Natural Light Portrait workshop

Portrait Photography Tips

Posing in Portrait Photography

There many rules for artistic approach in portrait photography, and in this article I am going to cover few of them. Generally speaking these rules are very subjective to photographer and model. So you need to follow your vision as a photographer to capture an outstanding portraiture.

Portrait Photography Posing Tips

Find the good side

First thing first, look at your model and decide which side of your model looks better. Usually people have good idea about their good sides, just ask them and try it. Asking the models about their best sides helps you to break the ice and start communication with them. Which is the most important part in Portrait Photography, and take us to next step.

Search for Beauty

Try to find the best side of the model's face
Try to find the best side of the model's face


Portrait Photography is a social activity. Like other social activities, a successful portrait session needs clear and effective communication. As a photographer it is your job to get the model involves in shooting, and you can do your job when you are clear and make the model comfortable.

Clear Communication

Start the communication and make the models comfortable.
Start the communication and make the models comfortable.

Stop Chimping

Chimping, a term used in digital photography to describe the habit of checking every photo on the camera display (LCD) immediately after capture.

Chimping is deadly habit that can kill the energy of a shoot and communication. I’ve seen it first hand countless times. Photographer takes a shot, looks at the back of the camera, takes another shot, looks at the back of the camera. All this time the model is getting bored and losing energy, he or she is also questioning their confidence and wondering what the photographer is seeing. If you have to check the LCD, talk to the model at the same time and give out positive reinforcement. Best practice is to snap the shutter 3-4 times then pause for a quick glance at the LCD, all the while you’re maintaining communication. This will keep the energy high and push the model.

Chimping Kills Communication

Photography Class
You don't need to look at every single images.

Pose the Hair

We don’t generally think of hair as a part of the body we can control, but you really can! If you are shooting a subject with long hair, then bad hair is going to be the first thing anyone notices about your photo. There are no rules as to what looks “best” across the board. Everyone will look different with their hair a different way. Keep changing the hairstyle if possible to find what looks the best.

Pay Attention to Hair


Pose the Arm

When people stand naturally, another thing they do is stand with their arms flat at their sides. This causes several problems. First, it makes them look awkward and uncomfortable in the photo. Secondly, their arm presses against their torso. This squishes the arm out and makes it look larger than it actually is.

Sample of Bad Arm Posing

Portrait posing
It could have been easily a great shot, if the subject had raised her chin and made a negative space between her arms and body.

Sample of Good Arm Posing

Portrait Posing
Notice how negative space makes body slimmer.

Pose the Shoulders

This is a very simple tip, but important. If your subject stares at the camera head-on, they look bigger. This can be good when shooting a football player or CEO of a big company, but it is bad when shooting beauty or portraits. By having your subject turn, they are showing a slimmer profile of themselves to the camera, and look slimmer.

That is all for now. These are few of many rules in portrait photography. In our Portraiture Photography Classes I will explain more of these rules and you have a chance to apply these rules and shoot the models. If you are in to portrait photography, I strongly suggest to check these workshops and join us for fun and hands on practice.

Pose the Shoulders

Portrait Photography
Notice how positioning of the shoulders makes an elegant image

Stay tuned for more free articles and as always feel free to contact us if you have more questions. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for upcoming tutorials and tips.  

If you are like me and learn better by hands on and practical examples, check our Upcoming Classes in Portrait Photography.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

Portrait Photography Classes

Three great Portrait Photography Workshops

We offer three great Portrait Photography Classes for everyone!

Natural Light Portrait Class

Starts April 13th

A 2 day workshop with classroom and practical sessions.

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Portrait Photography | Flash Edition

Starts May 11th

A 2 day workshop with classroom and practical sessions.

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More Info Here

Studio Portrait Class

Starts June 2nd

A full day workshop on how to set up a studio

More Info Here

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