Posing Tips for Your Next Portrait Session

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If you’re thinking about booking a portrait session, the idea of actually getting in front of the camera may sound a bit nerve-wracking. Why does getting in front of the camera seem daunting to so many people? People are generally concerned with posing for photos; the idea of standing in a studio with a professional photographer and posing for photos seems challenging if you don’t get in front of the lens too often. 


While it’s worth reading a quick blog post with posing tips for your next portrait session, it’s certainly not something you should stress over. Poses that work for one person may not work for another. During your session with John Glaser photography, we’ll help you pose for pictures by giving you different ideas and suggestions. 


You’ll feel more prepared for your upcoming session by reading our various posing tips. These posing tips will work for every session—including single, couples, and family portrait sessions. Let’s go over some easy posing tips that will better prepare you for your portrait so you make the most of every minute:

Three General Guidelines to Follow

We’ll go over a few poses you can use during your session later in the article, but it’s most important that you remember John Glaser Photography’s top three tips when posing for photos. You will get fantastic images if you remember these three things: 

1. Relax and Get Comfortable

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The camera picks up if you feel uncomfortable or nervous! If you feel nervous at any point, you should try doing something that makes you feel comfortable again. If you’re shooting by yourself, try letting out a nervous laugh for the camera. If you’re with someone else, you can look to them to have an organic interaction. It’s helpful to quickly distract your mind from remembering you’re being photographed. When you get out of your mind and enjoy the moment, you’ll get more authentic-looking photos that capture your personality. 


Professional model Kate Rooney spoke about the importance of relaxing in photos to StyleCaster: “Relax your body—your eyes, too. If you’re uptight and stressing, you’re not going to get the shot, and your body is going to emulate that.” 


Just remember: the best portrait photography happens when you feel comfortable in front of the camera. Relax and enjoy the process! 

2. When in Doubt, Shake it Out

After a few minutes, people in front of the camera generally begin to tense up. Since you don’t want to appear stiff in pictures, try shaking out your body to do a quick reset. It doesn’t matter which pose you’re in; your photos will look much more natural when your body appears relaxed.

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3. Take the Pressure Off Yourself

Your portrait photography session goes by quickly! Instead of putting pressure on planning poses, take the pressure off yourself by going with the flow and listening to your photographer. Photographers can see how a pose is translated through the lens and will help guide you. Portrait sessions are your chance to let loose, have fun, and celebrate your uniqueness. 

Posing Ideas

If you’re thinking about booking a portrait session, taking some pressure off yourself is helpful by having a few go-to poses in mind. You’ll impress any portrait photographer if you walk into a session with a few general concepts on how to move in front of the camera. If you choose to do any of the following poses, just remember to move gently from pose to pose. There are fantastic moments in-between planned poses that sometimes make the best photos. Here are some poses to try during your session at our Houston photography studio: 


Senior Portrait

For some reason, people tend to think that directly facing the camera looks the best. That’s not the case! If you’re taking photos while seated, we may prompt you to shift your body, so your shoulders are slightly turned. Play with your seated position to offer the camera different angles of your face! 


If you’re seated with multiple people in a family portrait session, you could try interacting with them for a few shots. Even just sharing a slight glance could make for the perfect candid moment! 


You may initially think that standing is considered one pose. If you’re standing during your portrait session, you could do multiple variations of the pose to spice up the photo.  You could try transferring most of your weight to one leg, crossing your arms, or playing with your hair. Standing with good posture is always best because it translates better through the camera’s lens!


Pro tip: leaning your upper body slightly toward the camera is one of the most flattering ways to pose while standing. 

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Whether standing in a full-body portrait by yourself or with others, you shouldn’t be afraid to keep it moving. Try transferring your weight from one foot to another a few times to create some micro-movements. Model Shannon Thaler says, “Some of the best poses aren’t really poses at all, but actions caught in the perfect moment. A picture with movement is always more interesting and fun to take…and fun to look at.” 

Moral of the story? Movement is incredibly important when posing—don’t be afraid to move!


Interacting with other people feels most natural, but what does someone do if they’re shooting by themselves? You can interact with the photographer! The camera will pick up genuine laughs, facial expressions, and the small moments created from interacting with another person.

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You’re Ready to Strike a Pose!

There’s no need to spend time looking at posing references online. You’re already prepared for your upcoming portrait session just by reading this blog post! We’ll help you with other posing techniques when you visit our Houston or New York photography studios. If you’d like to learn other photography tips and tricks, check out our other blog posts.