We’re not born knowing how to stand and pose for photos, but we all want to look good in photos. Plus, many women feel really self conscious trying to pose for pictures. The first questions anyone feeling uncomfortable in front of the camera will ask is how should I stand and what should I do with my hands? So it’s our job as photographers to learn posing and how to guide subjects into the best female photography standing poses.
Most women know the basic hands-on-hips pose for family photos, but a professional photographer needs to deliver better poses than that. Plus, because standing poses are full-length poses, your subject will feel more vulnerable and will rely on you to make her feel better.
What are the most flattering female photography standing poses?
If you’ve read my article on female model poses, you’ll know that I suggest flow posing to capture a great variety of poses easily. With this in mind, I’ve divided my 49 standing poses for women into 8 sections of different poses. Plus, I’ve given them catchy names to help you memorize them:
- Weight back
- Curvy booty
- S curves
- Diamond legs
- Open body
- Hip pop
- X legs
- Over the shoulder
Whilst clothing has an impact, feminine posing doesn’t depend on what your subject’s wearing. For these posing examples we specifically chose a neutral clothing style to demonstrate how to use posing to flatter the female form.
Now that you know my basic standing pose names, I bet you can already identify some of them in the 8 poses below. How many can you see?
With each set of poses I’ll explain why they work based on my golden rules of female posing, which I’ll briefly explain first…
7 golden rules of female posing for photoshoots
I have 7 golden rules for posing women in photoshoots. They apply to all female poses, including sitting poses and lying down poses. Although they’re not actual posing rules, they are essential for the best photography poses for women!
- The closer something is to camera the bigger it appears
- If it bends, bend it
- Create space between arm and body
- Pose women at a 45 degree angle
- Use S shapes and triangles
- Define the waist with hand placement
- Changing head angle changes the message
That said, you’ll see in these female posing examples that rules 3 and 4 can work really well when broken intentionally. I’ll explain why after we’ve gone through all the standing poses.
Pro posing tip: Changing hand, arm and head position for each pose adds a huge variety of different poses to a photoshoot.
Now let’s get into the details of these classic poses with example photos, explanations and standing pose ideas for women.
1. Weight back – slimming standing pose for women
When it comes to slimming poses for women, the best trick is to put her weight on the back foot (the foot furthest from camera). When a woman poses with her weight on the back leg, her hips automatically push away from the camera, slimming the waist. This female posing trick applies to all standing poses, whether:
- Facing the the camera front on
- At a 45 degree angle to camera
- Or side on to camera
If she can arch her back slightly it adds S curves to her body shape, but remember that flexibility varies. Some women have straighter backs than others, so if she can’t easily arch her back, let it go and move on.
3. Curvy booty female photography standing pose
To emphasize or create a round booty, especially in slim women, a good pose for women is to put weight on the front foot (the foot closest to camera). This engages the booty muscles, making it bigger and rounder.
Remember to take care to avoid foreshortening limbs, which happens when they point directly towards camera. So, in sideways standing poses for women, make sure that your subject’s elbow is pointing behind her and not towards camera.
3. S curves standing poses
Women’s bodies are naturally curved, so look best when emphasize feminine curves with an S shape standing pose. What’s more, an S curve is great in photography composition, because it slows the viewer’s eye down and leads them through the image.
So, for female standing poses think in terms of an S shape to apply to the whole body. Because the shape is so distinctly feminine, when you photograph an S pose from the front, the side or even the back it’s flattering for women.
But that’s not it. Remember my first golden rule for photographing women that whatever is closest to camera will be bigger?
With S curve standing poses front on to camera, putting weight on the back foot and pushing hips back away from camera not only slims the waist and hips, but also slightly increases the chest area. This adds to the S curve of this standing pose.
A great pose tip for side on S curve poses is to arch the back slightly to increase the S curve. No need to do any crazy bending, just pop the hips back slightly for a slight arch. Remember that every body is different, so some women will have naturally curvier backs and can more easily create the arch.
In these images we’re breaking all the posing rules! In the first two there’s no space between arm and body, but the arms are being used to create a waistline, so it works.
In the last image the back of her hands are to camera, which usually isn’t advisable for posing hands in photos. However, their position creates a flattering hourglass shape.
