Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

Submit your Photo
Hall of Fame

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What resources are available online to give ideas for poses. Is there some type of catalogue of common poses?

share|improve this question
Would you be interested in book recommendations too? – AJ Finch Jan 20 '11 at 14:35
See also… – mattdm Jun 7 '11 at 14:28
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Firstly: I strongly second @kacalapy with his recommendation of Digital Photography School.

Second, here are a few sites I've found:

  • Free Digital Photography Tutorials have a couple of nice pages (lots of clear examples nicely explained here and here
  • Jonathan Souer has a step-by-step guide here
  • I know this isn't online, but my go-to reference is actually a book on wedding photography, The Master Posing Guide for Wedding Photographers by Bill Hurter. He explains lots of principles and practice with plenty of example images. Anything by Bill is worth considering in this area.
  • To answer your request for a catalogue of poses, another book: 500 Poses for Photographing Women by Michelle Perkins.

Finally, I carry a cribsheet with me which contains the following advice:

  2. Stand subject THREE QUARTERS to light
  3. WEIGHT on back foot
  4. FACE 7/8 to camera
  5. HEAD tilt slightly (near shoulder for ladies, far shoulder for men)
  6. EYES -> camera
  7. ARMS away from body (lift elbows / hold something / hands in pockets)
  8. SHOOT slightly down on subject

I hope that's some help.

share|improve this answer

You can find hundreds of poses HERE. Another good place for information is DPSchool. You can also find some tips here, just scroll down some.

share|improve this answer

This guide by Norm Haughey is helpful and covers posing and basic lighting:

Posing and Lighting to Flatter Your Subject — a guide by

share|improve this answer

I would recommend buying a fashion magazine subscription or just flipping through one at the bookstore/library. You can get a lot of inspiration out of that.

I would advise that these aren't very helpful if you're looking to do traditional portraits. They're very applicable if you're trying to shoot fashion, or execute an edgier look.

Another resource would be portrait paintings. Any good art history book will have a catalog of great portraits with excellent classic poses.

share|improve this answer

I collected a lot of posing techniques at my own which could be useful for your needs: some useful posing guide can be in my opinion easily found there.

share|improve this answer
So, you learned by creating the site? Please disclose affiliation when advertising your own pages here. – Imre Dec 9 '11 at 10:55
See this section of the faq. It's okay to refer to your own site when it is appropriate for the answer, but disclosure is required. Thanks! – mattdm Dec 9 '11 at 11:27

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.