How To Pose For Pictures

“Dear Susan, Will you do a post about posing for family pictures. I always feel like a deer in headlights. I don’t know where to look or how to place my hands. You make it look so easy!”

Today I will share a few tips to help you look your best in family photos. When I traveled to Los Angeles to model for Covered Perfectly in the past, I often worked with women who had never been in front of a camera professionally. The first question was always, “What do I do with my hands?”

When you stand straight with your arms at your sides and your feet together, your body looks its largest on camera. Shifting your weight to your back foot and turning your body at the waist before smiling at the camera are the best tips for looking more slender. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your weight mostly on your left foot. Point your right toe away from your body so that your right leg is at a little different angle from your left leg and closest to the camera. Turn from your waist slightly away from the camera, then turn your face toward the camera looking above or beside the camera. Resting your hands just on the tops of your thighs and pointing one toe slightly in front and to the side gives you angles rather than having your full body face the camera straight on.

Holding something slightly in front of or to the side of your body breaks up the width and gives your hands something to do.

Placing your hand on the hip tilted away from the camera helps to define your waist. (I call this the Sorority Girl pose.) When you create a space between your arms and your body, it makes you look less wide. Note all of the angles I have created with my body.

Even a very slight turn away from the camera with the lower part of your body and then turning the top half of your body toward the camera helps make you look less wide.

Posture is essential all the time but especially when you are being photographed. Stand tall with your head erect and your neck long with your shoulders back. Try not to sink into your shoulders. This makes you look insecure and also larger. Whatever is closest to the camera looks largest, so the best angle is when the photographer stands a few feet away from you and holds the camera about chest high. When you are part of a group shot, make sure you are standing next to the people who are about the same size as you.

I wore this to have lunch with Mr. Mickey on a sweltering Sunday afternoon. The top was a gift from Covered Perfectly. I love the soft flowing bell sleeves and V-neck. The banded hemline defines my waist a little and keeps me from looking like I am wearing a tent. Us busty gals have to think about that when we wear shorter tops. The white ankle jeans are by Chico’s. The metallic sandals are by Sofft Shoes via Dillard’s. The bag is by Michael Kors.

When you shop with Covered Perfectly, tell them I sent you to get a 20% discount on up to two items. Use the discount code FNF20 when you check out. There are many great styles to choose from, and the discount will apply on up to two items; after that, you can take advantage of the buy 2 get 1 FREE special.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

  1. Will you give us an update on Merle Norman lipstick? The 2 “new” ones Fushcia Flirt and the other pinky one are seasonal and won’t be reordered. I swear by your sweet tips because we have the same coloring and skin tones. Thanks bunches!

  2. Good tips and thank you for illustrating them with your photos! This outfit looks fresh and comfortable.

  3. Two poses I’m glad you did NOT mention but I see models do all the time is stand with toes pointed inward (we always called it pigeon toed), and with legs crossed while standing. The first makes me think of someone who is trying to look much younger, almost baby like and I often think they should be holding a large lollipop and have their hair in pigtails. The other just seems unnatural. Your suggestion result in a more natural look.

    1. I had to laugh at the crossed leg thing. My granddaughter was only about 3 years old at the time and was sitting on my knee as I scrolled through some blogs. Out of the blue she says “why do all those mommy has to go pees all the time”? I didn’t clue in until I took a second look at the pictures and sure enough all the ladies were standing with their legs crossed to make themselves look thinner when in fact the girl was right, they looked like they all had to go pee.

  4. The information on posing is very useful, thanks. I especially appreciate that you look at the camera instead of looking down, as so many bloggers do.

  5. Great tips. Thank you.

    I’d love to see more posts about what to wear in hot, humid weather. (South Carolina)

    I am past 65 and no longer wear shorts, short sleeves, or dresses. I don’t even own a skirt. I wear slacks and tops. I am only 5’2″ and busty. I wear a size 6 to 8. Sometimes it’s too hot to even wear a slim gold necklace, let alone a scarf or light sweater/jacket.

    I’m sure you’ve got great ideas and I’d love to see them. Thanks!

  6. Thank you! Could you address the best styles for a large bust and how to dress to not make them disappear, but also not make it look like one is an off duty stripper! Also, any other tips when the bust is heavy, ie how to hold shoulders, size and placement of bags, scarves, belts, etc. Thanks.

  7. Your blog is the best! I always enjoy your comments and pictures. I am 64 years old and work as a speech pathologist in schools. It is hard to come up with clothing that is comfortable and professional. Thanks Rory

  8. Thank you for the tips. The last time I posed for pictures, I thought I was striking an attractive pose, but ended up looking like a pregnant 67 year old. I stuck out my stomach thinking that I was putting my hip forward. Not a memorable picture.

    Just received the flowing cardigan in brown/cream from Covered Perfectly that you showed in black/white. Absolutely lovely! Can’t wait to dress it up and take it out. Great tips.

  9. liked your ideas// i am 74 and love to golf i would love to see what you would wear to golf also what about a section on different sporting sctivities outfits ie..bowling, exercise class,tennis,tia chia and theshuder what to wear to the pool and beach?thank you

    1. I don’t have all the answers you need. I am just a business owner (2 of them actually) who enjoys sharing my life and what I wear occasionally in hopes that it might help and inspire the people who read the blog. I haven’t been on a vacation in more than twenty years, nor do I have any free time for sports beyond going for a walk most mornings.

  10. Thanks for the great tips. I went out west with some friends a few years ago. We had to go in the summer because I am a teacher . We wore shorts, hiking shoes, very casual. We climbed rocks, and posed in front of beautiful arches and rock formations. When I got home and looked at the photos I posed like Captian Morgan or Columbus. IT was very unattractive while my friend looked cute. SHe should have told me I looked ridiculous .

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.