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Do I Need To Know How To Pose? (5 Basic Rules Of Posing)

Birthday photo session with Manhattan bridge in the background captured by photographer George Pompilio of Xclusive Events.

Generally, posing is the photographers job, and the photographer will pose their subjects based on what they see in their camera's view finder. The perfect photo isn't just based on a pose. Other factors play into this such as composition, lighting and location. I find that a subject that is relaxed, tends to be more important than their knowledge of posing, because I can then direct my subject based upon each given moment. However, with the subject having a bit of knowledge, we can use our time more efficiently and create more memorable moments so lets discuss 5 basic rules!

Body Direction

Most people tend to stand flat with their widest part of the body facing the camera. This makes the subject appear larger. Its more flattering if your body is angled toward the camera. Women should have their body positioned in an S-shape. This means that their torso should be slightly pushed forward and their hips pushed back. This gives the body dimension.

For men, most of the time you will stand in a C-shape. This means that the upper part of your body is leaning sightly in. Another option for a man is a V-shape which is when your against the wall your legs are crossed creating a V-shape with your body. This helps to reduce the appearance of being stiff or uptight, while also making you look slimmer.

The Dreaded Double Chin

Everyone is always concerned about having a double chin in their photos. Some find it humorous when a client holds their head up in the air as if they were watching a plane land at Newark Airport. What about when they tell me "hold the camera higher to hide my double chin"? That makes the photo look like security camera footage, while simultaneously taking away the cinematic aspect of the photo.

So how do we solve this problem? Its quiet simple actually. The way to reduce the double chin is by moving your head slightly straight forward but not elevating your head. Doing this will tighten up under your neck and reducing or totally removing your double chin. Feel free to try this technique out while using your iPhone to take selfies in the mirror.

Engagement photo session with Brooklyn bridge in the background captured by photographer George Pompilio of Xclusive Events.


The eyes is a simple one. Generally your eyes should stay straight and parallel with your neck.

If you roll your eyes up or down, left or right this will increase the amount of eye whites in the photo making it less flattering. The iris (the part of the eye with the color) helps to bring distinction to the face. The next time you take a photo, instead of rolling the eyes, move your neck, body or legs and keep your eyes straight.


We can add dimension to a photo with a simple bend of the arms. Arms should not be held flat against the body. If you ever notice in magazines and in posters, the models arms are bent in a triangular shape. If this is a couples shoot you can obviously place your arms around each other to create more flattering images.


When standing, the leg closest to the camera should have a slight bend. The leg furthest from the camera should be straight, holding most of the weight of the body. If you're leaning against the wall, your legs should be crossed. This creates a V-shape with the body, making you appear slimmer and complimenting your body's position while adding dimension.

In conclusion a great photographer will pose their subjects based on elements in the environment. However, knowing the 5 basic rules of posing will help to optimize your photo shoot time and increase the amount of quality photos that you have. Finally, don't be overwhelmed by your new found knowledge. Instead, embrace it in your next iPhone pic. Feel free to reach out to us here at Xclusive Events Photography if you have any questions.


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