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5 Fail Proof Portrait Poses

In this post Gina Milicia – author of our brand new eBook “Portraits: Striking the Pose” shares 5 great portrait poses.

When I was starting out as a portrait photographer, I began creating a visual diary and mimicking the images I loved. Some people will tell you that it’s wrong to copy but for centuries, every generation of artist has imitated the masters before them. Once they’ve mastered the technique they move on to develop their own style.

Photography is no different.

You don’t have to come up with a thousand new ways to pose someone. Use the ways that work for you and your model.

Here are 5 of my “go to” poses

1. The Controposto (or S) Pose

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This is one of my go-to poses. It’s a great starting point for both men and women because it’s flattering for almost any body shape and doesn’t require any special props or locations.

Update: Gina expanded upon this pose a little more in comments below writing:

The controposto is basically the following stance

  1. Feet are adjacent to each other with weight on back foot and front foot pointing to camera
  2. Hips are side on to camera
  3. Upper body rotates to camera
  4. Try and learn how to pose your own body in this way and experiment with variations ( one size does not fit all)

    Then when you have mastered this pose you will find it much easier to demonstrate to your sitters.

We’ll get Gina to write more on this pose in a future post.

2. Lean on me (or working the wall)

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This is a particularly good pose for people who are really awkward. Some people have a real awareness of their body and they will always look comfortable, but it’s not as easy as that for others. Simply giving your model something to do, like leaning against the wall, can be enough to relax them.

3. Jump in my Car

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A car is another great prop. On a bright sunny day, the shade of a car will give you great light and again, your model will have something to do to help them relax.

4. A leap of Faith

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As with many of the other poses mentioned, if someone is awkward simply standing, giving them something to do can really bring the photo to life.

It’s not always easy but you can introduce some life and movement into the person and their clothes by getting them to jump or leap.

5. Walk the line

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The walking shot is great if you want to capture groups, couples and singles.
I like to shoot from a low angle with a fast shutter speed to freeze motion.


Gina is the author of four dPS eBooks including:

You can buy one for $19.99 or grab the whole bundle for only $49.99 (save 38%) from any of the links above.

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Gina Milicia

Gina Milicia has been a professional photographer for more than 25 years. She has photographed some of the world’s most high-profile people including royalty, billionaires and A-list celebrities. Often travelling the world, Gina also runs photography workshops and private mentoring sessions. You can sign up for her free ebook on "Portrait and Post Production Essentials" and see more of her work here. Check out her podcast “So you want to be a photographer” on iTunes.

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