further scaffold poles to support the main horizontal pole.

The basic lighting setup is with a single softbox light very hard to the right hand side of the image, this provides the main lighting. There is also a second light with barn doors to the rear left of the stage to provide a rim light on the left edge of the image. The white cove is left to go grey and has no light falling on it.

In the first image with the feet up looks really strong yet is pretty easy to pull off even for a non-ballet trained model. Kirsty is ballet trained and so maybe has a stronger sense of body control than some models.

Notice the shadows on the floor; these really need to be there so you have a true indication that the model is hanging, rather than just kneeling on the floor.

The height of the pole is just at arm's reach when Kirsty is standing, this means it is easy to hold and lift from but as you can see is more than enough for the feet to be well clear of the ground.

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In the second image Kirsty is now hanging completely on the pole. This is definitely a pose for a more trained and toned model. Many girls will not have the strength to pull this image off.

Despite wanting to shoot quickly while the model holds the pose you still need to look for tuning and corrections. In this case I asked Kirsty to arch further so her head was looking downwards as much as possible.

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In this third image I have turned off the main key light and instead I am using the rim light as the main light source. There is still ambient light in the room as well but most of what you see is the rim light being reflected within the white cove area to give varying shades of grey.

This pose shows very clear the possibilities that having a pole to work from can give you.


key points

You cannot use a pole dancing pole for this work, it's too shiny. Similarly you cannot use a scaffold pole for pole dancing because it's too rough.

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