Poses + Styling

Great photos come from within.

I recommend to discover your unique vision, and explore what poses and styling inspires you, as explained in the inspiration guide (click here).

Typically my clients use their inspiration images as a guide to try poses. We will sometimes begin with an exact pose from an inspiration image, and then play and evolve poses from there. Often the greatest photos are created when you let yourself play, and just keep clicking the camera remote.

In addition to this method, we have created a guide to explain some flattering poses and styling tips.  These are here to help you understand some basic principles, but please know that there are many iconic, epic photos that were taken purely by experimentation, and without following these more traditional posing guidelines.

As Maya Angelou said,
“If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.”

Flattering Poses and Body Positioning

White Sitting:

- Roll your shoulders back and sit up straight to look elongated and powerful 

- Relax your body to look calm (but don’t slouch)!

- Tilt your head (back, forward, or to the side) to avoid appearing rigid and uncomfortable

- Play with your body being turned at an angle or straight toward the camera

This will depend on your body type + what you like better.

While Standing

- Engage your core to elongate your torso - no slouching your torso!

- Lift your arms away from your body to make them appear thinner

- Experiment with angles- straight forward or on an angle (like 45 degrees). See what you like best!

Motion / Action

- Smartphones shoot action photos better with good lighting or during the day

-  Take photos on “live” or “burst” mode to capture multiple options that aren’t blurry

- Fake laughs feel awkward at first but can result in a few adorable shots

Camera Angles

- Having the camera eye level or slightly higher will usually be most flattering for you and other people in the picture
- A higher angle can be more flattering if your face is the main subject or if you want to appear thinner
- A selfie with the camera above your head can make your face appear more youthful
- Tilting your camera upward (or placing the camera on the ground and tilting up) can make your legs look longer and your head look smaller
- No matter where the camera is angled, tilting your chin down and turning your head slightly can result in a flattering head pose

The Rule of Thirds

This is the idea of mentally dividing the scene you are about to capture into 3 sections horizontally and vertically, resulting in 9 “sections” on the photo. The human eye often gravitates to the intersection of these lines and not right in the middle of a picture.

Oftentimes, you want your subject, whether they are looking at something or in motion, to look or move towards the open space in a photo - not away from it. 

The picture below demonstrates a good use of space and “rule of thirds” when positioning your subject or taking a self-portrait. The subject’s eyes are near the intersections of the (imaginary) horizontal and vertical lines. By being off-center, the viewer’s eyes immediately gravitate to the subject’s eyes.

Preparation Tips

Practice using a tripod or place your phone on a shelf in front of you and turn the timer on. It can be super useful to figure out what facial expressions, outfits, and poses you like alone before doing them for a photoshoot or in front of other people!

Take a test picture of yourself in your outfit BEFORE leaving the house. I will usually take test photos in multiple outfits to decide what looks best on camera.


You’ll want to make sure your outfit isn’t transparent or unflattering, especially if using the flash on your camera!

Clothing//colors you wear in photo should not be the same color as your backdrop or else you’ll disappear (unless you want to blend in to the backdrop)

If needed, use double sided tape or styling glue to keep jewelry and clothing in place. (This is usually only necessary if you have clothing that must stay in a particular spot and not move on the body.

Take advantage of your body type!


Avoid cracked or chapped looking lips
Dab moisturizing lip balm to the “pout” of your lips during long photoshoots in order to avoid dried lips

Hair- Can bring hairspray, gel, etc to stop frizzy hair. If you don’t want frizzy hair, try to shoot when it is more dry and not humid.

Teeth whitening - this can be fixed in photoshop but you can whiten your teeth quickly before a shoot by 1) sprinkling baking soda onto your toothbrush and brushing away 2) “oil pulling” by swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes and then spitting it out or 3) buying whitening strips from a local drugstore or grocery store. 

Make sure your makeup matches your neck and chest - in good lighting, makeup lines can show up easily!

Photography Equipment

If you want to take self portraits, it is easiest if you buy a tripod, phone holder, and phone bluetooth remote. Make sure the tripod is as tall as you.

You can also get a light, but you do not need a light. You can use the sun as a light or use lights that you already own. 

If you would like to buy a light, you can get a tripod with light integrated, or you can get a separate light such as a lume cube that can attach to your phone or be placed in your photoshoot space (we call this "off camera" light).

Here are some recommendations, but any well-rated equipment will do.