Portrait Photography

How to Pose for Pictures as a Woman

Photo of author
Written By Nate Torres

Have you ever taken a photo and been a bit discouraged because you did not look that good?

You might be thinking, “I thought I was beautiful! Not the Hunchback of Notre Dame!”

All kidding aside, don’t worry. You look beautiful, and there are many factors that go into capturing a flattering image, such as lighting, lens size, and posing.

Everyone wants to look their best in a photograph. These photos will be used as profile pictures, may be sent to potential job recruiters, or may be used as dating profile pics.

The point is that photos are essential personally and professionally, and they represent us (literally) in powerful ways.

If you are working with a photographer, they should at least be knowledgeable about lighting and lens size. As the subject, it is your job to have some understanding of posing so that you can show up in photos.

If you take your own photos, there’s no need to fret; we’ll also cover some tips for that.

The two most important criteria for posing women are that the pose is feminine and that the pose flatters your body.

Posing is a crucial component in the outcome of your photo. A bad pose can make anyone look weird, even supermodels.

If you’re looking for professional posing tips for women, along with examples, we’ve got you covered.

These are the posing tips I often tell my female clients while on a photoshoot.

I love that these poses are easy and effective and don’t require crazy, out-of-the-box contortionist-looking poses.

These tips are mostly for the photographer but are good to know as the model. This way, you know what to expect.

1. Photograph From Above Eye Level

The first tip is photographing from above eye level, but not by much.

Photographing from slightly above helps define the jawline and chin. If this is in the image, it has a slimming appearance on the face as well as the body.

The camera should always be at least slightly above eye level.

If the camera is below eye level, you may have an unflattering double chin.

I’m sure you’ve seen photos that use creative angles and shoot from the bottom, looking up.

If you are going to venture into this creative side, then it is vital that you also take another couple of tips into consideration with tips #4 and #8, which we’ll dive into later.

photograph from above eye level illustration
photograph from above eye level illustration
photograph from above eye level example
photograph from above eye level example

2. Keep Mouth Slightly Open

The second posing tip for women is to keep the mouth slightly open.

You don’t want your mouth wide open, and you don’t want a closed, tight mouth. You just want the mouth/lips to be just ever so slightly open and relaxed.

A closed mouth often conveys boredom and defiance, whereas a slightly open mouth can convey openness and agreement.

A slightly open mouth allows one to also “pout” their lips ever so slightly to bring attention to the lips.

Just be careful not to pout too much, or people might quack at you because you will have duck lips.

mouth slightly open pose
mouth slightly open pose

3. Angle Everything

The third tip is to angle everything. What do I mean by this?

When it comes to taking photos, think of every appendage as an opportunity to create an angle.

So, for example, break your body down into lines such as elbow to hand, hip to chest, shoulder to head, knee to foot, etc.

Each line should be at a slight angle. For another example, take the lines of shoulder to the elbow, then an elbow to hand.

Imagine if these two lines were straight, how stiff you would look in the photo, and how you could end up with a “fat arm” because it is pressed against your body.

With that being said, when posing for a photo, start with your feet, then work your way up all the way to your head.

These angles also create “curves” and are great for highlighting feminine features and making the waist look more defined. This is especially true for boudoir photos.

Try to have every line be a slight angle — emphasis on the “slight” part because if you go overboard, you may end up looking like an air dancer.

woman pose in angle
woman pose angles
angle everything

4. Forehead Forward and Down

The fourth posing tip for women is to stick your forehead forward and down slightly.

This creates a more defined jawline, making the face appear more flattering.

A similar cue to this is to stick the chin forward and down, but I don’t like this one because if you think “stick chin forward,” you’ll often do a turtle-like head movement.

With that being said, it’s easier to think forward and down. But again, do this slightly and not exaggerate because if you bring it too down, then you’ll scrunch your chin in.

forehead forward and down
forehead forward and down

5. Favored Side

The 5th posing tip for women is to leverage the favored side. In this age of selfies and whatnot, we’ll often find that we have a favored side.

Use that favored side to your advantage! We don’t really have symmetrical faces, and sometimes, we have a side of our face that just has better symmetry and lines or fewer blemishes, acne marks, or whatever it may be!

Another benefit of using a favored side is that since we know it is our favored side, we will appear and feel more relaxed in front of the camera.

