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5 Simple Portrait Poses You Need to Know

Try these essential poses at your next portrait photography shoot
Photo of portrait poses

As we’ve discussed before, there are several key poses photographers need to keep in their back pocket to use during portrait shoots. In the below tutorial, pro portrait photographer Justin Laurens shows you five of these essential poses so you can use them in your own portrait sessions.

The best part? These poses are fairly easy to learn and both professional and non-professional models should be able to easily execute them to help you capture winning portraits.

“When it comes to the portrait game, posing is everything” Laurens says. “Regrettably, when I first started portrait photography, I seriously neglected the topic of portrait posing because of how confusing and trivial I though the subject was. Instead, I resorted to winging it on every single shoot and then pray that the results would turn out ok. This was, arguably, the biggest mistake I made when first starting out. Let me tell you the number of photo shoots I wasted because I was underprepared and unfamiliar with the essentials of portrait posing was shameful.”

To prevent other budding portrait photographers from making the same mistakes he did, in the video below Laurens shares the five most fundamental types of portrait poses, which you can bring on every shoot to create stunning portrait photos even if your subject is not a model. We’ve included time-stamps where you can find the poses in the video at the bottom of this post.


#1 Held Tilt Pose (0:49-minute)

“This is honestly more of an attractiveness hack than an actual pose,” he says. “Seriously this has even been proven by science to be the single most attractive way for someone to pose themselves during a selfie.”

#2 Lean-Against-a-Wall Pose (1:15)

“If you’re looking for an easy hack to create more depth and dimension in your photography so as to create a more punch, eye-catching and dramatic image, this is the type of pose I recommend you use.”

#3 45-Degree Turn Pose (1:40)

“This is a classic and highly flattering pose which I suggest you bring to every future photo shoot. With this pose you can enjoy the full emotive expressions on your model’s face while creating a slender and more visually appealing and stylistic appearance.”

#4 Close-Up (with Hands) Pose (3:25)

“The close-up nature of this pose makes it possible to see the intricate detail of your model’s facial expressions. Combined with the use of your model’s hands, this can create a highly emotive and engaging photo.”


#5 Over-the-Shoulder Pose (3:57)

“To me, as a portrait photographer, it just doesn’t get any better or more effective than this pose. The reason why I love this pose so much is because of how it angulates both your model’s head and torso in a very stylish way. This has a very flattering and slimming effect which is almost guaranteed to make your subject look more photogenic even if they’re not a model.”

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