Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get 21 Photos

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos

7 poses photographing women

A post by Kaspars Grinvalds from Posing App.

Previously published articles in the Posing Guide series contained hand illustrated posing samples as a guide for your photo shoots. Based upon feedback and questions I received about these guides, I wanted to describe the process in more detail and show some real photos created while using these posing techniques.

The main purpose of using posing samples is to give your model some starting points. You don’t need to precisely recreate even the simplified illustrated pose.

This will be a three part series looking at standing, sitting and laying down poses for female models. For the the first article I chose seven sample standing poses and by slightly adjusting each pose I got 21 different photos.

Posing Guide for Photographing Women

Pose 1

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos

It is a good idea to start your photo shoot with some very basic, easy pose. That’s why I chose this one to begin with. It’s easy to describe and easy to understand – “portrait shot from a side”. So you might start with saying to your model “Ok, turn with your side towards me, turn your head to me and look right over the shoulder at the camera. Straighten your spine and keep hands loose by sides.”

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos

Photo 1 – With these instructions you should get something like the first picture. The next thing without changing the pose, is to “find” the face expression you’re looking for. You may want to try moving from very subtle smirks to stronger smiles or even laughter. And once you have the expression (or different ones) you’re after, tell and show it to the model. Thereby it will be easy for the model to learn and repeat it.

Photo 2 – After I got the simple and kind expression I was looking for, I slightly changed my position and asked the model to keep looking back over her shoulder to the camera. Exactly the same pose, just taken from another angle and you already have a slightly different photo.

Photo 3 – Also many different looking directions and head tilts are possible. In this particular example I asked the model to look back down her body. This look works very well in many posing situations, creating yet another variation just by slightly adjusting the starting pose.

Pose 2

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos

Seeing this sample illustration you should grab only the basic idea – “portrait shot with hands around the face”. That’s all you need for playing around with initial sample pose. Eventually you will come up with some nice variations of your own.

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos

Photo 4 – Before getting to the hands, ask the model to stand facing the camera and support her body weight on just one leg. This instantly curves her body and her shoulder line is shifted. After that ask her to gently move her hands around the face and in the hair. Generally look for asymmetrical hand placements, but as you can imagine – many variations are possible.

Photo 5 – In this shot the only difference is slight tilting of the head and putting one hand behind the hair.

Photo 6 – To differentiate the look and feel, I once again asked the model to look down her own body and cropped tighter around the face. And again with only minor adjustments from one pose we’ve got 3 different photos.

Pose 3

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos

Another easy pose with very simple idea – “hands connected on the chest”. Notice that hands are not really “crossed”, but “connected”. Also you should warn your model not to grip them too tight or press upper arms against the body. Simply put, the posture should feel comfortable and subtle.

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos

Photo 7 – Before taking this shot, I showed the model the sample illustration and she tried to recreate it. This is as close as you usually get if you recreate the sample pose.

Photo 8 – The outlines don’t and won’t match perfectly. In this particular example I took a shot from higher angle aiming slightly down because I saw that this angle works better for the model.

Photo 9 – Another simple way of transforming the pose is simply mirroring it the other way around. And to even more differentiate it from the first shot, I asked the model to lean against a wall.

And then I moved closer and took a head shot for just another variation of the same pose.

Pose 4

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos - Pose 4

This simple pose is again self-explanatory – “the model turned to the side with one hand on the waist”. That’s all I tried to recreate.

7poses 4

Photo 10 – Here I started straight away with mirroring the sample pose because this was the better looking side for my model. Remember that it is different for each person. If you are not sure, take both variations and ask your model which one she prefers.

Photo 11 – From side view I followed to 45 degree position and asked the model to keep looking to the camera.

Photo 12 – Lastly, I just moved farther away for wider frame. The same pose, but these minor variations provide you with greater choice of images to select from in post.

Pose 5

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos

This pose provides simple yet elegant at the wall concept – “standing at the wall with hands behind the back”.

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos

Photo 13 – Start with asking your model to support herself at the wall with her back. After that the first thing to take care of is shifting her body weight on one leg with the other crossed over it. Even if the legs are not visible in the frame, it is critical for forming the model’s body in S shape. Then ask her to place her hands behind her back asymmetrically. Finally ask her to lean forward slightly away from the wall with her upper body part.

Photo 14 – As usual I tried changing my shooting angle and took the next shot more from a side.

Photo 15 – And I continued to experiment with slightly different hand placement and head tilt. These images might be very similar, but most probably your subjects will be grateful for this kind of choice.

Pose 6

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos

Another at the wall pose but this time with the model facing the wall. Easy to describe and recreate. Both hands are gently placed on the wall right in front of her just below the breast line.

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos

Photo 16 – With the previous instructions the model easily achieved the described pose. And again I chose mirroring the sample illustration which already is one variation for any pose.

Photo 17 – Here I changed the shooting angle nearly parallel to the wall and cropped for a portrait shot.

Photo 18 – Finally the model changed the hand placement asymmetrically for just another variation.

Pose 7

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos

This is a bit more challenging pose than the previous ones, so definitely some guidance for the model is required in order to recreate it.

