20 Female Poses That Will Give You Professional Results

Posing can be one’s worst nightmare, but it does not need to be.  With just a couple of tips and tricks up your sleeve, you will soon grow to love the posing process. In this article, I will explain how you can master the art of female poses.

Whether you are a photographer or a female model, these tips will help you show up to your next session with a lot of confidence.

A female posing with a hat that is covering her eyes.
Being familiar with posing is key to a successful portrait session

Preparation

The best trick that you can have in your camera bag is preparation which comes in two forms:

Photographer Preparation:

  • Research female poses and prepare a shot list.
  • Pin a few ideas into an Inspiration folder on your mobile phone, which can be accessed anytime should you need a creative boost.

Client Preparation:

  • Talk her through your ideas for the shoot as well as the location, to remove any feelings of anxiety.
  • As the shoot begins, communicate with your female model and build a relaxed relationship with her.  
  • During the whole shoot process, chat, compliment, make jokes to keep the air light and keep the model relaxed.

List of Female Poses

The advantage to photographing female models, regardless of their body shape, is the mere fact that there are many poses which can be used.   The 20 ideas below will provide you with many options during your next photo shoot.

1. Standing Poses (Straight On) with No Props

A standing female pose that emphasis on sleek body shape
A sleek body shape is something to aim for to take your images to the next level
  • One knee must be bent and the entire leg leaning almost over the other leg to create an “S” shape.
  • For an easier option, have the female model cross her one leg over the other to create a sleek shape.
  • The placement of arms must allow for light to move between her body and arms, which will accentuate her waist.
  • Watch her posture so that her shoulders are not slumped.
  • If the model is feeling self-conscious, demonstrate the pose yourself and make the environment a relaxed one.
  • Create different shapes with the body.

2. Standing Poses (Almost Sideways)

A female model posing standing but slightly turned away from the camera
Even though your female model is standing, this allows for full length and close up shots
  • The nearest knee to the camera should always be bent so that weight is shifted away from the camera to allow for a beautiful body shape.

3. Standing Poses (Totally Sideways)

A photo of a model posing 90 degrees turned away and looking at the camera
Clothing props can also create different posing options.
  • Shoot a closer view of the model so that it almost seems like she is peeping over her shoulder at you, thus creating a more intimate shot.

4. Standing Poses (with Back to Camera)

A model posing completely turned away from the camera looking at waves
When your model is facing away, this gives the image a new emotion
  • During a full-length shot, watch the placement of legs with one knee bent so that weight is shifted away from the camera.
  • Place her hands on her hips or play with different options, always ensuring light is flowing around the model.

5. Standing with Back Against a Wall

A female posing with her back against a wall. Leading lines of the wall emphasis the model
Allow your poses to create a story.
  • The model can lean flat against the wall or slightly angled towards the camera.
  • If your model is looking away from the camera, give clear instructions of where to look i.e. look straight at that red car or look up towards that tower.
  • If your model is looking away, watch the whites of her eyes as too much of the white may look unappealing.
  • For different emotions, give the model a narrative e.g. imagine you are waiting for your lost love or you have just won the lottery.

6. Standing While Leaning Sideways Against a Wall

A beautiful model standing sideways against a wall. Looking directly at the camera
Let your poses seem effortless and natural.
  • Watch placement of her arms and legs.
  • Ensure that the pose looks as natural as possible.

7. Standing Poses with Use of Wall – Facing the Wall

Use cityscapes as backdrops
  • This option works well for a close up of the female model’s arms and face.
  • Ask your model to lean on the wall with her head resting on her hands.
  • If the wall is too low to lean against, have your female model sit on the wall and face away from the camera.

8.  Standing Poses with Use of a Prop

A model posing standing up against a prop (chair)
Props allow your model to be comfortable and open a lot of posing opportunities

A prop can give you many options :

  • leaning slightly on the chair,
  • half kneeling on the chair,
  • a foot rested on the chair,
  • to even just twirling the chair on one leg for some movement shots.
  • When it comes to props, use your imagination.  

9. Using Props (Accessories)

A female model posing with sunglasses and jewelry as props
Allow your model to have some fun with props.
  • Using accessories  (hats, scarves, sunglasses, handbags, etc) that coordinate with the female model’s outfit can give you a wide range of different poses.

10. Walking (Towards or to the side of the Camera)

A model posing while walking sideways to the camera in a beach
Movement can make an image magical
  • Ask your model to slowly walk towards you.
  • The walk must be exaggerated by stepping one foot in front of the other whilst looking in different directions or directly at the camera.
  • If the model is walking on the beach, ask her to walk in the shallow water and cause some movement within the water with her feet.
  • As she walks, move around her getting different angles and even silhouettes.

