How To Pose For A Portrait Photography

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1 of the most difficult things when photographing people is posing. It doesn’t affair if you’re the model or the lensman – this is something where we tin can all use some assist!

This is especially true if you’re a regular person who has no modelling experience or aspirations but wants to have their photos taken.

(Mayhap it’southward for your nuptials day, your senior photoshoot, or you simply desire to await attractive in photos!)

Do makes perfect – in that location’s no doubt about that. Notwithstanding, knowing some photography poses to utilise equally guidelines tin help you amend quicker.

In this article, you’ll find portrait poses that yous can showtime practising right away.

Also, in that location are some extra tips at the end to help you become more photogenic and learn how to pose.

There’s a lot to cover and tons of great photography poses, and so let’southward become started!

27 Swell Poses for Portrait Photography

1. The 45-degree rule

Credit: Behrouz Sasani (left) / Prince Akachi (right)

When face and trunk expect straight at the camera, you can end up looking beefy. If your trunk is turned 45 degrees towards 1 of the sides, you’ll look slimmer and more than relaxed.

Alternatively, you tin take the body facing forward and the head turned 45-degrees. This is ane of the most archetype poses in portrait photography.

You’ll encounter this classic stance used time and time over again both in famous portrait paintings and photos.

2. Put the weight on the dorsum foot

Photography poses with weight on back foot

Credit: Maria Orlova (left) / Victoria-Borodinova (right)

With this pose, you position the discipline with 1 leg placed slightly forward than the other, keeping the weight to the dorsum foot. By doing this, you lot allow the front leg to bend and expect more than natural.

This works well for both male and female person models. For women, information technology has the added reward of popping the hip to accentuate the body’south natural curves.

You can read our guide to swell male poses for more ideas for posing men.

3. Standing with crossed legs

Female model standing poses

Credit: Jeff Denlea

These portrait poses are unremarkably used for women. You can cross the leg in forepart of the one that’s holding the weight or backside it.

In both cases, the crossing of the legs makes the hip look curvy, accentuating the torso’s shape.

Cheque out our guide to posing females for some more ideas.

4. Leaning back

Leaning back portrait photo pose

Credit: Andrea Piacquadio

This is a great pose considering of its versatility. Y’all can use this on men and women, children and elders; for casual and formal shoots, groups or single portraits – with small variations betwixt them.

The thought is that past having physical support, the residue of the body can exist more relaxed.

You tin mix it up with other poses and make it fit the situation and model.

For example, if you lot’re photographing children, you can inquire them to tilt the head back towards the wall, while for female subjects, you can ask them to curve their backs a picayune to enhance their natural curves.

5. Leaning on a wall with leg up

Standing against a wall with one leg up

Credit: Prayoon Sajeev

If you lot’re looking for full-length portrait photography poses, this is a simple and relaxed ane. Information technology’s a casual variation of the previous pose where you simply bend i leg up to the wall.

It’s usually amend to do this if the model is wearing trousers (long pants) since having the genu pointing towards the camera isn’t very flattering.

6. Leaning forward

Portrait poses with forward lean from model

Credit: Michael Dam (left) / Shawn Olivier Boivin Blanchard (right)

Leaning forrard towards the camera is a cracking style to shape the trunk and make the face the focal point. That’s why leaning is used in a lot of portrait photography poses.

Go on in heed that annihilation closer to the camera will look bigger, and then this will automatically slim the trunk.

You don’t want the face looking disproportionate either, so stand up at a reasonable distance and avoid using a broad-angle lens. This will prevent distortions.

7. S-shape pose

Female models doing s-shaped poses in fashion photos

Credit: Ferdinand Studio (left) / Neemias Seara (correct)

This is mainly a feminine pose. To accentuate the natural curves and give more flow to the trunk, pose your model or client following an South shape.

It shouldn’t exist exaggerated in a style that looks awkward or that she is uncomfortable – even a hint of the Southward shape is good.

This pose can be done with the model sitting, standing or lying down – you’ll see many famous portrait photographers doing this.

8. How to pose the arms


If y’all’re wondering how to pose arms in pictures, you’ll observe lots of suggestions in this article. However, here are some basic rules to follow regardless of the pose.

Get-go thing, don’t press the arms against your trunk. When you practise this, you’ll button all the skin towards the outside of the arm, making information technology look wider than information technology is.

Too, don’t put them towards the camera unless you have a specific reason to practice so – for case, showing off a tattoo. This is because yous don’t want arms grabbing the viewer’s attention.

Well-nigh importantly, avert dead artillery. Don’t only exit the arms hanging without any action or tension. Try bending the elbows a little – this will requite a natural menses to the body.

This will also create a space between the arm and the body to create a slimmer waist and trunk.

