Whether you’re a professional photographer, hobbyist shooter, or online influencer, social media matters…a lot. These days, portraits of yourself (and your clients) tend to rank quite high in the Instagram game, so capturing these images becomes key.
In this article, we look at 20 cute poses for Instagram so you can get some share-worthy pics from the get-go.
1. One Leg Up, One Leg Down
This is a simple one that works for standing, leaning, or sitting! It’s quite flattering to have one leg tucked up into a bend and the other leg straight, and works for all types of women.
If you’re leaning against a wall, put one leg on the wall and the other remains straight for support. If you’re in a chair, pull one leg in and the other leg stretched out. For just standing, bring one leg up like a flamingo and keep the other straight!
This cute pose for Instagram gives a great body composition for imagery and adds a bit of movement and liveliness to the shot.
2. One Leg Bent
A variation of the above is a standing shot where one leg is bent while the other is straight. This helps the hip fall down, which allows you or your subject to pop the hip. That hip pop gives a beautiful curvature to the body, making a flattering pose to capture.
For women, sitting on the hip is a flattering pose that can also feel quite comfortable (we often stand like this without even noticing!).
3. One Foot Forward
For the dramatic walking shot, you can cheat this by throwing one foot forward! Extending the one foot creates great compositional lines that lead right up the body and to the face. This pose also elongates the leg, another benefit.
The key to this pose is to pretend to be a ballerina and point the toe! When posing with feet involved, you more often than not want to point the toe rather than do an upward flex.
This pose is also a great asset if you or your photographer want to play with angles, as this pose can be shot from lower vantage points all the way up to higher vantage points.
4. Three Quarter View
A common portrait shot, the three-quarter view adds some flare to your Instagram. From the model perspective, turn approximately 45 degrees away from the camera! Often having your hips facing forward and your upper body facing back or to the camera. The head can either tilt-up or face away from the camera.
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This pose accentuates curves while also showcasing a slimmer physique, and is all-around a beautiful option.
5. Criss Cross
One of my favorite cute poses for Instagram, the criss-cross is a sitting shot with a lot of visual interest going on. Throwing it back to being a kid, start by sitting on the ground with the legs in a criss-cross. After getting into this pose, the legs can then be modified for comfort or visual interest, such as keeping the bottoms of the feet flat or kicking one leg out.
With one knee being popped, they can add another posing element, such as placing elbows on the knee to lean a head on or by leaning over the knees!
The ideal angle is from a slightly higher vantage point, shooting more downwards.
6. Lean and Arch – Back to Object
If you or your subject are near a fence, a great pose is to lean one’s upper back to the fence. Start by placing elbows or arms down on the fence or fence-like object and leaning. Once balance is established, arch the back! Legs can be adjusted to support the arching of the back.
7. Lean and Arch – Front to Object
Likewise, you can do a front lean (or “vacation” pose as some call it) instead! Lean the upper half of your body over a fence or fence-like object and arch the back, adjusting where the legs go to support the balance. Sometimes crossing legs helps keep balance in this pose.
8. Over the Knees
This is also a sitting on the ground pose like the criss-cross pose from earlier, but here you or your subject have both feet planted firmly on the ground with knees up. Put elbows on the knees or arms on the knees and lean forward a little bit.
9. Chair Sit
Chairs always make the best posing props! The chair sit is achieved in any which way, but the important tip to remember about sitting in a chair is to sit at the very edge. Instead of sitting normally or leaning back, sit at the very front (it may feel uncomfortable).
When you sit in a chair normally, the camera picks it up as a slouch which can be unflattering. By sitting at the very edge, there is an opportunity to arch or straighten the back and the legs have full freedom of movement. Experiment with different leg positions!
10. Crossed Hands
An extension of the chair sit, cross the hands casually across the body. This X shape makes a flattering line in the shot, especially when captured from a bit higher up. Plus, the hands have something to do here!
11. Hands Raising Up
A pose that inspires awe and fun, this standing shot requires the subject to outstretch their arms above the head! By pulling up, the whole body outstretches making for a really beautiful pose.
