To make the most from your shoot, prepare yourself, be open, relax and ready to experiment. Here are some tips to help you before your shoot.

Research before your shoot.
Studying involves doing your research. Use Pinterest and Google to find model poses for photo shoots that you’d like to emulate. Put together an inspiration board with tear-sheets of the best model poses that you love. You can also practice in the mirror.

How to smile
To improve your smiling skills, position yourself in front of a mirror and practice the following steps.

  • Put your lips together without moving them. Look at your face in the mirror, concentrating on the eyes. At first, they’re lifeless. Now lift up the corners of your mouth and watch your eyes come alive.
  • To create a smile, say “MMM” without opening your mouth. No teeth should be showing. Don’t forget to turn the corners of your mouth up.
  • To create a broader smile, say “MMM” again with your mouth still closed and again, don’t forget to turn up the corners of the mouth.
  • This time say “ME”, whilst opening your mouth and showing your teeth but keeping it soft. Next say “ME” again, this time with a big smile showing all your teeth.
  • Now try saying the voewls… wathc how the shape of the mouth changes with each vowel. Associate a vowel to an expression, then mix it up once you are more comfortable with it.

Facing the Camera

The most basic model poses are probably the hardest to master. With both shoulders framed squarely in the lens of the camera, images tend to come out flat and boring. It’s up to the model to add depth and life. Tip your head to one side, run a hand through your hair, or move one shoulder closer to the camera. Move one leg behind the other to frame your hips differently, and remember to bend your knees and elbows. All of these things change the look and mood of the final product dramatically.

Where Should You Be Looking?


Now let’s talk about the eyes and where they should be looking at while posing. There are times when staring into the camera can produce beautiful results. But in most cases, it creates awkward images instead.

To avoid gawky stares, look at a specific object behind the camera. Doing so will make your eyes look more alive as opposed to staring blankly into the void.

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Keep the Chin Up

Your chin is essential when it comes to face poses. To emphasise the natural curves of your face and neck, make sure they always keep their chin up.

You don’t have to extend their neck when posing. All you have to do is raise their chin up a little to make it work.

This technique works no matter which direction the head is facing. So don’t hesitate to remind them in case they forget when changing position.

Angle the Limbs for a More Appealing Pose

Most models who are starting out often don’t know what to do with their arms and legs. If you want to get the best results for your photos, ask them to bend their limbs. They don’t have to flex them all the way; just enough until you see triangles between those hips and legs.

For full-body poses, bend one of your knees slightly while standing. As for the arms, you can put your hands somewhere around their waist as a starting point. If your hands are in the air, have at least one of their elbows arch a bit.

Model: Desiree Riley

People are naturally attracted to triangles. So to make your subjects look attractive, incorporate this shape into their form. Furthermore, it gives their poses balance and prevents them from looking rigid.

How to Pose for a Natural Look

Body form is a crucial element when it comes to modelling poses. So pay attention to how you are standing. To project confidence, they have to keep your body straight. If you slouch all the time, you will end up looking awkward no matter what position their arms and legs assume.

It helps if you angle their body toward the camera. Doing so adds dimension to your form and makes you look sophisticated.

If you look/feel too stiff, lean on the back foot. Doing so would naturally put you in a more relaxed position.

Use angles.
Angle your legs and arms, even if only slightly. Nothing says rigid and flat more than standing straight and staring at the camera. Keep your fingers loose and avoid making fists. This type of shoot is done to show full body poses.