A pose can make or break an image. Knowing how to position your subjects is crucial to getting the best possible shot. Here, we’ve rounded up the ultimate poses to make your subjects look stunning.

49 Killer Portrait Photography Poses to Try Out

Whether your model is male or female, experienced or inexperienced, young or old, single or taken, we’ve gathered an amazing list of photography poses for photos that fit virtually any setting.

Portrait Photography Poses for Women 

Below are some of our favorite portrait photography poses that can add a feminine flair to any portrait.

1. Looking Over the Shoulder

Whether your model is standing or sitting, the over-the-shoulder photography poses can give your portrait a classic, confident feel. This is a popular photography pose for a reason. It’s suitable for a variety of locations and lighting.

2. Keep Your Chin Up

Having your subject lift up her chin will make the portrait bold and edgy, deeming it one of the best photography poses to use. 

3. Hands Up the Air

If you’re going for a more dramatic look, try these photography poses. Have your model raise her arms over her head. You can even get her to close her eyes or tell her to look at the sky for more effect.

4. Relaxed and Composed

To achieve a casual look in your portraits, get your model to put her hands in her pockets. Poses like this tell the viewers that she’s relaxed, but edgy at the same time.

5. Hands in Hair

The great thing about the hands-in-hair pose in your portraits is that you can use it with beginners. It also looks good with any body type.

woman with hand on her head

6. The Poised Pose

Many celebrities use the classic hand-on-hip pose on the Red Carpet. This pose creates a more poised look, and exudes confidence.

7. The Elegant Pose

For an air of elegance, get your model to turn her head towards the camera and place her hands on her neck. Make sure she appears natural so that the pose doesn’t seem forced in your photos.

8. One Leg in Front of the Other

The one-leg-in-front-of-the-other photography pose is casual, yet striking. It’s so appealing because it can help elongate your subject’s legs and narrow her hips.

9. Lying Down

If you’re looking for a simple pose that can still command attention, have your model lie her head and body on the floor. This adds softness and vulnerability to your portrait photography.

10. Looking Up

While not a photo pose per se, this style of photography shoots the model from a bottom-up position. It adds interest to the photo and makes the model appear bossy and high-fashion.

11. Strong Shoulder

Have your subject stand side-on to you. Get her to put her hands on her hips, with her elbows pointing behind her. Her shoulders should be pointing forward and one leg should be in front of the other. This photography pose is very flattering for women and shows boldness.

12. The Arm Cross

The arm cross is an elegant, yet laid back photography pose. To achieve this look, get your subject to sit on the floor so that her knees are at waist height. She should be learning forward, toward you, with her forearms crossed around her knees.

13. In Motion

Creating a sense of motion in your posed photos can make it dynamic and lively. Have your subject walk towards you. For a more elaborate pose, you can have your model twirl around, which creates a sense of playfulness 

14. Nice and Cozy

In portrait photography, autumn and winter poses should show comfort and warmth. The cozy pose entails having your model wrap her arms around her torso, like she’s hugging herself.

15. Crouch

Crouching or squatting is one of the most effective photography poses for creating a sassy look. Have your model squat down and bend her knees. Get her to put one leg in front of the other and rest her arms on her knees.

Portrait Photography Poses for Men 

Here, we’ve gathered some of the best photography poses to make your male subjects look cool, calm, and collected.

1. Crossing the Arms

The arms crossed pose is one of the easiest photography poses for male subjects. Something about this simple pose gives it a masculine vibe. Plus, it prevents your subject from looking awkward because it gives him something to do with his hands.

2. The Side Lean

Shoot your model leaning against an object or structure. This pose can help him look calmer and composed in your portrait photography. It also keeps your model’s legs from becoming stiff. Leaning on something forces him to shift his weight to one side like he’s fully relaxed.

3. Sitting in a Chair Facing Forward

If you want your male model to exude power, have him sit in a chair and lean forward, with his elbows resting on his knees. Make sure he’s making strong eye contact with the camera like he’s looking at the viewer. 

4. Back to Camera

To add a sense of mystery and intrigue to your portrait, ask your model to turn his head and back to the camera, and look off to the side. This dynamic can create curiosity in the viewer and make them wonder what he’s looking at and what he’s thinking about.

5. The Classic Pose

In portrait photography, having the subject place his hands in his pockets is a classic move and for good reason. It makes your subject appear more poised. This pose is versatile, so you can combine it with other photography poses for more variety.

woman in photography studio

6. The Sporty Pose

Having your model toss his jacket over the shoulder will create a sporty, effortless vibe. You can make the look more dynamic by getting your subject to walk, which creates billowing in your photos.

7. The Wall Lean

Get your model to lean against a wall. Then, have him raise one leg and relax the other. This pose creates a sense of detachment, while somehow conveying vulnerability at the same time.

Portrait Photography Poses for Children

These photography poses help bring out the natural innocence, vibrance, and energy in little ones.

1. Face Resting in Hands (Lying Down)

Have your child subject lie down on his stomach and rest his face in his hands. It’s also a great pose for babies, especially for newborns who are more likely to sleep during the shooting.

