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10 Ways to Pose People Who Are Not Models

Get your friends and family to pose like pros in portraits
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If you’re just starting out in portrait or fashion photography, you likely won’t have access to a professional model to photograph. That’s why beginner photographers typically ask friends and family to model for them.

On the plus side, the price is right when using a non-model. On the downside, your friend or family member probably won’t know how to “strike a pose” to help you capture an eye-catching shot. That’s why you’ll need to instruct them how to effectively pose for you.

This can be tricky if you’re either shy or aren’t sure which poses look good on camera. Have no fear though. Photographer and YouTuber Lizzie Peirce has a helpful tutorial below where she shares ten tips that will get your non-model posing like a pro in no time.

In the video at the bottom of this post, Peirce asks her friend and fellow YouTuber Allana Davison to be her subject as she instructs her through these easy but effective poses. (After you watch Peirce’s video below, check out another popular tutorial with 10 portrait composition tips.)

Pose #1: The Author

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“Have your model place their legs shoulder-width apart and have them shift their weight from one leg to the other,” Peirce says. “Then have them overlap their hands slightly in front of them and loosely hold one or several of their fingers while relaxing their wrists.

Pose #2: Walk the Walk

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“This pose can be performed in one of two ways. First you can have you model pace back and forth in the same spot. Second, you can have your model start out of frame and then walk completely through the frame.”

Pose #3: She’s Effortless

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“Whoever I’m shooting, I’ll ask if they have a preferred side of their face. If so, ask them to push their hair back behind their ear on that side of their face. As they push their hair back, they should turn that side of their face mor towards the camera.”

Pose #4: Zhuzh the Hair

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“Have the model play with their hair and lift it up as if they’re trying to add more volume to the root. This adds a more interesting element to a seemingly simple pose.”

Pose #5: The Thinker

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“While the model is sitting, get them to place one elbow on a knee and sit forward a bit to support their chin with that same hand. They can either have a closed fist for a more stern look or an open hand as a more casual option.”

Pose #6: She’s Shy

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“With one elbow balanced on a knee or ledge of some sort, have the model place their hand over their mouth and cheek. Personally, I think that this pose works best with a big smile, but it can also work with a straight face looking directly into camera.”

Pose #7: The Lookback

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“Have the model sit almost perpendicular to you and get them to place both hands stretched out in front of them by their knees. Then get them to turn their head and look behind them or back at the camera and shrug their shoulder.”

Pose #8: Sit and Slouch

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“This full body pose works really well on aesthetic looking chairs, couches, and stairwells. Have your model sit at the front edge of their seat and open their legs shoulder-width apart. Bend one leg inward and stretch the other leg out while pointing your toe so that they aren’t symmetrical to the camera. ”

Pose #9: Cross Leg Power Pose

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“Have your model sit at a 45-degree angle and then get them to cross their legs with the leg that’s closer to the camera on top. Then have them lean back into the pose.”

Pose #10: Too Cool for School

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“Have the model sink their hands either into the pocket of their jacket, sweater, or pants. Then get them to sway back and forth or side to side with their feet.”

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