Great Posing Tips for Portraits

portrait posing guide

In the previous article on portrait photo we outlined six most important rules in making great portraits and now we'd like to talk more about each of them. Probably the most crucial thing to looking good on the photo is how you stand and move, or to be more precise, how your photographer will stand and move you.

Read tips below and learn about posing your clients, as well as about preparing to shooting and engaging people, to make quality, more impressive, and more atmospheric portraits.

Before shooting

tips on posing in portraits

You should always plan the way your photos must look before heading to another themed event or simply outside. Remember that a love-story photo would look completely different from a family or at-the-party photo.

We advise you browse the web for inspiration—typical and new looks, types of people, clothing styles, and so on—and think through the portraits you are going to make before the shooting.

During shooting

Be inspired and inspire

how to pose people for portraits

The first thing you will need to understand is that if the photo is not good, it's your fault and not of your client.

That's why you always must start working in a good mood and inspire people. Smile, talk with them, ask them questions, make jokes, and tell them stories while you are working and you will see confidence building up with every second and your client candidly smiling into the camera.

Natural expression

best poses for portraits

The more you speak with your model, the more candid their expression will become and the more mannerisms you will notice. Use it, don't be afraid of telling your clients to stay in a certain position or repeat something, and see your shots getting better and better after every snap.


Angle your face

posing in portrait photography

Try turning your face just a bit away from the camera. This way beautiful shadows will appear on your cheekbones and nose.

Chin down

natural poses in portraits

The most artificial thing to do when talking with people is turning your nose up high. Make sure that your client always keeps the natural chin-down pose to make your photos look natural.

Shoot from above

all about posing in portraits

Shooting from below creates an unfavorable 'up-the-nose look'—letting your peep into their nose and mouth—and makes the person's eyes look smaller, which is the last thing you want in a good portrait shot.

Stand sideways

posing secrets in portrait photography

Standing sideways is a really good idea for portraits as it will make you look thinner and taller on a photo and your body will look well-proportioned.


woman posing in portrait photography

Ensure that your model is putting their weight on their backfoot. This way the person you are shooting will look slimmer and taller as well as more natural.

Near the wall

men posing in portrait photography

This one is a no-brainer and always works well. Suggest your model leaning on a wall and you are going to see that they will stand naturally themselves like they're used to do. More to that, wall positioning lets you achieve nice-looking bokeh background.

Group shots

group posing for portraits

Remember that when you are making group portraits you must never stand people from the shortest to the tallest as it will visually distort the picture. Stand people in a V-shape or from the tallest to the lowest.


shoulders in portrait photography

Model's shoulders—especially if your model is a woman—must never be captured all in all their width as it will make the body look too big. Try to stand the person diagonally and make sure that their shoulders are relaxed.

Hands and arms

hands and arms in portrait photography

Your model's hands and arms must never be tense. The best look may be achieved by placing your hands into or near your pockets, on your hip, or near your head but not showing them off as your face must be the most important part in the picture.

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