Looking for basic portrait photography poses for studio and outdoor photoshoots? It can become a challenge if you don’t have much time to pose your models right. That’s why I always use photography checklists with the most universal poses for women, men, children, couples, and families. Download my free portrait photography poses checklists and start taking creative portrait photography from the first shot.
50+ Portrait Photography Poses
If we compare women with men or children, they are the easiest models to work with. As a portrait photographer, you are likely to take girls’ pictures more often. Eventually, you may have no more interesting poses left and such types of photoshoots won’t bring pleasure either to you or to a model. With the photography poses for women mentioned below, you are sure to leave your clients satisfied with the result.
1. Profile Pose
Ask a model to turn sideways and slightly lift up her head. This is an easy and a graceful pose. A model can also put one hand on the neck to show more tenderness. Make you women portraits warm and stylish with these portrait Lightroom presets.
2. Movement Pose
Photos that are taken in motion always look more lively and creative. A model may run, walk or jump in the air. Capturing a movement with a camera is a complicated process which requires hard work from both a model and a photographer. But the final result will be definitely worth your time and effort. But don’t forget about photoshopping portraits especially taken in motion to remove distracting blurriness.
3. Crossing Ankles
It is one of the best portrait poses for women, as it is suitable for any type of the body. This rather casual but striking pose visually elongates the model’s legs and narrows her hips. A model can not only stand but also sit in such a pose and will still look amazing.
There exist a lot of variations of such a pose. It is quite universal and can transfer various emotions – from strength and power to calmness and sensitivity.
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This recognizable pose is widely used by many celebrities. A model should turn 45 degrees aside and put the arm closest to the camera on a hip. The next step is to move forward a bit one foot, point it in the direction of the camera and shift weight to another leg. The pose will flatten a model’s body and make legs slimmer and longer.
5. Chin in Hand
I recommend using this pose while a model is sitting at the table. Ask her to change facial expressions in order to achieve a solemn or wistful look.
6. Laying Down Pose
It is one of the simplest but exquisite variants of outdoor portrait photography poses. The task of a model is to relocate her hands and head with each new shot. A photographer is supposed to take pictures from a ground level and different angles. See more self portrait ideas that you can do for your personal photo album.
7. Over the Shoulder
This pose surely enhances the beauty of a model and makes a photo more dimensional. In such a pose, a model will “beam” flirtatious vibes. To increase the mysterious atmosphere, ask her to play with a stray of hair. If you want to get a perfect film or warm Golden Hour effect, use free Photoshop actions for portraits.
8. Hands Up Pose
When a model is posing with her hands raised over the head, an emphasis is put on her body shape. It is one of those poses for portrait photos that depict the feminine sensuality.
9. Hands-On-Waist Poses
This is the most suitable pose if you want to focus on the upper half of the body. It indicates the strong-willed and powerful character. A model can change the position of the body or turn her head a few times and you may create an array of photos.
10. Feminine Pose
If you are looking for portrait photography ideas poses to highlight women’s gracefulness, this might be the perfect one. For this pose, a model should place one hand on the shoulder and another one – on the top of her head. Suggest your model glance into the distance for a pensive and enigmatic look.
11. Incorporating Hands
One of the most important portrait photography tips for beginners is not to forget to involve other parts of the body, such as hands while shooting. It is a necessary aspect of turning a photo into a real and natural one as if it wasn’t staged, but accidentally taken. For example, a model can touch her cheek or cross her hand at the neck.
12. Leaning Pose
A pose that will surely catch an eye is the one where a model gracefully leans against a wall. This pose nicely blends into a formal or casual atmosphere of the shots. A key to an excellent photo with such a pose is a model standing up straight.
13. Playing with Hair
If a model has long and beautiful hair, accentuate it in your shots for a more exciting effect. With the help of one or two hands, she may curl the ends of hair strands or just put the hands in her hair. View these Photoshop portrait tutorials to remove stray hair or make it volume in Photoshop.
