How to pose like a pro and not feel awkward

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If you’re a model and you’re reading this, then I’d like to apologise as this clearly isn’t meant for you. However, if you’re like me and most definitely not a model or a natural at ‘posing’ because it just feels too awkward, then I might be able to offer you a few pointers…

Like most families, we take a lot of photos and my husband has developed a passion over the years for photography. Not only does he take a great photo but he’s also refined his editing skills massively. He’s also had a fair bit of experience photographing professional models now and as a result has learnt a few tricks of the trade along the way, which has certainly come in handy.

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I’m always seeing the term ‘Instagram Husband’ thrown around on social media, referring to your partner in crime when you simply can’t get away with a selfie. It varies from partners being spot on to the long suffering but obliging ones to ones that literally have no idea what they’re doing. Those are the ones who are utilised because someone has to take that photo…and bar the toddler or the dog, the camera in their hands really is the only option they have got.

So you’ve guessed it, I am rather lucky to have a ready made Instagram Husband, who actually knows way more than me and who without, this space online simply wouldn’t exist.  We work as a team and we have done since this blog first started. He’s an integral part of this blog and so it comes as no surprise that he slotted into this role straight away!

As I mentioned earlier, posing for shots has never been my thing and it’s not something that I have ever considered doing before. Times change though and although older and having had three kids, I’m actually more body confident than I’ve ever been. I’ve lost some weight but I don’t really see it myself, apart from what the scales say and when I look at photos. I’ll be a bit like ‘oh, I don’t look too bad’. Which I’m still finding rather bizarre really.

When it came to taking some shots, my husband is particularly useful as he directs me as to where I should stand, where to look and at what angle (to avoid that double chin and the like). I do have my own ideas too and we generally work together well, but sometimes I realise that he’s learnt from professionals and that maybe it would be wise to listen. I don’t always agree with his ideas but sometimes he surprises me with concepts that work – so I have to remember to give him the benefit of the doubt.

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I’ve learnt that posing needn’t be as cringey as you think and depending on how you execute a pose, it’s actually really easy. I just hate standing in the same spot for ages, as it’s really tedious.

We now see everywhere as potential photo opportunities. I can’t go anywhere without thinking about the surroundings and whether there might be a nice wall that would be good for a backdrop. Places are analysed whereas once I wouldn’t have even noticed – it’s mad.

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Besides making sure that you’re working with decent light, I have found the following tips have changed the way I think.

My number one tip for posing is to step out of your comfort zone by not worrying who might be looking when in public places. I used to constantly worry about who might be staring and it would put me off, whereas now I am aware of people but I just ignore them. You will most likely never see them again and they really have no idea what you are doing anyway (although I’m not sure I’d pick a wall on a busy high street, no matter how great the wall might be!). I find wearing sunglasses also helps, as you avoid eye contact with people that might be rubber necking as they walk past. I squint loads on a bright day, so it’s always essential for me to wear them outdoors and I do wear mine an awful lot all year round anyway.

It might sound obvious but start off with poses that you are at ease with. For me it’s not looking directly at the camera and poses that have a casual feel about them. It creates the illusion of you appearing to go by your every day life whilst being papped.

Leaning against a wall or carrying something makes things feel more naturaI. I love a good prop. Mix things up a bit and sees what works. Use props such as talking on the phone, holding an umbrella, flowers or a handbag. If you have something in your hand it will put you at ease a little, as if you are in any way conscious of the way you look, having a prop will help to deflect away from you.

Don’t be afraid to look foolish and experiment. Most of the time you can tell if a pose is faked or not. If you feel comfortable it will come across in your photos, but if you don’t it will show! The hardest thing I find to do is to smile genuinely when asked to. It’s at this moment my husband will recognise this and will try to make me laugh, as a genuine smile will always trump a forced one.

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I think it’s important to know your best features and angles because you will feel more comfortable and less critical of the end result. Having said that, do try new aspects to see if they work better than you think. That way you should hopefully find your style and that will make it easier to move forward with future projects.

Where possible always try to create a little space between you and your body parts. If your arms are squashed against your body it will make them appear bigger than they actually are. It sounds simple but if you leave a slight gap between your arms and body you will see a big difference.

