Top Posing Tips | How To Pose For Your Photoshoot Like A Pro


Raise your hand if you feel like you always look awkward, unnatural, or just plain terrified in photos - trust me, you’re not alone! In this post, I’ll walk you through a few of my favorite simple posing tips & tricks that will help you nail your next photoshoot. As a portrait photographer, I have a few tricks up my sleeve that are guaranteed to help you look your best in photos - no matter your age, weight, or height. Whether you're getting ready for a professional photoshoot or just taking some candid snapshots with friends, these tips will help you strike the perfect pose every time.

Keep reading to learn more & to also see before & after photo examples of some great (& not so great) poses!

How To Pose Naturally In Your Photos

Capturing authenticity is the ultimate goal when posing for photos, especially if you are having a branding photoshoot or a headshot session. Achieving a “natural-looking” pose can definitely seem easier said than done! Learning to relax in front of the camera is essential for capturing authentic photos - when you're feeling tense or self-conscious, this can show up in your body language & facial expressions. Here are a few techniques you can use to loosen up & feel more at ease in front of the lens:

1. Try to let go of any pesky self-consciousness: Remember that no one is perfect, & imperfections can add character & charm to a photo. Instead of focusing on trying to look flawless, focus on feeling comfortable & confident in your own skin. Stay in the moment, & don't overthink your poses or try to force a specific look. Instead, try to be present & let your emotions & expressions come naturally.

2. Create a little bit of movement: I often direct my clients to do a certain action as I photograph them - walking, adjusting hair or clothing, interacting with a prop, etc. Rather than standing stiffly in one position, try walking, twirling, or engaging in activities that reflect your interests & passions. This dynamic energy can bring life to your photos & make them feel more genuine.

3. Trust your Photographer: A skilled photographer knows how to capture your true essence & can bring out the best in you. Communicate with them, share your vision, & let them guide you in finding poses that feel natural & authentic. A great portrait photographer will coach & help you with your facial expressions, your body language, & will create space for you to express yourself so that you end up with images that are an authentic representation of you, your personality, & your brand.

Remember, posing naturally is not about putting on a show or trying to impress others - It's about embracing yourself fully & allowing your true personality to shine through. So be confident, be present, & do your best to stay relaxed!

You may also like: 10 Tips To Help You Feel More Confident & Relaxed During Your Photoshoot
Before & After Photos | Client Transformations

Angle Your Shoulders

Certain angles can look better on some people than others - I always photograph people from a few different angles to make sure that we capture their best “side”. You don’t have to know what your best angles are right off the bat - what’s important is that we experiment so that we have plenty of variety for you to choose from. If you want to appear slimmer in photos, try turning your body about 45 degrees to the camera.  The more you turn, the less of your body the camera will capture - just remember not to overdo it or else your pose can look a bit strained or awkward. Try a slight angle to the right, to the left, & then straight-on to see what you like best!

Angled Left

Straight On

Angled Right

Keep your weight on Your Back foot

Next, let’s think about the position of your feet. For standing poses, it both feels & looks more relaxed for a person to shift the majority of their weight to one foot instead of standing up perfectly straight & stiff. To achieve that relaxed look, place your weight on your back foot, & place your other foot in front while leaning slightly forward towards the camera from your waist. This trick will instantly take away that “awkward” stance & will help you to look more confident!

How to Pose for a photoshoot equal feet

✗ Weight on both feet

How to Pose for a photoshoot staggered feet

✓ Weight on Back Foot


Chin forward & down

This tip makes a huge difference, especially for Headshots & Portraits! Accentuate your jawline by pushing your chin slightly forward & down - this simple adjustment can instantly minimize or completely remove the appearance of a double chin. It always feels a little strange at first, but this technique truly works wonders. With your chin projecting forward, your neck is lifted & smoothed, making you appear both slimmer & younger. A win-win!


✗ Neutral Chin (Side View)

✗ Neutral Chin (Front View)

✓ Chin Out & Down (Side View)

✓ Chin Out & down (Front View)


Keep your arms away from your body

Avoid keeping your arms pressed tightly against your body, as this can make you appear stiff, & can also create the illusion that your arms & torso are larger than they actually are. Instead, gently bend your elbows & keep a slight distance between your arms & torso. This will create a more relaxed & natural pose. To create curves, experiment with different poses, such as placing one hand on your hip or crossing your legs at the ankle if you are seated. These subtle adjustments can help accentuate or create an hourglass shape!


✗ Arms Close to body

✓ Arms away from body


Lean forward from your waist

This is just a very slight adjustment, but can be really helpful when it comes to shaping the upper portion of your body! It’s a subtle bit of body language, but people often tend to lean back from the photographer & the camera in order to subconsciously protect their personal space. It’s ok to learn forwards & share that personal space a bit during your shoot - the camera is your friend, not your enemy! When people shrink away from the camera & lean back too much, it can create a slumped look, a weird-looking chin, etc. Don’t be afraid to lean forward towards the camera just the tiniest bit - this will really help to make you look more engaged & friendly in your portraits!


✗ Leaning Back

✓ Leaning Forward


Is it true? Does the camera really add 10 pounds?

We’ve all heard it said - but how much truth is there to this statement? What causes this phenomenon, & how can we avoid looking awkward, bulky, or uncomfortable in photos? There are a few technical reasons that we will occasionally feel like we look larger than we actually are in certain photos, but the good news is that we can often counteract this effect by utilizing the posing tips we’ve discussed in this post.

Occasionally, the type of lens being used or the distance your photographer is standing away from you can be to blame - certain lens focal lengths can visually stretch or compress the subject a bit, making you look either larger or smaller than you actually are in real life. However, if you are working with a professional portrait photographer, they will know what lenses to use & exactly how to pose you in a flattering way to avoid any distortion. It’s your photographer’s job to know the perfect lens to use, the best light to put you in, & the most flattering poses & angles for you & for your body type!

Let’s Talk about Photoshop!

Here’s the honest truth: Those perfect-looking celebrities that you see in ads & magazines have always been retouched in some way - even the best models have bad shots, crazy hair days, textured skin, etc. Photoshop can completely alter the entire shape & size of a person, & it’s important to remember that we should never compare ourselves to what are often heavily retouched images. Here at Miranda Kelton Photography, I prefer a more subtle approach & I generally try to avoid any extreme photoshopping. The great thing about retouching is that we can use it to minimize or remove things like undereye circles, red eyes, flyaway hairs, weird wrinkles in clothing, etc. The goal is to keep you looking natural & to create images that present the very best version of yourself!

Before Retouching

After Retouching


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Meet miranda

Hello! I’m a Portrait, Headshot, & Personal Branding Photographer based in Bend, Oregon.