Tips & tricks for posing Non models
People Photography Portrait Photography Mobile Photography
December 7, 2018

If you are a photographer, you will get requests for portrait photography and it doesn’t even matter which genre of photography you are interested in! So basically, you may be bitten by the landscape bug but you still need to learn how to shoot portraits. Friends and family look out for photographers who can take great portraits of theirs and you, as a photographer will be no exception. The challenge here is that most of them are not going to be models. They will not be having any idea about posing. Some of them may be aware about their better profiles but that is not enough to take great portraits. Hence your job here is not limited to the basic aspects of photography only. You will have to guide them in posing in the right way. Let us take a look at some tricks and tips for posing the non-models.



Image courtesy boredpanda

  1. Comfort zone: You may not be a portrait photographer. If that is the case, here you may not be in your comfort zone. But you need to ensure your subject is in theirs. Unless you make them comfortable, shooting non models will get increasingly difficult. Once you get them talking to you comfortably, you can guide them more easily and get better results. This is just a humane side to things and even such little things can lead to better portrait images.

  2. The hair and its beauty: If your model has a lot of hair, you can use that to great effect. It comes with its own set of challenges though. As we all know that there are no specific rules in photography but there are certain guidelines, following which, you can feel the improvements. This basic guideline states that the hair cannot rest on the shoulders. This may make your image look quite amateurish. The alternatives to this can be by making sure that all the hair is behind the shoulders. You may want to keep all the hair on either of the sides of your subject. I, personally decide this based on the hairstyle of the person and what he or she is more comfortable with. If the hair is curly and well maintained, it can be a huge asset and I prefer to keep all the hair dangling down from either side of my model.

  3. The cutting edge of the chin: No one wants to look fat in their portraits. One of the ways in which people look fat is on displaying their double chin. Since our models here are commoners, there are chances they will have one. How do you actually negate that in your portraits? Ask your model to push their face in front. Some photographers ask their models to lift their chin up a little. But in case of non-models, this may not be the best idea as this can expose their double chin. Hence I prefer to have their chins pushed forward a little. This actually eliminates the double chin.

  4. Body, arm and the spaces in between: When you ask a non-model to pose, they actually don’t have any idea what to do. They normally pose with both their arms beside their bodies. This makes them look uncomfortable and if your model is uncomfortable slim are the chances of your portraits having quality! I prefer to have my models pose at an angle with arms not stitched to the body. This means that there are some spaces between the body and the arms. This makes sure the model doesn’t look fat. When you have your arms squished against your body, the arm fat also comes in to the picture. With this technique even that can be eliminated as here there is a clear space between the body and the limbs.

  5. The shoulder angle: It is not preferable to have your model looking straight into your camera. This makes them look fatter. It is always better to have your model turn their shoulders slightly at an angle with respect to the camera. Once you do this, the width of the bust of your model actually decreases in comparison to the scenario where the model is looking straight into the camera.

  6. The long nose effect: When your model is looking at an angle in respect to the camera position, there are chances that the nose may break the outline of the face. This should be avoided as this leads to the scenario called the poking nose! When the nose cuts through the facial outline, it looks quite long and awkward. You should try to make sure that the nose remains within the facial outline of the model’s face.



Image courtesy pinterest

  1. The eye glitter and not the eye whites: Whenever you are shooting portraits, always focus on the eye. Try to capture the sparkle in the eyes. This is what lends life to portraits. The glitter in the eyes makes your model alive. On the other hand, too much of the eye whites can kill the image. Make sure that the head turn of your model actually coordinates with the light source. If the subject is looking somewhere else, shoot the eyes at an angle which reduces the excessive presence of the white portions of the eyes.

  2. The combination of them all: Now that you have gone through the basic set of guidelines on how to pose non models, you will have to sit together and accumulate them all. The combination of all these guidelines will lead to a drastic improvement in the quality of your portrait images!


Shooting portraits can be fun if the person is coordinating with you in the way you want. This will not come naturally. You will have to make the person comfortable and gradually this coordination will fall in to place. Remember, none of these are rules you cannot break. Once you are aware of the basics, you always have the right to experiment with your models in your way. At the end of it all, it is the quality of your portraits that is of prime importance.

People Photography Portrait Photography Mobile Photography
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