Using hands to define the waist works for slim women as well as larger women. However, most of the time we avoid showing the back of the hands to the camera as it can make them appear larger. It helps to tilt hands up a little bit so that the side of the hand is more to camera.
4. Diamond legs female standing poses
Triangles are a great composition tool, because they’re dynamic and lead the eye around an image. And arms and legs are a great way to introduce interesting triangle shapes to a standing photo pose.
This is why the diamond legs standing pose for women works so well. Note that pointing the foot of the bent leg elongates her leg and makes it elegant, even with chunky shoes.
Once you’ve captured a variety of poses with weight on her favorite leg, ask your subject to switch her weight to the other leg. The pose will be slightly different so adds to the variety of a photoshoot.
5. Open body standing pose for women
Just like with body language in face to face meetings, when you take up space in an image you look confident. The open standing pose opens the body up towards the camera, which adds to the feeling of confidence.
To make the pose even bigger and more of a power pose, bring the arms up above shoulder height.
6. Hip pop female standing poses
Popping a hip out to the side, especially when front on to camera, makes this female standing pose much more interesting. It introduces curve to the waist and brings in that triangle shape I keep mentioning for a dynamic pose.
It’s a confident pose with a bit of attitude and, if she’s wearing pants with pockets, it really suits hands in pockets. Just watch that she doesn’t stick her whole hand in the pocket. It shortens the arm and makes it look like she doesn’t have hands.
Pro posing tip: We all have a favorite leg to stand on and to look good in photos people need to feel comfortable. So my starting point for this easy pose is to ask clients to stand like they’re waiting in line. It’s an easy way to see which leg they favour. Once we’ve had a chuckle that she can’t remember how she stands naturally and she forgets about my question, she’ll naturally fall into her usual way of standing. Then I ask her to pop that hip out to the side even more.
This relaxed pose works front on, as well as 45 degrees to camera. It’s also a versatile pose, because, with different arm positioning, you can quickly capture a large variety of poses.
For added posing variety in a photoshoot, after your subject has posed on her favorite side, get her to pop her hip to the other side for a few more poses.
7. X legs
This female standing pose is a reverse of the diamond pose. By crossing one leg in front of the other we’re again creating dynamic triangle shapes which look so good when photographing women. As you’ll see, it works well front on to camera and 45 degrees to camera.
Crossed legs front on to camera standing poses
This standing pose is slimming for all women and adds to feminine curves when facing the camera front on. This pose also works particularly well for slimming thighs.
As with all the other beautiful poses, by changing arm positions you can quickly add variety to the photoshoot. Which one do you think is the most flattering way to stand for a picture?
Crossed legs 45 degrees to camera standing poses
Turning the X legs front on pose 45 degrees makes it a versatile and potentially more flattering standing pose for different body shapes.
The leg closest to camera should be crossed over in front of the weight bearing leg.
Note also that the foot of the crossed over leg is pointed to create a longer, more elegant leg. Plus, bending the leg slightly softens the pose (and makes it easier to do without falling over!).
The first image in the above three would be better if there was space between her feet, because separation prevents feet from looking too big.
8. Over the shoulder female standing poses
These over the shoulder poses demonstrate some really simple standing poses for pictures that anyone can do.
By now you know that paying attention to the small details makes a big difference for looking good in pictures. These poses are no different, because what makes them good poses is the arm, leg and head angle positioning. Let’s take a closer look…
It’s a confident pose as she’s standing firm on two feet, breaking the rule of “if it bends, bend it”. What makes the pose work is her arm placement.
- There’s space between arm and body for her arm furthest from camera, so we can see her waist
- The bend in the arm closest to camera sculpts her body and makes her waist curvier than it is
Making sure that her neck is long makes the photo more elegant.
This is almost the same as the first pose, except we’ve created variety by:
- Bringing her shoulder up to her chin for a slightly flirty look
- The arm closest to camera is straighter, but still creates a dip to define the waist
- Bending the leg closest to camera softens the firm stance of the first image (matching the slightly flirtatious feeling)
- She’s crossed her hands over in front and pushed her booty back slightly, making the arch in her back more obvious for an S curve
- The leg closest to camera is more bent and the foot more pointed for a softer look
- The tilt of her chin is more confident than the middle image
5 photography tips for how to pose in pictures
These last few posing tips apply to all types of female posing, not just for how to pose for pictures standing.
