How to pose for photos

Think some people always look good in photos because they’re “born with it?” Maybe. Or they may already the time-tested, photographer-approved tricks that can make everyone look slimmer, younger, and more natural in front of the camera.

Beating the double chin

When posing for a head or portrait shot, try to tilt your head forward and slightly upwards. Don’t push it so far as to give yourself an awkward ‘giraffe neck’ in the final stills, but do position your head as far upwards and to the front as you can whilst still looking natural. Positioning your head in this way stretches the chubbiness and skin on the underside of your neck, lifting your ‘second chin’ behind your actual chin.

Create separation between your limbs from your body

Not only does it prevent the arm/leg from being squashed against you spreading out any fat, it is also an optical illusion for a slimmer appearance in terms of overall width. A basic cheat that makes a massive difference.

Know how far you can turn your head before your nose ‘breaks your cheek’

Go back to the mirror to see what angle becomes too far. This is perhaps a dying rule, but one that many competition judges still take into account so worth being aware of.

Step one foot forward

The most automatic pose when someone takes your photo is to plant your feet straight down. But, by taking one foot and stepping forward it not only gives your body natural curve, it also gives the picture movement and interest. Try to step forward on the balls of your feet so you are somewhat on your tiptoes, it’ll elongate the legs making you look taller and leaner.

Work out which is your best side

This applies to your face and to your whole body. For your face, it’s not such a big deal if your face is perfectly symmetrical. If your face is lower on your right side, so that’s the side you tend to tilt towards the camera. Doing so makes the lack of symmetry less obvious.

Give yourself a good background and sun

If you’re in Turks, show Turks. But if you’re at your former college roommate’s stepmother’s pool, just try to stand in front of a solid color. The best lighting is soft from the front and dark through the sides—think window lighting on a cloudy day. If you’re very pale, bright sunlight can wash you out and make you look flat in a photo, but if you’ve got darker skin, then it’s going to be quite a glamorous effect. When in doubt, shoot at sunrise and sunset. It’s the best light in any circumstance!

One leg up

A “one leg up” pose can be performed while sitting down or standing up and is the perfect way to show complexion in a pose, rather than a straight-bodied pose. While standing up, this pose is perfect for when leaning against a wall.

This pose can be composed in a relaxed way like in the picture or in a more solid configuration where you might be standing up-right against the wall. Regardless of how you style this pose, you are sure to capture an emotion.


If you’re giving your legs a break when the camera appears, remember to avoid both slouching and settling back into your chair. However you’re sitting, remember that things closest to the camera appear larger. If you want to fill the frame and look like a bigger human, lean forward with your legs apart.

Get silly

If you’re thinking about what your body looks like in a photo, it’s going to show in your face. Just have some fun with it—this is not serious.

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