Five Common Posing Mistakes (and how to fix them to achieve a flattering pose)

Has this ever happened to you?: You got all dressed up and perfected your makeup for an event or to hang out with your friends and were feeling really confident about how you look, until you saw an iPhone photo of yourself...

You are not alone girlfriend! I have been there many times, even during the fittest days of my adult life like at my bridal shower leading up to my own wedding. I have good news for you though, an unflattering pose (not you and your body) was the reason you ended up looking larger than life. I'm going to walk you through simple adjustments that you can make to look and feel more like you in photos. All the photos in this post were taken within 10 minutes of each other, same camera and lens, same spot, and absolutely no retouching or photoshop. I wore a tighter fitting shirt than I am comfortable wearing as a 6-month postpartum mama to really show you the difference that posing can make.

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Mistake #1: Standing with feet square, side-by-side

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When standing straight forward, a still photo misses the curves that you actually have when walking around as a woman in the real world. (Side note: this is actually a really flattering pose for men because it makes their shoulders look as broad as possible.)

Instead: Stand at an angle and with a slight bend in your front knee

This creates a flattering shape and accentuates your curves.

Mistake #2: Hips too close to the camera

Left photo: I'm pushing my hips forward. Right photo: I'm bending my hips back away from the camera.

Left photo: I'm pushing my hips forward. Right photo: I'm bending my hips back away from the camera.

A lot of optical illusions can happen in photos. One of the major ones is that objects look larger when closer to the camera. This can happen to your hips.

Instead: Bend at your waist and bring your hips away from the camera

I'm exaggerating to the extremes in both photos, but I wanted to show you how big of a difference this can make.

Mistake #3: Putting weight on front leg

Left photo: My body weight is on my front leg towards the camera. Right photo: My body weight is on my back leg away from the camera.

Left photo: My body weight is on my front leg towards the camera. Right photo: My body weight is on my back leg away from the camera.

Standing with your weight on your front leg will result in your hips being closer to the camera, which makes them look larger than life. It's that optical illusion that I talked about in tip #2!

Instead: Shift your body back and rest most of your weight on your back leg.

This will also help you create the slight bend in your front knee that I talked about in tip #1.

Mistake #4: Arms hanging down

Neither of these are the ideal pose, but avoiding hanging hands makes a big difference in how toned my arms look.

Neither of these are the ideal pose, but avoiding hanging hands makes a big difference in how toned my arms look.

When your arm muscle is relaxed and resting on your torso, it ends up looking like untoned fat, which it isn't!

Instead: Give your hands something to do while keeping arms off your body.

To give you some ideas, you can rest your hand on your waist or on your hip bone while holding something (like a clutch, sunglasses, whatever you're holding), put them in your pockets, pinch your dress, or wrap your arm around someone.

Mistake #5: Facing too much towards the side

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When we face too sideways when posing alone, our arms end up being closer to the camera than the rest of our body. My belly looks bigger in the photo on the left compared to the photo on the right. Resting my hand on my waist makes my arm and elbow look disproportionally large as well because it is close the camera leading to that dreaded optical illusion. As women, it is really common to be insecure about our arms and our midsection, so we really want to avoid making them look big. (This does not apply to when you are posing next to another person because you can rest your hand on them and if you squeeze in tight with your belly button to their hip, you can avoid a bigger looking belly).

Instead: Turn to open up your chest towards the camera and lean forward

By having your chest and your head be the closest parts of your body closest to the camera, you can avoid both your hips and your arms from looking bigger than they really are. It also comes off as a friendly pose on camera as long as you are smiling!

Put them all together for a flattering pose!

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Combining all of these adjustments can be a little challenging at first especially if you have never done any of them before, but like with everything else, you will get better with practice! I take a lot more photos behind the camera than in front, so even I can work on improving :)

 

Resources: I learned a lot of what I know about posing from Katelyn James Photography and Amy and Jordan.

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5 common posing mistakes and how to fix them to achieve a flattering pose