Common Portrait Poses to Avoid

Portrait photography is much more than just gear or even technique – a huge part of the work of a portrait photographer has to do with communication – both verbal and non verbal. Jeff Rojas (from creativelive) has some useful tips on what not to do when working with your models.

Our body language reveals how we really feel and Rojas details five default poses that don’t work on camera.

  • Shoulders back communicates confidence
  • Hands in pockets communicates uncertainty
  • Crossed arms communicates defensiveness or self-soothing
  • Holding hands below west
  • Clenched fists make you appear angry or nervous

If you want to learn what to do and not just what to avoid, you simply must watch this video by photographer Jeff Smith based on his book “Posing for Portrait Photography” (we highly recommend watching this carefully, even a couple of times, and making some notes as there is a lot to take in).

Posing for Portrait Photography: A Head to Toe Guide


We have covered the topic of photography poses in the past on several videos including the extensive and excellent “Frank Dispensa on Classical Posing & Portrait Lighting“, “Bambi Cantrell: Portrait & Posing Workshop” and “How to Pose for a Photoshoot: Posing a Bride”  Jasmine Star and more recently “Sexier Posing – Creating an Edgy Photoshoot” by Photographer Doug Gordon .

You can find many more helpful photography tips on our Photography tips section here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.


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