Instantly Become a Professional Portrait Photographer

Posing Techniques

The secret to  a great portrait shot lies in ensuring that the subject looks happy and relaxed in front of the camera.  Take a look at this first example:  The woman looks very uncomfortable.  You can almost feel her discomfort as you look at the picture.

A woman standing awkwardly.

Try to avoid having your subjects look stiff, awkward or as if they are in pain.  Most subjects won’t be able to just become happy and comfortable.  You will have to attempt to make them comfortable and relaxed by trying out different positions, chatting with them and making them feel at ease.

Here’s a great picture of lady who looks like she is in a comfortable position.

A women in a relaxed pose

Full Length

There’s nothing worse than a picture of someone who is taken straight on,  with an irrelevant backdrop.  If you are interested in capturing the whole body, there are several ways to do this. Make sure your subject is ready and comfortable for the picture.

A woman looking shocked by the camera

If you want your subjects standing, this might mean give them something to lean on.  If they are sitting, allow them to get into a unique, comfortable position.  Keep trying with different poses until you find the one that works.   Often finding other angles, rather than straight on, can give the picture more depth.  Begin by trying to angle the subjects body at a 45 degree angle and then adjust the angle from there.  Here is a great pose of a woman in a comfortable, unusual position.  The angle of her body to the camera is at around 85 degrees.

She is saying, “you caught me just kicking back”


Hands of the subject can tell a lot about the person.  The rule of thumb is keep the hands busy.  Arms and hand that just dangle by a person’s side make the picture look and awkward.  Give your subject something to do with their hands.  In the following picture the man’s arms are kept busy with the auto picture clicker and his wife’s waist.  But the woman looks uncomfortable and bored as her arms fall dead straight to her side.

Contrast between active and inactive hands

Here is a picture where the position of the subject’s hands create all the action in the picture.

Very busy hands


Let’s face it, no one likes looking at an unflattering picture of themselves.  A double chin can be minimized by asking your subject to look up at the camera.  If your subject is sensitive about acne, acne is less noticeable outdoors in natural light.  A bald spot can be minimized by taking the shot at a lower camera angle.  Do not let overweight arms touch the body, as the skin will fold up.  Try to focus on the subject’s strong points.  Here the photographer lowered the camera angle empathizing the model’s strong torso instead of the model’s shaved head.

A subjects strong points are emphasized

  That’s all for portraiture advice at DPShots.  Check back soon for more photos and photography advice.


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  2. Under hands:
    Either someone’s getting their body parts mixed up, or the man has moved his hand from his wife’s waist to her shoulder between the time the picture was taken and now!

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