Photographing Women: A Beginners’ Guide To Poses

Photographing Women: A Beginners’ Guide To Poses

If you ever run out of ideas, get stuck in creativity or simply need some guidance when shooting female subjects, you may use following posing samples as a “posing cheat sheet”. Many pro photographers use such a technique when preparing for and during the photoshoot.

The poses in this article are selected as the initial reference. I would advise looking at the poses together with your subject, especially if she’s inexperienced. During a photoshoot don’t hesitate to discuss with the subject which pose is or isn’t working in any particular situation. It’s usually very productive and you both will feel more confident in what you are doing.

Very simple portrait pose to start with. Have the model look over her shoulder. Note how unusual and interesting a portrait might look, if shot simply from a different angle.

In portrait photography, hands are usually not visible or at least not dominant. However, you might get creative by asking the model to play around with her hands trying different positions around her head or face. Keep in mind, though: No flat palms, and the hands should only show their sides!

You might be familiar with composition rules like the rule of thirds. In a similar way, pleasing effects can be created by using diagonals. Also, remember that you don’t need to always hold your camera on a perfectly even level. Don’t be afraid to tilt it, you might achieve some interesting and unusual perspectives.

A really nice and lovely pose with a model sitting. The knees have to touch each other. Shoot slightly from above.

Another open and inviting pose with the model lying on the ground. Get down and take your shot nearly from the ground level.

Just a variation for a pose with the model lying on the ground. Both hands might as well be resting on the ground. Works very well outdoors, on the grass or in a wild flower meadow, for example.

A basic easy pose yet looks absolutely stunning. Get down and shoot nearly from a ground level. Then try to move gradually around the model while making shots. Also, ask your model to change head and hand positions.

Another easy yet gorgeous pose for all body types. Try different hand and leg positioning. And remember to focus on the model’s eyes!

A really lovely pose. Works well in different surface settings: The model, for example, might lie on a bed, on the ground, in the grass, or on a sandy beach. Shoot from a very low angle and focus on the eyes.

Gorgeous and easy pose for a model sitting on the ground.

Another simple and friendly pose for a model sitting on the ground. Try different directions and angles.

A wonderful way to demonstrate the beauty of a model’s physique. Works very well as a silhouette when shooting against a bright background.

A simple and casual looking pose. Lots of variations are possible. Ask the model to twist her body, experiment with hand positioning and try different head turns.

Another very simple and elegant pose. The model is turned slightly to the side, hands in back pockets.

Leaning slightly forward can be a very attractive gesture. It is a subtle way to emphasize upper body shapes.

A sensual pose. By holding the hands above the head body curves are emphasized.

Endless variations are possible for posing in full height. This pose is just the starting point. Ask the model to slightly turn her body, change hand positioning, change head, and eye directions, etc.

A relaxed pose with the model standing upright and supporting her back against a wall. Remember that the model may use a wall not only to support her back, but also to put her hands on, or resting a leg against it.

Note that full height settings are very demanding and work well only with slim to athletic body types. Posing guidelines are simple: The body should be arched in an S shape, hands should be relaxed, while the weight finds support on just one leg.

An exquisite pose for athletic models. Many variations are possible. In order to find the best posture, tell the model to slowly move her hands and twist her body constantly. When you see a good variant, ask your model to hold still and take some pictures. Repeat for a full set.

An absolutely romantic and delicate pose. Any kind of cloth (even a curtain) can be used. Note that the back doesn’t need to be completely bare. Sometimes as little as a bare shoulder could work pretty well.

Good starting pose. And a very nice way to make the model slimmer. The model should push her chin forward and tilt it slightly down while at the same time the shoulder up, but not too much! There should definitely be a little gap between the chin and shoulder.

Most often the best poses are the simplest ones. For female models supporting the body on just one leg and curving the body in an S shape is a simple starting rule.

A very beautiful way to utilize a wall or some object for a portrait pose. The model should gently touch a vertical surface with her hands.

If your model has long falling hair, try showing them in motion. Ask her to quickly spin her head to the desired position allowing the hair to continue the movement. You might want to experiment with different shutter speeds to either capture or avoid a motion blur. These are usually very positive and rewarding shots.

Suitable for sitting on a couch or in bed. In order to add some thematic depth, the model could hold a coffee cup in her hands, maybe implying that she is warming her fingers.

A nice and cozy pose, very suitable for indoors with the model sitting on a couch.

Another variation for a model sitting on a couch.

Very nice looking casual pose for a model sitting on the ground. Try different shooting angles, for example, move gradually around the model or change the shooting point’s height.

Sitting positions are not limited to casual shots. Don’t be afraid to try some sitting poses also for more formal shots.

According to some popular and commonly exploited body language rules, crossing arms and legs means putting up some barriers, etc. Even if such beliefs are widespread, it doesn’t mean they are correct. In pictures crossed arms on the chest don’t send any subconscious signs or warnings at all! Crossing arms and legs in all different ways are absolutely fine for people photography.

Not always your model needs to “place” hands somewhere specifically. It is absolutely fine to leave them loosely by the sides. The same goes for legs, no exaggerations – one leg supports the weight, that’s the only rule you need.

Just another sample for a full-height shot you can use as a starting point. Thumbs or hands partly in side pockets also work fine.

A very nice pose for summertime. Let her lose her shoes and ask her to walk slowly. Walk and take your shots slightly from behind.

Hands behind the back, unusual but very open gesture. She might as well stand and support herself against a wall.

Very easy and beautiful pose for a formal portrait. The model should turn a little bit sideways, head turned slightly down and towards the camera.

Placing both hands on the waist is also a very photogenic pose. Works well both for half and full height shots.

If available, some higher furniture or interior object might be helpful to place an arm on and slightly support the body. This will create a formal but at the same time an open and positive posture.

Partly sitting on some object is another very nice pose. Works well indoors as well outdoors in a city.

An example of a feminine and fashionable pose for a full-height picture.

Demanding poses, because indicating the model’s movement is not easy. However, if done right, very rewarding for trendy fashion or very elegant full height shots.

Lovely looking pose for the appropriate settings – the model is supporting herself against some fence or bridge railing or some similar object. Shooting from a side with a large aperture provides good opportunities for a shallow depth of field with a nicely blurred background.

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