Now that almost every woman has a smartphone in her pocket, we have a lot more opportunities to take photos, both of ourselves and the world around us. Unfortunately, many women feel that there’s one word to sum up how they look in photos: awkward.
Luckily, Bachelor season 23 alum and professional model Hannah Godwin is here to help. Her Instagram is a master class in posing – and she has even shared videos with posing advice on her YouTube channel, including one video aptly titled “How to Pose 101 / Feel Less Awk in Pics.”
Hannah is an experienced model and beauty pageant contestant, so posing has been a big part of her life since she was a teenager. In the video, she reveals that she would practice poses including flashing a peace sign before photo shoots as a teen – needless to say, she has come a long way. After working with brands including Show Me Your Mumu, Revolve, and Soca Clothing, Hannah knows how to make a piece of clothing or accessory the star of a photo, but she also knows how to let her fun-loving personality shine through.
Using Hannah’s advice, you’ll be able to mix and match poses and facial expressions until you find what works best for you. So keep reading to find out how to pose to look your best in photos!
1. Do Something with Your Legs – Even If It’s Just Popping a Knee
Take your photos from blah to wow by doing anything but standing in a neutral pose. Hannah says her go-to is popping one knee to create more angles while standing. She recommends shifting your weight from side to side instead of remaining still. You’ll rarely see Hannah post a photo that’s straight on – she tends to slightly tilt one side of her body away from the camera to create more depth.
Hannah says walking is also a great way to get a photo that looks more candid (and feels more natural to take too). Just make sure you’re not walking too fast so that your bestie can actually snap the photo before you’re out of frame.
Popping your leg while standing – like when you’re taking a photo with a group of friends – is a great way to ensure you’re happy with the end result. But what about sitting? While we tend to be most comfortable sinking into a chair or sitting crisscross applesauce on a picnic blanket, these poses do not translate well in photos.
If you want a cute photo while enjoying a picnic with friends, there are a few pose options depending on whether you’re wearing pants or a skirt. If you’re wearing pants, sit with one knee touching the ground and one knee propping up your elbow.
If you’re in a skirt or a dress, do what Hannah calls the “mermaid sit” – keep your knees together and sweep them to the side so that your hip is touching the ground. It’s not flattering with all outfits but will definitely keep you from flashing the camera!
Why can’t you just sit like a normal human in a photo? Hannah doesn’t really explain the “why” behind the importance of angles, but luckily another YouTuber, Sorelle Amore, has gone into depth about this on her channel.
“Separate your limbs from your body…Squishing anything against your body is going to make it look bigger, so lift your arms away from your body. That also goes for your legs when you’re sitting. Try to lift them off the surface so you’re not squishing your legs down and making them appear larger,” Sorelle Amore explains in a video all about posing.
“Sitting poses are all about angles,” she concludes.
2. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Creative with Your Hands
Hannah has a few go-to hand placements that help her feel less awkward during photo shoots. She says she has really long arms so figuring out what to do with them is extra tricky.
If you’re wearing blue jeans or anything with pockets, Hannah recommends putting your hands either halfway in the pockets or putting just your thumbs in the pockets. Instead of being glued to your sides, your arms will naturally create a more flattering pose.
No pockets? No problem. One of Hannah’s favorite poses is crossed arms – but not in an “I’m mad at you” sort of way. She recommends lightly crossing your arms, making sure your fingers look “dainty” and not smushed together, and then angling one shoulder forward.
She also offers a variation of this pose called “the thinker” – she likes to cross her arms and then bring one hand up to her temple or chin to create a more pensive mood.
Other hand placements Hannah recommends are playing with your hair, putting your hands on your hips to cinch your waist, and playing with your clothes, like swishing a skirt or pulling on a jacket.
3. Ditch the Awkward Smile
Hannah offers a lot of ideas for facial expressions that aren’t smiling straight at the camera. She recommends making yourself laugh – the expression will be less forced than you think!
“Laughing is really, really cute. It looks like you’re in the moment, not taking life too seriously. Plus it’s just really pretty for people to see your smile,” Hannah says. “Sometimes it’s awkward to look directly in the camera and laugh. You can laugh looking away or laugh looking down.”
Hannah also says that finding your favorite side of your face is a must. She frequently turns her back to the camera and then turns just the left side of her face to the camera. So pull out a mirror and figure out your good side!
Other facial expressions Hannah uses include looking down to combat uneven lighting on your face or coyly looking away from the camera.
4. Be in the Moment!
Hannah’s final advice is to be in the moment and enjoy yourself when you’re taking photos. Chances are you’re somewhere fun, whether it’s a vacation destination or a dinner with friends! Get creative using what’s around you, even if it’s just you pulling the lipstick out of your purse and pretending to put it on.
“Anything that tells a story beats all the poses in general,” Hannah says.
In the age of Instagram, many of us want to look better in photos, but we don’t know how! Like anything in life, you can feel more confident if you do a little research and practice.
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