I know we’ve talked about how to choose what to wear for portraits but I don’t think we’ve ever talked about how to pose for portrait photography. Whether you are getting your portraits done by me or by someone else the poses you do can make a huge difference in how your photos turn out. Most photographers (not all) will help you with posing when you are on site but maybe you have a friend or family member take a photo of you where you also want to look nice. Below, I’ve got a few tips for you and I hope they will help with your next set of portraits.

Portrait photography is an art just like wildlife photography or painting or SEO. The more you know about your art, the better you are at it. The more of a professional you go to, probably the better the portraits. I know when I was first asked to do portrait photography I didn’t do enough to help with posing and I wasn’t looking enough for the things poking out of heads. I wasn’t paying enough attention to the focus on the eyes or feelings that were evoked from the end image. All of this is stuff you need to watch out for when taking the photos, not just editing the photos. Working with your photographer ahead of time is important to capturing your best self.

For women, I wouldn’t recommend standing straight on to the camera or to stand straight on the side either. I would usually say to stand at an angle and to show off your curves. Everyone wants an hour-glass figure and creating an S curve with your body can help achieve this. I feel like this second example shows off my curves and better accentuates my waist. For men, standing straight on is not much of an issue because you normally want to appear strong.

Side no-no portrait photography

Side portrait with curves

Keep your limbs with space in between to make sure your figure is shown instead of added to. No woman I know wants to add to their waist. Or probably men either! This first image is not terrible but the second one gives me way more curves and really defines my waist by putting my hand on it. (You can see that in the above example too. My arm in the first shot doesn’t give me a defined waist but adds to it.) Guys, obviously, you’ll want to show less hip but you still should show off your waist.

In this example just by moving my head up and forward I have given myself a longer neck and more defined chin. But where are my hands and arm? Hands in portrait photography show trust. If you can’t see my hands it’s an indicator to our brains that I might not be trustworthy. Just a bonus tip for you!

By moving your legs you can also give yourself more of that hour glass shape. Look how much skinnier my leg looks and how much more of a butt I get in this. Both are bonuses for me and my slender figure.

Remember that whatever is closest to the camera will appear bigger so be mindful if you want that to be your chest, hips, arms or legs. Make sure that your arms and legs are mostly visible or it will look like they are missing. It’s not great to be missing limbs or having things come out of your head.

Guys, you might want to just stand at an angle. Usually they say to suck in your stomach and puff our your chest making sure to show your arm muscles too.

Leg forward pose

Leg turned in pose

If you ever want to do a superwoman portrait session let me know. I’ve been working on them with self portraits and much more.

Posing for portraits by Roux Roamer