The 16 Best Model Poses You Will Love
Understanding model poses is an important skill that photographers can use when working with their subjects, talent, or clients. Often, giving direction on set and having a vision for how you want your subjects to pose can keep your photoshoot moving forward.
It also keeps the people you’re photographing happy and confident. Model posing isn’t an exact science. Still, there are a few key tips and takeaways to remember when taking photos that will increase your odds for a more successful image.
I’ve listed some general tips below and followed them up with specific posing situations that you can test out on your next shoot.
Model Poses: Overall Posing Tips
1. Use Mood Boards
Mood boards are a collection of images you can show your model before the shoot to explain your desired vision better. Have a specific pose that you’re dying to do? Mood boards can help present your idea and act as a visual aid through a series of images.
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2. Study Other Poses
The best way to learn poses is to study them. It’s that simple. Look at your favorite photographers. Look at the way they position their subjects. Think about what could have come before or after the image to make it appear that way.
3. Rely on Natural Poses
Sometimes the best poses come naturally. Next time you’re on a shoot, have the model relax and be themselves. You might find that you’ll hit on some unexpected poses or accidental images you enjoy and want to add to your portfolio.
4. Ask The Model
This one is a no-brainer. It’s often overlooked by photographers who are hyper-concerned with getting the perfect shot or having the model pose in a specific way.
Often, the model will have their idea of what they want to do or how they want to pose when they’re on a photoshoot. If you ask the model what they want to do, you can guarantee that they’ll often have a suggestion or idea in the back of their mind.
Model Poses: Types and Categories
Practice makes perfect, and you can always try to wing your poses. Still, it’s important to have at least some ideas of those available in your back pocket when you shoot.
Here are a few examples of posing types broken down for both men and women!
5. Chair Pose (Female and Male)
This pose involves anything that uses a chair or stool on set or location. Sitting provides both male and female models the opportunity to use their torso and feet in different ways depending on how the chair or seat is designed:
- For female models, getting creative with how the legs are positioned and emphasizing how elongated features are presented can be more pleasing.
- Male models should stick to traditional, classic poses with their feet firmly planted on the ground. They can use their torso, head, and shoulders to a greater extent.
6. Crouching or Half-Poses (Female)
Females can benefit from using half poses or ones that aren’t necessarily fully fleshed out but include small elements from different posing styles or scenarios. Having your model crouch down, lie over objects, or seemingly do things that might seem out of place can make for great perspectives and different angles.
When doing sitting poses, you must try getting on the model’s level. Don’t always look straight down at your subject.
7. Cars or Motorcycles (Male or Female)
Vehicles can be used for both genders to add interest to the scene and more variety to your model poses. This also keeps your model interested while they are doing something on set with their full body.
8. Walking and Moving (Female and Male)
Having your models walk around and use their environment in different ways can be key to creating a great image or sparking your next great idea while you’re posing and directing on set. Have models run, walk, dance, and use motion for an extra bit of kick to their movement and rhythm.
9. Against The Wall (Males)
We all see this classic male pose in magazines or movies where a male model strikes a sophisticated or confident pose against a wall or studio backdrop. These poses work great for men, as they can emphasize strength and stability in-camera.
10. Triangles (Female)
Female models have the benefit of using their arms in a variety of unique and interesting ways for poses.
Creating triangles is often an easy way of getting female models to look great and not stand as stiff when posing. Keeping their feet and arms apart will also show curves and generally look better for the final finished product.
11. Using Objects (Females and Males)
Anytime you’re standing, you can also interact with your environment. Using objects or props during photoshoots is a great way to ensure that the shoot stays fresh. It also adds flavor to your portfolio.
Items that you can use on set include:
- Different clothing accessories
- Pieces of jewelry
To be honest, the sky’s the limit when it comes to model poses with objects. Test it out and play or move around with different items during your shoot. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the eye-catching images you’ll get.
12. Foot Forward (Male)
When in doubt, lean on something tried, tested, and true. For males, you can’t go wrong with simply having a strong center and putting one foot in front of the other. This foot-forward pose style is seen universally in portraits, fashion, and anything where you photograph males.
Telling your subjects to place their hands in their pocket or cross their arms can also help ease any awkward hand motions that may occur while doing a fairly straightforward pose. At the same time, this can feel odd for individuals who are not as familiar with posing.
Poses on The Floor
13. Yoga Poses (Female)
Even when you don’t have walls, the floor can be used to help you pose. While male models are typically advised not to use the floor, as it often makes them look small or scrunched, female models can lie out and have a little more fun with their floor setup.
Think of floor poses for female models as anything you would do during a yoga class that allows the model to show off their features in a flattering way. This could include side planks, stretches, or balancing. It’s important to keep in mind that you should communicate with your model to ensure they’re comfortable on the floor and not to keep them rolling around for too long.
If you’re unsure if a pose is working or not, ask them how they feel. Either way, it might be time to move on to something else that’s simple after posing on the ground for an extended period.
Poses With the Face
14. Blank Stare (Males and Females)
This classic model pose or face incorporates the signature look found in fashion magazines. It’s the I’m-too-cool-for-school style that separates models from portraits or family shoots. This look works for both males and females and is something you can tell your models to even practice at home.
15. Face + Hands (Female)
Having your female models use their fingers to make playful faces or wrap around the corners of their face can add interest, mystery, and emotion to any shoot.
Have your female models interact more with their face for a graceful style or one that can become silly and fun at a moment’s notice.
16. Chin Up (Male)
Posing male models is all about looking confident and put together.
Bring out their jawline, and have your male models express themselves through their eyes and head mannerisms. This approach can sometimes go a long way to adding more points of interest to a photograph. Next time you’re on a shoot, try it out and see what happens.
There’s no denying that posing your models can be difficult. Having an idea of what you want and a pocketbook of poses can help speed up your shoot and produce better images in the process.
It’s crucial to remember that posing doesn’t come naturally for photographers or models at first. That’s why practice and preparation can go a long way to help you nail that perfect look. At the end of the day, though, it’s nice to have fun and play around. Sometimes, even the goofiest, awkward, or “out there” poses can create an incredible image.