How to pose for Instagram photos

Some clients I work with are just natural pros at posing and effortlessly move around while I snap away on my camera. Influencers who post pictures of themselves on Instagram all the time have perfected the art of posing for photographs and make it look so easy. (In reality though we often take 100s of photographs to get that one perfect shot!)

I also work with a lot of non-influencers though who aren’t used to being in front of a camera and need a little direction. Typically most of us would just stand and face the camera with a big smile (which looks great too!) but that might not necessarily give you that “Instagram” look and feel. There are definitely tricks you can use to switch things up a bit, which I’ll share with you here.

Play with your clothes/hair

Moves like twirling your hair or holding the hem of your dress can add a little movement to the photo. For guys wearing suits I often suggest playing with their cuffs. It might feel like you’re fidgeting but it can sometimes look great for an Instagram shot.

Put one foot forward

When most people have their photo taken they plant two feet on the ground facing the camera. Putting one leg forward is slimming and elongates the legs. It’s generally a more flattering pose for outfit photos if you want to show off your clothes, so put your best foot forward! You can also put a hand on your hip to vary the look.

Look to the side

I personally don’t always like the way my face looks front on and feel like I look much better from side profile. The side profile can be more flattering as it avoids any awkward shadows and looks a little more casual than staring right at the camera. It gives the impression that the photographer captured you “in the moment” when you weren’t looking (even if the whole thing was staged!).

Look up

This pose is useful if you’re walking down a street with interesting buildings or standing in front of anything tall, like a building or a large doorway. Basically any time that you might look up at what’s around you.


Sometimes we’ll capture a walking shot, either walking along the pavement or across an intersection. The trick here is usually not to look down at your feet and instead look out to the side and into the road. This shot works great if you want that “busy New Yorker” vibe.

Leaning against a wall

If you’re having your photo taken in front of street art or murals then it often helps to lean against the wall and then bend one leg. You can also do a “stride by” which involves walking past the wall while the photographer takes your photo from across the street. I like the “stride by” because it can show the size and scale of the wall.


Sitting is obviously more comfortable than standing and therefore makes you feel much more relaxed. For example, you can sit on a set of stairs outside a building or on a bench in a park. I’ve even had clients sit cross legged on the floor – it just depends on the location!

Use a prop

Whether it’s an umbrella, a cup of coffee, your sunglasses or a restaurant menu, you can utilize props to make your photo look a little bit different. If you have a jacket you could sling it over your shoulder. The great thing about props is they can sometimes make you feel more at ease than if you just stand there wondering what to do.

Look over your shoulder

One pose that always looks super cute is the casual “face away from the camera and then look back over your shoulder” pose. It looks even better if you do it with a beaming smile!

Take a photo from the back

If you’re having an off-day and you don’t want your face in the photo then you can have your back to the camera and face the view. Beautiful landscapes look great but it gives some perspective if there’s a person in the photo.

Crouch down

This one works best if the photographer gets low to the ground so the photo of you is taken from a low angle. Crouching down looks super edgy and dominant.

Downward glance

Another pose you can utilize is the downward glance. Just enough that we can still your face and not so much that you look like you’re trying to find a penny on the floor. It gives a slightly shy, bashful appearance but looks super cute.


I love to see people laugh! It looks fun and spontaneous and your eyes light up when you laugh. If you want to get over the awkwardness of having your photo taken then a little laughter will always work.

A final word:

Whenever I work with clients shoots are always informal and fun. The more relaxed the shoot, the better the photos will come out. It can be so intimidating and a little embarrassing having a camera pointed at you in a busy street full of people, especially if you don’t like to draw attention to yourself. But once you learn how to pose for Instagram photos it becomes easier – the key is to just strike lots of different poses and hopefully land on one you like for the final Instagram photo!

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