10 Best Tips for Posing – A Beginner’s Guide to a Great Photoshoot

Have you ever wondered what it takes to pose like a pro? How do seemingly normal people pose like supermodels in everyday shots? Are you a blogger looking to make the most of your current photoshoots? Maybe you’d like to get into modeling or acting and need to learn the basic skills. Or maybe you just want to know how to look good in every shot, regardless of the occasion. Look no further – these Top 10 Tips for Posing will teach you the best practices for looking your best in every photo.

1. Start with the Basics

The most basic tip for posing comes from the confidence that shines within. If you don’t like the way you look, if the sun is in your eyes, if you are uncomfortable and aren’t accustomed to shooting in harsh conditions – that will all shine through on your face. My first photoshoot outside in the cold left my expression harsh, unhappy, and you guessed it – cold. It wasn’t until I had shot in the cold a few times that I knew how to trick myself into having a warmer expression. Always make sure that you feel confident, comfortable, stylish and on-point (hair, makeup, surroundings) when you go to shoot or if you are in a situation that you know you’ll have your picture taken (weddings, special occasions, etc.) 

2. Angles are your Best Friend

The camera is a machine striving to create a photo using different elements. Posing using angles appeals to the camera and can make you look slimmer, taller, and more similar to how you look in real life. Create angles with your body to make the most of the photo. A simple angle example is making triangles with your arms. Simply put your hand on your hip (being careful not to round your fingers) and voila! Instant arm angle – used to make your arms look slimmer and more proportional to your figure. This website showcases some great tips for mastering a great pose as well. 

 

This photo is a great example of a good angle in the arm – however, see tip #9 as to why the hand behind my ear looks like a lobster-claw! 

3. Make Note of the Camera’s Position

The angle in which the camera is pointing can also alter the look of your final photograph. Typically, shots taken lower than the subject in the frame make the subject look leaner, taller, and like they (you) have mile-high legs! Shots taken from above the subject tend to make the person in the shot look shorter. Aim to have the photographer take the photo from eye-level to capture your true look. 

If you look at my eyes in this shot, you can tell the photographer was lower than eye-level. 

4. Figure Out Your Good Side

Yes. There IS a such thing as a good side! A good rule of thumb to figuring out your good side is to take a look at the nose. Your nose will slightly tilt/point towards your smaller eye (unless you actually are a model and you have great proportions) and the eye that is smaller is the eye which you should tilt towards the camera. By doing so, your smaller eye will look proportional to the other eye and your nose will not look crooked. If you have a very straight nose (and by design, very proportional eyes) try running your two index fingers along the sides of your nose and you will be able to feel a slight curve tilting towards your good side! I posted a video of this today on my insta-stories here is the recap:

 

5. Think Favorite Thoughts

I was in the middle of a shoot where I was modeling a pair of heels and had to sit in such an uncomfortable position to get the right angle for the shot and the photographer at the time told me to think of something that made me really happy. I thought of my boyfriend and us being at the beach (corny, I know) but that did the trick! My face had such a relaxed and peaceful expression that shone through and the difference in the shots we took were like day and night! Next time you have to pose, think of an ideal moment or a peaceful, enjoyable thought instead of focusing on whatever is going on at the moment. The joy will shine through and give you your best look! 

6. Wear Solid Colors – No Stripes – and Avoid White

If you know you are going to have pictures taken, try to plan your outfit ahead of time. Solid colors that compliment your complexion are your best bet. Keep clothing comfortable – not too tight or too loose! – and avoid wearing stripes or white*. Horizontal stripes have a widening effect (both in real-life and on camera) and can make you appear larger than normal. The color white can pose a problem by being over-exposed on camera, especially outside in bright light. There are exceptions, however. Brides – a white wedding dress can be off-set by a darker colored background (talk to your wedding photographer or hire Catherine Threlkeld if you are in the Boston area) to give you more of a shape and having the dress well-fitted helps as well. Stripes can also be worn vertically giving you a lengthier look or you can off-set horizontal stripes by wearing a solid-colored jacket, cardigan or sweater over your shirt (dress, romper, etc.) 

7. Bronzer is Game-Changing

Bronzer might just be your best friend. If you are looking to create more definition in your face, apply bronzer to the areas you would like to appear more slimming and / or withdrawn. Over-doing it in both bronzer / highlighter is NEVER a good thing, so make sure to watch the video below on contouring to see just how its done! 

8. Use Your Surroundings

Make the most of your surroundings when posing to help create angles and add a more interesting element to a photo. Sitting shots can help create more angles in your legs whereas leaning shots or touching a prop can help create angles in your upper half. Posing in a new area or vacation hotspot can also add more a more conversational element to your photo – especially if the end result is to post it on social media or use it in a blog! 

9. Avoid Making Lobster-Hands

The dreaded lobster-hands get the best of us from time to time! Lobster-hands is my personal phrase for posing with rounded fingers. Typically, you fall prey to lobster hands when posing with your hand on your hip. Anytime you make a rounded movement (curling your fingers to grab your hip, pulling hair behind your ear, etc.) you run the risk of having lobster-hands in a photograph. Avoid this by making a mental note that you are not “grabbing” anything in a photo, rather, you are simply resting your hands against whatever it is – such as your hip. 

Although I love this photo for the facial expression and top portion, I too, fall prey to lobster-hands! 

10. Elongate as Much as Possible!

Branching off of number nine, tip number ten is to elongate as much as you possibly can. Sitting down? stretch your legs out in front of you. Standing up? Keep your head high! Lengthen your body to create a leaner look and last but not least, don’t forget to SMILE! 🙂 

 

In this pose, all of my limbs are out and away from my body – leaving the photo more open, relaxed and giving it a more editorial feel. 

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