During portrait photoshoots, men are more likely to be reserved and restrained. That’s why, as a photographer, you need to simplify this process and come up with creative portrait photography poses for men beforehand.
14. Legs Crossed
It is one of the most natural, carefree and casual portrait photography poses male. A model leans against a wall or any other surface and has a number of positions to choose from, for instance, lean not with his back, but with one arm or shoulder.
15. Sitting Pose
While a model is sitting on some surface, suggest him to place the ankle of one leg over the knee of another one. It is certainly a great pose for guys.
16. The Strolling Pose
Male portraits look more appealing when they are taken in motion. For such a pose, ask a model to straighten his body and keep his head up while walking. He should also lengthen his usual stride in order to accentuate the pose.
17. One Leg Up
If you want to show the constitution of a model in a creative manner, make him lean against a wall with one leg raised in a standing position. This pose can also be repeated when a model is seated.
18. Showing Indifference
In case a model is dressed trendy, ask him to make accent on his clothes and don’t pose – stay indifferent to everything. Such a pose will add some dynamics to a photo and make a model look more sophisticated.
19. Adjusting Collar/Jacket
The pose belongs to the list of the best portrait poses for men, because it is quite easy yet classy. It contributes to the intensity and a confident spirit of a shot.
20. Hands in Pockets
Putting hands in the pockets a man demonstrates calmness and determination. A model is free to choose, whether to put a whole or only a half of his hand in the pocket and show a thumb.
21. Jacket Over The Shoulder
Any standing pose can be diversified with the help of an additional element, for example, a jacket. Ask a model to throw it over a shoulder and get an attractive and captivating photo.
22. Crossed Arms
If a model wants to give away an earnest and decisive vibe, suggest him to cross his arms. Be careful with this pose and keep in mind that it should look as natural as possible.
23. Holding Cufflinks
When you need to put an emphasis on a model’s masculinity, ask him to make it seem like he is fixing the cufflinks. Such a pose will add some dynamics and elegance to a shot.
24. Thoughtful Pose
It is one of the most appropriate male portrait photography poses if you want to express pensiveness. A model is supposed to put a hand on a face, for instance, he can place his fingers around or against a chin.
25. One Hand in Pocket
One more pose with the hand placed in the pockets. Comparing with the previously mentioned similar pose, it is more carefree and relaxing. To complicate this pose, suggest a model running a hand through his hair or putting it on the other shoulder.
26. A Look into the Distance
Portraiture photography doesn’t always involve a model looking directly into a camera. Tell him to glance overhead or beyond a camera level. With such a pose, the shots turn out to be more genuine and sincere.
Taking photos of little children may be a complicated and exhausting process. Kids are very unpredictable and can often misbehave during photoshoots. That’s why the task of a photographer is to be patient and prepare a variety of creative photography poses so that both you and a child will be satisfied.
With this pose, you can easily turn a photoshoot into a game which any child will enjoy. Ask him/her to hide behind a wall or a tree and to peek out from the hiding place. Take photos of a child hiding and running – lifestyle children photos are guaranteed.
2. Up in the Air
This pose really expresses the energetic essence of any child. Make them jump on the ground or even on the bed and capture the sincere emotions.
3. Funny Faces
It is not recommended to ask children to show serious expressions on their faces during photoshoots. Allow a child to have fun and pull goofy faces. Bring his/her foolish and playful mood in a shot.
4. Sitting Pose
It is one of the simplest and most classic child portrait photography photos. It can be performed during indoor and outdoor photoshoots. In such a pose, a model will look absolutely adorable, especially with a smile on a face.
5. Twirl Pose
With this pose, you may really put a young model at ease. Dancing and twirling is a natural thing kids like doing. Such a dynamic pose will help children to express their honest joyful emotions.
6. Action Photos on the Playground
A playground is a real comfort place for children, where they can truly be themselves. While they are playing and having a good time, you may capture the true enjoyment on their faces.
Ask a child to blow a kiss into a camera, of course, if he/she wants to. Such a sweet pose will certainly increase a model’s cuteness.
