Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to Get You Started with Photographing Women – Part I

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to Get You Started with Photographing Women – Part I

This is the first in a series of Posing Guides with suggested starting poses for photographing different subjects.

Also in the series check out our posing guides for posing children, posing couples, posing groups and posing weddings.

Sample Poses to Get You Started with Photographing Women

If you ever run out of ideas, get stuck in creativity or simply need some guidance when shooting female subjects, you may use following posing samples as a “posing cheat sheet”. Many pro photographers use such a technique when preparing for and during the photo shoot.

The poses in this article are selected as initial reference. I would advise to look at the poses together with your subject, especially if she’s inexperienced. During a photo shoot don’t hesitate to discuss with the subject which pose is or isn’t working in any particular situation. It’s usually very productive and you both will feel more confident in what you are doing.

OK, let’s start, one by one.


1. Very simple portrait pose to start with. Have the model look over her shoulder. Note how unusual and interesting a portrait might look, if shot simply from a different angle.


2. In portrait photography, hands are usually not visible or at least not dominant. However, you might get creative by asking the model to play around with her hands trying different positions around her head or face. Keep in mind, though: No flat palms, and the hands should only show their sides!


3. You might be familiar with composition rules like the rule of thirds. In a similar way, pleasing effects can be created by using diagonals. Also remember that you don’t need to always hold your camera on a perfectly even level. Don’t be afraid to tilt it, you might achieve some interesting and unusual perspectives.


4. A really nice and lovely pose with a model sitting. The knees have to touch each other. Shoot slightly from above.


5. Another open and inviting pose with the model lying on the ground. Get down and take your shot nearly from the ground level.


6. Just a variation for a pose with the model lying on the ground. Both hands might as well be resting on the ground. Works very well outdoors, on the grass or in a wild flower meadow, for example.


7. A basic easy pose, yet looks absolutely stunning. Get down and shoot nearly from a ground level. Then try to move gradually around the model while making shots. Also ask your model to change head and hand positions.


8. Another easy yet gorgeous pose for all body types. Try different hand and leg positioning. And remember to focus on the model’s eyes!


9. A really lovely pose. Works well in different surface settings: The model, for example, might lie on a bed, on the ground, in the grass, or on a sandy beach. Shoot from a very low angle and focus on the eyes.


10. Gorgeous and easy pose for a model sitting on the ground.


11. Another simple and friendly pose for a model sitting on the ground. Try different directions and angles.


12. A wonderful way to demonstrate the beauty of a model’s physique. Works very well as a silhouette when shooting against a bright background.


13. A simple and casual looking pose. Lots of variations are possible. Ask the model to twist her body, experiment with hand positioning and try different head turns.


14. Another very simple and elegant pose. The model is turned slightly to the side, hands in back pockets.
15. Leaning slightly forward can be a very attractive gesture. It is a subtle way to emphasize upper body shapes.


16. A sensual pose. By holding the hands above the head body curves are emphasized. Works with fit body types.


17. Endless variations are possible for posing in full height. This pose is just the starting point. Ask the model to slightly turn her body, change hand positioning, change head and eye directions etc.

18. A relaxed pose with the model standing upright and supporting her back against a wall. Remember that the model may use a wall not only to support her back, but also to put her hands on, or resting a leg against it.


19. Note that full height settings are very demanding and work well only with slim to athletic body types. Posing guidelines are simple: The body should be arched in an S shape, hands should be relaxed, while the weight finds support on just one leg.


20. An exquisite pose for slim to athletic models. Many variations are possible. In order to find the best posture, tell the model to slowly move her hands and twist her body constantly. When you see a good variant, ask your model to hold still and take some pictures. Repeat for a full set.


21. An absolutely romantic and delicate pose. Any kind of cloth (even a curtain) can be used. Note that the back doesn’t need to be completely bare. Sometimes as little as a bare shoulder could work pretty well.

So, there’s something for you to start with. Hope you will find at least couple of poses to work with in different shooting scenarios! Keep in mind that each of the initial sample poses is meant to be only a starting point. Each pose has endless variations! Just be creative and adjust the pose as needed (for example, try different shooting angles and ask your subject to change hand, head and leg positioning etc.)

Check out our other Posing Guides:

Grab Our Guide to Portrait Posing

Kaspars Grinvalds is a photographer working and living in Riga, Latvia. He is the author of Posing App where more poses and tips about people photography are available.

Read more from our category

Guest Contributor This post was written by a guest contributor to dPS.
Please see their details in the post above.

Become a Contributor: Check out Write for DPS page for details about how YOU can share your photography tips with the DPS community.

Some Older Comments

  • Simon April 26, 2013 01:55 pm

    Wow, wow, wow! Awesome. Thank you soooo much!

