Posing for photos can be intimidating and embarrassing, especially if you are not used to doing so on a regular basis. The struggle can be real, so you will want to take posing tips from professional photographers in order to understand how to pose for pictures. Figuring out how to pose for pictures – particularly when you are not a trained model with an expert photographer at your side – can be much harder than we would ever expected.
Most of us are not overly comfortable in front of a camera, and we need some assistance from our photographer in finding poses that are both natural and flattering. Whether you are the one behind or the one in front of the camera, it is helpful to know how to pose yourself for photos to get your subjects best sides captured without looking fake or unnatural. Finding poses for photos that work for making each person look natural and feel comfortable is one of the most important aspects of shooting people. The truth is, the way you pose for photos can make all the difference in creating images that feel more candid and less, well, posed.
Posing your face is sufficient for most photos, but sometimes, particularly for group shots, you are going to have to pose your body as well. Keep in mind, just because you are getting a picture taken does not mean that you have to look directly into the camera all the time. Looking straight at the camera will look more dramatic, while looking at the ground makes your subject seem deeper in thought.
A subjects gaze out to the distance brings a sense of spontaneity to an image, and it can mean the difference between an image looking natural, and one looking overly staged and fake. In contrast to the above poses, having your photographer stand over you and shooting from a downward angle is a good way to capture unique backgrounds, like all of the bright fallen leaves falling on the ground, or a colourful piece of chalk art.
For this pose, I found that your face looks best straight up/square with the camera, rather than angle-to-angle. This pose feels strange, and looks slightly strange when you are looking at it from the side, but is a nice hack to have both men and women do. All we did was take that pose and angle it at 45 degrees from the camera, and only have a womans head turned directly toward the camera (like below).
What makes this pose so sure-handed in that final shot is the positioning of her body and arms, as well as the fact that she is looking directly at the camera. For photos that have an attitude that says confidence, tell a woman to lean back a little bit, and to stare quite literally down the nose at the camera. When posing for photos, have people angle their heads slightly toward the camera, and the overall appearance will appear more involved and relaxed, while making a person appear more attractive. A direct on-camera pose may even come across as snarky, and it is not necessary to have an antagonistic attitude in order to look confident.
Like a lot of poses on this list, this one comes across as relaxing and comfortable, giving your photos a genuine, spontaneous feel. I am a big fan of this pose, as it simultaneously takes up your hands while also being a great perspective (or at least, that is what I think!). I see many poses for guys involving crossed arms, and at times, that arm placement may look defensive. Normally, we tend to keep our arms out flat on the sides while we are posing, but it makes you look awkward and uncomfortable, as well as making it seem like you have bigger arms than you do.
If you are not angle your body at your sides, then your neck has to make many turns, which can make your photos seem awkward. In the two photos above, notice how bending this elbow makes a big difference to how flat a pose looks on your subject. In the poses above, notice how moving his arms from his body between the first and second photos creates a break which highlights his curves.
Imagine if those two lines were straight, how stiff you would look in photos, and how you might get a fat arm as a result of having it against your body. Instead, to achieve a stronger jawline for photos, you have to exaggerate it, by stretching out your neck and bending your head forward a little, with the tip of your nose pointed towards the camera — kind of like a chestburster from Alien.
You can either ignore it, or, if you feel you want to do something about it, position the smaller eyes closest to the camera (see General Fact 1, listed above). When men are not leaning over or holding something (as you will see with some of the following poses), have them push their weight over one side to get a more relaxed look. This is another of the classic poses for men, as having something to lean onto helps them to be more relaxed from a body-language perspective.
I like this pose because it brings an airy move to your photos, looking lighthearted and quirky at the same time. I like doing this pose to add a casually chic or cool vibe to the images, it is also a good way to showcase the clothing.
When shooting from a head-on perspective, you want to concentrate more on the expression of your face rather than the actual pose. A quick glance at your mirror before facing the camera is always a good idea, because no amount of posing is going to be helpful if your hair is pointing everywhere at once. If you are working with a photographer, they must be at least aware of lighting and the dimensions of your lenses, so your job as a subject is to be somewhat aware of poses, so that your real self can come through in your photos. If you do not get the opportunity to learn posing, it means that some of your photos are going to look incredible, while others are going to fall flat.