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

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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.


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.


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.

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