  • spence cater April 16, 2013 09:38 pm

    What a brilliant guide. Great sketches and very simple to follow.
    It's absolutely perfect for an e-book I am writing. I will be linking in to this page.
    Thank you so much for sharing this and I will look forward to viewing the app.
    It's given me some great ideas for shoots as well.
    Thank you!

  • dee April 16, 2013 12:50 am

    Very nice and excellent

  • Yon Adigonel February 23, 2013 02:22 pm

    Thank you, so much inspiration I get from DPS, especially for writers and tutors, in our area a lot of interesting images of objects ranging from the mountains, the activities of the farmers in the fields, the beach and the forest or even and much more. I want to send some photos of the area we live, .... yes ... perhaps arguably sharing.

  • Barbara Hamilton February 21, 2013 01:36 pm

    Thanks, I have a photo shoot next week, I'm trying to land this gig. The illustrations been most helpfull

  • John from Texas February 20, 2013 06:28 pm

    Just a Note..... I have used the Poses App for several months. I introduce the Posing App to my Clients during the interview process and encourage them to spend the $2-3 or 4.00, or what ever it costs to download the App to their own phone. Then, I ask them to let me know their favorites a week before the shoot. I am then well prepared, knowing which pose options I have to work with. It is also a great hint about the style of shoot my client is interested in - i.e. Conservative poses or Sexy/Suggestive.

    This is an excellent tool for the experienced and budding photographer and also an excellent tool for new models! The "Do's and Don't" section is a great help as well.

    I do hope that an update becomes available in the future for shooting full figured - large women. Also pencil sketches on studio lighting placement/tips/etc.

    This is one Application on my phone that I would purchase at full $2-3 or 4.00 price for every major upgrade.

    Kudos to the developer and Thanks for this article!

  • Rickey Bloomingdale January 9, 2013 01:54 am

    body shapes differ depending on the genetics of a person. i would really love to have a slim body.,

    Remember to take a look at our webpage

  • Vladimir November 30, 2012 11:00 pm

    Probably one of the most interesting and useful articles i found so far :)
    Bought your application and pls keep enlightening us :)

  • Dan Losowski October 10, 2012 05:13 am

    I have used a number of these poses on "accident" and quite successfully. I will be sure to try the rest ASAP!

  • Chris September 28, 2012 08:41 am

    Thanks for this. It makes for a super easy reference, good to have to hand and show clients if they need some coaching or want to discuss ideas.

    The poses are slightly sexual, as some people commented, but many women like to look as beautiful as they feel and don't know how to express this when posing. You could have used sexual or sensual in the title, but not all the poses are just that, so no need. If people are looking for posing ideas for 14 year olds then hopefully they should have better judgement.

    Thanks again... CB

  • Vivian Bedoya September 9, 2012 01:03 pm

    Excellent article and great illustrations! It's important to keep in mind, however, that certain poses do not fit all. When photographing older women, some of these may not show us at our best. It's vital to pay close attention to necklines, upper arms, sagging skin, etc, and then adjust the subject to capture the most flattering results.

  • Denieone September 1, 2012 03:31 am

    Very helpfull articles, keep them coming. Some people here take it tooooooooo serious when it comes to women poses. if you have better ideas then post them instead of complainting about it. my 2cents.

  • Marge August 27, 2012 11:56 pm

    Thank you so much. A wonderful starting point for beginner photographers.

  • Elizabeth August 12, 2012 02:41 pm

    Great resource. Some of the poses are too provocative for shooting senior portraits, but useful for bridal shoots. However, with the unfortunate state of today's teens, many of the girls I shoot have...um...excessive curves, especially around the tummy area. Any ideas on poses to help these girls be presented in the best possible way?

  • Sharon Mallinson May 31, 2012 08:51 am

    Brilliant article - great memory jogger -should be in every photographers bag of kit!

  • Shawn May 16, 2012 11:32 am

    This article was great... I liked it so much, I went to check out the app, and bought immediately!!! It is such a great creative tool, for portraits of all kinds... Men,women,children,group shots,wedding, you name it ,it's in there. Well worth the 1.99. I kinda lack experience in the portrait department,so this is gonna help me out a LOT!!!

  • Kumar Varun May 2, 2012 09:27 pm

    really some nice poses. But I had expected some more :(

  • S RoyC April 22, 2012 12:24 am

    Loved it! thank you

  • Conrad Lim - Pasadena Wedding Photographer April 21, 2012 06:20 pm

    These poses can actually work with different sized women. It's all on your intentions with what you are going for. Of course for corporate/professional shots you can use some of them, but gender totally plays a role with how you pose them...good read though

  • Sally April 21, 2012 09:55 am

    Thanks - I now have it on my phone. Excellent app. Love all the tips and comments as well.

    I'm sure this will be a well used app. Thank you for all your efforts. Much appreciated.

