From the beginner to the most advanced, there are certain universal tips and tricks to make your photo shoot a success.  These tips are not exhaustive, and there is no need to memorize them.  Before we share these tips and tricks, however, we cannot stress enough: Don’t get hung up on the poses. Instead, focus your energy on getting comfortable with the photographer who is directing you. We will work with you throughout your shoot to make sure that you look fabulous. A fluid, flexible shoot will leave you with photos that you’ll love!

We don’t usually photograph perfectly toned and trained professional models, but real people with real insecurities. It’s our job to make you look and feel beautiful without the use of Photoshop and fake filers. Everyone is beautiful. Every size, every person. It’s up to the photographer to make everyone feel comfortable so they can shine.  That means it is our responsibility to take great photographs, not your responsibility to make them. The tips and tricks below are not a substitute for our guidance during your shoot, but as "how should I pose?" is the most often asked questions, we provide you with these tips and tricks so you can prepare for your shoot, know what to expect, and feel confident that we will guide you through your shoot and create beautiful photographs.


  • Bring more clothes than you think you will need. This allows mixing and matching to get the perfect look. Bring more ties, shirts, sweaters, etc.  Its better to have it and not need it, then want it and not have it. Be creative and incorporate some of your passions.  Like to cook -- an apron and garter can be incredible  Like gardening? -- short overalls have that very enticing 40s pin up look. Like sitting on the couch, drinking beer, and watching football? -- great, we love a challenge, give us a call and we’ll figure something out.

  • Be punctual. The earlier you arrive, the more time you have to get comfortable with the photographer and exchange ideas for your shoot.  While professional models may be able to step into a studio and go right into a shoot, the time you spend with the photographer pre-shoot will be time well spent.

  • Avoid anything too “fashionable.” Fashions come and go.  What will look good 20 years from now?  Solid color clothes work best and the primary colors (red, white, black, grey, and white) will still look new and fresh for years to come.  Same with makeup.  The simpler and more natural the better.

  • Iron your clothes. Sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people show up with their clothes all wrinkled up.   

  • Bring touch up make up. You may want to touch up your lipstick or blush during the shoot, particularly if the shoot involves water.  Bring along a small makeup kit so you can touch up between outfit changes.

  • Confirm the photo shoot location in advance to avoid any chaos in the morning and to ensure you know where you are going.

  • Ask for help if you need it. We typically have clients text/email pictures of their wardrobe, so we can provide useful guidance.


Everyone loves the natural look, so they may be reluctant to "pose" for photos. This is particular true for people with no experience posing.  Posing, however, is merely showing off your best side, actuating your best features, and minimizing any areas of your body that you want to minimize. Posing helps the photographer capture you in a flattering way.  By listening and following the directions of the photographer, you can relax with the confidence knowing that your photographs will look great. Different poses also allows the photographer to capture a diverse portfolio of photographs for you.


  • Do not let your head sit on your shoulders. Try to elongate your neck for maximum extension. Pretend you have a wire that is pulling you toward the ceiling.  When in doubt, remember: shoulders back, chin up and forward.

  • Do NOT say “cheese.” Smile with your eyes first.  Once your eyes are smiling, your beautiful natural smile will develop.  (Smize!). 

  • Do not be limp. Pose with tension in your body completely from head to toe, and then we can get more creative.  That said…relax your shoulders a bit.  It will elongate your neck.

  • Do not stay in the same pose, or stay in your “favorite” pose. Mix it up with innovative poses. Try your “other” side.  Your craziest pose could be the one that’s right on target.

  • Do not let hating how your hair or makeup is done affect your posing.  Be ready to shine no matter what.

  • Do not stare aimlessly when posing (unless that is the indented affect). Create intensity for the camera through your eyes.

  • Do request to have your favorite music playing when you do a shoot (or bring your own!) The beat will get you in the modeling mood and kick up your poses.

  • Keep your fingers loose and avoid making fists. Try and keep the palm of your hand turned in towards your body.

  • Do not always look at the camera.  When moving the direction of your head, let your eyes move with your head to keep a bit of candidness in the look.  When you are looking towards the camera, try and look past the camera.  One pose can take on a number of different looks just by turning your eyes into the lens, over the photographer’s shoulder, 45 degrees to the left or right of the camera, up or down, or into the key light. Your photographer will be directing you, so if you need to look at the camera, he or she will say so.

  • “Don’t move, I’ll move” is probably the most common phrase you will hear during your shoot.  That means your pose is great, your look is awesome, and the photographer wants another photograph but from a different angle.  When you hear it….don’t move.

Professional models spend hours in font of the mirror (known as “mirror time”) so that they learn their best angles in order to emphasize their best features.  Although you do not need to spend hours in font of a mirror, you should know your best features that you want to bring out during the photoshoot.  Perhaps practice a few facial expressions, do you prefer a big smile, a mischievous glance, or a more serious look?


