Fashion Photography

17 Female Poses For Inspiration When You’re Stuck

Ever run of our ideas for female poses? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. All you need for some creativity and guidance for shooting female subjects is to use our following list female poses samples. In this article, we have listed 17 poses to use as a cheat sheet selected for an initial reference, especially if you are a model who’s just starting out.

While there are models who know their angles in their sleep, the reality is that many of the agency models are likely to test photographers, in the beginning, are new faces. These new faced models often have very little, if any, experience with a professional photographer and require some gentle-handed guidance when it comes to posing.
Learning how to direct and pose a model into a workable image pays off ten-fold. It is a valuable skill set to possess and nearly guarantees a successful shoot no matter the circumstance and that’s why these simple go-to poses that work time after time.

Remember to look at the poses together with your subject, especially if she’s inexperienced. During a photoshoot don’t hesitate to discuss with the subject which pose is or isn’t working in any particular situation. It’s usually very productive and you both will feel more confident in what you are doing.

1. Over the shoulder

Over the shoulder female pose
Over the shoulder female pose

A very simple portrait pose to start with and often revered for beauty work, close-up portraits and headshots, over the shoulder poses focus on the model’s face. It is all about that neck and jawline and therefore must be given the appropriate attention.

Start by having the model bring her shoulder toward the camera and look over it. Give verbal cues such as tilting the chin up and down, forward and backward as well as tilting the head left or right to minimize the wrinkles of the neck and avoid a double chin. If all else fails, you can either physically place their head where it needs to be or ask them to give you their selfie angle from that perspective.

As a first for this list of female poses, we have an extra tip: this simple pose can be taken to the next level by having the model play with her hands or play with her hair or gently touch her face. Make sure that the hands do not resemble claws and that the overall image looks natural and unforced.

2. Hands

Hands female pose

Usually, with portrait photography, hands are not visible or at least not dominant. That being said, you might get creative by asking the model to play around with her hands trying different positions around her head or face. Remember to avoid these: No flat palms, and the hands should only show their sides!

3. Diagonals

Most photographers are familiar with composition rules like the rule of thirds. Similarly, pleasing effects can be created by using diagonals. Also, you don’t need to always hold your camera on a perfectly even level. Don’t be afraid to tilt it, you might achieve some interesting and unusual perspectives.

4. Sitting with knees touching

This is a really nice and lovely pose with a model sitting A good trick is to have the knees of the model touch each other like the image.

5. Lying down

Another option for an open, inviting pose is with the model lying on the ground. Just take the cues from the beautiful icon Audrey Hepburn. While photographing get down and take your picture nearly from the ground level.

6. Lying down with arms resting on the ground

A variation for a pose with the model lying on the ground. Both hands can be resting on the ground. Works very well outdoors, on the grass or in a wildflower meadow, for example.

7. On the back and face the camera

Seventh on our list of female poses is this basic easy pose, that looks absolutely stunning. Get your camera down and shoot nearly from a ground level. After that, try to move gradually around the model while clicking your shots. You can even ask your model to change head and hand positions.

8. Lying down gracefully

This pose is yet another easy and gorgeous pose for ALL body types. Try different hand and leg positioning. And remember to focus on the model’s eyes. This pose looks great for a maternity shoot.

9. Surface shot

A really lovely pose that works well on different surfaces like while lying on a bed, on the ground, in the grass, or on a sandy beach. Shoot from a very low angle and make sure you focus on the eyes.

10. Sitting down

Our tenth on the list of female poses is this ethereal, gorgeous and easy pose for a model sitting on the ground.

11. Lying down with your arms up

This is another simple and friendly pose for lying on the ground. This is a wonderful way to demonstrate the beauty of a model’s physique as it works very well as a curvey silhouette forms when shooting against a bright background.

12. Hands on the hips

A simple and casual looking pose. Lots of variations are possible. Ask the model to twist her body, experiment with hand positioning and try different head turns. Another very simple and elegant pose would have the model turned slightly to the side with her hands in back pockets.

13. Leaning forward

Leaning slightly forward can be a very attractive gesture. It is a subtle way to emphasize upper body shapes, in fact this would look amazing on your wedding day, see the image below.

14. Standing and holding your arms up

This is one of those female poses that are so sensual and beautiful. As the model holds her hands above the head body curves are emphasized. Works with fit body types.

15. S Shape

Endless variations are possible for posing in full height. This pose is just the starting point. Posing guidelines are simple: The body should be arched in an S shape, hands should be relaxed, while the weight finds support on just one leg.

In addition to lengthening women, knowing how to emphasize and minimize natural curves for an hourglass shape is imperative. Angling the model away from the camera is an easy way to capture the natural curves of her hips and lower back.

To minimize curves, have the model place most of her weight on the back foot with the front foot crossed slightly in front. The lower part of the body can be further minimized by having the model lean forward slightly. A model’s curves can be enhanced by having her place most of her weight on the front leg if photographing her from the side. If the model is facing the camera head-on, have her “pop a hip” by placing most of her weight on one leg. (Note that full height settings are very demanding and work well only with slim to athletic body types)

16. Stand, twist and hold

An exquisite pose for slim to athletic models. Many variations are possible. In order to find the best posture, tell the model to slowly move her hands and twist her body constantly. When you see a good variant, ask your model to hold still and take some pictures. Repeat for a full set.

17. Sitting with a bareback

This is one of the most absolutely romantic and delicate female poses of all time. Any kind of cloth (a curtain, a bedsheet, etc) can be used. Keep in mind that the back doesn’t need to be completely bare. Even as little as a bare shoulder could work pretty well.

Hopefully, you have these styles of poses to start with right away. You will find at least a couple of female poses to work with for different scenarios.
Be mindful of the fact that each of the initial sample poses are meant to be only a starting point for inspiration (my favourite are the Hepburn ones..ahh) Just be creative and adjust the pose as needed. For alternatives, try different shooting angles and ask your subject to change hand, head and leg positioning, etc to spice up the poses.

GENERAL TIP: Remember any of these female poses are null and void if the expression isn’t up to par. A good rule of thumb is to begin simply and progress accordingly. Lend the model to movements from side to side and teaching the model to rock back and forth while accentuating her curves. This will be some great ways to keep those usual female poses from feeling static and stiff.

The difficulty of these simple poses can also be increased by adding props, movement and appropriate facial expressions as a rapport develop throughout the shoot. They are also good poses to fall back on when the attempted shot isn’t working.
Learning how to work with these female poses and to direct a model improves your skills as a photographer. It also helps recognize those subtle cues and identify when a huge pose is coming to prepare for those future shoots with working models.

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