  • solotrek April 21, 2012 09:36 am

    Thanks for this series for women, but I would question that these would be suitable for ladies in the plus size categories. I'd like to see these revised to see how larger forms can be handled...

  • Kaspars Grinvalds April 21, 2012 12:35 am

    Sally, thanks!
    Android version of Posing App is available on Google Play.
    Here is a direct link: http://market.android.com/details?id=lv.mendo.posingapp

  • Sally April 20, 2012 05:05 am

    Great series - very clear & simple.

    Can we have it on android please ???

  • Mihut S. Fotograf April 18, 2012 09:17 am

    Very useful.
    A similar post on couple poses would be very welcomed.

  • stefanie April 18, 2012 12:50 am

    I don't like the idea that women per se should be photographed in different positions than men shoud be. If I want to show profesionality in a man or in a woman I chose a different position than if the photo is to express happieness or flirting. Sex or gender shoud not be the deciding indicator.

  • Laura April 17, 2012 07:20 pm

    Wait, so men are working, having tools and tables and being shot in a professional context while "female subjects" are lying in the grass, barely dressed? WHAT??

  • Emily April 16, 2012 03:14 am

    I have to say that I was also offended as more and more of the poses involved the woman getting down on the ground, pushing her breasts out, and making a variety of stupid shapes, while even the drawing was only wearing underwear! There's a time and a place and (obviously) a market for these poses of course, but I definitely think that the title of the piece should reflect the type of poses they are. I do not think it's acceptable that these are marketed as poses for all women, period.

  • RubyBram April 13, 2012 12:01 pm

    While I haven't read all of the comments fully, I agree that while these poses are attractive, it goes to show that women are things and men are people.

    The female poses are to make the woman sell herself and her body. The male poses are (mostly) about work and professionalism. Promoting this kind of thinking by promoting these poses is offensive.

  • Holly Ladd April 13, 2012 01:42 am

    Very hot topic - the appropriateness of the poses - and I am glad to see that there have been some apologies for the personal attacks.

    The poses are nice, but not universally appropriate. The poses that were presented for men offered casual, flirtatious and business (professional) options. Not so with the poses offered for the women.

    We need a broader range of poses that encompass women in the same variety as those presented for the men. Had the original article included the broader range, we could have avoided all the fall out.

    Please go back to the drawing board.

  • Alidan April 11, 2012 11:20 pm

    This article is interesting but very limited to a certain age range. As others have said, these poses are inappropriate for anyone not wishing to be considered a sex object. Additionally, I can see just a few of these as appropriate for my 75 year old female relative. Looking at the male poses in the followup article, I see a great many that are not overtly sexual and would be appropriate for male of any age. In fact, I think that many would be appropriate for my aged female relatives because the male poses have some DIGNITY.

    To sum up, this article on female poses is limited to those who wish to display sexuality only. The followup article on male poses has a few that would be appropriate for both genders. I can't help thinking that the author of this app is showing his inexperience and does not take women seriously as people.

  • kris April 10, 2012 04:41 am

    I think the discussion about the appropriateness of some of the poses is interesting. the problem isn't really about whether a woman might look good in a pose, or whether she should choose to pose like that; it's, as has been pointed out before, about portraying the woman as an object rather than a subject, and giving her characteristics instead of looking to photograph her as the person she is. the poses are described (amongst other things) as nice, lovely, open, inviting, gorgeous, sensual, attractive. I would have loved to see something about strong poses, or powerful. however, I suspect those adjectives will be saved for the men's poses.

  • craig April 9, 2012 07:24 pm

    Thanks for this Kaspars, the guide looks useful.

    To all those asking for male poses etc then I suggest you read the text! It links you to Kaspars page which tells you that this is for iPhone (soon to be iPad) and has poses for Children, Couples, Portraits, Women, Men, Groups and Weddings. It also mentions that they are working on an Android version, they are adding more content and has extra details such as expressions, posing hands etc.

    I won't get into the argument over how sexiest these poses are, be sensible folks, most teenagers I know run a mile when you get the camera out!

    happy shooting :-)

  • Craig Patrich Ashton April 6, 2012 02:52 am

    REF: PDF Format.

    I don't have a smartphone or equivelant to download apps. However, if the poses aren't subject to copyright etc, why not right-click and save each pose as a file i.e. "picture" and copy & paste into a folder in your "my documents" or "Library"?

    I found this simple to do - though it does take a few minutes. If you want to save it to Word or a PDF you can then do the following...

    Open the folder with the saved picture files and right-click and "select all" and then go to File and click "copy". Next open a new word document and then anywhere on the page, right-click "paste". Now you'll have the poses in the word document. From here you need to go to 'File' and scroll down to "Save as..." click this and choose the PDF option. Rename the file to something memorable ie. female_poses and save to your chosen folder...e.g. Desktop (then you can check it and send it to the more suitable destination).

