Fashion photography revolves around the art of dressing oneself, from clothes to accessories. Fashion photography is a very specific niche intended to show off clothing and wardrobe accessories in the most flattering light. Fashion photography is nothing without a great model showing off how the clothing should be worn.
As such, you have to ensure your model is posing well! Here is our guide to 20 ultimate fashion photography poses (for men and women) that you can use in your photography!
What Are Fashion Photography Poses?
The poses for fashion photography are intended to showcase the clothing and accessories in the best possible way! This is what separates fashion photography poses from your average portrait session poses. It’s all about the clothes and making the clothing look good.
On the other side of the coin, fashion photography ties in strongly with marketing. This niche’s purpose is to equally sell a lifestyle or idea associated with the clothing in order to boost sales. As such, fashion photography poses also need to sell an attitude and a lifestyle associated with the outfit, merging lifestyle a bit with flattering poses.
Poses for Female Models
Here are poses that tend to flatter women best.
Standing might sound like a simple pose- but it’s not! For fashion photography, companies tend to favor standing poses in which the model has her hip popped out. This accentuates the female figure and tends to be a more flattering angle at which to photograph.
From this pose, the female model can do a lot of modifications to add interest to the shot. Request the model to tilt her head to one side (not too much! You don’t want to look like a confused puppy), run a hand through her hair, or move one shoulder closer to the camera.
Remember to keep all limbs slightly bent, especially the elbows.
2. Frame Face with Hands
This is a really popular pose for photography fashion accessories, such as jewelry. Here, you have the model use her hands to frame her face and bring attention to the face area. Try having the model graze her chin with her hand as an example.
3. Three Quarter Pose
One of the most popular fashion poses out there, the famous three quarter pose! This is the perfect way to highlight clothing as it can show some of the back, some of the side, and some of the front.
In the three-quarters pose, your model is angled away from the camera so that only three-quarters of her body is visible.
Good advice to get into this pose is to place one foot behind the other with hips pointed away from the camera, as in a profile. Then turn at the waist towards the camera so that the face and shoulders are looking towards the lens.
4. Standing Against a Wall
This is a great way to utilize your location and create a more lifestyle-oriented shot. Have the model lean her back and rear end on to the wall and look at you with her head. Adding a bit of an arch to her back helps create a more flattering shape for the female body.
Another standing against a wall shot is to have the model face you with her body, and have her shoulder be what is leaning against the wall. Make sure her legs are extended far enough from her body to look more like a diagonal line.
Sitting is another pose that appears elusively simple. The key to sitting is ensuring that body posture is perfect or flattering.
Have the model sit on the very edge of the chair or whatever she is sitting on, even if this is slightly uncomfortable. This helps elongate the body and aid the model in posing with her legs and arching her back. When sitting in the middle of the chair or too far back, movement can be restricted.
Several great sitting poses include leaning forward with one leg pulled in and one leg stretched out, resting an elbow on the bent knee, or having both legs stretched out. But keep in mind that even when legs are stretched out, make sure they are at least slightly bent so that they do not look broken!
6. Hands on Hips
A classic! Putting the model’s hands on hips when posing makes the waist appear smaller. For a more avant garde look, direct the model to push her shoulders forward to accentuate the collar bones.
7. Over the Shoulder
This look is excellent for showing off fashion earrings. Just have the model turn her shoulder away from you and turn her head towards you.
8. Standing, Legs Crossed, Looking Away
This is excellent for catalog fashion shoots. With the model having her body facing you, direct her to cross her legs, then have her turn her head to look away from you. If she is wearing a hat, this is a great time to ask her to tilt the hat with the hand that is facing away from the camera.
9. The Arch
The more odd the pose feels, the better it looks on camera! The arch is often used in high fashion where the model distorts her body to appear unique by arching her back or limbs significantly.
10. Surface Lean
Similar to leaning on a wall, the surface lean reverses the body a bit. Instead of leaning against a wall with the model’s back, the model is actually facing the wall and pushing on it with her hands.
When doing this, she must move her legs far enough back so that it looks like an extension. Pop her booty out and arch the back for a very feminine body shape, great for advertising dresses. Her head should turn to face the camera.
Poses for Male Models
These poses are used on male models the most because it showcases their masculinity or flatters their figure.
1. The Counterpose
This is the most popular and common male model pose. Most men stand like this naturally, actually!
The counterpose, also called the contrapposto, is a relaxed pose. To achieve this pose, direct your male model to stand with most of his weight on one foot, so that his shoulders and arms twist off-axis from the hips and legs in the axial plane. A good example of this pose is the famous David Greek Statue.
2. Against a Wall with One Leg Up
Having your male model to stand against a wall with one leg up on the wall is a very flattering pose for outfits, even suits.
3. Hands in Pocket
Often seen with suits and or casual fashion outfits, having the man put his hands in his pockets features either a refined appeal or a very casual one! Make sure that his shoulders push more forward to face you.
4. Hands and Face Pose
A great pose to add mystery to a shot is the hands and face pose. This is achieved by telling your model to have his hands partially covering his face. Usually in a fist or a lean.
There are so many different types of sitting poses for men! Much like with female models, have the male model sit on the edge of the chair so that he has more control over his leg movement.
A commonly used pose is to have him facing the camera or sitting at an angle. Make him lean over his knees a bit.
6. Over the Shoulder
Much like in female models, over the shoulder looks are very powerful and effective! The same pose applies.
A good tip for men is to be mindful with eyes when looking over the shoulder since if the model extends his stare too far, too much white will be revealed in the eyes. Instead, have him follow his nose with his eyes.
7. The Walk
One of the more common male fashion photography poses is of the model walking or strolling, often in a business suit. Make sure your model exaggerates his front steps a bit so that you really capture a strong sense of movement in the shots. Often the model is looking off to the side when doing this, giving a slightly more candid demeanor.
8. Leaning Pose
Leaning is a very confident and self-assured pose. Ask your model to lean against a wall with his shoulders while looking at you. Or he can lean against a railing with both elbows on the railing.
9. On the Floor
A quintessential masculine pose is sitting on the floor leaning on the hip, with torso facing the camera. Use the arm furthest away from the camera to lean on the ground. With the legs, have one leg bent on the ground and the other leg bent over upright. Have the arm closest to the camera leaning on the knee of the bent upright leg. The face can either look at the camera or look away from the camera.
10. Arching the Arm
You’ve very likely seen this pose a thousand times, and it always looks great on men!
This is where the model will have one or both arms bent. Direct the model to also leaning slightly with one hand in a pocket.
Tips for Posing
- Make sure your model does not hyperextend their limbs. This is a prevalent problem for very thin models or those that are flexible and double jointed. Sometimes when they extend their arms or legs, the extension can go too far and the limb can appear ‘broken’ on camera.
- Keep fingers relaxed in photographs! Avoid fists or extended fingers, keep them super relaxed and soft.
- Lighting affects how a pose may appear on camera. Make sure to light up your shot properly, or adjust the pose to fit the lighting scheme.
- Start with simple poses and work into more complicated ones. Have the model let out breaths when getting into each pose.
- Chins up! Try to avoid chin shadows by telling your models to keep their chins up.
In conclusion, this pose guide can help you direct your fashion models for the ultimate clothing editorial. Use these suggestions to further expand upon your pose repertoire, and maybe even come up with better poses along the way!