By Ana Mireles on | No Comments
Many photographers think that posing a female model is all about making them look good. That’s actually not the difficult part.
The main challenge for photographers is making the model feel confident. It’s also about finding the right pose that helps you communicate what you want to say with your portrait.
Whenever you’re posing a woman (unless you are shooting a session specifically for your own specific purpose), you should consider what she expects for the photoshoot and why she's doing it.
Knowing the answer to these questions will help you to plan some poses ahead of time. Also, as you select the best poses, make sure to consider her age and body type.
Here are 15 of the most popular poses for women. They are an excellent starting point to get you and your model warmed up. From there, you can experiment with the most successful poses and add in some variations.
Hands in Front is a very elegant pose for women in all types of photo shoots. Simply have your model stand directly in front of the camera or at a 45-degree angle.
Then, with arms extended and relaxed in front of her, have her hold one wrist with the other hand.
You can customize the pose by giving her a prop to hold with her free hand.
Having your model looking over her shoulder at the camera is always a fun and dynamic pose. I consider it a must-have shot for most of my female photo sessions.
Ask your model to turn away from the camera. She can be standing still or walking away.
Then, have her turn her head towards you, peaking from over her shoulder. Make sure you have her try this pose from both sides so that you can choose the best one.
Posing the arms of a woman can be difficult. You want them to look natural and dynamic WITHOUT being distracting.
That’s why this pose is so great. You use the arms to direct the viewer toward the model’s face.
Start by crossing one arm across her abdomen. Then, bend the other arm so she can touch her cheek or her chin. She can rest her elbow on top of her crossed arm.
This pose should be relaxed, just casually resting each part in place without pressing into it.
Arms Crossed is a perfect pose for professional headshots or corporate portraits.
Ask your model to cross her arms. She can be facing forward towards the camera or at a 45-degree angle. If she rests her weight on one leg, her torso will counterbalance, creating a nice diagonal with her crossed arms.
Having your model sit on the floor (or ground), leaning forward, is an excellent choice for casual portraits. It works well for young women in urban settings, as well as natural locations - like sitting on a field of flowers, regardless of their age.
Simply ask her to sit on the ground and bend her legs. Then, have her lean forward to rest her elbows on her knees.
This pose is also very comfortable when sitting on a couch or bed for home photoshoots.
If you’re looking for a more formal and stylish pose for a sitting portrait, THIS IS IT!
Ask your model to sit down on a chair or couch. Then, ask her to cross her legs and tilt her knees to the side. The diagonal created by her legs will make the image more dynamic and directs the viewer’s eye toward her.
You can change the mood of the shot with the choice of wardrobe and the type of chair. It can be a luxurious look for a fashion shoot or a classic style for a businesswoman.
A woman standing with her hands by her side looks dull and also awkward for her in general. Instead, have her put her hands on her waist to give her something to do.
The triangles formed by her bent arms create a powerful and stable composition that will make her look much more confident and empowered.
The One Knee Up Pose is perfect whether you want your model facing the camera or sideways.
Ask her to lean slightly against a wall, desk, or another surface. Then, have her bend one of her legs, resting the foot against the wall.
If you’re shooting her from the side, you can ask her to raise her hand and bend her arm. She can be playing with her hair or holding a hat. This way, the bent joints from her arm and leg will create triangles and make the image more dynamic.
The wonderful thing about the Sitting on the Floor Sideways pose is that it creates a beautiful and dynamic composition thanks to the diagonal lines.
Ask your model to sit on the floor and extend her legs to the side. Good posture is essential when posing, so if she needs help staying upright, have her extend her arm on the opposite side to support herself. Then, have her place the arm on the side of the legs so that it rests on her knees, calf, or hips.
The Turn is more than a pose. It's a movement that creates beautiful portraits - especially if the woman has medium to long hair.
To get started, ask her to stand sideways and turn her head towards the camera when you tell her to. For this pose, you should photograph in burst mode to ensure you capture the perfect moment.
The goal of this pose is to have the model lift her arms. This will open her shoulders and improve her posture. The hands being close to her face will help draw the viewer’s attention to her.
Leaning on the wall always communicates a relaxed attitude and self-confidence. To make this pose more stylish for the photo shoot, ask your model to keep her weight on the outer leg.
This motion will free her inner leg, which she can bend or step behind the other foot. Finally, she can put her hand on her hip to add the perfect touch.
This sitting pose works well with all types of chairs, benches, or even a low wall.
Have her sit sideways with one leg bent on the chair, and the other leg extended toward the floor. If the chair has a back, she can rest her elbow there and have the hand up to support her chin.
This pose is perfect for a casual portrait or for models who don’t know what to do with their hands and feel awkward in front of a camera.
Have her stand sideways or at a 45-degree angle from the camera and have her put her hands in her pockets.
The jacket pockets should allow her arms to look flexed, creating more pronounced triangles and a more dynamic image.
For a more relaxed look, you can have her extend her arms and put her hands in her pants pockets.
For the Supported Stand pose, you need a prop that’s just the right height. It can be a low wall, a desk, or a stool. The goal is to have the woman sit on the edge ever so slightly and still look almost as if she were standing.
Since she has physical support, it gives the idea of being more comfortable and is also a great way to interact with an object you might want or need in the picture.
For example, when you’re doing a corporate portrait in your client’s place of work and you want the photo to include a desk.
As a professional photographer, it's up to you to help your model feel comfortable. You should be able to provide clear direction and guide the photo shoot to that end.
You can immediately take control of the shoot by arriving prepared with some pre-planned poses. This will help you to start on the right foot and build a good rapport with your model!
Do you have any questions or comments about Posing for Women? Which of the poses have you found most helpful? Leave us a comment below - we would love to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Ana Mireles is a Mexican photographer and researcher with a passion for writing and teaching. She’s collaborated in artistic and cultural projects in Mexico, Italy, and the Netherlands.