11. Walking (Away from the Camera) :

A female posing while walking away from the camera
Walking away and looking back can give a model a fresh new look
  • Ask your female model to walk away from the camera looking back at you or down to her side incorporating some movement with clothing or hair.

12. Sitting on Steps or a Chair

A female posing while sitting on steps to a high-end department store
A seated model gives you many different photographic options
  • With the model sitting, you can use different angles and heights to get different looks.
  • If the model is a tad overweight then focus more on the above type of angle where she looks up at the camera, as this will be slimming.
Posing opportunities are endless when you use props!

13. Sitting on the Floor

Different backgrounds can either enhance or distract
  • This can allow for some cute female poses with some coy expressions.
  • Always make sure that your female model’s modesty is maintained.
  • Whilst the model is seated, she can play with a flower or piece of jewelry which will lend itself to many different photographic options from full body, to half body to macro detail shots.
  • During hand shots, always make sure that they have soft relaxed hands.
  • Create different shapes with arms and legs.

14. Laying on the Side

A female model posing laying sideways on a rock
When your model moves into a new pose, see where her arms and hands fall naturally.
  • When your female model is laying down, make sure her clothing is laying correctly.
  • The model can place a soft hand under her jawline to prop up her head or have arms more relaxed around her body forming a frame.
  • Her top leg must be slightly bent and dropping slightly forward to show the shape of the body.
  • Always give your model positive feedback.

15. Laying on the Stomach

A photo of a female pose laying on the floor with stomach to the floor
Hands should be soft and below the jawline
  • The female model can lay on her stomach totally facing the camera so that only her face and hands (under her jawline) are visible for a beautiful close-up.
  • Another option, the model can lay at a slight angle so that one can see her face, arms clearly and her body in the distance.
  • Depending on shoot style, her knees can be bent or lay flat.

16. Laying on the Back

Watch how clothes, hair, jewelry, and limbs appear in overhead shots.
  • If the model is laying flat and looking straight up at the photographer,  watch for any double chins that may form due to the angle.
  • Ensure that her clothes and hair are laid out correctly.
  • For a variation, the model can look to her side at the camera.
  • A third option would be her knees up and her head looking back at the camera.

17. Head and Shoulders

Give your female model positive feedback throughout the shoot
  • Use the model’s arms or hands for natural framing.
  • Ensure that there is no tension in her jawline and shoulders.
  • Give your model some breathing techniques if they are struggling to relax.

18. Face Close Up

Ensure make-up is perfect, before taking a close up shot.
  • To reduce your editing load, make sure your female model’s make-up is pristine with no shine and her hair in place i.e. be her mirror.
  • Also, check for any lipstick on her teeth or anything out of place.
  • If your female model is being self-conscious about smiling, then discuss this with her and see if a compromise can be found.
  • For these close up shots,  play with different expressions so that you can find the perfect smile or far off stare.
  • Communicate and reassure your model.
  • Share special images with her off the back of the camera which helps with relationship building as well as boosting her self-esteem.

19. Hair

A model with longer hair can allow for movement shots using wind machines.
  • If your female model has beautiful hair, then this is a great opportunity to showcase this feature.
  • Ask your model to shake her hair (gently) or move her hand along her hair and see what works.
  • You can also use a fan if you want to control the flow of hair
  • Different facial expressions can be added into the mix to allow for different photo options.
  • Make sure you use a faster shutter speed to avoid motion blur.

20. Icebreaker – Do 10 Poses in 10 Seconds!

A photo of a model laughing while doing the ice breaker technique which is a great way to discover new female poses.
Ice breakers are a great way to relax your female model.
  • Begin by explaining how the icebreaker works i.e. each time the photographer calls out a number from 1 up to 10, the model’s pose must change.
  • Start your female model off in a basic standing pose and then start the counting.
  • This icebreaker is quickly done which invariably brings natural laughter.
  • This is also an opportunity for your model to have some fun and show her range of poses from serious, to fun to cute female poses.
  • My favorite US based photographer, Hannah Quintana says her “technique is capturing the moments in between the poses” which allows for natural relaxed captured moments.

It’s As Easy As That!

Executing on these ideas will give you endless posing possibilities, but always use your instincts and creativity to allow the photo shoot to flow naturally.  Not all poses work for all individuals, so don’t force your female model into poses which are unnatural, uncomfortable or unsafe.

I hope my ideas have given you some inspiration and that you are even more excited for your next shoot.

Leave me a comment below in terms of your favorite pose or perhaps one that has not been covered above.

Stay Fabulous!

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