When posing watch out for where the sun is or if it’s not sunny, watch out for where shadows are being cast over your face and body. The last thing you want to do is have shadowing across your body which would make you appear bigger than you actually are. Rather than standing straight, create a shape with your body. The one thing my husband always tries to get me to do is to create an S shape with my body, which is achieved by placing your hands on your hips and actually pushing your hips in the opposite direction to your upper body. By creating an S shape you are highlighting your curves, which you should be proud of.

To create a fun look try wearing something floaty to recreate a Marilyn Monroe moment. Spin, toss your head back and throw your dress around, this might also help to create a realistic looking smile rather than a staged ‘cheese’ smile.

Try to avoid getting your ‘photographer’ to shoot from too high up. You do not want them standing any higher than being on the same level as your chin. If they photograph you from any higher then that elusive double chin will get accentuated with shadowing. Whilst this is easily fixed if you know how to use Photoshop, it’s best to to avoid relying on that method.

Always make sure you take lots of shots as you never know what may work best for you. Lots of photos will look different when uploaded compared to on the back of the camera and that perfect shot might just be lurking amongst them. You can never take too many photos.

Last but not least, try not to be too hard on the person taking the photo. The reason they are telling you to stand in a certain way is because they want you to look your best, and most of the time will instantly see if a pose is working or not.

I really hope that these pointers are useful and inspire you to get out there to do some posing yourself!

33 Comments

  1. Harriet says:

    Love love love this Hannah! You look gorgeous in all these shots!! My husband needs to take some pointers from yours for sure 🙂 xxxxx

    1. Hannah says:

      Oh thank you so much Harriet! I’m glad you liked it and I mentioned on your post that your husband takes some great shots as it is. Aren’t they good husbands! ha ha 🙂 xx

  2. Liska says:

    Hhhhm wish I could get the hubby to read this. He’s a very unwilling photographer. Plus I just have shite clothes at the moment as any budget always goes to the kids. I’ll be bookmarking this for when I need it though.

    Gosh you look amazing considering you once claimed to have a mum tum. But then that was years ago now. Even then I couldn’t find Kerry’s. So what is your secret? Do you gym?

    Great post and love the new name. That launch video is fab too xx

    1. Hannah says:

      I don’t think you’re alone with that issue! You don’t even need new clothes, just try it with something that you love. Although I know that new clothes obviously feel much better.

      Ha ha oh that mum tum is still there and I don’t think it’s going anywhere any time soon. That made me smile about Kerry, there was no hint of one despite her loving chocolate so much!

      I’m afraid I have no secret and I haven’t been to the gym in years. It’s most likely stress more than anything, ha ha or perhaps breastfeeding – who knows…as long as I don’t have to gym then I’ll be happy.

      Thanks so much Liska for all your support too xx

  3. Kara says:

    Love this post. I love doing fashion posts but hate every photo. Obvs it is cause I am hugely overweight but also as I can never figure out how to pose.
    Thanks for the tips and as always you look phenomenal
    Also big up to Alex

    1. Hannah says:

      Thank you for coming to have a read Kara. I always find your fashion posts so inspiring and you do them so often that it seems effortless for you. Definitely try the S shape tip as it really does make a difference to posture and shape – however it’s one that I’m working on as I just can’t seem to get my body to do that angle! It’s a bit like rubbing my tummy and scratching my head, ha ha.

      That’s a lovely thing to say, thank you so much. I was surprised with the outcome of some of the photos and it really helps to boost confidence. Of course all of this is down to my clever husband and him pushing me to try things out xx

  4. Katie @mummydaddyme says:

    I love the new blog Hannah it looks great, you have both done a good job. And love this post too, I am the most awkward poser in the world, I definitely need some tips! You look gorgeous and these are great photos. xx

    1. Hannah says:

      Thank you so much Katie, it’s much appreciated 🙂 You know that I’ve been desperate to get rid of the old blog name for years!

      You certainly don’t appear awkward and I’ve seen your confidence rise over the years. It is so much easier having a photo with kids though isn’t it, it feels so much more awkward posing alone. Kids are great props!