    I'm sorry if I appear to be 'teaching granny to suck eggs', or stating the obvious. However, several posters are requesting formats they might not be aware they can do themselves pretty easily. Saves them time and the author hassle. There may be easier ways of converting than I've offered too. I'd welcome a quicker way of doing it if someone else can enlighten us.

  • Paul April 6, 2012 12:17 am

    Great little article, I like these, would be useful as a phone app or a PDF download or even an e-book? Please let me know if that is available? :)

  • Trevor April 5, 2012 05:33 am

    This is awesome! I think I'm gona make a little booklet of different poses, so I can take it on the go to look at for photographing people. Can we please get some more poses like these (men, women, children, etc)??

  • Sania April 4, 2012 03:17 pm

    Now if only I could find a model...

  • Craig Patrich Ashton April 4, 2012 01:19 am


    I'm new to this sight and photography in general. I've just got to say that this website DPS is brilliant...and the people who use it give me upmost confidence in the future of the human race. Rarely, have I ever visited a forum where an argument is sensibly and intelligently resolved as this. Not only are visitors to DPS helpful, interesting, and enthusing, but they're also polite, amiable, and sincere.


  • Brandy April 4, 2012 01:12 am

    I must say I'm glad to see that apologies have been made, and accepted whether they were needed or not. I've seen too many blogs where people use the fact that they got out of bed on the wrong side, to attack everyone for whatever reason. For those who are of the thought that sometimes photography is used to objectify women, one choice of wording I choose to explain the differences, is to say nudes, versus ludes.While I happen to love a good nude photograph, be it male or female, I'm not neccessarily a fan of ludes!

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer April 3, 2012 04:46 am

    Update: I just bought the app and the UI is clean, fast and easy to use. I am looking forward to using this app as a visual aid to help show clients how I want to pose them.

  • Herbert March 31, 2012 02:25 pm

    will the app available for android?

  • Gitta Barth March 31, 2012 02:06 pm

    Thank you for this article. For a complete newbie like me this is a good starting point. Made me buy the app just a minute ago. For $1.99 you can't really go wrong !

  • Alex Schoenfeldt, San Francisco Photographer March 31, 2012 10:42 am

    As of right now, most of the image links are broken.

  • Saqib March 31, 2012 10:09 am

    Very Basic but yet very important......nice to share.

  • Louise March 31, 2012 09:12 am

    Is it possible to buy these drawings another way? I checked out the other drawings (children, men, general rules, etc.) and would love to buy a pdf of all of them. I don't have an iPad, an iPod or an iPhone. Please let me know if I can acquire them another way. Does it exist in book form? What an absolutely fabulous tool these drawings are!

  • HOOP March 31, 2012 05:16 am

    @danielw: my apologies, I referenced you in error. Overall, it is my opinion that the majority of the responses are missing the point. The point is: some of the indicated poses in this article are NOT appropriate for the wide strata of female photographic subjects. And to implicate and indicate that they are is NOT acceptable. In particular, pose #5, #15 and #21 are "suggestive" in a manner that is NOT necessary. And to pretend that they are OK by including them in a general purpose blog like this one is unacceptable to at least a few of us.

    @rahul: I agree, this article seems geared more towards marketing an app than actually being something useful. Perhaps Mr. Rowse needs to consider being more careful of what is put up here as "an article" when it's actually a "sales pitch".
    Over & Out: HOOP

  • DanielW March 31, 2012 04:28 am

    @ all folks that are fighting here :)
    Nothing against a polite discussion, but it's definitely taking us nowhere.
    My opinion is that some folks are just too "hurtable" with too little -- I mean mindy and hoop here -- but sure I mean no disrespect, and would never offend anyone in any way (and I have NOT). People just seem to get offended by anything these days. On the other hand, people seem to offend or get aggressive because of too little too, especially on blogs.

    @ hoop
    I haven't called you any names, just told you to use whichever position you want, shoot whatever you want. I think you and mindy are seeing a problem where there is none (well, my opinion). I do respect your opinion, although I do not agree. About attending to one of your classes, I wouldn't have a problem doing so. I have nothing against you because of having different opinions. You got it the very opposite way, and if there are folks who are agressive, I'm definitely not one of them. Please read my post again. My apologies, anyway.

    I think we should all go shoot.
    Peace! :)

  • Joe Parenti March 31, 2012 12:31 am

    Terrific reference, I will print this out and carry with me. One small comment #1 could in some subjects, show some undesirable neck lines. Subject will have to be worked with so that these can be avoided. Keep them coming.....This is GREAT!!

