Over the Shoulder and Other Poses for Models to Learn

Have you ever noticed how a great model makes whichever pose he or she is doing look totally natural like they just happened to get caught standing like that? Most likely, this is the result of a lot of practice posing. The best models will do a whole lot of experimenting to figure out how to make themselves look their best on camera. These poses can be different for each model, but there are certainly several core poses that every model should know. Here are five of them.

Lying on Your Side

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If you search Google for pictures of most of the world’s most famous supermodels, you’ll see many of their most prominent shots are of them lying on their side with their head resting on their hand. This pose is especially popular with female models because it accentuates feminine curves. Because of this, it is often used in lingerie or ​glamour modeling. Practice this yourself by laying on your side and looking in a mirror and seeing how you can best position yourself to make for a great photo.

Looking Over Your Shoulder

Young Woman Beauty Model Looking Over Shoulder

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Stand with one shoulder pointed toward the photographer, at about a 40° angle. Turn your head so you’re looking over the shoulder that’s pointed at the photographer. Don’t jerk your head in their direction, but just turn naturally and glance at the camera, or in the direction the photographer instructs you to look. 

Try tilting your chin in different directions and practice at home to see what your best angle is. This is a fantastic portrait pose and a shot like this can also be a really good addition to your modeling portfolio.

Hands on Your Face

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Consider how many magazine or billboard ads you see that have a model with his or her hands on or around their face. Often, they’re showcasing jewelry or nail polish or watches, but other times it just makes for an interesting shot in the way their hands frame their face.

Practice posing with your hands on your face, and you’ll likely notice it looks best when your palms are not flat or pressed tightly to your face. Rather, let them fall naturally around your face and keep a natural shape to them.

Hands on Your Hips

Paparazzi photographing fashion model on catwalk

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Posing with your hands on your hips is a very common modeling pose because not only does it make you look powerful and confident, but it also makes your waist looks smaller. When done right, you will look natural and comfortable in front of the camera and it emphasizes your great natural shape.

When you’re posing with your hands on your hips to make your waist looks smaller, try angling your body toward the camera as well. That's another great trick to make your figure look smaller from the viewer’s perspective. You should also try having one foot placed behind the other because this will naturally make your body angle itself towards the camera.

Your Personal Best

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While it’s important to master several poses if you want to be a successful model, you should also always have your very best pose in your back pocket to pull out whenever you need it. This pose will be different for everyone. It could be one of the four we just covered, or it could be something completely different.

For example, Marilyn Monroe often stood with one hand on her hip and the other behind her head, and always looked great doing so. Heidi Klum often poses so she is almost facing the camera directly, with both hands on her hips and her head tilted slightly down.

In many of Kate Moss’s most iconic shots, you’ll see she either has her hands on her face, her head or on her shoulders. Take sample shots of yourself to figure out which pose would be your “iconic” pose that best showcases your amazing features.