By Emily Jane
Dallas Photography for Influencers and Small Business Owners

Blog Posts

A Guide to Candid "Posing" for Instagram - Cheery vs. Moody


If you're like most people these days, you're over the traditional "smile-and-stare" headshot. And when it comes to your social media presence, you need a variety of images that evoke your unique personality and lifestyle.

You've probably been seeing photography all over Instagram and Pinterest lately that looks so natural yet beautiful. It appears as if the photographer just followed the subject around all day as they did their own thing and just happened to capture the subject at a "perfectly imperfect" moment. As a photographer myself, I can tell you that couldn't be further from the truth.

If you're interested in mastering that easy-breezy feel for your photos - but as soon as you face the camera you feel awkward and completely freeze up - you're definitely not alone! It does take a little work, but I'll let you in on some secrets for two styles of candid posing that will allow you to feel confident and help your next photoshoot go smoothly.


Style #1: The Happy-Go-Lucky

The first method is quite a bit easier if you're just starting out and feel pretty nervous. Just turn those nerves into laughter! We're so used to smiling in front of the camera our whole lives that this seems the most natural thing to do. 

male model smiling with mouth open
portrait of boy sitting in grass looking away
man sitting by lake with sun flare
blogger with hands in pockets looking down
  1.  Start with a fake laugh. Yes, it will feel weird. But chances are it will turn into a real laugh! And most fake laughs don't LOOK as fake as they sound.
  2. Think about how your body normally moves when you laugh. Whether you tend to lean forward, shrug your shoulders, cock your head back, or close your eyes, you're not remaining stagnant. So you shouldn't for your photos, either!
  3. A natural environment or activity will help create the candid vibe. Whether it's strolling through a field of flowers or riding a bike, your surroundings can provide a lot of organic energy to your photos which adds to that feeling of "real life".

Style #2: The Moody Model

Not everyone is such a cheerful soul, however, and your photos should always reflect the real, beautiful you! Once you gather more confidence and don't feel the need to smile to be cool and fabulous, try these next tips to maintain that non-nonchalant effortlessness.

photo of influencer from behind staring at white rock lake with ducks
influencer in red plaid shirt touching cap lightly
picture taken through trees of young man walking in park
boy staring at camera in front of white rock lake
  1. Don't be stiff, just relax. Sit, stand, or lean as you normally would - then tweak. Whether you want to stand up straighter, keep your chin down more, or loosen your jaw, these are all small things you can easily practice in the mirror.
  2. Think of creating small actions instead of poses. Gently play with your clothes or hair, shift your weight back and forth, draw a circle with your nose, look up and down. Give yourself easy but intentional tasks that infuse movement.
  3. Look THROUGH the lens. For cool candid photos, we don't even necessarily need to see your face. But when you do look at the camera, pretend you are looking for what's behind it. This is what gives that smoldering, confident stare.

The key take-away here, no matter what candid vibe you're going for, is MOTION. It's hard to look natural when someone's standing still, hand on hip, smiling at the camera, We all know they were posing, right? When the photographer catches you mid-motion, that's what creates a good "candid" shot. (Most the time it's not something we would actually find ourselves doing!) The next time you book a social media portrait shoot, know that your photographer will guide you on flattering angles and believable movements. All you have to do is keep these steps in mind, and try to be yourself!

Don't forget to tag your photos with #tipsbyemilyjane on social media so I can see your progress and follow your account!

Emily Lee