12 People Posing Tips Every Photographer Should Know

Whether you are a professional photographer or a beginner, it might be a daunting task to select the most suitable model poses, which is why we decided to round up some people posing tips that you may use during any photoshoot.

If your subject doesn’t have much experience, they are likely to expect you to guide them. Your task is to help them relax in front of the camera and show them the way to behave naturally.

1. Leave Space Near the Waist

people posing waist

Most people prefer standing with their arms by their sides as this pose feels natural. However, it produces an unwanted effect by removing the free space between the arm and the waist. As the result, the waist looks less slim than it should be.

To prevent this, ask your model to pull their arm a bit to the side. This way, the body will look less bulky. Keep this tip in mind especially when selecting suitable plus size boudoir photography poses.

2. Ask to Lift the Arms

people posing lift arms

When people pose, they often firmly press their arms to the torso. However, it makes them look larger.

To fix this problem, ask your model to lift the arm an inch or two. You can also use other useful hand posing tips to help your models understand what they should do with their arms.

3. Photograph the Shoulders at an Angle

people posing angle shoulders

The shoulders are typically wider than the rest of the body, which is why it’s important to make them look smaller. The only time when you should shoot the shoulders straight on is when you use ideal fitness photography poses and work with professional athletes.

In all other cases, ask your subject to turn. It will enable you to capture natural poses with little to no effort.

4. Bend the Limbs

people posing limbs

All experienced portrait photographers know well that if a person stands straight, they will look stiff. In turn, it will make it impossible to take good photos. Whether your model is sitting or standing, ask them to bend their limbs.

Bent arms and legs will make your subject look more natural and relaxed. You may also ask your clients to tilt their heads. This tip is especially important for those who take full-body photos.

Ask your model to lean slightly towards you. It will enable the subject to assume relaxed poses.

5. Place Weight on One Foot and Point the Toes

people posing weight on foot

If you don’t want to see a blocky stance when seeing someone posing, ask your models to place their weight on one foot. This widely-used pose does wonders when you need to make the body of your model look s-shaped.

Such Instagram poses are popular for a reason. You can also ask your models to point their toes.

Alternatively, some photographers ask their models to stand on their tiptoes when slightly tilting their hips. It’s one of the most common bikini poses as it enables you to capture an hourglass-shaped body and make legs look longer by focusing on the calf muscles and emphasizing the hips.

6. Always Watch Their Posture

people posing posture

Ask to keep shoulders down while keeping tummies tucked. It will help relax and find some confidence. Besides, such a posture will look good in photos.

Some people prefer to sit down when posing. You can take a look at popular sitting poses to select the most suitable ones for your photoshoot. Remember that it is also important to pay attention to posture when sitting.

7. Make Sure the Chin is Pushed Forward

people posing chin

You might be surprised to hear it but even slim models might look as if they had a double chin. To prevent this issue, make sure to use a tip that is often utilized by those who work with different headshot poses.

Ask your model to push their chin a bit forward. While this pose might make them slightly uncomfortable, it will allow you to make their neck look longer and get rid of a double chin.

As many people have heard about such tips for posing for photos, they might lift their chin too much, which will make them look full of pride and self-importance. In case you notice your models behaving this way, ask them to lower their chin a bit.

8. Don't Show the Whites of the Eyes Too Much

people posing eyes

When taking portraits, make sure to capture both the iris and the whites to ensure that the eyes look natural. It’s important to keep in mind this tip when using a variety of selfie poses.

In some cases, you might need to ask your model to look away from the camera to capture a dreamy atmosphere. However, in this case, it’s better to tell them to look at a specific object. It will be easier for you to capture the eyes properly.

9. Find Something to Lean On

people posing leaning

People often feel uncomfortable when they don’t know what to do with their hands or when they are standing in the middle of an empty space. They will feel more comfortable if there is something they can lean on, be it a wall or a door frame.

It will help them assume a more natural pose and feel more relaxed.

However, ask your models not to lean too much as it might make them look tense. You can use such posing tips when experimenting with different female poses and male poses as well.

10. Use a Triangle Composition Technique for Multiple People

people posing triangle composition

If you take a quick look at any photography composition tips, you will quickly find a lot of useful information about the importance of triangles for creating a well-balanced composition. It is one of the most crucial composition rules and picture posing tips for those who take group photos as the rule of thirds can’t be applied in these situations.

Imagine asking a family or a group of friends to stand close to each other in a corner of the frame. It will look absurd to leave too much empty space unoccupied.

This is why you need to use triangles when experimenting with different family portrait poses. When asking people to pose, ask them to form a triangle with the bottom part looking wider than the top one. It will allow you to create an attention-grabbing composition and emphasize that this group shares a strong bond.

11. Encourage Your Client to Move

people posing movement

It’s rarely a good idea for a model to stand still during a photoshoot as we aren’t in the XIX century anymore. This pose looks stiff and unnatural in photos.

Feel free to crack some jokes. If your clients enjoy dancing, ask them whether they are ready to demonstrate some dance moves. They will look more natural and smile more.

Even if you notice some issues with flowing hair or clothes, you may fix them when editing your images. However, such signs of movement always make pictures look natural. This is why photographers who specialize in lifestyle photography often capture subjects in motion.

12. Give Lots of Positive Feedback

people posing feedback

Provide instant feedback. It will help them relax and assume more flattering poses. Make sure to praise them when they do something that makes them look good in the frame.

In case you don’t like some poses or facial expressions, offer them to assume some alternative portrait photography poses instead.

By communicating your wishes clearly and praising your models when they do well, you can establish more truthful relationships with them and ensure their cooperation.

Pro Tip:

You can spend 10-15 minutes before the session to get to know them better and learn about their wishes. I joke a lot and ask for their input trying to make my clients relax and start to feel less anxious. It demonstrates that I am open to their suggestions and won’t force them to do anything they are uncomfortable with.

Bonus Tools

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