Any child is very curious at heart. That’s why you can prepare some books for a photoshoot, which a child will see and become interested in them. While he/she is looking at pictures or flipping through pages, you are free to take photos that will look genuine.
9. Hugging a Toy
For every child, a favorite toy is a valuable thing that you can bring to a photoshoot. In that way, while children are playing or hugging their stuffed toys, they will transfer calmness and peacefulness for you to capture.
10. Resting Head on Hands
It is one of the most excellent portrait photography poses for kids suitable for any age. Suggest a young model sit at some surface, crouch on feet or even lay down in this pose.
11. Posing with Pets
Kids absolutely adore pets and domestic animals. Bring a child’s family dog or cat to a photoshoot and get a variety of marvelous photos with diverse poses.
12. Hands Folded
For this pose, you will need to ask a child to fold his/her hands and lean them against any surface. You can also tell a model to smile and, as a result, you will have a captivating shot.
13. Wrapping Hands Around Legs
If you need a pose for outdoor creative portrait photography for children, it is a perfect one. Suggest a model sit sidewards and wrap his/her hands around legs. With such a pose, a portrait will turn out to be exceptional and eye-catching.
Natural, genuine poses are the most successful for portrait photos of the couples. There are many simple and original portrait photography poses ideas that will help you create incredible images. View more wedding photography poses if you take event photos of the couple.
1. Facing Away from the Camera
Ask the couple to stand with their backs to the camera. Find a charming view and take a picture of the embracing couple. The result will exceed all your expectations and you will get wonderful portrait photography photos.
Pictures taken during the dance are not only among the best portrait photography poses for couples, but also a great opportunity to feel relaxed. Everything will look inartificial and beautiful.
3. Only one Looks into the Camera
Change the traditional approach to portrait photographs for couples and turn one of them away from the camera. It does not matter, who will look into the lens. This pose adds a bit of mystery to the images.
Prefer lifestyle photos – tell jokes to your couple and make them stay funny and smile.
5. Follow Me
The image of a couple, who goes forward holding hands is not only beautiful but has also a certain symbolic meaning. You can achieve even better effect if a guy or a girl is looking at the partner.
6. Sit & Stand
To increase the visual interest to the picture you can ask one person to sit somewhere while the other remains standing. That is a brilliant option for portrait photography poses for women and men.
7. Piggyback Pose
This great idea will remind you of happy childhood days. You will receive a wonderful photo of a guy, who carries his beloved lady on his back. Would you like to get something funnier? Ask the girl and the guy change places. Choose these poses for portrait photos and you will get lively and vigorous images.
8. Hug from Behind
This classic romantic pose for portraiture photography can be beneficially used if you add a bit of creativity. The guy stands behind the girl hugging her waist and resting his chin on her neck. The girl puts her arms around her lover and turns her head towards him.
9. Forehead Kiss
Does your couple feel uncomfortable in front of the camera? Give them an opportunity to relax a little. A guy hugging a girl and kissing her on the forehead will look natural and cute. This pose will give them a little confidence and allow you to continue the photo session in a more relaxed manner.
10. Lift & Carry
This is of the best portrait poses for couples, which will help you create touching pictures. Ask the guy to lift the girl and carry her for some distance. They can look at the camera or at one another.
If your couple is embarrassed to pose, suggest them to walk along the path holding their hands. This is a great example of the best poses for portrait photography.
12. Forehead to Forehead
A couple standing close to each other and touching their foreheads looks romantic and incredibly beautiful. A sincere happy smile will make the picture even better.
Do you want to add some action to your photos? The Swing pose is a great way to do it. Make sure that the guy is strong enough to hold up the girl’s weight and start shooting. Look at portrait photography poses PDF to learn more about this idea.
14. Hand on Cheek
Perhaps this position seems too simple but the result is incredible. Ask the guy to put his hand on the girl’s cheek and bring his face closer to her. You get an amazing intimate atmosphere filled with genuine emotions.
15. Head on Shoulder
Ordinary touches can create an amazing effect. Having clasped the biceps of the guy with her hand, the girl should rest her head on his shoulder. He can turn his head to his beloved. Even a light smile can improve this gorgeous image. It’s one of the best family portrait photography poses.
