February 15, 2021

How to Pose: 7 Simple Ways to Look Better in Photos

My passion is capturing photographs of heartfelt moments for families to savor forever as keepsake memories. Whenever I'm not helping your family, you can find me loving on my own. Camping trips, boba tea, and card games are our favorite ways to connect!  

I'm Kelly


Greensboro Family & Lifestyle Photogapher

How to Pose - 7 Ways to Look Better in Photos.png

Like it or not, we live in a very visual world. Photos are all around us. We stockpile family photos and travel memories. We curate our online image with professional headshots and profile pictures. And we can’t forget about all those candid snaps filling our camera rolls! But that doesn’t necessarily mean we feel comfortable on camera. In fact, it’s pretty normal to dislike the way you look in photos (that was me a few years ago). Why? Smiling for the camera and smiling for a friend are two very different things. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a model or fashion blogger to look better in photos. You simply need to learn how to pose!

Here are 7 simple adjustments to make while posing so you will love every photo.

Consider these your “tools of the trade”. They are techniques gleaned from fellow professional photographers and professional models, but more importantly from a lot of personal experimentation. When first I became interested in photography, I had no clue how to pose others let alone myself. I didn’t know what good lighting was. I wondered how other photographers managed to help clients look flawless, while I personally felt so stiff and awkward in my posing.


These changes make all the difference: 

1 -Bring Your Ears Forward

Ah… the dreaded double chin. Before you go blaming your body, consider your stance! Did you know the way we pose can create a double chin where none exists? It can be nerve wracking to be in front of the camera when you’re not accustomed to it. Consequently, people have a tendency to pull their head away from the camera, lean backward, or to tuck their chin down during a photo shoot. It’s a slight movement, perhaps an imperceptible one, but is enough to create that skin ripple we all dislike.

Instead, when considering how to pose, think about bringing your ears forward like a turtle emerging from a shell (toward the camera). I know that sounds odd and will probably feel a bit weird and unnatural. However, this subtle forward movement will give you a smooth, strong jawline.

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2 – Shift Your Weight

Likewise, let’s take a look at our weight distribution. Is it split evenly between both feet? If so, it’s time for some shifting… Put the majority of your weight on your back leg and you will instantly create a subtle—and super flattering— “S curve” with your body. Just be careful not to lean backward or away from the camera. This can look stiff and uncomfortable. You are aiming for a natural stance.

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3 – Lean Forward From The Waist

Similarly, a slight lean from the waist toward the camera can also work wonders! It is an instant body slimmer and a key pose for those who want to look better in photos. Your waist/hips/legs will look more slender no workout required. This movement can also help you better place your chin, as you will automatically be bringing your ears forward. Sayonara double chin, hello streamlined look!

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4 – Create Distance Between Your Torso & Arm

It’s instinct! Tell someone to pose for a photo, and inevitably, they will press their arms tight against their torso. In fact, when we stand naturally, we usually place our arms flat against our sides. You need to fight that urge while taking photos. Pulling your arm into your body will squish your arm outward, making it appear larger than it actually is. The movement will also make you look awkward and uncomfortable in your photos.

To fix this, create a bit of space between your torso and your arm. Lift your arm slightly (about an inch or two) by putting a hand on your hip or upper thigh. You could place a hand in your pocket—or when posing with others, rest your hand on the shoulder or back of a family member.

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5- Don’t Face the Camera Straight On

This is an important basic for anyone wondering how to pose! In fact, flip through any fashion magazine and you will immediately notice a lack of straight on shots. Great photos are all about angles. Let’s use them to our advantage! Instead of facing the camera squarely, position your body at a 45 degree angle. It’s incredibly slimming and adds a lot of visual interest.

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6 – Stand Tall

You don’t have to be tall to look tall in photos. Take it from me, I’m 5’1! The trick is adopting a dancer-like posture. As you play around with your stance and learn how to pose effectively, I want you to imagine you have a string attached to the crown of your head. This string is pulling you up like a marionette. Keep your core muscles engaged and lifted as you settle into this stance. Your shoulder should be back and down. If you need help adjusting your shoulders properly, try rolling them forward, then up, then around to settle into that “back” position. This will elongate your neck and overall bodyline.

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7 – Don’t Be Afraid to Move

Although this post is all about posing, sometimes the trick to looking better in photos is simply forgetting the camera and letting the real you out. Relax, take a deep breath and have fun with movement. Don’t be afraid to walk a little. Twirl back and forth. Swish the hem of your skirt or simply dance to the music in your head. This will create a bit of dynamism, spark a more natural smile, and help you feel comfortable in front of the camera. In fact, many photography clients end up loving their candid/spontaneous shots the best!

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  1. Nicole Cosentio says:

    Thanks for these amazing tips!!!! Great photos!

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My passion is capturing photographs of heartfelt moments for families to savor forever as keepsake memories. Whenever I'm not helping your family, you can find me loving on my own. Camping trips, boba tea, and card games are our favorite ways to connect!  

I'm Kelly


Greensboro Family & Lifestyle Photogapher