How To Pose For Pictures So You Look Great

Tis the season of family parties and get-togethers and that means pictures, and lots of them. How is it you can look amazing in some photos while others are totally cringe-worthy? We’ve all experienced this, and it’s not exactly a self-esteem booster. Don’t panic, there’s good news. Posing can make a big difference in how you look in photos. Keep reading to learn how to pose for pictures. It’s more than simply saying “Cheese!”

How To Pose For Pictures So You Look Great - Family Picture

How To Pose For Pictures

Professional portraits are professional-looking because photographers have mastered the art of posing. You can learn the tricks of the trade too. The goal is to create natural-looking photos that don’t appear staged or forced. It’s possible to pose strategically without looking unnatural. We all want photos that appear effortless!

Follow these posing techniques to get the best possible photos everyone will love. It takes a little practice and know-how, but following these basic rules, will take your photographs to the next level.

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Chin Down

Oh, the dreaded double chin. Whether you have one or not, keeping your chin down will always produce the most flattering photos. Now, I don’t mean down, as in chin to chest, but just slightly angled downward.

It’s a subtle move, but makes a big difference. This is most likely why most women prefer to be photographed from an elevated angle. Shooting down on a subject, can make an otherwise average photo, great!

See how the woman’s chin, in the photo below, is slightly tilted downwards? You likely wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t pointed it out. Visualize this same picture with her chin perpendicular to her chest, and a big smile? A different feel, right? Not only would the photo not be as flattering, but the mood would be different as well.

girl in maroon sweater with milkshake

Create Space

Angles in photos add depth and dimension, and will make your pictures more interesting and appealing. You know that proverbial hand-on-the-hip pose that is way overdone? Recreate this pose, by placing your hand on your hip, rather than on your waist. This pose still creates space, but without looking overly posed.  Little tweaks in body positioning have the power to alter the look and feel of a photo.

You can also create space and interesting angles by crossing your legs or ankles. Or slightly angle your head to one side. One reason being photographed straight on to the camera is boring and unflattering, is the lack of angles and spaces. Instead of hitting the camera straight on, pivot at a 45-degree angle. It will be much more pleasing to the eye. See how the movement and angles in the photograph below adds appeal?

Woman headshot with arms crossed

Here’s another picture where the use of angles evokes a certain mood, and adds dimension. Envision the same photo, but with the girl standing straight, and looking directly at the camera with a big smile. This is the power of posing.

girl against green building

See the angles her left elbow makes? And the curve in her lower back?

Check out this book for some incredible posing tips: “Picture Perfect Posing: Practicing The Art Of Posing For Photographers and Models.”

 Posture Is Important

When being photographed, be aware of your posture. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, particularly if you haven’t given a second’s thought to how you stand or sit. Envision your spine as a rod, keeping you straight and tall. Visualize this rod lengthening your spine, holding you perfectly erect.

Keep your shoulders back, your chin slightly down, and your abs tucked in. This pose will paint you in the best light possible, and will visually shave five pounds off your frame. These are all subtle moves, but don’t underestimate their effect. We all want to look leaner and taller, and paying attention to your posture can automatically do this. You will appear thinner by merely titling and rotating your waist and hips.

Confidence is key to a winning photo, so even though you may not feel confident in the moment, try to exude confidence for the picture. Sometimes you just have to fake it. Having picture-perfect posture will make it a lot easier to feel confident.

man in suit being photographed

Capture Emotion And Evoke Connection

Photos are endearing. Not only do they provoke memories of times past, they also evoke emotion and capture connection. Emotions and relationships are the stuff of life. If you can portray love and closeness in your photos, in my opinion, you have succeeded. Taking pictures is more than just documenting the moment, it’s about capturing what really matters.

The following photo depicts love and connection, and does it without showing their faces. It’s the mood that counts. Certain poses, like this, evoke intimacy and closeness. The position of their heads is key, making it apparent they love each other.

A fun way to capture both the moment and the emotion, is to have the people being photographed, laugh right before the shutter is clicked. This puts everyone at ease, and produces genuine-looking smiles.

For tried and true posing methods, this book is a must: “Doug Box’s Guide To Posing For Portrait Photographers.”

couple hugging with blanket

Just Keep Snapping

Take a lot of pictures. It’s so easy with digital cameras nowadays, and snapping 20 extra photos can be done at warp speed. The law of averages says the more pictures you take, the higher the likelihood of getting a handful you adore. Experiment with a variety of camera angles and poses.

You can even play around with your camera settings to change exposure and depth of field. Now go get creative, and produce some stunning shots everyone will want to share. Although, many of your photos may be perfectly posed and exposed, it’s the ones that capture the mood of the moment that will win your heart!

[Read More: How To Take The Perfect Selfie [5 Tips]

group of girls being photographed

Key Points

Posing is a key element in capturing flattering photos. Keep your chin down, create angles with your body, evoke connection, and snap a ton of pictures. Follow these tips to get fantastic photos you’ll love for decades to come.

What are your tricks for posing? Let me know in the comments:)



13 thoughts on “How To Pose For Pictures So You Look Great”

  1. Wow this is totally a different type of article. This is actually the first time that I have seen an article about posing. This Christmas me and my friends are actually planning for a photo shoot and this article is really helpful for it. It has so many aspects that I had no idea about posing. Thank you so much for these tips. 

  2. This is a great article! I own a couple of blogs, and am very self-conscious about how many self-portraits I’ve had to take lately. I also photograph my wearable art being worn by non-professional models. (Someday I can afford to pay my models in money instead of product.) These are some great tips on getting the most flattering shots for my blogs. Bookmarked, and I’ll pass it on to friends. Thanks!

  3. Hey Holl, These simple techniques you’ve described here are really interesting and do work. I tried a couple prior to my writing and with your simple suggestions do really make a difference. Those same poses we’re used to doing get a little boring especially the selfies. Im going to pass these ides on down the beach with family this christmas. 

    Thanks heaps


  4. This is a fantastic and very useful article! Such simple things can make a big difference and these are going to be heart-warming memories to look back on.  I like all the helpful tips and tricks you added. 

     Are you a professional photographer? I once went to classes for posture and modeling, helps so much even in the real world.

    • Hi Alisha,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Little things make a big difference. That is probably a metaphor for life. 

      Yes, I have been a wedding and family portrait photographer for years. I bet your class on posture and modeling was fantastic!

  5. The internet is a wonderful place.  Where else could you be turned into an amatuer photographer in 10 minutes.  I guess the phones and cameras these days are so much better than they used to be.

    This article gave my wife a lot of great ideas with all the pictures she takes.

    Thank you for the great information.


  6. Thank you for this great article! I find it very very informative and helpful, especially when I find that I always look rather awkward and unnatural in pictures. I’m rather self-conscious about it and try to avoid having photos taken of me as much as possible. I’ll definitely give your methods a try and see if they work out for me. Thank you!

    • Thanks for reading Joe. I’m glad you found my tips helpful. You’re not alone in feeling self-conscious in pictures. Many people feel the same way!

  7. Excellent tips for posing for photos.  I want my photos to look the best especially if I want to share them with friends.  I do not want to share photos of me that do not look good.  Knowing you are going to pose for a picture and keeping these things in mind will definitely help create better photos.  I am sure that the more we do it the better we will get at it.  I can’t wait to go take some photos.  


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