How to Pose in Travel Photos Naturally and Creatively

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 for 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.

girl in long sleeve, short floral dress and hat walking barefoot on a dirt path in Bryce Canyon Utah
how to pose in photos

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!

girl in yellow skirt posing in front of a vintage blue car and cute house in France

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.

A girl wearing denim shorts and a sweater and beanie walking in a slot canyon

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.

woman posed in front of the Eiffel Tower with a baguette in her arms

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!

lady in a dress looking at hats in an outdoor shop in France

Quick tips for cute poses for couples

Sometimes posing with someone else, especially a partner, can prove to be a challenge if you want to avoid the typical, traditional poses. We still love arms-around-each-other poses but sometimes it’s fun to incorporate fresh ideas into our travel photos. So here are a few unique and cute poses for couples that you can implement on your travels with your loved one.

Use accessories – As mentioned above, I’m a huge fan of accessories and they can be great when taking photos as a couple. You can adjust his tie, tie a bow on her hair, put a hat on each other’s heads, etc. Make it look natural and you’ll look cute doing it.

couple posed in a lavender field

Be relaxed and chill – I kind of love it when one person looks at the camera while the other is looking away. We’ve posed like this a few times and it just adds a little bit of uniqueness to a photo and makes us appear super relaxed and laidback.

girl in a beanie and sweater posed beside a guy in the woods - a cute cabin is in the background

Affectionate poses – Don’t be afraid to show your affection! If you’re in a romantic spot, kiss away!

woman and man kissing in an old French village

Be in your own world – Sometimes it’s just easier to look at each other and forget the awkwardness of the camera. It’s fun to just act like no one is around and just enjoy the moment! Don’t be afraid to have fun with this one – you can carry your partner, dance, walk hand in hand; it really doesn’t matter as long as you are enjoying the moment of each other! The background will only make your story more vivid.

woman in pink dress and man in black denim and white shirt posed together with Eiffel Tower in the background

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  1. HI Grace, I loved this post. I struggle a lot with posing myself, and most of my pics are taken from behind haha I have recently bought a tripod and I will start practicing before going to shoots. This post is super helpful. Thank you!!

    1. Thanks Ana! I’m sure it’ll become natural to you very quickly! If I can do it, anyone can! πŸ™‚

  2. Excellent tips, thank you! You make it sound easy πŸ™‚ we’ll put them into practice in our next trip πŸ™‚

  3. Great post! Thank you.
    I found with the smile, make sure I am feeling it in my eyes, less fake.
    Also, The Resting Face! Beware , remember to have a Mona Lisa look . There is nothing worse than the turned down mouth. πŸ™‚ just a gentle upturn is a photo saver

  4. This is such a great post! I always feel so awkward posing and only have a couple of poses that I revert to all the time but they get old pretty quickly. I’m definitely going to try some of your ideas! Oh and I’m super self-conscious about my teeth too and always smile with my lips closed for photos – it might look less natural (I’m a smiler in real life) but I still prefer it.

  5. Hi grace! Lovely pics and great tips. Are you on Instagram? I’d love to see more of your photos

  6. Hi, great post. Will definitely try some of the poses in my next travel trip. Wonderful outfits too! Where did you get the sandals where you are next to the vintage blue car?
    Thanks for sharing

  7. I really appreciate your tip about not forcing a smile or laugh when taking photographs, My family is wanting to do a family photoshoot in the next few weeks, and I have never been really good at posing for photographs. I will have to see what the photographer can help me out with once we choose someone to hire.

  8. This was so helpful! I’m legit so awkward in photos and it’s something I’m really trying to work on. I haven’t heard of a lot these tips and I’ll definitely have to try them! Thanks for sharing:)

  9. What advice do you have if you’re top-heavy? I try to stand up straight with shoulders back, but if there’s an angle at all it’s not normally flattering.

    1. One of my favorite ways to pose is to cross my arms – I think you could easily minimize if you cross your left arm over your chest (perpendicular) and then place your right elbow on your left forearm with your hand resting under your chin. Kind of like how you would lean on a desk. This way your arms will take the attention away from where you don’t want it πŸ™‚ Hopefully that makes sense!

  10. Thanks for this post! I really need to improve my poses. Im an awkward queen and definitely care too much about those around me! But I will try put these into practice – thanks for the tips!

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