  • When touching or tracing your skin (or your partner’s skin) try using just the tip of your middle finger, it makes the hands look more natural (no “paddle hands”)

  • For women: add curves.  No matter your body type or shape, don’t try to hide your curves…add more to create an enticing and flattering photograph. Turning one knee in or out adds additional curves to your legs.  Moving your elbow away from your body also adds “curves on curves” that emphasis and mimic your hip and waist curves.  Pop your hip out and put your weight on your popped out hip to add a seductive curve.

  • Place your arms slightly away from your body. Straight arms down the sides negates your body’s natural curves. It also makes your arms appear bigger.       

  • Turn your body or shoulders slightly away from the camera.  Avoid the head-on full frontal shots.  Turning your body slightly away adds curves from your bosom and rear and slims your waist. Nothing says ridged and boring more than standing straight and staring at the camera.

  • Keep you face toward the main light.  Your photographer will tell you which is the main light and the purpose of each additional light (rim light, back light, fill light, etc.).  Keeping your face at an angle favoring the main light will ensure that your face is well exposed.

  • Lengthen your torso when laying or siting down.  Pushing back on your hips and up on your ribs makes your stomach and torso look lean and muscular.  

  • Let your hair fall naturally.  Some of the most seductive shots is the one eye peaking out behind your hair. Try and fight the impulse to “fix” your hair every time you move.

  • For action shots, get your facial expression ready before you move. When jumping, flicking hair, spinning, or running, it is difficult to hold a “normal” expression, so make sure your chosen expression is set before you move.

  • Touch your clothes or props.  Interacting with your clothes brings a natural feel to your shots.  Be sure to look at your clothes or props when you are interacting with them.


There are a few key tips for capturing the intimacies of couples, families, or loved ones.  While the "firing line" photographs of a couple standing side-by-side facing the camera have their uses, a professional photographer knows that the real keepsakes that are shared with family, displayed on work desks, and are published in the wedding announcement sections of the local newspaper are the photographs that capture the love and intimacy of the couple.  The following are a few tips for capturing that closeness and love between a couple:

  • Get close.  In fact, get closer than you normally would in public.  A hugging photograph or arms intertwine really captures the intimacy of the couple and transforms a photograph of two people into a photograph of one couple.  The most personal touching couples photographs show the couple  much more connected than a photograph of two people.  It many not feels natural to you to embrace your partner in the company of a relative stranger or out in public, but that’s okay, your photographs will look great.

  • Face each other. For a beautiful intimate portrait, face each other and look deeply into each others eyes, with your foreheads touching. When you are facing each other with your foreheads touching, your lips will almost be touching and you will be sharing each breath in an enticing and intimate posture.  Nervous couples usually start laughing during this pose, which turns into wonderful playful photographs with the couple sharing wide smiles as they try to maintain their composure.

  • Connect with your hands. Use your hands to touch your partner.  A light touch, or intertwined fingers shows an intimate connection even when you’re standing beside each other.  You can use your hands to focus the viewer’s connection within the photograph’s composition.  The viewer’s eyes will be drawn to your  arms around shoulders, hands along a jaw line, or fingers intertwined.

  • Relax. You may not like having your photograph taken.  Many people have only a few photographs of themselves that they really like. Trust our photographers to capture awesome photographs of you and your partner, so you can take deep breathes and relax.  Relaxing during your photo shoot will allow you to pose more naturally and the results will great photographs that you will cherish.

Be Creative - Have Fun - and Take Advantage of your Photo Session

You probably do not hire a professional photographer to capture your photos very often.  In fact, it may have been years since your last professional photography session.  Take advantage of the opportunity to create photos in a style not already in your portfolio or family album. 

You know coming into the shoot what kind of photographs you want to obtain, and have a general idea on how they will look.  We will capture the photographs you envision; however, there is always time to go outside of your preconceived ideas and be creative.  Try poses, outfits, and shots that you would not think would be great.  More often than not, stepping outside of your planned poses creates fabulous and fun photographs that you will enjoy.  

Whether you are taking formal portraits or statuesque nudes, you are encouraged to mix it up a bit with facial expressions, props, clothing accessories, and angles.  You can have a professional studio shoot, fun adventurous shoot, and creative shoot all during the same session. 

You can tell a story or recreate a scene from your life or favorite move or book  Using double exposure, we can even allow you to photographed with multiple "yous. "  Even if you just wanted corporate headshots, taking a few moments to capture you talking to you will give you some unexpected photos you'd be glad to share with friends and family on social media. Take the opportunity with your photo session to spend a few moments exploring your creative side.