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6 Quick Tips for Posing for Pictures

Recently someone on Facebook asked me for tips about how to pose for pictures. Though I’m no Gisele Bundchen, I have modeled, can boast a billboard under my belt, and as an image consultant / wardrobe stylist, I know a thing or two about helping people feel comfortable in front of the camera. So if you’re looking for suggestions for an upcoming photo shoot, here’s 6 quick tips for posing for pictures.

  1. Keep moving. If you’re doing a photo shoot, every time you hear the shutter lens, change your pose slightly. A few suggestions to change your pose is to lower your chin, pop your shoulder up, tilt your head, put your hand on your hip, change the juxtaposition of your feet, vary your facial expression, just keep moving! You’ll have far more options to choose from when you see your photos. This photo series from Audrey Hepburn is a great example. Sometimes all it takes is a slight movement to make the perfect picture.
  2. Practice posing. A few years ago I was on the set with a new model who was having a hard time working the camera, so the art director had her grab a magazine for inspiration and start practicing posing in front of the mirror! I would extend the same advice to you. Grab a magazine, look for poses you’d like to try, then get in front of a mirror and see and whether the pose works for you. (I have a whole Pinboard on Pinterest called “Girl Can Pose”which is filled with different pose ideas. Follow away!) These images from fashion photographer Trever Hoehne are lovely, natural poses to try.
  3. Try new things. When editing my most recent Wear One Piece Five Ways segment, there were a couple new poses I haven’t tried before that found their way into the mix — I loved the results! We get so comfortable in the same poses, but it’s always refreshing to mix things up a bit. Take some of the things you’ve been practicing in the mirror (a la tip #2) and try to introduce them in front of the camera. It’s important to have a photographer you feel comfortable with so you feel safe to step outside of your comfort zone. 
  4. Stand up straight. They say the camera adds 10 pounds, and good posture can make you look 10 pounds less so make sure you stand up straight! Elevate that carriage! Inhale deep through your nose and lift your breast bone. (Sidebar: don’t stop breathing when the camera clicks! I can actually tell on images where I completely freeze a pose for the camera, including my breath. It’s far more natural when you keep breathing while having your picture taken.) 
  5. Whatever part of your body is closest to the camera will appear larger. This can be in your favor if you want to maximize your jawline or bust. On the flip side, if you want to minimize a figure variation such as your hips, derriere, or arms, angle this area away from the camera — the area in question will look smaller in the photo as a result. A bad example of what not to do is Fo from America’s Next Top Model Cycle 12. By leaning towards the camera, Fo’s head and face look larger while the rest of her body appears smaller and short. This is the shot that sent her packing.
  6. When all else fails, turn at an angle to the camera and smile! For a slimming effect, standing at a 45 degree angle to the camera, put your hand on one hip and smile. It works practically every time!

    Photo: Elisabeth Kate Photography. Styling by Cable Car Couture

What is your best tip for posing for photographs?

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