  • HOOP March 30, 2012 11:45 pm

    To Snapps: apology accepted. Thank you for rescinding your original wrath.
    One of my favourite subjects is "the nude" portrayed as "landscape" through lighting and framing. And by 'the nude", I mean members of both sexes. In the photographic world all too often "the nude" is seen as only a woman = yet another of the stereotypes which we have to labor against in this profession. Photography has been the domain of the male for far too long and that is one of the reasons why women are protrayed as OBJECTS in photography. Further, it's poses like #5 and #15 which perpetuate this type of stereotypical thinking and seeing. As professionals, we have to step over that "edge" and become one with the ethos or else we are going to become "photoshopping pneumatrons".

  • Mindy March 30, 2012 11:24 pm

    @Snapps, thanks for your apology - that was nice to wake up to this morning : )

  • Kaspars Grinvalds March 30, 2012 09:02 pm

    Hi everyone and thanks for your nice comments! I am really overwhelmed with the positive response. Thanks also to everyone who bought our app, really appreciate it! To those asking for an Android version – we are working on it (you can leave your email at our site to get notified). To those asking for more poses in the app – we are working on a major update that will double the amount of poses and add iPad support. And to those asking for future articles – check back soon!

  • Rahul March 30, 2012 05:30 pm

    Ummm... great post but I also think that it could be regarded as an excellent example of strategic marketing through this portal. How many of you bought the app?


  • Brandy March 30, 2012 04:02 pm

    In case no one noticed, there is a difference between men and women. Women are softer, curvier etc. and from the beginning of time, artists have portrayed them as such. Regardless of the medium. Look at old sculpters. The same soft curves, "S" shapes, tilt of the heads, and hands, have always been there. Just like men have always been shown in strong, angular poses. Imagine a man posed with his elbow on a table ,and hand up,but with his hand flipped outside away from his body. That's totally a femine pose. This article was options for new photographers as some options they could or could not use with women, not children, or even young teens. I'm like the majority of the people who commented, and thought this was a well done app. I also look forward to more with men, young people, and senior citizens!

  • Snapps March 30, 2012 02:37 pm

    Also....Is there a PC version of the app? I do not have a smartphone. :-)

  • Snapps March 30, 2012 02:28 pm

    Hoop. Mindy. You are correct. My post was very aggressive and bullying in nature, and it is not appropriate. You have my sincere apologies.

    We will have to agree to disagree, however. I am a woman, not a male, so my comments were not made with a male point of view. I truly do not believe that a little bit of sensuality, or "spice" as my clients tend to call it, reduces a womans dignity. I do not shoot for public media, however, so perhaps that is the difference. My clients choose what they are comfortable with and no more. Some would never be caught DEAD with their hands in the air, for others it is the one shot they really want.

    I think I reacted so vehemently because there was the implication that people using these poses thought of their subjects as nothing more than sex objects and were themselves lewd and morally lacking. I have enjoyed using a majority of these poses in my photography, and I do not think of my subjects in any such way. I am not lewd or morally lacking. (Although, admittedly, I would likely be the last to know if I was.....)

    Hoop: I would love to take one of your classes. There is a ton you could teach me. Your credentials are quite impressive! Please understand that my opinion is not based on my ego or my libido. They are the last thing I am thinking about in a photo session. While my rancour in the delivery was inappropriate, I think my opinion is still just as valid.

    I do find it interesting how even women can have such a strong opinion about such things. Even leaving the males out for the time being, it is interesting to me that women can be so largely divided on such a thing as this. Some find the notion of sensuality to be either avoided or at least carefully guarded. On the flip side of that coin, I have heard people say they find it 'freeing' and 'fun' to step outside of themselves for a time. Perhaps the difference is our audience. It sounds like your audience is much bigger than mine and you have more than just your immediate clients to worry about.

    Mindy: You are very correct that young women will look and think that looking sensual is the only way to look good. It is everywhere. The clothes my 12 year old daughter begs (vainly) for me to buy her are proof of that. They are on the 'Bratz' dolls that are all the rage here, and the barbies, and the billboards, and the commercials. The massive photoshopping that goes into every face, the 'fixing' of curves and bumps...it all plays a part and it is devastating for the delicate self esteem of our young ladies.

    I would LOVE to find a way to teach a class in my daughters grade 6 class -- bring in both a professional female and male model, photographer, makeup artists....and so on. Have the models come in with no makeup, hair washed but not styled, jeans and a tee shirt so the girls (and the guys!) can see that these people are just like them. Have the entire class get made up, and dressed up, and photographed -- and then touched up. Then they can see that there is a super model in all of them....and that professional models are just normal people. I have done this already with my daughter and her best friend. (amusing anecdote: One morning, I overheard my daughter in the washroom. It was a normal school day for her and she was washing her face. She was looking at some acne that had sprouted on her nose. She just shrugged her shoulders and said: "Ah well. It will photoshop out." hehe)

    Again. Mindy. Hoop. You have my apologies for my attitude in my previous post. It was uncalled for and inappropriate.


