7 of the Best Poses for Female Models

best poses for female models

As a female model and actress who is constantly trying to keep things fresh in front of the camera, new and creative poses are key. Sometimes poses can start feeling repetitive, but it’s important to keep pushing yourself to be loose, in your body, and most importantly, interesting.

Here are a list of 7 simple, yet effective modeling poses I think look great on every body type. 

This is the second of two articles we’ve put together on posing for models. This post covers the best poses for female models. Click here to view the post with the best poses for male models.

1. Over the Shoulder


This pose will never get old to me. For one, it’s so flattering. It instantly creates dimension in the photo, and has a “flirty” like mystery to it. I love how this pose accentuates the model’s jaw line, lengthens the neck, and allows us to see a little bit of the face’s profile. 

2. Use Your Hands

Photo via Matt Moloney

In portrait photography, you typically only think of a face and it’s expression. When adding hands to the mixture, the photo comes alive. A hand grazing your cheek, or playing with your hair gives the photo more of a human quality, making it more natural and relatable.

In my opinion, the biggest compliment a model can receive is being called natural or a “natural”, and naturally we use our hands when we move! 

3. Against the Wall


I personally love using walls or objects to play with during a shoot. For me, it’s a prop that I can lean up against, lean towards, and balance on. It’s a solid surface that I know isn’t going anywhere, which gives me freedom to do whatever pose I so desire.

It’s kind of like a little safety net, and a great tool for beginner models. I love a good brick wall! (So does every photographer)

4. Surface Lean


Whether you’re slightly sitting on, or leaning against a surface, this pose is striking and allows for the model to change her focal points to something else besides the camera.

It also gives the photo a sense of ease. There is something cinematic and deep about a human staring longingly at something in the distance. If the model is actively seeing things and having thoughts behind their eyes, it will be portrayed on camera and is absolutely captivating. 

5. A Little More Sensual


When doing a shoot indoors, outdoors, in a studio or in a more intimate space, lying on your stomach with legs propped up is sexy and feminine way to pose without too much exposure (unless that’s what you’re going for, if so, more power to yah!).

When photographed from the side, it lengthens the body and legs. When in this pose, I like to play around with the angles of my chin; tilting it up and down to accentuate my jaw and give the pictures a different mood. 

6. Hands on Hips


Putting your hands on hips when posing in front of a camera makes your waist appear smaller.

The space in your arms creates a background effect and slims everything down! I also love this pose because it is powerful, feminine, and dominant.

Whenever I do this pose I like to push my shoulders forward to accentuate my collar bones. Try playing with body weight distribution; let one leg have more weight than the other and then switch. 

7. Full Frontal Face (Close-Up)


This can be one of the most beautiful and powerful portrait poses, and it is the most simple. Little is going on in the body, but everything is going on in the eyes. Nothing is worse than seeing a pair of dead eyes on camera. It is important that during a shoot, the model is consistently having thoughts behind his/her eyes as they are modeling. Modeling is acting!

Sometimes when I find myself burning out I take a deep breath, close my eyes and count to three. On three I open my eyes with a fresh thought in my mind. Modeling is a lot more than looking pretty, it is telling a story through your body language and your eyes.

If the story you’re trying to tell is unclear to you, it will be unclear to the audience. You are allowed to feel emotions! The more open you are to creating uninhibited art, the more creatively fulfilled you will feel at the end of your shoot. 

Additional Quick Tips


Don’t forget to breathe, ladies! We will be able to tell on camera if you are not. Breathing will help you feel more in your body, and will get rid of those unwanted nerves.

The Mirror is your Best Friend

Use the mirror to try out different poses. Figure out what you think looks good on you before you get in front of the camera. I guarantee you’ll feel more confident and you will know you look GOOD. 

Don’t take yourself too seriously!

Modeling is fun, and it’s important to smile. Smiling is the most beautiful and natural human expression. Everyone loves and appreciates a genuine and BIG smile. 

Special thanks to Lauren Paley for this article on posing. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

Main background photo courtesy of Top Shelf Vintage Co.

12 Replies to “7 of the Best Poses for Female Models”

  1. Genie Appel-Cohen says:

    I’m starting a portrait project painting 20 women over the age of 50, and the poses really helped me get started in the right direction!

    1. Mike says:

      Wow, awesome! So glad to hear that Genie. Glad we could help. :)

  2. Anastasia says:

    I’m surching for a modeling agency in Portland Oregon. I’m 13 years old so I don’t want to pay and my parents wouldn’t either. People always tell me I should start modeling. Do you have any suggestions? By the way, I will take some pictures tomorow, my favorite one is the wall.

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Anastasia,

      Thanks for your comment! I would be happy to offer some suggestions to you.

      1. Since you are underage, I would strongly recommend asking your parents’ permission and taking one or both of your parents with you on all photoshoots.

      2. At this stage, networking and meeting photographers, stylists, and other people within the fashion industry is your best way to get started. You can also meet and/or message other models who are working in Portland, Seattle, LA, etc.

      3. Practice, practice, practice. It takes a lot of practice to feel comfortable in front of the camera. Try to practice as much as you can and research videos on Youtube, Instagram, etc. from professional models so you can learn from the best.

      Once you feel like you have a good portfolio built up, it may be worth contacting agencies and trying to get signed professionally. Again, with your parents’ permission. :)

      I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck!

      – Mike

  3. Sara ice says:

    Hi I’m trying to be a model I’m 15 modeling has always been my dream but I don’t know how to get my name out there any suggestions

  4. Layanga Naotunna says:

    I love to start my career as a modeler and I’m 18 years old. I’m 5″6 tall is it enough for modelling? And I don’t like starting my job in my country because I don’t think it’s the best place for a female modeler. So if I’m to contact with overseas agencies how am I doing that?

  5. Gold Pearl says:

    To start modelling you have to have a passion for it and It requires being very tall at least having long legs .well 5’6 is ok for starters but you could try growing taller as time goes on

  6. Zohreh says:

    Hi, I’m 39 years old and I’m going to start a modeling career in Dubai. I look 10 to 15 years younger, any suggestion?

  7. Roman says:

    I never thought of surface lean. We did that a few times but didn’t take them seriously.

    That shot is hot! I think we should work that into our routine.


    1. Evangle says:

      I love modeling,wish to be a model some day.

  8. Emmanuella says:

    I’m Emmanella by name I’m 12years old.I live in Nigeria and am searching for a modelling agency I think I should start modeling. Do you have any suggestions? By the way, I will take some pictures tomorow the full frontal face to be precise

  9. Kim Kupa Gwachure says:

    Hi I am an 18year old girl in the UAE ,my height is 190cm,I am50kg in terms of weight and looking for an agency to work with.thanks

Leave a Reply