16. Just before the Kiss
Capturing a few seconds before a kiss can be a wonderful shot for the album. There is some kind of incredible attraction and sincere mood in this “almost kiss”.
17. Hands behind Neck
This variant can be one of the best professional portrait photography poses that you can offer the couple to take wedding portraits. Place the guy and the girl against each other. He holds her waist and the girl hugs his neck. She can also kiss a guy or lay her head on his chest.
18. Hand on Chest
This pose is characterized by tenderness and romantic atmosphere. The girl lays a hand on the guy’s chest or stomach. To enhance the effect, you can ask them to kiss or touch with foreheads.
19. Running to the Camera
Add some energy and movement to your photos. After you have taken shots of the walking couple, ask them a run. This simple action will help a couple to relax and bring a little fun. Try other outdoor portrait photography poses.
20. Kissing Hands
A photo with a guy, who kisses a girl’s looks very touching and romantic. For an even stronger effect, you can suggest the man stand on one knee.
21. Looking Back at Camera
This pose for portrait photography photos gives you a cheeky and subtly alluring atmosphere. The couple stands their backs to the camera and looks at you over their shoulders.
This dynamic idea is not suitable for everybody and may seem too difficult. However, the result is simply impressive. As a professional portraits photographer, you need to check if the coordination of the couple is at the proper level. Then start shooting.
23. Sitting down Together
The simple and relaxed pose of the lovers sitting draws attention with its calmness.
If you plan to shoot on a warm sunny day, you should definitely use this wonderful idea for portrait photography poses for couples. Take a blanket and have the girl and the guy lie down on their stomachs. The photo is playful and interesting.
Add a little “wow effect” to your photographs. To implement this idea, you need to put the guy’s back to the camera. He must hold a bouquet or some nice knick-knacks in his hand. The girl should stand in some distance and look at the camera.
Family photo sessions can bring a lot of trouble because you need to organize several people at the same time. However, after studying our portrait photography tips for beginners, you can find lots of interesting poses and take great pictures.
1. Classical Pose
This family portrait photography classic pose should be the beginning of your photo session. Arrange all family members so that everything looks as natural and organic as possible. Place the parents behind the children. They can hug the kids by the shoulders to emphasize family ties.
2. Action Pose
Images taken in motion tend to be natural and full of energy. Ask the children and adults to run and play catch-up. Prepare your camera to capture the best moments of family leisure.
3. Group Hug
A family hug is one of the best options for family portrait photography poses. Thus, you will be able to emphasize the close family relationship.
4. Sitting Down Pose
Invite all family members to sit down. Remember that there should be no obvious gaps between them, as this can spoil the overall impression of the photo.
5. Facing the Opposite Direction
The whole family does not look at the camera. To add some warmth and tenderness to the picture, ask parents to hold their hands. This nice romantic option of family portrait poses photography will emphasize all true feelings between the family members.
6. Baby Rain
Kids up. Be careful and don’t try these actions if they haven’t done this before or the child is afraid of height.
7. Kid’s Eye Level
If you want to receive some portion of closeness and unity, ask the adults to crouch or kneel near the kid. This kind of family portrait photography poses gives some balance to the composition.
8. Kissing the Kid
You will get lovely and sweet photos if you ask the parents to kiss their child in both cheeks.
9. Laying Shot
According to the tips for good portrait photography, interaction between family members is always a good idea for pictures. Ask everybody to lie down and be ready to catch their happy smiles. The most beautiful shots are taken if you shoot from above. This pose looks incredibly great with large families.
10. Back to Back
You can use this pose when the family consists of an even number of people. As one of the possible variations, you can place the parents sitting back to back. The children should sit near the adults. It is a great variant of the best portrait poses for big families.
Follow these simple tips and take amazing portraits. Use the ideas given above and you will definitely get wonderful results. You can also put your own twist on these ideas. Use your imagination and become a successful portrait photographer.