9. Crossed artillery

Male and female crossed arms pose

Credit: Italo Melo (left) / Kampus Production (right)

This is a classic pose for headshots or corporate portraits. It should be used with care, though, considering if the model looks stiff or is not smiling, information technology can wait stand up-offish.

Build a skilful rapport and assistance them relax before you take the shot. I wouldn’t use this pose equally the first one of the photoshoot.

Having said that, information technology’s one of the portrait photography poses y’all can utilise successfully with both men and women. It’s as well a good one to display some attitude when posing fashion models.

10. Crossed artillery around the waist

Girls with hands at waist in portrait photos

Credit: Alex Green (left) / Matheus Bertelli (correct)

This is a softer variation of the crossed artillery pose. Ordinarily, information technology works better on women.

As suggested in the higher up tip about posing artillery for portraits, be conscientious not to put also much pressure level on the arms or they will look thicker than they are.

This is a great wedding pose for a bride who’due south wearing a wedding dress with an enlarged bottom-half, since the bride may be unable to permit her arms hang past her sides.

11. One arm crossed

One arm crossed over examples of portrait pose

Credit: Nojan Namdar (left) / Joy Deb (right)

This is another photo pose variation that works for both men and women. One of the arms tin exist hanging naturally on the side (slightly bend to avoid the ‘dead arm’ consequence) or with the mitt at the waist or in a pocket.

Then, the other arm is crossed to hold the loose arm – above the elbow is a good indicate, simply you lot can make some adjustments according to your model’due south proportions and outfit.

12. Arms upwards

Poses with arms above head

Credit: Redrecords (left) / Maksim-Goncharenok (correct)

This is a archetype pose used past portrait photographers because it helps the trunk look slimmer. It besides helps frame the face to make it the focal bespeak while the artillery serve as leading lines to direct the viewer’southward gaze.

While the hands are up, they tin can also play with the hair, hold upward a scarf to menses with the air current, etc. – you can make it every bit playful and creative as you desire.

13. How to pose the hands


Posing the hands is ane of the trickiest photography poses. To assistance you out, yous’ll discover some specific poses that involve the hands throughout the article. For whatever pose, though, here are some general guidelines.

Let the hand and fingers curve naturally – don’t endeavour to bend them in ninety-degree angles or anything you wouldn’t ordinarily do.

The aforementioned goes for the separation between the fingers – don’t try to extend the hand; merely exit the natural space. Sometimes it’southward helpful to brand a fist and so allow go, which volition release the tension.

If you’re photographing a couple or family members where they’re holding easily, don’t interlace fingers. That pulls too much attending and makes the viewer stare at the hand because they see too many fingers!

In general, in any portrait photography poses, endeavor to give the hands something to do – whether to hold a prop, stroke the hair, etc.

See more hand poses in photography.

xiv. Manus on the mentum

Portrait photos of models with hands at chin

Credit: Andriyko Podilnyk (left) / George Ikwegbu (correct)

Putting the hand on the chin directs the viewer’southward center towards the face – which is the about important part of a portrait.

This pose is most commonly used on headshots – just as you can meet in the example above, it tin can work on wider shots depending on the posing and state of affairs.

Attempt to have the mitt and fingers relaxed for a more pleasing upshot.

The hand on the chin pose was fabricated famous in contempo years by the iconic photo of Steve Jobs by Albert Watson, known for his iconic celebrity portraits.

15. Agree the collar of a glaze

Guy and girl holding coat collars

Credit: Sindre Strøm (left) / Freestocks (right)

Another pop pose is to hold a piece of clothing – traditionally, it’due south the collar of the glaze, but it can work with a lid or a scarf.

This is particularly used by style photographers for catalogues or editorial shots every bit information technology draws attending to the dress and shows some details.

For the model, it’due south a comfy pose because information technology gives them something to do with their hands. It works well for male and female person subjects.

xvi. Place the easily on the hips

Bride with hands on hips in wedding gown

Credit: Pixabay

A good way to avert the ‘dead arm’ is to bend the arms slightly. This will also requite some space betwixt the body and the arms to make the trunk look slimmer.

For women, placing the hands on the hips looks very natural, and it helps to emphasize the visual effect. Information technology can be just i hand or both.

‘Hand on the hip’ is another one of the slap-up photography poses for boudoir besides since it’southward aesthetically pleasing and helps display some of the model’s confidence.

17. Put easily in pockets

Hands in pockets poses

Credit: Gabby K (left) / Marcelo Chagas (right)

This is a variation of the hands-on-the-hips pose. Information technology works well on men and children but is also dainty on women – especially if you’re going for a more casual look.

