When I look at high-end pictures taken by pros they pose the models in certain ways. I tried several times to replicate the poses. When I look at those pictures on the PC the poses seem awkward. The image does not look natural. Maybe it's the fact that I know the models and I know they never would stand like this?

Is this psychological hurdle normal? How can I pose a model in a way that looks cool but doesn't seem stupid?

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you please also post some sample pictures that you took? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dragos
    Dec 23, 2015 at 11:47
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I do not have them with me right now but can do it later today. But its not really about "my shot" in that sense. for instance: if I look at a picture I like it, and don't think much about the pose. But in the moment i replicate that picture i realize how stupid that pose is and that nobody would ever stand like that. and this feeling is what causes me to dislike my picture. it snot the composition, the lights or whatsoever, its the fact that the person I am shooting, would never ever stand like that. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2015 at 12:00
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Also see related question How do I guide my model in a portrait session?, although that specifically asks about strangers rather than friends. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Dec 23, 2015 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are so many things that could be going on that without some examples we're just going to be guessing (as answers so far mainly have admitted to)... \$\endgroup\$ Dec 24, 2015 at 0:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I came across the (to me) most unnatural looking pose in a photo today. wrt your question I followed the link to this Pinterest page containing many professionally and strangely posed people - bicycle theme. Some somewhat NSFW - in some cases (eg I'd be happy to have my wife see this screen open on my PC, but she may or may not ask why). The point is - looking at photos like this may persuade you that professional poses can look rather silly if you stop and think about them and/or that yours probably look similar - for better or worse. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 25, 2015 at 12:26

3 Answers 3


Why do you want pictures of people posed in ways that they would, in your words:

never ever stand like that

You are getting unnatural results because you are trying to achieve an unnatural goal. Try more natural poses. If you already know the models, this is easy because you know what types of activities they do, their interests, and what they naturally would be doing to pose them as.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ In my opinion, all of the poses in fashion photography today look very unnatural. It's to the point where people have started blogs about it. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 24, 2015 at 3:02

Are you posing or do you have a model posing for you? Most likely, professional photographers are going to employ professional models, either those who they've worked with before, or by going to a modelling agency for a suitable model for the type of shoot and the type of end result that they're trying to achieve.

Professional models usually have an understanding of pose etc, in the same as photographers do. An experienced model knows what they look like in photos for a particular pose, they know what looks good, and having been briefed on the requirement by the photographer, they will also have an understanding of what the photographer is looking for.

So if there is a photographer working with a model, it's very much a two way working relationship.


I would have to guess as we lack any comparisons, but most probably lighting and composition as well as setting and context are the most likely issues.

Pose alone does not make a good shot. If the pose is in a context that is unexpected for the viewer it can be disconcerting.

Lighting is very important. If there is one thing that differentiates great photographers from mediocre ones ( like me ) it's the use of light. They tend to have a much better understanding of how to light, what to light and how to use both available and artificial light. It's a talent, as well as a learned skill. I tend to think of this as the defining difference.

Composition. Well many people have good composition, but again, can't quite make it from good to great. It's talent rather than learned, IMO, although learning helps.

But top of the list of suspects : use of light.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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