Posing Tips - Waistlines, Thighs and Bustlines

Posing Tips – Waistlines, Thighs and Bustlines


Learn a few tips from red carpet celebrities on how to get your subjects looking their best when photographing them.


Here’s a quick posing tip if your subject is a little conscious of their waistline and want it to appear a little narrower than it really is (I’d put that at about 90% of us).

Get them to rotate their upper body slightly at the waist and you’ll find that it gives the impression of a thinner tummy area. It’s amazing what a simple twist can do! This is a popular technique with many red carpet celebs.


Another popular red carpet pose involves celebrities crossing one leg over in front of the other one. This has the effect of narrowing the thigh region a little (and/or making the celebrity look like they need a bathroom break).


Lastly, if you want to emphasize the bustline of your subject, get them to arch their shoulders back a little. This action naturally pushes the chest out a touch.

Of course combining these three techniques in the one shot can also leave your subject looking quite silly and needing a trip to the chiropractor! Use them with moderation or you’ll end up with a very unnatural looking pose.

What Everyone Ought to Know about Posing for Portraits



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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Gitta Barth March 24, 2012 02:00 pm

    Thanks. And thanks to all commenters. Not sure what's more helpful for waistlines etc looking good

  • Erik Kerstenbeck December 27, 2011 02:31 am


    Here we concealed the lower half with some dramatic lighting and accentuated the bustline


  • Paul September 18, 2011 07:38 am

    Thanks, useful basic tips :)

  • Nathan August 22, 2011 07:29 am

    One more thing: models, keep your chin up. This will give a more flattering jaw line (if not overdoing it, you don't need to mimic a baby bird waiting for a meal) and prevent or at least lessen the double chin effect.

  • Michael Heft October 9, 2010 05:03 am

    By this time you have probably learned a lot. I have that same camera and love it. Two days after I bought it I took it to a local carnival at sunset and took 600 pictures and then weeded out the mistakes. If you haven't already done so I would recommend an introduction to digital photography course-maybe taught by a local photograher through adult education. Also look around for a local camera club, they often welcome novices and you can learn a lot by talking with more experienced members.
    Above all take a lot of pictures on different settings and notice what they do.This website is an excellent way to learn also. Good luck.

  • Tami McNeil April 28, 2009 11:20 pm

    I just purchased a Sony a350 digital camera. I have read the book and learned some things.
    I would love to know in detail what each mode change means and the different ISO's and shutter speads and what they all can do.
    The book has not helped much, because I am new at this.
    Where can I go on the internet that would specifically help me with the details on my camera and explain how each thing works in detail.
    I have tried the Sony site but it is just a short video telling you about the different modes. I need to know how my camera works and what each thing means.
    I am taking lots of pictures of my grand children, 5 weeks and 3 years. I like closeups and candid.
    I need to know about lighting and where to go on my camera that would make the best pictures.
    Please can someone help me with this and tell me possible where to go to get some help.
    Thank you for your time
    email: TamiMcNeil4@verizon.net
    Tami McNeil
    Charleston, West Virginia

  • bull snook March 31, 2009 12:26 pm

    Im proud to see some one out there willing to help us newbies, in my field (caves) im fortunate to have connected with several folks with open hearts, but ive seen and heard from others what, some folks will do to keep people out of there little world, thank you for the leassons and tips, and thank you for helping, if there is any of my experience that can help some one else, please ask, and illl explain things best as i can,

    happy to be shedding light in the dark,

  • Pat January 18, 2009 04:03 am

    Start off with the lady standing at approximately 45 degrees to your camera position with their forward leg foot pointing towards the camera.

    Get them to lean forward slightly at the hip.

    Twist the body slightly so their closest shoulder comes round to face more towards the camera.

    These three basics will narrow the hip & reduce the waist whilst showing a full bust. Leaning forward lightly helps the posture and means they have to lift their head slightly, which helps remove/reduce double chins. The front thigh will be facing directly towards the camera and therefore appear at its narrowest.

    Not as easy as it sounds but these combined will help with all the posing points and greatly flatter her overall figure, for which she will love you!

    Inner Beauty Photography specialising in finest female portraiture

  • Cindy Sue Causey July 29, 2008 08:30 am

    Got one from personal experience.. Forgive me if it appears, but, at first glance, didn't see it..

    Regards thighs and sitting such that the thighs are exposed or their [line] can be seen through very tight clothing..

    *TUCK IT IN*.. :))

    Used to be the human backdrop to marine mammal photos so I was in a bathing suit.. We were always "tucking in", "tucking under" the meaty part of my thigh to create a smoother line as I sat on the water's edge or whatever..

    Cyber hugs from North Georgia.. :)

  • Greta April 30, 2008 06:45 am

    First of all, shoulders back, and tummy sucked in. If they are broad looking at the lower half, keep the chest relatively straight-on, have them tuck their butt under and rotate their lower half to where you are looking at a side (more or less) of their front leg, with the other leg only slightly showing. This is very slimming, provided that their derriere isn't round like a basketball. It also isn't a pose for those with back problems. As they say in the modeling profession, "Twist up like a pretzel, now stay that way and look like you are having fun." (Yeah, right!) Anyway if they can do this right, the result is amazing.
    Also, never let the models try to minimize thigh bulk by placing a hand over the bulge. One Hand should always be relaxed and hang out a little, showing some space between it and the body. The other hand can be placed judiciously on a body part, such as the waste.

  • cait April 9, 2008 12:13 pm

    how would one take a photo to flatter someone who may be overweight?

  • Shelly February 10, 2008 08:59 am

    I like the twisting of the waist idea. It works!

  • digital photography June 15, 2007 07:26 pm

    One more common technique. You can shoot from below to make your model's legs look longer.

  • Zaw Khine May 22, 2007 09:26 pm

    Thank you so much.
    Every new photographers need like this web site.

  • Biliana May 4, 2007 06:10 pm

    This is a good tip for posture!But you have to give more photo-examples, please!

    One more question about the framing of the whole model`s body? Is it better when you have the whole body with legs and especially feet, or it is good to cut the feet!
    I was always wondering why some photographers are cutting the feet of their models???

    Thank you,