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How to Pose for Pictures: 10 Easy Poses to Try

by Melissa Teng
Girl smiling and kicking fall leaves into the air

Last Updated on October 19, 2020 by Melissa Teng

Sponsored by Zappos. As always, all thoughts and opinions in this article are 100% my own.

Looking for new ideas and tips on how to pose in pictures for Instagram or for your next photoshoot? Well look no further, because I’m sharing 10 of my favorite easy and creative poses that will take your photos to another level!

gif of different posing pictures

Posing in pictures can feel daunting and awkward, especially if you’re not used to doing it regularly. What do I do with my arms? Where do I put my hands?? 

I used to feel so uncomfortable posing in front of the camera, but after having done it for several years now, I’ve finally figured out a method for what works and what doesn’t. Everyone’s body is different, and the best way to figure out what works best and flatters you the most is to just go out there and start posing! However, I do believe that there are some classic tried and true poses that work well and will flatter most everyones’ angles. 

When it comes to posing, it’s also important to be aware of your environment and to work with your surroundings or backdrop. It also helps to have your photographer take photos from different angles and perspectives, because it could make all the difference between a mediocre and amazing shot. 

Over time, I’ve learned to incorporate movement into my poses, and I now view trying out new poses in different environments as a fun challenge to get comfortable with my body in front of a camera. For more on posing with lots of movement and dynamic range, be sure to check out my 10 Dynamic Photography Posing Ideas to Try for Instagram as well!

If you’re ready to take your photos to the next level, then read on to learn how to pose for photos and discover new poses that you can incorporate easily into your Instagram feed, next photo shoot occasion, or blog!

Here are 10 Easy and Cute Poses to Try:

1. Look Back at the Camera

This is a great, easy pose to incorporate into any photoshoot that also looks very natural. I like utilizing this pose when I want to bring attention to my background, or if I’m wearing an outfit that has a unique-looking back!

2. Place Hand on Hip

Girl in front of Pike Place Market sign

Here’s another easy and versatile pose that works for any occasion. I like to place my hand slightly above my hip with the fingers pointing downwards and then angle my body a bit. I also like to extend one leg out (maybe you’ve heard this jokingly called as the “giraffe” pose!”) because doing this does give a little added height to your frame.

3. Hand Behind Ear

Pretending to tuck a piece of hair behind your ear can feel sort of silly, but it actually turns out looking really natural and candid in photos! Having your hand near your ear offers a natural frame for your face and gives it a softer look. You could also look down and smile while doing this pose for a sweet look.

Girl in front of Pike Place Market sign in Seattle

Another variation to this pose is to place your hand near your forehead as if you’re trying to block the sun from your eyes. Again, you might feel silly doing this, but it really creates a chic look!

Girl sitting on top of large rock overlooking lake at Rattlesnake Ledge

4. Spin or Twirl

Girl twirling in blue dress

This pose has been my go-to pose and dare I say, what I’ve become “known” for when I first started posting on Instagram! I love this pose because it brings airy movement to your photos while looking carefree and whimsical. It’s also a great way to show off a beautiful flowy skirt or dress.

Girl twirling in blue dress in front of autumnal tree

Pro Tip: The key to getting this pose right is to have your photographer set their camera to “burst” mode while having a high shutter speed (about 1/500 if you want to eliminate motion blur and “freeze” the dress) in order to capture the entire movement of your spin/twirl. That way during post edit, you’ll have multiple images to choose from with one that’s bound to have captured the perfect twirl. For a more artsy look, you could also lower the shutter speed to blur more of the movement!

5. Stand on Tiptoes and Lean Back

girl leaning back on tiptoes in Pike Place Market

This pose takes a little more balance and effort, but I think the end result is totally worth it! I love doing this pose to add an effortless chic or cool look to an image, and it’s also a great way to show off your outfit.

Above, I paired a button down dress and fun fruit embroidered cardigan with my new Jungle Moc shoes by Merrell. If you’re familiar with the Merrell brand, then you know how iconic these shoes are!