      Ah thank you, Alex has done a good job hasn’t he xx

  5. Karen says:

    Love the new blog name & look & you’re looking Fab too xx

    1. Hannah says:

      Thanks Karen! I’m glad that I’ve finally made the leap after talking about it for too long! xx

  6. @BySarahMostly says:

    Love the new blog! And as the most awkward poser in the world I really needed to need this! I can’t get over the whole looking like a loon in public thing but you are so right not to give a stuff – I need to take a leaf out of your book (instead of just sticking with my awkward mirror selfies! I’m like the worst blogger ever! Ha!)

    1. Hannah says:

      Thank you Sarah and for popping along for a read 🙂 I’m pleased that these ideas might have given you some inspiration, although I’ve always loved your ‘what I wore on Wednesday’ posts and you always look so glam!

      Funnily enough it was your Instagram post where you thought your arms looked like sides of ham (ha ha!) that inspired me to write about Instagram Husbands! I think it’s the perfect time to put him through his training 😉 x

  7. Rebecca | AAUBlog says:

    you are so gorgeous (as are all of your clothes here)! Useful tips. I always feel a little awkward if I don’t have a small child on hand. My husband isn’t the best with a camera either, bless him haha. X

    1. Hannah says:

      Aw what a lovely thing to say, thank you so much 🙂 I feel so different with a child attached to me. It’s a bit like when I pop out to the shops alone, I feel bare! x

  8. The London Mum says:

    Great tips! I’ve found my best photos are when I’m looking down and hiding most of my face lol- it’s the pose that looks most natural on me!

    1. Hannah says:

      Thank you 🙂 Ha ha that’s probably my best pose too to be fair – far more flattering! x

  9. This Mama Life says:

    What fab tips! And I’m super impressed with your Instagram husband! I’ve been training mine up but he’s deployed at the moment so I’m back to a tripod haha 🙂 x

    1. Hannah says:

      Ah thank you! What would we do without tripods though?! I hope your husband is back soon too 🙂 x

  10. Emma V says:

    It so lovely to see your new space Hannah and you look gorgeous 🙂 We need to do an old bloggers get together soon xx

    1. Hannah says:

      Oh thanks Emma and it’s lovely to see you here too! You know, that’s a fab idea, I’d love that 🙂 xx

  11. Kez says:

    Just found this Han! You may not be a model but you are bloody gorgeous! Phone date SOON!! looks like we have lots to catch up on! xxx

    1. Hannah says:

      This was a surprise comment and thank you Kez! You’re too kind 🙂 Check your texts! xxx

  12. Michelle Murray says:

    You make it look so effortless. You look amazing

    1. Hannah says:

      Ha ha, I’ve come along way with my posing practice! Thank you so much 🙂 x

    2. Hannah says:

      When you relax it really makes such a difference – I’d have never believed it myself once. Thank you! x

  13. Stephanie Moore says:

    I always worry about what people are thinking when I’m taking photos, but I should just ignore! Great tips, thanks!

    1. Hannah says:

      I just think about how other people don’t care and how I can do it too! It’s quite liberating 🙂 Thank you 🙂 x

  14. Jodie says:

    I always feel like I’m posing correctly then end up looking like a knob. Well done for this post. Really interesting.

    1. Hannah says:

      Ha ha I can say that for a lot of my photos too! You think you’ve nailed it and it just comes out looking cringey. I’m glad you found it useful 🙂 x

  15. Kellie Kearney says:

    Great tips Hannah!! I’m not one for posing or being in front of the camera but I’ll keep your tips in mind if amd when I do x

  16. Alice says:

    I love this post, so many great tips. Confidence and a camerman is definitely helpful! xx

  17. Jenny says:

    Great post hunny can your hubby give some pointers to mine. He refuses to take photos for me. I have even set timer and placed it on a persons car in car park to take a photo of me and the kids because he wouldn’t. No joke. Lol I always feel awkward posing but love sharing outfits so it’s hard to find balance where to look and what to do with arms face etc this is great thanks for the advice.

    1. Hannah says:

      Thanks Jenny 🙂 Oh no, does he find it embarrassing? That did make me smile thinking about the lengths we go to to get a shot, even a strangers car! Keep working on him! Your poses are always lovely and you manage it without a ‘photographer’ at the other end of the camera. I’m not sure how well me and a tripod would get on, ha ha. I know that I’m lucky in that respect. Hope the tips help 🙂

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