  • lavieraweddingphotography March 30, 2012 02:18 pm

    I wonder if you have anything for posing males. I always find that much more challenging.

  • ccting March 30, 2012 02:15 pm

    Well, as a traditional thinking Chinese who stay in almost Islamic country, I think those poses are great. Just open our mind, if you think these poses are not suitable to some ppl, then don't show and apply the poses to the subjects. Careful pick the suitable ones. I do think some of the poses are not suitable in my country but I can't deny all those poses are just great ! .

    But if I am going to photograph a fushion models, I think those 21 poses are GREAT! What I need to do is to adapt those poses to the culture, ages, and other factors. If some poses are not suitable then just omit them. Nevertheless, this article is the greatest posing article that i have ever seen so far.

  • HOOP March 30, 2012 01:18 pm

    Since I have been a very successful photographer for over 40 years; since I don't have a 14 year old daughter but mentioned that because most of those HOT models who are made to use these poses are closer to 14 than to the age of majority (and YES, I've been a photographer in Milan and Paris, have you?); since I've been teaching photography at the post-secondary level for nearly 30 years; I think that my opinion on the possible inappropriateness of pose #5, #15 and #21is far more poignant and on point than all of the male-dominated "keep my ego & libido lubricated at no matter whose expense" posts. The short-sightedness in these responses falls clearly on the side of the male: "daniel", "snapps", "jcp", "Dave", "danielw", you know who you are (and hopefully, you've never taken one of my classes). If you have to resort to calling people names, you're pretty darn insecure. Bullying isn't a good thing anywhere, especially not in a photographic blog. Mindy and my opinions should be as welcome here as yours ..... or else there truly is a fundamental problem with this article.

  • Mindy March 30, 2012 12:39 pm

    @daniel, the point is that this kind of article legitimizes and normalizes this approach to posing women. Certainly we can choose not to use these poses, but (believe it or not!) we also have the right to raise the point to other DPS readers that most of these poses present women as sexual objects.

    Obviously, women can and do revel in their sexuality. I just don't think that teaching photographers to favour sexually suggestive poses accomplishes anything positive for women, and in fact causes harm to young women who are taught by viewing these images that beauty and value are tied to women's perceived sexual value.

    I find it very interesting that people (men?) jumped on the posts by hoop and myself and declared them "angry" - and that comments such as "get a life," "get out of photography" and "get over yourselves" were sent in our direction, just based on us politely expressing an opposing viewpoint.

  • Snapps March 30, 2012 11:57 am

    Wow. I'm sensing some tension in this particular post.

    1. Hoop: "If these poses were universal..." The TITLE of the article would suggest that NO. Indeed, they are not universal poses. They are only for females. And while the article does not necessarily say it outright...I would guess it was intended only for adult females. Not fourteen year olds. That would just be common sense....(which is apparently not that common anymore)

    2. Mindy: "I photograph women with their dignity intact." Congratulations. I happen to think that a woman can be sensual and desirable and beautiful AND dignified...all at the same time. Being sensual does not automatically make a woman undignified.

    There is a huge difference between the male and the female sides of the human race. I, for one, like to celebrate our differences, rather than try to homogenize us. To do so robs us, men and women both, of something special and unique. We do not have to be crass or vulgar to do this...but if you find these poses to be just that, don't use them. But do not for even a second think that a woman cannot be strong and intellegent, capable and empowered AND sensual and sexy at the same time.

    Mindy. Hoop. Get over yourselves.

  • BarryArmsteadPhotography March 30, 2012 09:30 am

    Great article well illustrated. It would be interesting to see the same thing done for male models.

  • Lynne March 30, 2012 08:55 am

    The article was good but the app is even better. It gives heaps of ideas and poses for other people as well. Thanks so much for such a practical and PORTABLE application.

  • Micheal Rhian Driscoll March 30, 2012 08:20 am

    would very much like to get this in PC format? no smart phone :-(

  • JCP March 30, 2012 08:05 am

    Sexuality = no dignity? ??? Since when have we gone back in time and reduced women (or men for that matter) as week and helpless "objects" just because they demonstrate some level of sexuality.

    I do agree that the intent and title of the article could be a little clearer. Sexually suggestive and boudoir photography are popular (and totally valid) forms of expression. No need to shy away from it in the title of the article. But to suggest that for a man or a woman to appear as a sexual being (or pose as such) reduces them to an "object" is a pretty antiquated view.

  • Allan Cox March 30, 2012 07:42 am

    Brilliant! If I had a smart phone I’d by the app.

  • Pete Wendt March 30, 2012 07:38 am

    Great shooting ideas! Thanks!

  • Mindy March 30, 2012 07:08 am

    @Dave Mitchell, I can't speak for Hoop but I'm doing just fine in the photography business, thank you, and have no plans to leave regardless of your rudeness.

