5 Easy Tips for Beauty Photography Posing

One of the more difficult photography genres, especially for beginners, when it comes to posing models is beauty portraiture. It’s a difficult genre even for a model. Many times I’ve heard models say things like “I don’t know what to do anymore, I’ve tried all the ideas.” I share the process I use for each shoot so you (and your models) can feel confident posing for beauty photos.

1. start simple

All photos © Angela Marklew

I start all shoots by sitting the model in an apple box (or similar) and creating a simple head and shoulders frame. I call this the “warm up” look. Use this time to observe how your subject moves naturally. Very few instructions from me. In this set, we don’t ask for big facial expressions or tell you how to move your body in a specific way.

[Read: How to Put Your Models at Ease for Beauty Shoots]

Important things to remember when posing for beauty portraits are: small movements make a big differenceIf the model is in a pose that I think works, I ask them to tilt their chin up and down, tilt and turn their head left and right, or simply change their gaze. Combine this process with a series of small poses that have your body angled or lift one shoulder slightly higher than the other for visual interest.

2. Incorporate hands and facial expressions

Beauty photo posing with hands and big look

Anyone familiar with my work knows Love Models who use their hands to show big expressions. However, hand poses can be tricky. It’s important to create something visually interesting while making the whole pose look natural.

[Read: 3 Ways to Mimic Natural Light in a Windowless Photo Studio]

People often become self-conscious about how their hands look on camera. Likewise, people are often hesitant to make big statements for fear of looking silly. Knowing this, I try not to micropose my subjects.

[Read: How to Create Luxury Beauty Photos Anywhere (and on a Budget)]

What I find works best is to ask the model to give it a particular pose or expression, but let the model interpret it in its own way. That’s right.

  • “Raise your hands up close to your face so that they are asymmetrical.”
  • “Put your hand close to your mouth.”
  • “Give me a series of exaggerated facial expressions and poses.”
  • “Cover one eye and smile.”
  • “Close your eyes and smile.”

For a more realistic laugh, have the model actually laugh out loud. In almost all situations, what begins as a smirk quickly turns into genuine laughter.

[Read: The Art of Posing—Body Language Basics]

Having something like a table for your subject to lean against will help many of these beauty photo poses feel more natural. is displayed, stop and gently return to the original pose.

Also, I always have a model bring her ideas to the table.

3. change perspective

Beauty Photography Posing Changing Models and Perspectives

Whenever I feel stuck in giving my subjects beauty photo pose ideas, I literally just change my perspective.

[Read: How to Photograph Your Way Out of Creative Roadblocks]

Don’t be afraid to get up and move around your subject a bit (keeping the light source in mind, of course). Either lean back and look up, or have them turn their backs on you. Just by changing the way you look at the pose, you can transform it into a completely new image.

4. Provide props

Beauty photo posing with props by Angela Marklew

When in doubt, give the model something to hold onto. This will give you ideas for new beauty photo poses.

When shooting beauty portraits, the obvious props that always work are makeup or skin care products. My other go-to props are mirrors, flowers, and palm leaves.

[Read: What’s in a Beauty Photographer’s Gear Bag?]

As an added bonus, being comfortable with incorporating beauty products can help you learn to create an image that speaks to your brand from an advertising perspective.

[Read: 4 Tips to Building Solid Relationships with Beauty Teams]

Five. think about interesting crops

Beauty photo posing with interesting crops and framing

Once you have considered all the ideas that come to mind for a particular pose, start thinking about posing the model in a way that, through trimming and framing, draws attention to certain things about the model (expression, hair, makeup, etc.). increase. This is the only time I have a very detailed and specific direction.

I love tight face crops. My go-to pose is to have the subject tilt their head back and forth. This provides a mouth and one eye trimming which I personally like.

[Read: The Do’s & Don’ts of Working with Modeling Agencies]

Before you shoot up close and start cropping in-camera, go back to old images and practice cropping to see what poses you should think of. This is a good way to get a feel for the types of crops and poses that appeal to you the most.

Angela Marklew is a beauty, fashion and portrait photographer based in Venice, California. Before she became a photographer, she worked as a chemist testing explosives for the Canadian government.

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