Posing for Portraits from Photos

What is posing and how it can help you obtain that memorable portrait from your photo?

Posing is appealingly rendering the three dimensional human form in a two dimensional medium. There are two very important elements to consider in posing; the pose must appear natural, and the features of the individual be undistorted.

So, if the pose is natural and the features are rendered normally, in proper perspective, then you will have achieved a major goal, and the portrait will be considered pleasing.

Some very basic guidelines to follow in obtaining your memorable portrait photo now follows:

Head and Shoulders

– The subject’s shoulders should be turned at an angle to the camera – you decide on the angle that most pleases you. If the subject faces the camera, the person will look heavier and wider than actual.
– One shoulder should be higher than the other – the line of the shoulders should not be parallel to the ground.


– Feet should not be together – one foot should be brought forward. The weight of the subject should be on the back leg. If seated, have the subject lean forward from the waist to create a slopping line to the shoulders.

Head Tilt

– With the shoulders turned at an angle to the camera, the head is then turned or tilted,painting from photo usually at a different angle than the shoulders. This causes a slant to the natural line of the subject’s eyes. With men, the head is frequently tilted toward the low shoulder – aggressiveness and strength. With women, it is tilted toward the high shoulder – creates the impression of mystery and vulnerability.

Body at an angle to the camera

– As with the face, this will create a more dynamic effect and will enhance the curves and planes of the body. Also, turn the body away from the main source of light and help maximize body definitions.


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