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How to pose for photos - the secret nobody talks about

How to pose for photos: the one secret nobody talks about

‘How to pose for photos’ became a huge niche since Covid-19 with lots of content creators teaching everyone else their posing ‘hacks’. Today we are also talking about photo-posing, but on a different level – the one secret NOBODY talks about. Are you ready?

portrait of a business woman smiling
From a personal branding photoshoot with Nishti from Nishti’s Choice

Back in the day (4 years to be exact) when I started my photography business, I was determined to learn everything I could about posing to be able to help direct my clients to flattering shapes and angles. 

I read countless articles, watched endless YouTube videos teaching people how to pose… Long story short, it all comes down to copying someone’s poses (‘my 5 go-to poses’, ‘top 3 pose ideas to look slimmer’, and so on). Articles, and videos like this DON’T really teach you the fundamentals of posing – simply copying someone else’s pose doesn’t mean that it will look good on you. Everyone’s body and facial structure is unique and requires a more personal approach when it comes to posing. Though it’s a great start – you need to tweak and change your body language slightly, in order to get the most of a particular pose for it to look good on YOU.


I see this all the time, so many of us have a couple of go-to poses, go-to facial expressions (as little as a certain way of smiling and angling the chin!), and we tend stick to this “safe” look. The biggest issue with this is that most of the time, our go-to poses are not actually flattering! 

The first time I learnt this was during a self-portrait photoshoot. I needed a professional headshot update and decided to do it myself. Basically, when I replicated my usual poses that I’d normally do at a party or when traveling, I was shocked to realize that they didn’t give justice to my short neck. At the end of the self-portrait headshots session, I ended up with 30-40 exactly the same unflattering photos that I couldn’t use. 

a full body photo of a female model posing in casual fashion outfit
a male model posing in a casual outfit

THE POSING SECRET you’ve been waiting for

The photo-posing tip I wanted to share with you today can be summed up in just one word: MOVE. Simply put, whenever you’re posing for a photo, don’t stop moving. 

Think about it – you strike your favourite pose and freeze, then your photographer (friend, or partner) will take 10-20 (maybe more) exactly the same images of you doing exactly the same pose. The problem here is that you are NOT going to get a variety, and imagine the pose doesn’t really look good (for whatever reason – potentially bad lighting, unflattering camera angle, etc)! 

Next time you’re having your photo taken, try this: 

Move every time you hear a camera’s shutter click! Shift your weight from one foot to another, adjust the angle of your chin, turn your body slightly… The best thing is that you don’t need to come up with sophisticated new poses every time. Pick a pose, and play with it – small adjustments will make a huge difference. 

Have a look at the example below: the fundamental pose is ‘hands in back pockets’. Notice how the model leans forward and back and shifts her hips to make it a completely new look every time she moves.

how to pose for photos, a collage with posing variations

DANCE instead of standing still

Did you know, you don’t always have to come up with sophisticated posing ideas? If you really want to see the beauty of movement when it comes to posing for photos, play your favorite song during your photoshoot and start dancing. Ask your photographer to take as many photos as possible, and focus on the movement. 

Chances are many of the images of movement are not going to be flattering, BUT there definitely WILL BE a couple of gems that you will absolutely love. 

If you want to take your posing game to the next level, read Want to Pose Like a Pro? Dance!

Woman dancing and smiling in a golden cocktail dress and red lipstick. Birmingham portrait photography makeover experience
woman dancing and smiling during a studio portrait photoshoot

A posing checklist for your next shoot:

  • Don’t limit your options by striking just one go-to pose for a photo. 
  • Small adjustments do make a HUGE difference. 
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new and experiment
  • Be open to feedback (you don’t see what a photographer sees. Relax and follow their expertise
  • Get to know your angles and poses that work for YOU – practice in front of the mirror

Here are some more blog posts on how to pose for photos you might also enjoy:  

The BEST POSES for a Photoshoot

ACTION POSES for More Dynamic Portraits

Best Poses for Professional Headshots

Dance Photography Poses: How to Pose Dancers for Photos


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