Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to Get You Started with Photographing Female Subjects

The poses in this article are selected as initial reference. I would advise to look at the poses together with your subject, especially if she’s inexperienced. During a photo shoot 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. OK, let’s start, one by one.

1. 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.

2. 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!

3. 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.

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

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

6. 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.

7. 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.

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

. or on a sandy beach. might lie on a bed. 10. in the grass. Gorgeous and easy pose for a model sitting on the ground. A really lovely pose.9. on the ground. Works well in different surface settings: The model. Shoot from a very low angle and focus on the eyes. for example.

11. A wonderful way to demonstrate the beauty of a model’s physique. Works very well as a silhouette when shooting against a bright background. Another simple and friendly pose for a model sitting on the ground. 12. Try different directions and angles. .

The model is turned slightly to the side.13. experiment with hand positioning and try different head turns. Another very simple and elegant pose. 14. Ask the model to twist her body. Lots of variations are possible. . A simple and casual looking pose. hands in back pockets.

A sensual pose. By holding the hands above the head body curves are emphasized. 16. It is a subtle way to emphasize upper body shapes. Works with fit body types.15. . Leaning slightly forward can be a very attractive gesture.

Endless variations are possible for posing in full height. but also to put her hands on. change hand positioning. 18. A relaxed pose with the model standing upright and supporting her back against a wall.17. . Remember that the model may use a wall not only to support her back. change head and eye directions etc. or resting a leg against it. Ask the model to slightly turn her body. This pose is just the starting point.

Repeat for a full set. hands should be relaxed. When you see a good variant. An exquisite pose for slim to athletic models. Many variations are possible. Posing guidelines are simple: The body should be arched in an S shape. . Note that full height settings are very demanding and work well only with slim to athletic body types. while the weight finds support on just one leg. tell the model to slowly move her hands and twist her body constantly. ask your model to hold still and take some pictures.19. 20. In order to find the best posture.

try different shooting angles and ask your subject to change hand.21. Hope you will find at least couple of poses to work with in different shooting scenarios! Keep in mind that each of the initial sample poses is meant to be only a starting point. An absolutely romantic and delicate pose. Note that the back doesn’t need to be completely bare. Any kind of cloth (even a curtain) can be used.) . head and leg positioning etc. Each pose has endless variations! Just be creative and adjust the pose as needed (for example. there’s something for you to start with. Sometimes as little as a bare shoulder could work pretty well. So.

Crossed arms works very well in full height shots as well.Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to Get You Started with Photographing Men So. In addition. otherwise that would look just awkward! 3. ask him to cross one leg in front of the other. There are four places to keep in mind (mixed in any combination . 2. A recurring question from your subject might be “Where shall I put my hands?” The solutions is actually quite simple. But make sure the body weight is not supported equal on both legs. Very simple pose for a man’s portrait: An upper body shot with crossed arms. stomach muscles kept in check. 1. let’s look at some sample poses for men. Two things to take care of: Shoulders should be pulled back a little.

which means no muscle pressure.utilizing both hands). On the hips. Loosely by the side. Some piece of clothing over the shoulder. except you are photographing a bodybuilder 4. Men indeed have a problem with placing their hands. . Both hands crossed on the chest. 5. #4. #3. In the pockets. #1. A casual pose for an uprightly standing man. And in addition – hands should always be relaxed. merely a thumb in the pocket. #2. Just a slight variation to the previous pose. you have a sure way to achieve natural and relaxed pose. and legs crossed work very well. by keeping them fully or partly in the side pockets.

Leaning against a wall is just another variant for upright posing. Shoot slightly from above. . The sideways way of leaning against the same wall. putting the ankle of one leg onto the knee of the other looks relaxed and natural. 8.6. Works very well for both casual and formal shots. 7. For a sitting pose.

9. Against common belief. 10. . it is absolutely fine to make shots of a man sitting partly on a desk. a laptop. Very simple pose for a formal portrait. books. For formal portraits such a pose might counteract rigidness. or even tools) can work as insignia that point at the subject’s occupation.g. Items held in the hand (e.

take your shot from the back side. 13.11. Very appropriate for formal portraits. The result will be formal but inviting at the same time. To reveal the subject’s profession place work related items on the desk that can function as insignia. . To show the work environment while removing the distance created by a foreground object like a desk. 12. Very simple pose for a portrait with a man sitting at a desk. A slight variation of the previous pose.

A man supporting himself on a desk with arms crossed. Very suitable when introducing creative people in their work environment. Again you could place work related items on the desk to point to the subject’s profession. 16. Sitting comfortably in a chair usually works for a corporate and formal portraits. . 15.14. Using a chair as a prop can make a portrait more engaging and interesting.

Easy and natural pose with a man sitting on the ground. Try different shooting directions and angles. 18.17. . Suitable for outdoor locations. An easy and relaxed looking pose for a sitting man. Another variant of a man’s pose while sitting on the ground. 19.

The man is sitting on the ground resting his back against the wall or some object. 21. Finally. Never be afraid to crop tightly around the model’s face. Informal pose. let your subject be the protagonist of your picture. .20.

Ask the couple to stand very close to each other to catch intimate close-up portraits. If they are initially a bit shy or feeling uncomfortable. just ask them to show you how they felt and looked when they met for the first time. Don’t be afraid to zoom in and crop real tight! . Easy starting pose standing face to face (but looking to the camera) and her holding an arm on his chest. providing you with natural and loving expressions in their portraits 1. Take both close-up as well as vertical shots. You will invoke them on an emotional level. 2.Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to Get You Started with Photographing Couples Generally a couple should be easy to engage in a photo shoot.

Fun and loving pose with her holding onto his back and shoulders. make them interact with each other by . Very easy and cordial pose with him holding her from behind. Just a variant with her holding him from behind. Remember that the couple doesn’t necessarily have to look in the camera. 4. They might even kiss for a more emotive shot. Pay attention to hand positioning: It should be simple and natural. For better results. The couple may look straight into the camera or at each other.3. 5.

A common pose shot from an unusual angle is always creative and will often reward you with surprisingly good results. otherwise you will create an impersonal. Remember that you have to be far enough to the couples side to be able to capture each person’s closest eye. 6. Works best outdoors with some open space in the background. flirtatious looks. 7. Creates a very romantic mood. laughing etc.talking. “empty” shot. . Shoot only slightly from a back. Find some elevation and shoot your subjects from above.

Another romantic pose. Easy to realize pose for a full height shot. . Creates a calm and affectionate mood. in front of a sunset. Works best outdoors with some open space in the background. for example.8. Works also very well as a silhouette against a bright background. 9.

Works very well in crowded places. A fun pose. half height ones and close-ups. this pose will work absolutely superb with them as well. 11. Very nice way to show the affection when meeting each other. . Try different framings. such as a famous meeting point in a city. trains or metro stations etc. Don’t presume this to be appropriate only with younger people. take full height shots.10. If an older couple feels fine with it.

A pose with a little bit of fun. 13. While he is still lifting her.12. The crucial part is her leg positioning. each leg should be bent in different angles. . take a close-up portrait shot as well. Take shots of the couple walking hand in hand approaching from a distance. Shoot in burst mode only! However. the second part of your job is to select the photos with the best leg movement and positioning afterwards. the majority of your shots will look awkward because of the leg movement. Therefore.

Never forget that there often are good opportunities simply shooting from the back. .14. Another variant with a walking couple. This time couple walks close together and holds onto each other. take several shots and choose those with the most elegant leg positioning. 15. Again.

Make them lift their upper bodies a bit by using their arms as supports. He might embrace her gently.16. 18. Another variant with a couple lying on the ground. A couple lying close together on the ground. Shoot from a very low angle. This time with a little interspace. 17. . A good example to show that two persons can very well be positioned asymmetrically.

. 20. Informal and fun way to pose for a couple lying on their backs. ask the couple to sit comfortably on their favorite sofa. A cordial pose.19.

You can’t and should not repeat the pose exactly. Allow me to repeat the previously stated – look at these sample poses as a starting point only. Sometimes shooting a couple may mean maternity photography. . Some poses from this couples series work also pretty well for such an occasion.21. That’s the reason why they are rough sketches instead of real photos. Simply adjust a posing accordingly to show the couple’s feelings about and interactions with the unborn new life. instead adjust the pose creatively according to your shooting environment and scenario.

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to Get You Started with Photographing Groups of People There are usually three kinds of group shots. photographing a group or family members. your primary objective here would be to get everyone in the group clearly visible. quite often the only possible composition in order to get everyone into the frame will be to compose in full height. In this order. make sure that all people in the group are visible. Imagine the whole group to be a single object. let’s look at some sample poses and posing ideas. When working with a large group of people you won’t be able to control each individual’s pose or expression. Second are more informal shots with a group of friends. 2. This is fine as long as you pay attention to the overall composition. 1. These kind of shots are usually formal and documentary so again. . And finally. Principally. First are just formal shots with a large number of people. When photographing large groups.

e. put him or her in front for even stronger composition.3.g. because instead of an ordinary and common group shot you will get more interesting and inviting perspective. 4. . If a group has a known leader. but might work very well for a small team shot. Maybe it’s not the best way to take a “friendly group”. It will definitely be worth the effort. Using a balcony or climbing on a car to get a higher viewpoint could work perfectly. There are occasions when standing separately for the members of a group will be more appropriate than “keeping heads together”. If possible. search for ways to shoot from an elevated angle. music band or co-workers in a project.

Ask everyone to stand very close together. Then make them lean their heads slightly closer to each other and towards the camera. ordinary and common way to pose for snapshots. it’s easy. . This is pretty much a standard way to photograph a group of friends.5. so – why not? 6. Yes. This is a fun composition which comes across as a quite friendly pose. but it really works.

Ask the group to form a circle while lying in the grass outdoors or on the ground indoors while you shoot from above. 8. Each of them is supposed to stand behind the previous person peeking towards the camera over the shoulder etc. The others should then join one by one. . Very fun and rewarding way to set up a small group of people. Supporting themselves a little on the person directly in front adds to the cordiality of the composition. Choose a “group leader” and put him or her in front.7.

Put a “group leader” in front and the others to appear behind each other. ask a group to make a jump after a short run. . For the best results. A slight variation of the previous one. 10. Take shots with different aperture settings and choose later if you prefer only the first one or all of the group members to be in focus.9. Very fun way for informal picture of group of friends.

11. Check that everybody is clearly visible and shoot from a close distance with a wide aperture and focus on the first person. people farther away will be blurred. let’s look at some family samples. Yes. but it can be done quite fine. It is not the most creative way for a family shot. but they will still agree that a result is a very interesting and unusual looking group shot. Very rewarding and interesting composition is to shoot group of people in a row. 12. Now. The most common way to photograph all the family members is sitting on a couch in the living room. The easiest way to improve these standard compositions is .

Don’t include that lovely couch and room’s furniture in the shot. Just remember – when subjects are sitting. in a local park or on a beach – all of these are excellent places to take some family shots. Another good idea for family shots is to simply get outside.simply to crop real tight. . don’t remain standing – get low and shoot from your subjects’ eye level. Sitting in the lawn. 13. Fill the frame with and only with all the family members.

Cozy pose with a family sitting comfortably on their favorite couch.14. Works absolutely fine with any number of kids. Make them lift their upper bodies a bit by using their arms as supports. A family lying close together on the ground. 16. A beautiful composition for a family shot. Might be done outdoors on the ground or indoors in a bed. Shoot from a low angle. . 15.

Just a slight variation when taking a picture from the couch’s back side.17. 18. For an unusual and interesting family picture. turn the traditional couch photo setting around. . Simply take your shots from the back side and see what a huge difference it can make.

19. . As you can imagine. Absolutely beautiful way to make shots of a group of family members. Just ask the kids to hang onto the adults’ backs. Very easy pose for a full height shot. works well with any number of persons. 20.

Take shots with the family walking hand in hand. Use these initial sample poses as a source for your own creativity! . And finally. be creative and come up with different variants on your own.21. Keep in mind to control a focus. Shoot in continuous mode and select the photos with the best leg movement and positioning. while subjects are approaching from a distance. Think of ways you can transform the corresponding pose for your particular shooting scenario and subjects.

Actually. simple clothing.That should be at least something to use as a starting point. Again. Simple backgrounds. There is no need to overdo anything. remember that there are no absolutes. simple poses and natural expressions. each sample pose might and should be adjusted depending on your shooting environment and scenario. . all you need for good people portraits is simplicity.