There’s often a misconception that the Jungle Moc shoes are mainly only worn for hiking or on the trail, but I wanted to share just how versatile the Jungle Moc really is to me.

As someone that values fashion and comfort, these shoes fit the bill. They are highly functional, taking me from a morning hike to running errands and getting groceries in the afternoon. They’ve become an everyday staple, and it’s so fun to mix and match a variety of outfits and styles with them.

With everything going on in the world and life constantly changing even quicker than before, it’s really important for me to be able to have a pair of shoes that I can rely on for all day comfort, and the Jungle Moc is a timeless shoe with classic style that I know will last a long time to come. 

6. Jump in the Air

Girl leaping in the air at sunset in front of rattlesnake lake

I’m sure everyone did some version of this pose during a highschool or college graduation celebration, but weirdly enough, it still works really well for photos!

The trick is to make the jump look effortless, so I like to figure out how I want my face and limbs to look before the jump. It may take some trial and error to get that perfect jump, but having the camera on burst mode is key to making sure the jump is captured just the way you want it to be.

7. Kick Up a Leg

This is a really fun and carefree pose that I like to use in a lot of my photos. It works well if you’re slowly walking towards the camera or forward, and then just kick one leg up higher!

It’s the perfect pose to try when the autumn leaves turn crisp and blanket the ground because you’ll naturally just want to kick them into the air, like I did below! 

Girl smiling and kicking fall leaves into the air

Pro tip: For an advanced version of this pose, lean back while kicking your leg up so that your kicked-up leg is parallel to the ground. It’s a really cool effect, especially if you incorporate leading lines in your shot!

Girl in blue dress

8. Crouch or Sit Down

Girl sitting on log with feet dangling

This is a great pose to show off your shoes or get more intimate with the camera, like I’m doing here with my Jungle Moc’s!

The key to making this shot work is to ensure that the camera angle is at eye level or even below eye level, and angled upwards while shooting. This gives more depth to the photo while also making the subject appear taller in the photo, commanding the attention of the viewer. Shooting from a higher angle and looking down at the subject works for some types of photos too, but a different pose should then be used to complement that type of shot, which I’ll explain shortly!

9. Sit on the Ground

Girl sitting on top of large rock overlooking lake at Rattlesnake Ledge

In contrast to the previous pose, having your photographer stand above you and shoot angling down is a great way to capture a unique background, such as all the vibrant fall leaves that have fallen to the ground, or colorful chalk art. Even more epic is if your photographer is a level higher than you and capturing you at the top of a scenic hike. 

It’s also a great casual pose, and you can switch it up by having both your legs straight out for a more fun vibe, or bending one of your knees and resting your arm on it while leaning back for an effortlessly cool look.

10. Sit on Stairs

Girl sitting on stairs in front of pink mural

Finding some cute stairs to sit on is a great way to add unique angles and leading lines to your photo. We found this cute mural near Pike Place in Seattle which was a perfect place for a photo opp! I decided to lean back on the stairs for a more relaxed look.

Another variation is to sit forward and look directly at the camera, which is a great way to play with leading lines created by the stairs. Make sure to prop your feet up or even place one knee higher with the other leg more straight. This helps elongate the legs and doesn’t distract or break from the lines created by the stairs.

Girl sitting on stairs in front of neon sign

I hope these tips on how to pose for photos were helpful, and hopefully you learned a few new ones to try out! In almost all of these shots, I’m featuring the iconic Jungle Moc shoes by Merrell, which I got from Zappos!

If you’re looking for new shoes or even clothes, then I’d highly recommend checking out Zappos, if you haven’t heard of them already. They have a huge range of styles and amazing customer service with fast, free shipping and a 365-day free return policy.

Especially in times like these when stores may still be closed, and it’s often difficult to leave the house, having the ease of free shipping, 24/7 customer service, and peace of mind knowing that you can return anything for up to a year, Zappos fits perfectly into anyone’s busy lifestyle.

Do you have any go-to poses you love that I didn’t cover in this article? If you have other pose ideas or suggestions, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

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