You can make some variations to the pose past using the dorsum or the front pockets, pockets from pants or the ones from a jacket, ane hand or both – it’southward ane of those portrait photography poses that’s very versatile.

eighteen. Looking over the shoulder

Pretty model looking over shoulder at camera

Credit: Barion McQueen

This is a smashing pose that can be fun, flirty, mysterious – information technology depends on the outfit, the environment and fifty-fifty the model’s facial expression.

You tin accept the subject turning their back to the camera, or they tin exist sideways, then enquire them to turn their head towards you.

This pose is appropriate to all sorts of subjects. It could be a child sitting downward at the dinner table that turns effectually on the chair to wait at you, or it could be a man walking away and casually looking back.

It’south too a great selfie pose since you can unremarkably concur your camera phone in ane paw and still make it look natural.

19. Tilt the head

Man and girl with heads tilted

Credit: Gabriella Clare Marino (left) / Victoria Volkova (correct)

Some portrait photography poses work on every subject, and this is 1 of them.

It’southward perfect for softening a pose or adding some movement to a head shot.

Nigh professional models already know their ‘ameliorate side’. For non-professional models, you’ll demand to find it, so try both sides and see which looks all-time.

twenty. Head tilt with hair on the side

Hand in hair portrait pose

Credit: David Bares (left) / Vitor Lima (right)

This is a variation of the caput tilt that’s nearly suitable for women with long hair. It’s oft used in editorial or fashion photography merely you tin can use it in portraits photograph sessions and boudoir photography with clients as well.

21. Action shots

Portrait photography poses with movement

Credit: Juliana Stein (left) / Kelli Mcclintock (right)

One of the biggest problems in the execution of a pose is to avert looking stiff. This tin can happen considering the model is nervous or just because they held the pose for too long.

A fun way to avoid stiff models and have dynamic portraits is to capture the model while they move around in forepart of the camera.

Of course, this won’t do for a formal or corporate shot, but it works for family and friends photo sessions, weddings, and even some types of fashion photography.

22. Interact with the environment

Girl and guys in urban environment

Credit: Anderson Miranda (left) / Cxpturing Souls (right)

With the exception of a studio portrait confronting a seamless background, almost any portrait photography setup will requite yous the take a chance to interact with objects from the location.

Whether this is a column, a doorway, a stairway, etc. – locate someplace where your field of study can lean or climb to add together a unique touch to your portraits.

23. Sitting Photography Poses

Male and female sitting poses

Credit: Austin Wade (left) / Godisable Jacob (right)

Portrait photography poses where the model is sitting are bang-up considering they can be as casual or as formal as you want them to exist.

Models can sit down on the flooring or a chair, they can have their legs crossed or extended – the possible combinations are endless.

You lot can likewise use these seated poses in all sorts of circumstances. If you’re doing an outside-urban shot, y’all can ask your model to sit on a ledge; if instead, you’re shooting an indoor formal portrait, you lot tin utilize a stool or a chair and have them sit down downwards straight or leaning forward.

24. Combine poses for a grouping

Group photo of women in various poses

Credit: Clarke Sanders

At present that you know how to pose your subjects individually, you can apply some of these poses together to pose a big group properly.

Make sure you cull portrait photography poses that expect adept together to create a harmonic composition between the group members.

To make the film more than dynamic, make sure y’all create different heights between your models or clients. This gives a natural flow.

For case, some of them tin can be continuing, some leaning and some straight. And then, others tin can exist sitting and others crouching.

For more than group photography tips, read this article.

25. Hug from backside

Couples pose with man sitting behind

Credit: Kelly Sikkema

If you’re talking most a couple of people instead of a group, yous want them to be interacting. It doesn’t matter if they are best friends, family unit members or a romantic couple.

Hugs are a smashing fashion to prove emotion, only they aren’t ever photogenic poses. Ane hug that’south perfect for pictures is the hug from the dorsum because you lot can see both faces clearly.

Keep in heed that yous can ever do this with the couple standing, sitting down or even lying on the side.

1 thing to look out for is the position of the human being’s hands (assuming he’due south hugging the girl from behind) – if both hands are placed on the girl’s stomach, it might look too much like a maternity photoshoot… and then be careful!

26. Piggyback

Piggyback photography poses

Credit: Hamid Tajik (left) / Madeline Bassinder (right)

A variation of the hug from backside is a piggyback pose. If i of the subjects is potent enough to hold the other one upwardly, yous should give information technology a try. This works well for romantic couples just also friends or siblings.

Piggybacking – and its pitfalls – always makes the models laugh, which is great for getting fun and relaxed photos.

They’re also great poses for best friend photoshoots, like in the example image higher up.

27. Frontal hug

Engagement portrait photography of couple hugging

Credit: Vitor Pinto

A frontal hug is always nice to practice, specially for romantic couples. It’s a nifty pose for motherhood shoots, appointment sessions and wedding ceremony photography.

Sometimes a forepart hug can look a bit awkward and stiff – a nice tip to help avoid this is to ask the couple to close their optics and inch forrard until their noses touch, then grab each other.

This can elicit laughter and some natural reactions, which tin can result in some nice, aboveboard portrait photography poses.

How to Perfect your Portrait Poses

I recently saw a post of a person who complained about their maternity photograph session – 1 picture, in detail, bothered her.

The lensman had the hereafter father in a 45-caste bending towards the camera with his arms crossed and her continuing next to him sideways, looking abroad with her hands effectually the belly. Information technology seemed every bit if he was angry about her pregnancy and they looked completely discrete.

Separately, they are both perfectly good portrait photography poses, merely they didn’t work together – and they certainly weren’t appropriate for the situation.

I used this example because I wanted to talk about 2 things. Firstly, the importance of posing.

Posing matters – a lot. Not only will it make the model look proficient or bad, but it will as well communicate different things to the viewer.

Secondly, the portrait photography poses you cull will depend a lot upon your subject: non all poses are appropriate for everyone all the time.

Some poses work better for women, others for men, other for children, others for groups. And then there are poses for boudoir, fashion models, motherhood, and fifty-fifty poses for selfies!

When you browse through the photography poses suggested in this article, take them every bit a guideline, non as a shot list. When y’all cull a pose, keep in heed who your bailiwick is and what type of photoshoot you’re doing.

Likewise, build a rapport with the model. This will help a lot when it comes to directing the poses.

Finally, recollect that fifty-fifty if something is perfect in theory, it might not work in do. If you see the pose is not working or is making your model look and experience awkward, just don’t practice it.

Having said this, I hope you enjoyed the classic portrait photography poses in this guide that you can utilize as a starting indicate in your next photoshoot.

How Should I Pose for a Portrait Photo?

Posing for portrait photos can be tricky whether you’re a model or not.

If you hire a portrait photographer for your senior photo shoot or a motherhood session, y’all even so want to wait good – fifty-fifty if you don’t want to build a career out of it!

On the other mitt, if you lot do want to go a model, you lot’ll have more fourth dimension to exercise and become a natural – simply you still take to start somewhere and build a good portfolio. Then, learning how to pose is central to your success.

Here are some tips for mastering your portrait photography poses:

  • Prepare in advance. You can utilise a mirror or your phone to exercise and learn what looks best on you.
  • Pay attending to your hair. Decide how y’all want your hair and conform it.
  • Play with the angles. Whether it’due south by tilting your head or bending your leg – introduce angles to add menstruation.
  • Apply your hands.
    The best manner to pose your hands is by doing something with them.
  • Pose the legs. Don’t forget about the lower half of your torso.
  • Lean towards the camera. To slim your body and avoid a double-mentum, lean forrard.
  • Be straight but non stiff. Don’t lock the joints to await more than natural.

Nearly adept portrait photographers should be able to guide you in how to wait great in a portrait photo, including some photography poses that work all-time for your body shape and what you’re trying to portray.

How can I be more photogenic?

A photogenic person is someone who looks good in pictures. Some people announced to be naturally more photogenic, just everybody can become more than photogenic.

Here are some tips to look better in portraits.

  • Practice. Models don’t wake up one twenty-four hour period knowing how to pose – it takes practise.
  • Acknowledge your strong points. We all have a feature that we similar best and an bending that looks best on photographic camera – understand your trunk type.
  • Apply the right wear. Merely because something looks great in existent life doesn’t automatically mean it photographs well. Acquire what looks good on y’all.
  • Smile naturally. A frozen grin can completely ruin a pic. Learn some techniques to make your grin look natural.
  • Look towards the top of the lens. If you look slightly upward, it even so looks similar yous’re making eye contact, but your optics will look bigger.
  • Don’t press your lips. When you’re not smiling, don’t close your mouth completely as that puts tension in the face muscles.
  • Go on the shoulders abroad from the ears. This will elongate your cervix and make you look more elegant in photos.
  • Button the chin out. This volition likewise testify a slender neck and torso and make yous look more graceful.
  • Have fun. When you’re enjoying what y’all’re doing, you’ll automatically communicate it with your trunk linguistic communication.

Think: actors and models do posing in front end of the mirror all the time, even if they don’t admit it on social media!

Y’all can too check out Model Mayhem to become some ideas on how to look amend in photos.

Terminal Words

Hopefully, these portrait photography poses will assistance you on your next photoshoot – regardless of whether yous’re a model or photographer.

Which poses are your favourites? Do you have any tips of your own? Let u.s.a. know in the comments.


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