1. Breaking posing rules to look slimmer in photos
With all female standing poses it helps to use arm and hand positioning to create the illusion of an hourglass shape in slim women, or slim down a waistline on curvier women.
Breaking rule 3 in female standing poses
Instead of creating space between arm and body in female photography standing poses, direct her to bring her arms across her body. This makes her shoulders wider than where her arm cuts across her body and so creates a slimmer waist. It’s also a great posing trick for women that might be self conscious of belly fat (particularly for boudoir posing).
So, even though there’s no space between arms and body, her arms aren’t next to her body, making her appear wider.
Pro posing tip: To start the pose I tell my clients to give themselves a gentle hug and I refine it from there.
Breaking rule 4 in female standing poses
It’s often more flattering to photograph a woman angled at 45 degrees to camera, rather than facing square on to camera. At the 45 degree angle her width is greatly reduced. However, for front facing poses you can position arms to create beautiful shapes that make it a flattering pose.
The 45 degree angle pose doesn’t suit all bodies, for example:
- For slim women, standing at 45 degrees to camera it works better to then turn the upper body back towards camera slightly. This makes the shoulders wider than the waist, thus creating a more defined waistline
- Some plus size women might look better facing towards the camera. You’ll see it straight away when it’s not working.
Pro posing tip: if you direct somebody into a pose that doesn’t suit them, don’t say anything. Simply take a few images, then direct them into a pose that’s more flattering for their body shape. The moment you break the flow of the shoot your subject will think she did something wrong or doesn’t look good and her confidence will evaporate.
2. Hands in standing poses for women
Hands are really important in portrait photography, even with standing poses, so proper hand posing is vital. As I’ve already written about hand posing, I’ll just mention the 3 big don’ts when posing hands:
- Don’t interlock fingers when joining hands – it makes hands a big tangled mess of fingers
- Don’t have hands closest to camera – it makes them appear bigger than they are
- Don’t show the full back of the hand to camera – it looks bigger
3. Posture in photography standing poses for women
Unless you’re going for an edgy look with female model poses, good posture is important in female portraits. So, relaxed shoulders and a nice long neck are a good place to start.
4. Head position in female standing poses
The angle of the head in standing poses for female photoshoots is important for three reasons:
Different angles convey different messages
A chin tilted up to camera creates a strong, confident pose, especially if you’re photographing from below the subject’s eye level.
Head position can remove double chins
However, tilting the chin up doesn’t reduce a double chin. The best way to reduce a double chin is to ask your subject to push her forehead towards camera and then bring their chin down slightly (slightly!). Even if your subject doesn’t have a double chin, this is a great way to create a strong jaw line.
Changing head position changes a pose
Even the slightest adjustment to the angle of a subject’s head in a pose changes the look, which creates variety from a photoshoot. Find out more about basic poses in this article on female posing.
5. Camera angles for standing poses
Camera angles make a huge difference to legs in standing poses for women, especially if you use a wide angle lens, so make sure you photograph from a low angle to make her legs look longer.
While we’re on the subject of lenses, knowing the impact of your camera lens choice for flattering photos is really important.
Learn to guide female standing poses for photoshoots
For the best standing poses for photoshoots, as they’re full body portraits, every part of of the body needs careful attention. Plus, even with a simple pose you need to be aware of the body language of the pose.
As I said at the start of this article, knowing how to guide female subjects into good poses is essential.
- The most important thing is to practice female standing poses yourself so you know how it feels and can demonstrate how to pose for pictures standing
- Look on Pinterest for standing poses you like, save them to your phone and then refer to them if you need a reminder during a photoshoot. Plus, showing a photo of a standing pose for women will help your subject.
- Don’t try to remember too many different standing poses for women all at once. Start with three, then once you know them learn another three. Soon you’ll have a variety of your favorite female standing poses to choose from.
- The easiest way to start is to practice with female friends and family members first. Then look for female models to improve your female standing poses for photoshoots (read these tips first for finding models). Starting with inexperienced models gets you used to guiding your subject into poses, rather than relying on the posing skills of a professional model.
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