Someone recently asked me how to pose for photos naturally and I thought it was a great question. I am queen of awkward and only recently have I gotten better at the whole posing thing. When I first started blogging as a fashion blogger, I had a few poses down that I thought looked ok and would showcase the outfits I was wearing. However, those got old; when I started incorporating more travel into my blog, I realized I had to change up my poses.
Fashion poses aren’t necessarily great for travel photos and I quickly discovered that I needed to look more fun and free-spirited. I started looking at the camera more and trying to be more natural every time a photo was snapped. So here are a few tips for how to pose in travel photos naturally, even for those of us who feel awkward doing it.
How to pose in photos
Employ some movement – I had friends tell me this in the past but honestly it’s a pretty hard tip to learn. My first thoughts on it: how in the world are you supposed to move? I’m a klutz and walk funny so why do I want to walk while you’re photographing me? What other movement should I do? Do I pat my hair down? Should I look at the camera at the same time? Admittedly, it was awkward at first.
My recommendation is to start off with simply walking while someone is taking a photo. Take normal strides at an average pace. But be sure to pause between steps. I’ve seen way too many blurry photos because of movement.
Once you’ve got walking down, you can add in other natural movement: look to the side, glance down, grab your sunglasses, tuck your hair behind your ear or touch the brim of your hat. It makes photos so much more natural and you look like you’re actually exploring instead of just rigidly posing for a photo.
The right outfit really helps in this department. I love boater hats most because they aren’t overly glamorous and they are great for keeping the sun out of your eyes (double advantage of using them). Click HERE for some of my favorite hats for travel.
Maxi dresses or shorter floral dresses are my favorites for sightseeing. If they’re loose, even better as you’ll be able to twirl in them or incorporate some natural movement in the fabric. Click HERE for some cute floral dresses.
Be confident – Have you ever looked at a photo of yourself and thought “Wow. I look frumpy.” I definitely have. Most of the time it’s because I wasn’t confident when the shot was taken. When I’m posing for a photo now, I try to remind myself to be confident. And confidence starts with posture: shoulders back, head held high like you know 100% what you’re doing. If you exude confidence, that stray hair will look intentional, that stain on your dress won’t be noticed and no one will think twice about the wrinkles on your dress. So be proud of yourself!
Find something to make you laugh – Ok so this one is hard for me. I hate my teeth so I usually smile close lipped. BUT I’ve realized that I look pretty natural if someone makes me laugh. At the very least, it makes my close lipped smile more genuine. Some of you guys have gorgeous smiles, perfect teeth and beautiful laughing faces so be proud of those! They will make your travel photos so much fun as you’ll look like you’re having a blast exploring various parts of the world.
Don’t look fake – I can’t mention the laughing tip without following up with not looking fake. This is because I’ve seen WAY to many fake smiles and laughs and while you may think you’re masking the awkwardness of smiling without cause, people seeing your photo will definitely know you’re faking it. Just make sure you’re not forcing a smile or laugh and if you feel like you are, then it’s perfectly fine to lightly smile or even look away from the camera and off into the distance.
Think outside the box – I get bored pretty easily and seeing bloggers pose the same way over and over really makes things monotonous. Don’t be afraid to have fun with your poses. Try sitting down cross-legged (a favorite of mine), lean into a wall or turn to the side. You can also sit on a ledge, look up at the sky, twirl if you have a long skirt or dress, etc.
Shoot different angles – It’s always a good idea to capture different angles of your pose. Turn to the side, all the way around or have the person taking your photo capture you from the left or right. It’s all about the angles and it’s amazing to see how much one pose can change with just a few quick changes in position.
Use props around you – Be warned that props might make your photo look more staged. I personally prefer having props whether it’s flowers, books, fruit or my handbag. I think it adds so much to a photo that I don’t mind looking a little more posed. But how do you pose for photos when there are no props? Sometimes I bring my own (like I said, a handbag is a great trick for posing naturally as most of us gals carry them all the time) or I use what’s around me.
Do you – I think the most important thing to keep in mind while shooting natural shots is do what you would normally do. If you’re at a shop, pick up a hat and look at it. If you’re at the ocean, take a stroll. If you’re in a beautiful location, admire the landscape in front of you. Be in the moment! And above all, don’t think about all those people staring at you; you’ll probably never see them again and really, who cares what they think!
See also: iphone food photography tips