    Might I suggest that it is you who could be caught in the time warp, given that you seem to feel that women need to be portrayed as sex objects? I photograph women with their dignity intact.

  • Dave Mitchell March 30, 2012 06:55 am

    Hoop and Mindy really need to get a life or maybe, just get out of the photography business. Check your local newspaper ads. There were seven of the twenty one poses presented for spring fashions. Since you are older (with fourteen old daughters) you are caught in a time warp. In my +20 years of teaching middle school, I have never seen a requirement for females to pose like this; and I doubt you have either! My wife thought the poses made her feel more like a woman - again - after 40 years!

  • JCP March 30, 2012 06:45 am

    @hoop, so you are suggesting that the female form (regardless of humanity or personhood) is not a unique and infinitely beautiful form to photograph? Seriously? As a man, I couldn't say the same thing about the male physique. Not only are you taking this topic (and I presume yourself) too seriously, but you are neglecting the reality that humans enjoys looking at the human body, in all it's physically, emotional, and yes, sexual forms. You are projecting intent here and demonstrating great inflexibility of thought. The implication that author is recommending these poses for kids, frankly, offends ME. Good luck living in whatever impassionate, androgynous world from which you came. GREAT ARTICLE!!

  • John March 30, 2012 06:31 am

    Thanks so very much for posting this wonderful guide to basic poses. I will definitely be having my subject try out some of these poses at a photo shoot this weekend!

  • DanielW March 30, 2012 05:05 am

    @ hoop and mindy - the article suggests poses for photographing women; you may choose whichever suits your needs. You're free to choose, ain't that good news?

  • Mindy March 30, 2012 04:13 am

    @hoop - AMEN! Absolutely agree with every word. All I could think while reading this is that I'd never pose my portrait clients in these ways. The article should be more properly called "Boudoir Posing" or "Sexually Suggestive Poses for Women."

  • Calbob March 30, 2012 04:01 am

    Good stuff!

    Now, can we have more poses for Older Women and more poses for Large Women?

    As "Hoop" mentioned, perhaps poses for school children, for men, etc.?

  • DanielW March 30, 2012 03:35 am

    Whoa, people seem to be insanely angry nowadays... Even worse, for no reason, most of the time.

  • Charan March 30, 2012 03:31 am

    I dont know hot to thank the author... This is such a good resource... My wife always complains that I never shoot her in nice poses. I am sure she wont now... thanks again :)

  • HOOP March 30, 2012 02:46 am

    The problem that I have with this article (and this "type" of article) is that women are way too often presented as OBJECTS instead of being presented as People. If these poses were universal, why don't we ever see men posed in poses like #5 and #12? The terms "open" and "inviting" are not terms that would be used for male models; therefore, I find most of this article to be unacceptable from a woman's perspective. Pose #16 is an example of what is being called "sensual" when what is meant is "sexual" and that type of pose is often not something which we'd want to have our 14 year old daughters try out for their school pictures. The "arms above head" gesture has been the classic pose for women as sex objects for decades. It's seen as a type of open to anything type of gesture and not something that you'd ever see a male model doing or even thinking of doing.
    This article needs to be re-written as an androgenous article where poses are universal for both men and women so that photographers out there don't get the feeling that it's OK to use poses like #5, #7. #8, #12, #15, #16, #20 and #21. They are NOT acceptable poses for most females and should not be presented as such. Needless to say, I find this article offensive!

  • Lisa March 30, 2012 02:08 am

    Just what I needed. Thanks for the post!!!

  • alvin March 29, 2012 03:34 pm


  • Colleen D. Gjefle March 29, 2012 10:33 am

    I'll throw my vote in as well for providing this is more format other than just for iphones. I'd love to get the poses in a pdf format, for that matter. But that aside, great blog article. I'm pretty good at posing anyhow, but this would be a help for those times when my energy just isn't where it should be. Thank you so much!

  • Linda Sorensen March 29, 2012 05:57 am

    DITTO all of the above comments. Excellent

  • Flavia Lazzarin March 29, 2012 05:03 am

    Great, thanks for sharing!
    Would love to purchase the app, any chance to go android?

  • robert simmons March 29, 2012 01:39 am

    I've been looking for this app after a friend showed it to me a couple of years ago. But its an iphone app.

    I vote with others for an android version

  • Dan March 29, 2012 12:10 am

    Often guest contributor posts on this site are hit-or-miss, but this one was a definite bullseye! Thank you so much! Can you do one for men and kids now?

  • Markus March 28, 2012 11:11 pm

    extremely useful for me.
    Will try it out soon.
    Thanks for sharing. Will you have an Adnroid app soon as well?

  • Rex Boggs March 28, 2012 10:39 pm

    Fantastic article - very well done

  • Peter Lee March 28, 2012 08:28 pm

    What about male subject?