You can do variations of this pose depending upon how the arms look when stretched up, a happy and excited version stretches the arms well above the head with hands open while a more casual look can have one hand stretched up and the other gripping at the elbow.
12. Hand on Hip
You can’t go wrong with a hand on the hip! The golden rule is to always give the hand something to do. A cute and flirty pose can be accomplished by placing one hand at the hip, bending at the elbow. This can be further accentuated by popping the hip on the side that the hand touches.
13. Squat Down
Especially awesome if you or your subject are wearing a really cool pair of pants, the squatting shot is a classic. The key here is to keep the back arched and chin up, as both those elements inspire and promote confidence. Practice taking the shot from various vantage points, ranging from ground level to eye level.
A variation on this pose is to stretch one leg out towards the camera, turning the foot to be parallel with the lens. This image is excellent to capture from floor level!
14. Hands in Pockets
It’s not common to find pockets in much of women’s clothing (to our dismay!) so when you do, show it off! Putting hands in the pocket and smiling makes for a cheeky shot and gives the hands something to do! Show off those pockets with pride.
15. Over the Shoulder
A good over-the-shoulder look is a favorite amongst portrait photographers and social media influencers alike. The key to this is to not turn the head too far, it must look comfortable! So more often than not, over the shoulder is not a full back shot – it’s actually closer to a three-quarter look. If your head, or your subject’s head, is straining too much to turn, open up the camera-side shoulder a bit more.
Variations of this shot include looking away from the camera, looking past the camera, or looking downward (great for makeup looks!).
16. Smile and Lean Forward
Laughter is the best medicine, so let it all out there and inspire the Instagram following! With a real laugh and a real smile, lean towards the camera and let it loose!
17. Standing with Legs Crossed
Need to show off a whole outfit by standing up, but feeling lost as to what to do? Cross those legs! Crossing the legs makes for a more interesting standing pose and creates gorgeous flattering curves for women. Just make sure not to lose your balance!
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18. Fix Your Sunglasses
Pretending to fix, take off, or put on sunglasses makes for a classic Instagram look. Plus, it gives your hands something to do and helps your eyes look mysterious and fun. Be sure to look at the camera during these movements!
19. Play with Hair
When you need to give your hands something to do, play with your hair! Run the hands through the hair and pull on the very tips while smiling for a cute look. Put hands in the hair and push up for a more sensual pose. Twirl a section of hair between the fingers for a more pensive appearance. This pose excels in both sitting, squatting, and standing poses.
20. Use a Prop
Props can easily become an Instagram photo’s best friend and can help lead to influencer work promoting products. Be interactive with a prop, whether it be a toy skull for Halloween or a favorite book to read. Engage with the prop by playing with it on camera, toying around with ways to hold the prop, or even pretending to use it for those casual ‘candid’ shots. Your imagination is the only limit here!
What to Keep in Mind When Posing
It doesn’t matter if you’re capturing selfies, photographing a friend, or doing a full social media content photoshoot for a client – certain principles of portrait photography will apply. When posing women, there are a few guidelines to keep at the forefront of the mind that lead to successful poses.
The first is to ensure the chin is up! Within reason of course, as you don’t want to hike the chin up to an uncomfortable or unnatural position. But ensuring that the head is held high and up rather than down or pushing in can help accentuate flattering features such as cheekbones while hiding less attractive features such as neck shadows.
The next is to relax those muscles! Tense shoulders and hands don’t look fantastic on camera and you can certainly feel the stress. Roll the shoulders out prior to snapping a photograph and release the hands.
Arch the back and push the chest forward! The female body has many curves to it, accentuating these makes for flattering poses and compositions. Plus, arching the back can help it appear straighter as well.
Try to shoot eye-level vantage points. Some of the most flattering perspectives are those that capture your subject at eye level. You won’t need to account for too much distortion if you capture shots from this standard perspective.
In conclusion, we hope this article provided you with countless ideas on how to capture your next awesome Instagram shot! These 20 cute poses for Instagram can be modified in any way, letting your imagination soar.