5 Tips on How to Pose Your Model

Dear Shooters… do your struggle with figuring our how to pose your model?

If you’re starting off in photography you already know that posing your model can sometimes be a little difficult. 

Especially if they don’t know what they’re doing themselves!

Which is why this one tip applies to just about everything in life: Do things in confidence. Even if you’re not sure of yourself. 

It makes people think you know what you’re doing and as a result, they trust you know what you’re doing.

But, if you need a little help with taking charge of your shoots, here are 5 tips on how to pose your model and clientele:

1) Know The Model’s Angle

At the beginning of the shoot, converse a little with your client. Get to know them before starting. Analyze them. 


Then take note. Are they already confident and photogenic? Or shy and need help posing themselves?

Answering these questions will help you better understand how the shoot will go.

(Side Note: Try to plan out the theme/aesthetic of the shoot beforehand and study some model poses. I prefer Pinterest for inspiration!)

Often times when they’re shy, they’ll say things like “I don’t really know how to pose” or “I’m not really photogenic.”

That’s when you let them know “No problem I got you!” or “No need to worry, you’ll do great!”

2) Know Your Lighting

Another thing to check a day or two before the shoot is the weather. 

If the photoshoot is going to be outside, prepare for the type of lighting you’ll be getting or not getting from the sun. 

Overcast and golden hour are my favorite types of natural lighting (research when golden hour is in your town/city). 

Posing Your Model

After configuring your camera’s settings consider packing the following items to better assist you during the shoot:

  • An external flash to attach to the camera
  • Strobe lights
  • A Reflector/diffuser

(Side Note: Try and avoid direct sunlight, shoot in the shade if possible)

3) Keep Calm When You Pose Your Model

Make your models comfortable by talking with them throughout the shoot. 


Ask them what poses make them feel more comfortable (ex: hand on hip, arms crossed, hand on face, etc.).

And once again, remember to shoot in confidence.

Your client is more likely to relax and comfortable when they see you know what you’re doing. 

Just don’t expect them to know how to pose themselves. 

If they have a few they’d like to do then great! That’s less work for you.

But remember, you’re the creative. 

And they want to work with you because they appreciate your eye and for vision/photographic style.

4) Off-Guard Shots

I’ve noticed from my past work some of the best shots are taken unexpectedly… ”off-guards” to give it a name.

In fact, sometimes when the model is moving around I’ll catch a shot that looks so natural on them. 

Posing Models

It just fits! 

And to be honest, some people just look better when you’ve taken an unintentional or unexpected picture. 

Which isn’t a bad thing.

Because that’s when you show them the image you captured. Which in turn makes them excited. Excitement leads to more confidence, and makes their photoshoot experience even better!

And remember, it’s normal to not get the best pictures in the first 10 minutes of a photoshoot session or event. 

But after things get underway and you’ve shown a few good sample shots to the client, they get warmed up. Which gets you warmed up.

And after both of you are comfortable, from my experience, the pictures normally come out better than expected!

(Tip: Keep that camera to your eye when you know the model is about to move into their next pose!)

5) Thursday!

Fun fact: saying the word “Thursday” gives a more natural smile than saying “cheese.” 

But also make sure when you pose your model to get some pictures of the model smiling with and without teeth. 

How To Pose Your Model

Sometimes one can be better than the other. 

However, sometimes no smiling can complement their face more than a picture of them smiling.

Which is why as photographers, we need to analyze and learn/catch on to the different personalities and quirks of our clients.

If they don’t have a bubbly, smiley personality, chances are a picture of them showing teeth won’t look good.

Take a few shots of them with fewer teeth showing. They’ll appreciate you for taking the time to do so. 

Be Patient and Do The Work

With time and practice, you’ll get better! Being a photographer means you have to be a people’s person. And you’ll only get better by shooting with new clients.

It’s like Gary Vee said, “you don’t read about how to do jumping jacks.” You actually have to do them to learn the motions and to get better.

This can be applied to everything in life! 

So to sum everything up, here are a few bullet points on how to pose your model:

  • Know the model’s angle (good side vs. bad side, what poses look more flattering on them, etc.)
  • Know your lighting (check the weather beforehand and shoot in the shade)
  • Keep calm (shoot in confidence, your model will trust you more if you show that know what you’re doing) 
  • Take off-guard shots (unintentional shots sometimes come out great!)
  • Have the model say “Thursday” rather than “cheese” (also get a few shots of them smiling with and without showing teeth)

I hope you guys found this article helpful!

In closing, we’d appreciate it if you gave us a follow on Instagram and give our page on Facebook a like @RedOctoberFirm

And if you tried these tips out, use our hashtag #REDOCTOBERFIRM so we can check out your work!

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