Modeling & Posing Guide

One of the major insecurities many of my clients share is posing. Whether you have never stepped in front of a camera before, or you have entered the world of modeling, so many people have anxiety over how to pose for pictures. As a photographer, it is not just my job to take your picture, but to make sure you look good and feel comfortable while doing it! Here is a guide on how to pose for pictures, at both a beginner and pro level, from a photographers viewpoint. This guide is good for fellow photographers looking to work on their posing and directing, for any future clients wanting to know how I work, for aspiring models wanting to learn the ropes, and for seasoned models wanting to brush up their knowledge! 

And just so you know, I am NOT a model myself. I am just a photographer who would like to share her own knowledge on this topic after receiving so many compliments and questions on how I pose my clients <3


Beginners Guide



  • Find a proffesional
    • It may seem like a good idea to have a friend, family member, or beginner photographer to take your pictures. But if you have anxiety over how to pose, you may find yourself feeling MORE uncomfortable working with new a photographer. People just starting out in the photography world may not know yet how to pose you (trust me, posing anxiety is NOT just for clients. Most all photographers struggle with posing their clients in the beginning). They may fumble on how to direct you, resulting in you not knowing what to do (and feeling self conscious) and the pictures not turning out the best. If you have posing fears, look into working with a seasoned photographer. One who you admire their work, and has worked a lot in the field!
  • Find a look you like
    • Not all photographers are the same. Some make more traditional work, while others like to go an artsy route. Not only do photographers customize the look of their images through editing, but they also customize it by how they pose their clients! Make sure to really look at how a photographer poses their clients, and if you like how they pose them, then they may be a great fit for you! Do this by looking at a variety of the pictures they create. If you like most of the poses their clients are doing, then that is a good sign! If you only like a few of their models poses, and others are just bleh, then that may be a sign that the photographer has worked with seasoned models, and the photographer doesn't yet know how to pose non-models.
  • Stay comfortable, and tell your photographer if you are not
    • Once you have found your perfect photographer and are at your session, all you have to do is stay comfortable! If you are working with a professional it is our job to know what to do. So all you have to do is relax and have fun! If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable, tell your photographer! If you are not a pro model, you shouldn't be expected to be one. Tell your photographer if the poses feel weird. Or maybe they are having you do poses that just don't feel like "you". Don't be afraid to speak up! It is our job as photographers to know how to pose you to make you look good, AND feel good!
  • And possibly the most important, stay calm
    • Posing in front of a camera can be uncomfortable and anxiety ridden. If you show up to a session or photoshoot feeling this way, it will definitely be noticeable in your images. Try to show up relaxed and ready to go! That can be easier said then done. So do things like pampering yourself before a shoot to keep you calm. Practice in front of the mirror to help you feel more confident. Look on the web for inspiration, and to get you excited for the day! 


Pro Guide



  • Know what you are selling
    • If you are in the professional modeling world, that means you are being booked to try to sell something. Maybe its a piece of clothing, an accessory, an item, or even a brand! Know why you are being booked and what you are trying to sell, and focus on that! If you are hired by a clothing company, and they want you to model with a purse that they are trying to sell, model that purse! Have that purse visible and the focal point of every image! Or maybe you are just getting into the modeling world, and you aren't yet getting paid to model, but you are working with photographers to build your portfolio. Whenever this is the case, just imagine that you are selling their brand. Imagine that you are trying to sell the photographers work, and trying to get them more clients! True modeling isn't about the model, it is about what you are trying to sell.
  • Ask for the "vibe"
    • Don't be afraid to ask what "vibe" they would like you to go for. Maybe it's carefree, or high fashion, or fun and lighthearted, or serious and sexy, there are so many vibes a model can give off! Knowing what is expected of you, how you should look and model, is something you should figure out right away so you give the best looks!
    • The most important thing a model can learn, and the tell tail sign if a model is a beginner or pro, is if they continuously move throughout a shoot. Being a professional model means you should know exactly how to pose yourself, and you should not expect the photographer to pick every pose for you. A professional model goes from pose to pose in fluid movements. Here are the general points to go by with professional posing
      • Don't stop moving. Strike a pose, then move on to the next. Do this over and over and over and over an over again (you get the point). Do not wait for the photographer to tell you how to pose. Keep moving and keep those poses flowing! IF a photographer directs you, guides you, or asks you to hold a certain pose a little extra longer, listen to them, but don't expect them to guide you the entire time. Take the reigns and rock it!
      • Be fluid in your movements. What a lot of photographers don't tell you is, transitioning from one pose to another is sometimes better then the actual pose itself! If you stay fluid and constantly change your poses, you are getting a ton of great "in-between" shots as well!
      • Make small changes with your poses. Making only slight changes in your poses gives you a ton of variety, and gives you more poses to work with! So if you are standing and staring right at the camera put your body weight on one leg, then pop your shoulder, then move your shoulder forward, then look at the ground, then look back at the camera and put your hand on your neck, then move your get the point. Get into a pose and then make small changes to it to maximize each pose!
      • "Pose" your face as well! Depending on the vibe of the shoot, you will be doing facial expressions! If it's a fun lighthearted shoot you will be doing tons of smiling and laughing! If it's more sexy and sultry you will be doing some serious faces and closing your eyes. Don't forget to change up your face a lot during a shoot!
      • Add movement, and go for it! Don't be afraid to try poses that are a little different. If you are modeling a long flowy dress, feel free to twirl and jump around in it! Or maybe you are sporting athletic ware, do some running or squats or stretches! Don't be afraid to think outside of the box! 


And that is it! Those are my modeling and posing tips for you all! I hope you find it useful, and I hope you ROCK your next photoshoot!