Struggling with female poses? Memorize these tips to help your clients feel more confident!

If you’ve ever taken a turn in front of the camera, you know that being there brings out all of your insecurities. You never want your clients to feel insecure during their session because they will attach that feeling to their photos. Instead, you want to empower them and make them feel as beautiful as you know they are through your tool box of female poses that highlight their beauty.

Your goal should be to help them see in your female model the beauty that everyone else sees, and you definitely can do that with the right set of tools. The women that you photograph are trusting you to highlight their female assets and downplay the things they don’t yet love about themselves, and this set of go-to female posing advice will help you do just that. Once you understand these moves, you can also combine them with these tips to make your posing more relaxed and really improve your posing. 

Start with this concept: whatever is closest to the camera appears largest.

Female Poses

That means that if a hip or arm is closest to the camera, it will probably appear bigger than it is.

Instead, you’ll want to put what she loves closest to the camera. That’s probably her eyes or her face, so an easy tip to highlight those eyes is to have her lean in, with her face closer to you than her body is. If you have a difficult time coaching your client into the lean, consider having her sit and place her elbows on her knees without slouching her back. Once she gets what that natural lean feels like, she will be able to replicate it in other poses.

When she leans forward it puts the focus on her eyes and smile, defines her jawline, and minimizes the focus on the rest of her body. For many of us, that’s exactly what we want.

Combine that concept with this one: In general, you never want to pose a woman square to the camera

Female poses

If her shoulders are square to the camera, her body appears wider. Instead, angle her body towards the camera. That doesn’t mean you have to turn her completely to the side. Just placing one shoulder closer to the camera makes a major difference in the appearance of her body.

In the photographs above, notice how much wider she appears when she is square to the camera. Just a slight twist of her hips, combined with pushing her weight into her back leg adds dimension and slims her instantly.

Here are some go-to poses you can try that place your subject at a flattering angle:

Almost Sideways – 45 Degree Angle

One of the most natural model poses for female models is turning the body sideways and lifting the head a bit. By facing sideways to the camera, you can highlight the client’s posture and make her look taller. Ask her to bend the knee closest to you, so that you can shift the weight away from the camera. 

Completely Sideways – 90 Degree Angle

Another good pose is to lean sideways with the subject’s head resting on her hands. Try to lean her body against a wall for support. This pose works well when you want to emphasize the natural look of the face and body.

Next, shoot from slightly above

Female poses

Whether she is standing or sitting, if you can shoot from just slightly above, the angle will flatter your subject. Again, it defines the chin and puts your focus on her eyes in most cases.

Notice how, in the photos above, the shape of her face changes dramatically when shot from above and her eyes and smile become the stars of the show.

An easy way to do this is to make sure you include seated model poses in your sessions. Whether your model is seated on a bench or snuggling with her partner on a blanket, the seated pose instantly reminds you to shoot from above. Need more ideas about how to pose women with a partner? Check out this tutorial on posing couples or how to pose men.

Additionally, here are flattering female model poses that work well when shooting from slightly above:

Close Up of Her Face

You’ve seen a female model showcasing the best features of their faces using a close-up shot. 

Achieve this by having your subject poses looking directly at the camera, focusing on expressive eyes or the most striking features. 

Turn your female model’s head slightly to the side to emphasize her best features; may it be her prominent cheekbones, full lips, or multiple piercings. Play with different expressions until she finds the most comfortable pose. 

Seated Poses

Sitting on Steps or a Chair 

Sitting is a universal pose that works well for all female models. Sitting on a high surface or chair greatly emphasizes the legs, making her look visually longer. This pose also allows a female model to mix up their hand placement by using the seat of the chair or their thighs as a place to rest their hands on.

Sitting or Lying on the Floor

Sitting of lying on the floor is a great way to mix up the posing and showcase women from a completely different angle. If you have your subject lay on the floor, you can shoot directly above them and create a unique photo. 

With her sitting on the floor, you will also naturally be able to shoot slightly above her. If you don’t want it to look like she’s sitting down, consider using a tighter lens (such as an 85mm) and only focusing on her face and upper body.

Sitting with Knees Bent

Photography is about creating leading lines, which draws the viewer’s eye to the intended subject. Sitting with straight legs may appear dull for some, whereas knees bent create shapes. To add asymmetry to your model’s posing, instruct her to sit with one forward while the other knee is bent. 

For a shoot, you can also get a chair for you to half-kneel. Check for props where the model can sit, creating the illusion of bending the knees. 

Sitting with Legs Crossed

One of the simplest model poses to make is sitting with legs crossed. Using a familiar pose helps your model’s body relax, letting her work on your facial expressions instead. You can try pulling the top knee up a little higher to add more shape and highlight the curves. 

Then, add in this concept: Focus on creating curves

Female poses

Female poses should focus on accenting what women love about their bodies, and that is often their curves. So many women feel more beautiful and feminine when their curves are on display, so why not empower them and highlight the feminine nature of their bodies through your female poses. When your poses focus on highlighting curves, you also, as a bonus, give a woman a more defined waist.

In a standing female pose, remember to have her put her weight in her back leg. This pushes her butt and hips back, minimizing them (remember step 1). Of course, if your goal is to accent her fabulous rear end, you’ll want to do the opposite, but for most female photography sessions, the weight goes in the back leg.

When she shifts her weight to the back leg, you’ll want her to bend her knee away from the camera. When the female model bends her knee away from the camera, this creates a curve in the front hip and through one leg that screams “feminine.”

You can then have her bend her arm, which will create a gap between her side/waist and her arm. This, combined with the bend to her leg, highlights the curve of the waist. In the photos poses above, notice how moving that arm away from her body between the first and second photos creates a gap that accentuates her curves.  The hip and waist are so much more pronounce when the arm is away from the body, giving her that hourglass figure.

You can also have her lean against something and arch her back. These poses highlights the curve of the small of her back and of her hip.

Here is a go-to pose that incorporates this concept:

The S Pose

The “S” shape accentuates a female model’s figure. Photographers should help female models see where to shift their weight, which is usually on the back hip. 

These poses create a natural bend in the opposite knee. It creates a look as if there are horizontal and vertical lines along the shoulders, hips, and waistline. Another tip is to cross the ankles and keep the hands relaxed.

This leads us into concept five: If it bends, bend it

Female Poses

Bending just about every major joint in her body will create a much more feminine pose. Notice that leaning forward involves bending at the waist. Shifting her weight to the back foot normally involves bending at least one knee. If she is laying on the ground, her elbows are bent propping her up. Almost all of the key female model posing advice involve “if it bends, bend it,” so if you remember just that concept, your posing will improve.

In the two photographs above, notice how bending that elbow creates a major difference in how flattering the pose is to the subject. And again, notice the weight is in the back leg and her neck, hope, elbow, wrist, knee, and waist all have slight bends to them.

Try this pose to help create natural bends:

Hands on Hips

Placing hands on the hips is one of the standard photography poses for female model portrait photography. These poses make the waist appear smaller because the space in the arms creates a slimming effect. Besides, the pose shows female power and domination. 

Let your female model play with the bodyweight distribution, although it’s good to push the shoulders forward to accentuate the collar bones.

Summary

Make sure to combine these tips into multiple female poses that flatter every body type. Thees poses can also be used in engagement and wedding sessions, in maternity sessions, in female headshot sessions, and in family photo shoot to adjust your current female posing flow in a way that flatters your clients and helps them leave feeling empowered and in love with how they look.