2. A Candid Moment

Because some kids can be tense in portrait photography, you may not get the best shots. But if you make it into a game, the child is bound to cooperate and help you create gorgeous, natural shots. For energetic photos, have her chase after a butterfly or a pet (if she has one). 

3. Lying on the Grass

You can have your child model lie on the grass and look up at the camera. This type of shot creates a sense of calm and serenity because it includes nature, but it also captures a child’s naturally high energy at the same time.

4. Straight On

When you capture a photo while kneeling to a child’s level, it helps the viewer see things from a child’s lens. The straight-on headshot creates a very flattering angle in portrait photography.

5. Huddle Together

There is strength in numbers. When you photograph multiple children, play to that strength by getting them to huddle together. Even if they’re different ages and sizes, keeping them close makes the shot look like everyone’s enjoying themselves.

child with grey rabbit

Portrait Photography Poses for Couples and Families

The following photography poses are ideal for close relationships, exuding intimacy and closeness in their portraits.

1. A Playful Hug

Have one of your subjects hug the other from behind. This pose is great for couples because it adds romance and intimacy to the photos.

2. Hand in Hand Stroll

The hand-in-hand stroll is perfect for a family of three. Have the parents hold onto their child’s hands and walk naturally. Encourage them to act like you’re not even there, which will create an authentic feel.

3. Looking off into the Distance

Have your couple face away from the camera and embrace each other. This will make them look as if they’re captivated by each other and their surroundings.

4. Child on Piggyback

If you’re photographing a family of four, then you have a great opportunity to achieve perfect symmetry in your portrait photography. Get each parent to carry a child on piggyback. 

5. Close Up

Get the couple to stand close to each other for an intimate close-up. Try to zoom in as close as possible to truly capture this portrait photography moment.

6. Circle in a Lying Position 

If you’re shooting five or more family members in your portrait photography, get them to form a circle and lie on the floor. Shoot from above to get everyone in the photos.

Portrait Photography Poses for Maternity Shots

Below are some cute photography poses for expecting mothers who want to capture the beauty of pregnancy in their portraits.

1. Dad With Belly

In this type of shot, the main focus is on the belly. Have the dad-to-be kneel and embrace the belly. To make the moment special, have him talk to the baby like he normally would.

maternity photo with mom and dad

2. Create a Heart With Hands

Get the mother- and father-to-be to form a heart with their hands over the belly. This portrait photography pose will add meaning to the photo and create a shot to remember.

3. Back Against the Wall

Shoot just the mother and her belly to create an intimate mood. Have her caress her belly and lean against a wall for a bold look.

4. Side View

Have your model turn sideways with one hand on her belly. If she has a maternity dress with a long train, get her to grab it with the other hand. This adds even more depth to the shot.

Portrait Photography Poses for Professional Models

Professional models need direction too. Here are a few sophisticated portrait photography poses for the more experienced subjects.

1. Angled Sitting

Add more dimension to a sitting pose by getting your model to angle her head and body away from the camera. This can create a powerful, regal look in your portrait photography.

2. Open Mouth

Have your model slightly open her mouth to elongate the jawline and create an intimate expression.

3. Chin Out and Down

When posing, get your model to push her chin forward and then down. Make sure she’s directly facing the camera. This combination adds great dimension to the portrait photography shot.

Portrait Photography Poses for the Outdoors

When shooting portraits outdoors, you need a pose that fits. Here are a few great ones to add to your gallery.

1. Seated on Rocks

Create a laid back feel by getting your model to form a seated pose on a large bed of rocks. Have her turn her head towards the camera, bend her legs, and rest her arms, which adds to the relaxed vibe.

2. Child Blowing Bubbles

Get a profile shot of a child subject blowing bubbles outdoors. This captures the spirit of youth in portrait photography.

3. Couples Leaning on Each Other in Front of the Sunset

Get your couple to face each other and let their foreheads touch. This pose will create a beautiful halo effect in front of the sunset.

4. Standing In the Rain

Have your model face the camera, holding an umbrella. The rain will capture your subject’s vulnerable side.

black and white photo of woman in rain holding an umbrella

5. Splashing Water at the Pool

Having your subject splash water around at the pool can add a fun vibe to the photo. So don’t be afraid to get wet.

Portrait Photography Poses for the Beach

Need some inspiration for beach portraits? Keep reading for more portrait photography poses.

1. Lying in the Sand

Whether you’re shooting one person or a group of people, getting them to lie in the sand is a classic way to warm them up to the camera.

2. Tippy Toes

Have your model stand on her tippy toes. This is a great way to elongate her legs and show off her swimsuit.

3. Face the Scenery

Get a shot of your subject with her back turned to the camera. This shows that she’s focusing on the ocean in front of her.

4. Walking on the Beach

Capture your model walking on the beach. This adds an authentic feel to the portrait photography.

Wrap Up

For any portrait photographer, portrait posing your subjects doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s all about making them feel comfortable and confident. After these photography tips, things should fall right into place for the perfect shot.