Posing Tips Every Photographer Should Know

While a subject can decide what they want to look like in a photo, it’s ultimately up to the photographer to deliver that vision. 

If the subject doesn’t normally get photographed, posing naturally in front of the camera can be uncomfortable. It’s easy for a lot of us to feel self-conscious about our looks when a camera is put in front of us. If you’re tense and frustrated because you think your pose is too fake or staged, the emotions will be visible in their photos.  

In order for the photos to feel natural and look amazing, it’s up to the photographer to make subjects feel comfortable in their own skin and help unleash their confidence. 

Here are a few simple tips to help make your clients feel relaxed and confident during a photoshoot. 

1.) Have a conversation first! 

Making a connection with your client plays a huge factor in building trust. Both the photographer and subject should feel comfortable prior to taking photos. You can do this by having a simple conversation about literally anything. 

photographer raw beauty


If you want your subject to achieve a certain look, instead of telling them to look happy, have them tell you about one of their favorite memories or ask about the last thing that made them laugh.  It’s important that they feel comfortable in front of you in order to get natural looking photos. 



2.)  Talk to them while snapping photos 

Let them move naturally and build rapport with your subject. Talk to them about specific topics. It helps when they are engaged in a conversation with you to avoid lulls. You can do this in between snapping photos. You'll find that they are smiling or laughing in front of the camera without even realizing. The candid shots always feel and look more natural. 

happy photographer smiling

3.) Share tips and tricks 

There are a few tricks that you can share with your subject, especially when it comes to how to the camera portrays your subject. One example is if the subject is self conscious about their height, trying standing or sitting on a stool.

fierce model sitting on stool




You can also get some ideas by bringing fashion magazines so they can mimic the models on print. It's a good place to start if the subject feels totally out of place. A mirror can be really handy as well especially when you want them to achieve a certain pose that they can’t seem to copy. Being creative with your subject will help both of you achieve what you want with the photos. 


4.) Ask permission before touching 

It’s important that you ask permission to avoid awkwardness and losing trust. This applies to everyone involved in the photoshoot (makeup artist, fashion stylist and assistant photographers). It is pretty self-explanatory as it is important not to compromise the client-photographer relationship. Even if it feels harmless or minor like moving a piece of hair - we don’t want the subject to feel uncomfortable.

photographer fixing hair

5.) Give authentic compliments 

Black woman smilingA fake compliment can easily be detected just because you want your subject to feel comfortable around you.  You can actually boost your model’s confidence by highlighting their best features. If they look good smiling with their teeth showing, tell them. Let them know their best assets in order for them to be focused on the good points. Not only will they feel charmed with your friendly demeanor, but it will also improve the vibe during photoshoots. 


6.) Never show the photos yet until the end of the photoshoot

black woman photographer

Most models often ask what they look like after each photo, and sometimes, this can lose the photographer’s momentum in crafting the desired shots. If the model feels like s/he doesn’t look good in that certain photo, chances are, s/he would request to delete them and it would be hard for the photographer to do the shots again. Always make sure to show the outcome only after the shoot is over. 

7.) Use props 

Props are essential when doing portrait photography. Depending on the theme, it can help if your subject is holding something in their hands. This helps eliminate unease during the entire shoot. 

white woman playing guitar

Your photographer skills aren’t limited the technical skills behind creating a beautiful photo. It's equally as important to create effective human interaction with your subjects. Always be fun and never uptight or strict with your models or subjects.Your subject should always feel comfortable and want to be participating in your shoot.

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