If you are a photographer, ask your subject what their favorite side is (if they have one), and if you are a subject, let the photographer know that that is your favorite side so they know which way to angle your face when taking side shots.

6. Smize

If you followed pop culture around 2009, you may have heard about the “smize” made famous by Tyra Banks on America’s Next Top Model.

Here’s the background story, I love this video:

A smize is defined as assuming a playful or alluring expression of the eyes. It is also described as smiling with your eyes — hence, smize.

Now, all jokes aside, it does add more character to a photograph. To smize, you crinkle/squint your eye without your mouth moving, emphasizing squinting the bottom of your eye/lower lid.

An easier way to think about it is to smile right now. Now smile genuinely like you are seeing your best friend for the first time after a long while.

Usually, when you have a genuine smile, your eyes will also squint. It’s pretty much that but without the mouth part.


The benefit of smizing is that it can bring life to the photo, and any viewer who looks at the photograph can be drawn in.

If there is no character in the eyes, the subject could look like a deer in the headlights, and there will be no character or depth in the image.

The most important thing with smizing is, to be subtle, and just like everything, don’t go overboard.

7. Shift Weight to Back

The 7th tip is to shift weight to the back leg. This is especially important for full-body photos.

By shifting the weight to the back, there will be a slimming effect.

To do this, think about shifting your body’s weight to the straightened back leg with the front knee being bent.

Returning to tip #3, it’s all about creating those angles. If the subject just stood straight in front of the camera, there would be no character, no dimension, no curves, and it might even make the subject appear more significant than they really are.

shifting weight to back foot pose
shifting weight to back foot pose

8. Define Jawline

The 8th posing tip for women is to define that jawline.

Nobody wants a double chin, but it happens to the best of us, even models!

To avoid this dreaded chin, there are 2 simple things you can do.
We’ve already touched on the first way in tip #4 by bringing the forehead forward and down.

The second thing you/the subject can do is press their tongue against the roof of the mouth. This can be done while smiling and without. Make sure not to push it on the teeth but on the roof of the mouth.

This lengthens the neck, helps avoid the double chin, and helps accentuate and define the jawline.

A strong jawline is important for any pose, not just for men.

jawline push tongue against roof of mouth (1)
jawline push tongue against roof of mouth

9. Don’t Press with Hands

The 9th tip for posing women deals with the hands.

Oftentimes, photographers and the subject don’t know what to do with their hands.

Should I put them in my pocket? Just let them rest by my side?

I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “I feel so awkward; what do I do with my hands?”

Well, here is what you can do—pose them under the chin, in the hair, or slightly resting against something, such as their legs or face.

The most crucial part with the hands is not to have them press hard against whatever they are resting against.

You will also want to ensure the fingers are curved and slightly apart.

For example, if they are against the face, think of the hands as simply resting and touching the face.

If they were pressing instead of slightly touching, then they would be squishing the face and making the hand have an unflattering shape.

photo of woman posing in road
hands are not “pressing”

10. Guide Don’t Pose

The 10th posing tip for women is for photographers, but it is also good to know as the subject.

Instead of thinking of rigid poses like “Okay, stand here, move your hand here, a leg here,” etc.

First, think of a prompt, story, or emotion you are trying to convey.

For example, here is a prompt: ” Look over to the right and smile like a cute boy is over there smiling back at you” or something similar.

Then, once both the photographer and the subject know the story and prompt, you can make minor tweaks in the pose.

The photo will look more relaxed and engaging rather than just saying, “look over to the right, smile slightly, smize, and then laugh.”

Use the prompt as a base and see how you would naturally move the body and look with that prompt. Then, using all the tips we’ve mentioned, make final adjustments and tweaks to the pose.

To further explore posing tips for women, we also recommend this video by Jerry Ghionis:

Posing Tips For Women

How Can I Pose to Look Better in Pictures?

To look better in pictures, stand or sit at a slight angle to the camera, elongate your neck, relax your shoulders, and engage your core while maintaining a natural and confident expression.

How Can a Woman Be More Photogenic?

A woman can appear more photogenic by finding her best angles, using flattering lighting, and practicing a relaxed and confident facial expression that highlights her natural beauty.

We hope you enjoyed this guide on posing tips for women!

Now go out there and try these new poses.