  • Anita March 28, 2012 07:28 pm

    Very useful, thanks, I downloaded the app as well :)

  • Fotograf Poznan March 28, 2012 05:35 pm

    cool sketches - I hope that soon there will also be poses for men and couples

  • Sune Trudslev March 28, 2012 04:38 pm

    Super useful. Thank you! :D

  • hubblefromthesun March 28, 2012 03:32 pm

    The style of illustration helps to really imagine a general use of the pose.

  • raghavendra March 28, 2012 01:47 pm

    this is good.
    Face of the female teaches us the looks


  • Jody March 28, 2012 01:06 pm

    I love the design. The simple sketches show the ideas much more clearly than actual photos would. I'll be waiting for this on Android too.

  • ccting March 28, 2012 11:33 am

    Dear Kaspars Grinvalds,
    How about posing for wedding couples? I am waiting for your post..

  • Denice March 28, 2012 11:30 am

    I agree with Linda! A posing article for male will be great!

  • ccting March 28, 2012 11:30 am

    Dear Kaspars Grinvalds,
    A EXTREMELY BIG THANKS for your post. You have solved my worries and really hope for your next post.. Very very very big thanks.

  • Linda March 28, 2012 11:18 am

    Bookmarked - please do a similar one for the male half!

  • Matt Dutile March 28, 2012 09:51 am

    Nice collection. The best piece of advice I could give to emerging photographers though is to stop posing! Block scenes like you're shooting video and let the action naturally unfold. Your shots will be so much more natural and fun!

  • Russel March 28, 2012 09:50 am


  • Ruth March 28, 2012 09:29 am

    GREAT article!! I even used some on self portraits!!

  • Charles March 28, 2012 08:36 am

    I have promised to do a new "head shot" for a friend who publishes an on-line magazine. Because of the subject matter of the magazine I was thinking that I might try to get her to do a bit more than a head shot; these are some great ideas and I will use them as a starting point. Great post!

  • seabluelee March 28, 2012 08:00 am

    LOVE this, great ideas, very helpful! Thank you!

  • klaus March 28, 2012 06:41 am

    Nice guide. Thanks.

  • Anotherphotographynoob March 28, 2012 05:55 am

    Great guide! Really helpful!

  • Ron Cornelison March 28, 2012 05:29 am

    Thanks Kaspars,
    I realy liked the simple line drawing for each pose, the color pose samples I have shown to a client often recives the "I am not as pretty as her" answer, the line drawings should stop it cold.
    If your app goes android, let us know.
    Future post might be about 21 poses for Men, Boys, Girls, and Seniors.not just high school but real over 60 adults as well.
    Can't wait to go through all the provided links as well.
    DPS rocks!

  • Alexx March 28, 2012 05:24 am

    Great posing article!


  • Andy March 28, 2012 05:22 am

    Thanks for this. I also just recently tried shooting a girl-friend and found it surprising hard to find good pose resources.

  • JAMES March 28, 2012 04:52 am

    This so far is the best posing article I have ever seen!!!

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer March 28, 2012 03:48 am

    Great set of examples, far more than I thought would be included in this post. I want to start doing the very first pose, the over the shoulder look pose, when working with clients.

    One recent model portfolio shoot included these poses:


    Where to put the hands is often one of the biggest challenges.

  • Martin March 28, 2012 03:32 am

    I love the simplicity of the app! Now if they only made it for Android...

  • Marcus Davis March 28, 2012 03:26 am

    Excellent article. One of the critiques my wife has of my photos is that I need to spend time studying the human form and how it relates to posing models. (My wife is a smart woman :o) )

    As I progress in my photography, posing is definitely something I will need to work on.

  • tad2106 March 28, 2012 02:55 am

    I've been waiting for something like this for ages - it's an area I really struggle with communicating to models so I'm printing this out!! Will you follow up with men/boys please who I REALLY struggle with getting to relax and look non-posed-although-they-are? Cheers

  • John March 28, 2012 02:48 am

    I recently just had a friend model for me for the first time. She's not a model and I'm not a portrait photographer, but we managed to come up with some stuff.

    I really enjoyed this shot http://www.phogropathy.com/live-love-and-laugh-your-way-through-life/ which isn't necessarily a pose, but more a "genuine" capture.

    Sometimes I guess you don't really have to "pose" someone to get a nice photo.

  • steve slater March 28, 2012 02:46 am

    I agree with the silhouettes


  • Maryus March 28, 2012 02:00 am

    Thanks for sharing. Very useful !

  • David Travis March 28, 2012 01:44 am

    Excellent article -- so good in fact I just bought the app!

  • Mridula March 28, 2012 01:06 am

    When it comes to human beings I straight away run for silhouettes.


  • Max Almonte March 28, 2012 01:02 am

    Excellent Pose. Very good job and designs.