Posing Better with 5 Easy Tips

Posing tricks for those of us who feel awkward in front of the camera.

We’ve all been there. A friend or family member pulls out their camera (or more likely a phone these days) at an event and you’re not quite camera ready. Posing isn’t something that comes natural to most of us, and we’ve all fallen victim to these classic posing mistakes.

Here are five easy things that I’ve done to get more comfortable in front of the camera over the years spent documenting my style on Instagram.

classic denim neutral outfit for winter, French inspired style, posing in front of a brick wall.

Shift your weight

Oh, the knee pop, hand-on-hip pose that all of us ladies have done. It’s a classic that’s not really flattering on anybody. With a few simple adjustments, this pose can make you go from sorority sister to Instagram model.

posing mistakes, hand on hip and staring straight on at the camera, in front of brick wall.
posing ideas and tips wearing a plain white blouse and straight legged jeans in front of a brick wall.

First, all I’m doing is shifting my weight from my front leg to my back, moving the focus away from my front hip and creating a long lean line from head to toe. Next, I’ve actually turned my feet to align with my leg to further lengthen that line. For this photo, I’ve opted to keep my hand on my hip, as that can be a good go-to to create shape (see my next tip). I have adjusted my arm backwards away from the camera though, which has a slimming effect.

When posing, anytime you shift your weight backward, moving that part of you away from the camera, it causes that part to appear smaller. You can use this trick to your advantage in most photo situations, particularly in a group. Want to look taller? Stand closer to the camera. Want a smaller bottom? Push it back. Want a slimmer neck? Bring your face forward.

Create shape

Standing stiff and parallel to the camera is not really flattering for anyone, or natural. Here are a few small adjustments that are not only flattering, but more comfortable.

Posing mistakes like standing stiff and boxy and straight on to the camera. Eyes closed bad photo in front of brick wall.
Neutral styled outfit, French style, white button up and jeans, fashion photography poses.

I often like to play with my hands at waist height, which gives my hands something to do, looking less awkward. This movement with the elbows propped out creates shape, adding interest to your pose. Secondly, I’ve shifted my weight sideways to add curves to my figure. You can also achieve this by slightly tilting either the upper or lower half of your body, and bending at any joints. I’ve also cocked my head to the side – again to add shape and curve to my posing.

Add movement

Keeping these last couple tips in mind, adding movement to your posing can make you look even more natural and less awkward in photos.

Classic winter outfit
French inspired wardrobe with long grey oversized coat and neutral Audrey style outfit in front of brick wall and flicking hair photography.
Street style inspired posing wearing a classic neutral outfit

Something as simple as a hair flick, a jacket or dress twirl, a step, or a handbag swish can really add a lot of variety to any posing attempts. The key is to do these things subtly. Anything too dramatic won’t translate as well over camera. Think of it like a boomerang. Just make one simple movement and repeat it while the photo is snapped.

Play with accessories

These next two steps are for those who might’ve graduated passed the other three. Upgrade your posing even further, if you will. The first posing tip here is to use props. Props are a really great tool to look and feel less awkward in front of the camera.

Posing in front of a brick wall wearing a charcoal winter coat for a vintage timeless look.
Classic winter outfit wearing a long menswear inspired wool coat and a plain white button up and holding rose coloured glasses with straight legged jeans and nude heels for a French inspired look. Neutral winter capsule wardrobe in front of a brick wall.

If fashion photography is your thing, play with your handbag or glasses. Girls night out? Hold a wine glass, or play with your hair. Traveling? Hold a map or camera. Family photos? Be the one holding the family dog!

Keep it natural

Maybe throwing up peace signs and grinning from ear to ear is something you do to everyone you see. Maybe it’s just a nervous, knee-jerk reaction. If that’s your thing then rock it, but if you’re looking for an alternative, I’ve got you.

peace sign and smile bad pose
Posing ideas and tips for women, portrait with hand touching face and looking into the camera

All I’ve done here is used one arm as a rest for my other, and casually touch my face or play with my hair. It looks more relaxed and natural.

Facial expressions is another big one to keep natural. Try relaxing your face and letting your jaw drop for a moodier look. A soft laugh also makes a really great, natural looking smile. Practicing these expressions in the mirror will sync up what you know looks, but also feels most natural for you.

Jeans, white button up, and charcoal oversized wool coat for classic winter style.

Which tip did you find the most helpful? Was there one you hadn’t heard of yet? Let me know!

For more winter outfit inspo, check out this post here.

Outfit details: blouse (old, similar here and here) + denim + heels (old, similar here) + handbag (old, similar here) + coat (old from Zara)

Photo creds for this post goes to Calin from @calin.charles.

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