Techniques for Helping Non-Models Pose

Not everyone who has their photograph taking is a trained and experienced model and not every photographer has vast experience of working with models, so making sure that you achieve a high-quality result can be difficult. In this blog, we look at different techniques that can be used in order to achieve a model-style outcome with an everyday subject.

Turn the shoulders

Adjusting the angle at which the subject is standing can massively adjust the style of the photography. If your subject is standing perfectly still and facing the camera directly, they will look bigger, which is perfectly suitable for some styles of photography, but if you are attempting styles such as beauty and fashion, this isn’t ideal. By slightly turning the shoulders whilst still looking directly at the camera, it will help to make your subject look slimmer and will make better use of the space around the subject.

Lifting the arm

When your subject is standing with their body facing sidewards and looking back at the camera, their arms will naturally fall flat at their sides and this causes a few issues. Firstly, when posed like this, your subject can sometimes look uncomfortable and awkward. Secondly, when their arm is naturally pressed against their body, the top of the arm can spread out and make it look larger than it actually is, which isn’t ideal when attempting to create a model style. To combat this issue, simply have the subject lift their arm slightly from their torso, approximately one or two inches, to create a “floating” look to your photography. Another way to achieve this is to place the subjects’ hand on their hip, to help slim the arm out and help create the model look in your subject.

Leave visual space by the waist

When placing your subjects’ hands on their waist, this can sometimes make your subject look slightly bigger if not angled correctly. If your subject has their body faced to the side with their hands on their hips, sometimes there isn’t a space between the torso and the back arm, making your subject looks slightly wider than they truly are. By simply moving their back arm slightly forward so that a space has been created between the arm and the torso, this separates them and helps to slim the subject without actually doing anything.

Pose the Hair

If you subject has long hair, usually this would be one of the first things noticed about your photo, so making sure that their hair is properly styled is important. There isn’t a standard or general rule for styling hair, as every subject will look different depending on their individual style. One tip is to never have the hair sitting directly on the subject’s shoulders, as this will look wild and untidy and create a very amateurish style for your photography. One common style is to have the hair on one side in front of their shoulder and the other placed behind the other shoulder. This particular style will depend on the natural parting in the subject’s hair, as this will make it look and fall better on one side compared to the other.

Don’t show the Whites of the Eyes

As the Iris of the eye is the colourful and distinctive part of the eye, making sure this is fully displayed is important, as the white section looks dull and uninteresting. For instance, if you are shooting a portrait and want your subject to look off into the distance to create a more “natural” look, don’t tell them to simple look in that direction, make sure that their face and more importantly their eyeline are directly straight forward. One simple way to achieve this is by giving the subject something to look at in the distance, so that their line of sight is never broken and is always direct, allowing you to capture the colour in their eyes and to create a more attractive portrait.

Pull the head forward

When you subject is standing naturally or straight up during your shoot, there will always be an extra layer just below the chin, which doesn’t create a good end result when trying to achieve a model style shoot. By simply pulling your subjects head forward, this helps to remove that extra layer and better shows the subjects face separate from the neck whilst helping to better define the jawline of the subject.

Don’t let the nose break the face

When you have your subject facing at a slight angle whilst both eyes are still in frame, sometimes the subjects’ nose with break the natural curve of the face and end passed the cheek on the opposite side of the face. You need to avoid this as it will make your subjects facial features look disproportionate and uneven. To fix this, you need to have the subject turn back slightly towards you until their nose no longer reaches passed the furthest cheek. This helps to make the subjects features look more symmetrical and evenly proportioned.


Once you have combined all these techniques together, you should now be able to achieve high-quality Model styled photography with ease, helping to create a more professional finish result.