Posing Guide for Photographing Women: 7 Poses to Get You 21 Different Photos

Photo 19 – The trick for the model here is to stand slightly off the wall and support herself against the wall with the front shoulder only. Front hand is loosened by the wall. After that the model should support the body weight on the outer leg, kicking the hip out with the inner leg crossed over. The back arm rests on the hip and the elbow is pulled behind her back.

Photo 20 – After managing the starting pose I started to variate it. Here I moved closer for tighter crop and asked the model to lean slightly forward along the wall.

Photo 21 – And finally I asked the model to turn sideways, supporting against the wall with both shoulders. And to further differentiate the shots I asked her to look down her body.

So, that’s it. Out of 7 sample poses we managed to get 21 different shots. And as you can easily imagine, even these are only samples, adjustments and variations are indeed endless.

All of these illustrations and many more posing samples are available on Posing App for your mobile devices.

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.

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Some Older Comments

  • Jahangir July 20, 2013 10:36 pm

    i work as a profesional photographer and a photography teacher. i was surfing the net then faced your website . your model has a beautifull face but your photogerapher couldnt take a good phot beacuse your lighting is incorect . i will be happy to be in contact with you more.
    Jahangir Jahanpoor
    from iran

  • Jon July 20, 2013 06:52 pm

    Nice poses in a way. However the lighting does not flatter the model. Monster lighting or not, with a face as round as this model has this only makes her chin disappear and makes her face look even rounder. Also the reflection in her eyes makes her look evilish. The lighting does not flatter the model. And lighting should be considered with poses. So even though this is an article about posing, lighting is also a key factor and has to be considered.

  • Lou Franco June 23, 2013 02:56 am

    Tips on posing for people with double chins.

  • Cathy B June 14, 2013 10:12 am

    You may think these are amateur looking and very basic but they are Sue Bryce inspired and I can tell you they are a great starting point for many photographers. And better yet - they sell like hotcakes. Like it or not - monster lighting or not, angle to low or not, all the negative things people have posted - this stuff sells and it sell good.

    All things can be improved upon - including anything anyone who post here has done. Its a nice basic start for those who need it though.

  • Rick June 12, 2013 08:38 pm

    John, you are absolutely right about the neck folds...they are in about half of the shots and are really unattractive. I never even noticed them!! Not as bad as a double chin but still something to avoid like the plague.

  • Allen June 8, 2013 08:48 pm

    Gotta love the "Professionals" with their sour remarks and Hey Guys lighten up as it is a site that is supposed to help us "Mere Amateurs" as it does say "School" in the title.
    I like the ideas as it does give us "Amateurs" somewhere to start when we think about taking a picture of a person who may not even be a professional "Model" but simply a friend.
    The comment about "Neck Lines" is certainly something to think about and I had not even noticed them until they were mentioned and I guess we can always see what it looks like and work it out as we go because that is what "Us Amateurs" do anyway. Thanks for yet another very helpful article.

  • John June 7, 2013 09:43 am

    I've just started to take studio shots of people so am finding your site very helpful, however, I've been told to try and avoid the "neck folds" (for want of a better expression) that are in #1, #2 and #10.

    I may have been misled as I'm struggling to see how you can do that pose and not turn the neck.

  • Pearl June 7, 2013 07:05 am

    Sue Bryce poses

  • Vicco June 7, 2013 05:30 am

    Hi, good job,
    but be careful with poses with the shoulder or the elbow directed straight in the cam.
    this can look a bit ... sort of "blocking" or stopping,

    cheers, Vicco

  • Anuarg Painuly June 7, 2013 04:57 am

    Wow great Position for girls looking all poses nice

  • Tony June 7, 2013 03:00 am

    Horrible Posing's, all are un_natural as well....anyway, "amateur's" can find some things to do with...

  • Ridder June 7, 2013 02:58 am

    skip pose 2. Cant helping thinking with these kind of posing, they are in pain off some sort :/

  • Scott June 7, 2013 01:36 am

    Hello, I hope you don't mind a gentle critique. Your camera angles don't really match the artists rendering. The camera angle is too high, looking down on the model. Having the model look up at at the camera shortens her neck. Also, Monster lighting (from below the camera lens) only flaters Monsters. When photographing woman with rounish features have your brightest light above the camera lens and lighting the short side of her face. She will apeer thinner and you will be her hero. Thank you, Scott

  • GM Studio June 6, 2013 07:37 pm


    Thanks you for your article, as photographer i'm alway looking for new ideas and always looking to improve the posing technique for my models.
    I really like the poses 10-12 and 19 and the portrait on picures 9 is simply beautiful :)

  • Janell June 6, 2013 07:22 am

    Great tips. I am frantic when posing. Thanks!

  • Rik Pennington June 5, 2013 09:46 pm

    There is some great advice here and all of the poses are easily achievable without looking forced or contrived. I particularly like pose 7 which can make a very dramatic bridal portrait shot in the right location and light. I'll check out the app for more ideas.

  • Fran June 5, 2013 08:53 am

    Great article. Personally not a fan of #18 ever since I was positioned that exact way---even the hand and finger placement (against a tree, not a wall) once and everyone who saw it thought I was smashing a bug on the tree. It felt weird too.

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer June 5, 2013 05:14 am

    I am a big fan of the Posing App as well and I find it really helps with clients. The visual aid helps clients get into position. I reviewed the app earlier this year: