9 poses for self portraits to show variety and confidence

Ok. So you are thinking about spending a few hours taking a few self portraits (not selfie reflections in a full length mirror), and you aren’t sure how to look natural. I’ve got you. This blog is dedicated to a few poses that are natural to do, show confidence and even a little gumption.

Gumption: “shrew or spirited initiative and resourcefulness” …Oxford Languages. The word gumption always makes me think of the movie “The Holiday” with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. When Kate Winslet finally connects with her own self-confidence and gumption. It’s the turning point…

First…do yourself a big favour and jump on Amazon or go to a local store and get yourself a tripod. Doesn’t need to be expensive. It’s doesn’t even need to be for a dSLR or Mirrorless camera. It can be a tripod for your smartphone. Don’t let your smartphone be in the frame of your full length mirror. You can do better. I promise.

Since this isn’t a post on camera settings or anything like that, I’ll just say get some variety in vertical and horizontal images and make sure your lens is at your eye level or slightly higher than eye level…and I mean slightly. Too high and it will look like you are trying too hard.

Pro Tip: if you are using a smartphone for your photos (start anywhere and grow to be better), use your rear facing camera, not the selfie lens. Also, most (not all Smartphones), have some degree of distortion when your subject, in this case you, takes up the full frame. Because of this you may see the edges creating a weird distorted look to your face. If this is the case, pull back and get a wider shot and crop after the fact.

Ok…onto why you are here…poses.

9 poses to show confidence and give a good variety of images


Look at the camera with a slight head tilt, lips softly closed with a slight smile in your eyes. This expression gives the emotion that I care about you and am here to listen to you. I am sitting on the edge of a wooden box (covered with a fuzzy blanket for texture and softness). You could be sitting on a chair, a couch, a stool, or a bench. Whatever you are sitting on, turn to a 45 degree angle to the camera, schooch your butt to the edge so your thigh isn’t squished flat and raise one leg a little higher than the other. Usually the front leg would be raised to avoid the front leg being flattened, but here I was careful to not have all my weight on the lowered leg, making it appear more full than it is. Keeping your legs closed is also the most flattering. In this image, I am also kind of giving myself a little hug, to show that I am kind and warm and the hugging type. The head tilt suggest I want to talk and hear what you have say. It’s a more inviting head position to engage in conversation. In hindsight, I could have pushed my chin forward and down slightly to elongate my neck and diminish the shadows under my chin…


So this pose is a little more badass while still being inviting to look at. I am still making eye contact with the camera, and keeping reserved arms by hugging my own body. I’m not wildly flailing my arms around begging for attention. The positioning of my feet however commands some attention. I have my weight on my back foot with my “camera left” , really my right hip, kicked out and holding my weight. By resting my weight on my leg furthest from the camera, it “slims’ me down slightly. Everything closer to the camera will appear bigger, so if you are trying to diminish anything, even very subtly, push it to the back just a smidge. Although this isn’t a post on wardrobe, how can I not give a shoutout to these boots. Heels make our legs look longer, slimmer and add a sexy factor…Sexy doesn’t need to be a “forbidden look”. Heels are both flattering and good for your self confidence and baddassary. (Not a word…but you get it).


So, speaking of sexy. You may not need photos that show off your sexy shoulders for your business page or personal social media, but you may want a few just to feel pretty. I look at this photo and I see a 47 year old woman with exposed shoulders. I don’t see anything scandalous or revealing. If I had a website that was more conservative and an audience that was more traditional, I may not share it to build trust and a strong relationship with my audience. But, if I had a business where my audience is women embracing their own baddassary (if I use it enough times, I will believe it’s a real word), they may see this 47 year old and think….hell yes! Where do I find an off the shoulder sweater, RIGHT NOW? The pose is also soft and elegant with a sense of playful. My front raised shoulder gives a feeling of flirty but reserved. My hair covering both shoulders and my neckline also works to show a cute photo without showing too much skin. After all…these are shoulders…you see more skin of people sending photos from their vacation in Punta Cana than you do in this one. Embrace your shoulders! You have full permission to buy a wide boat neck sweater or top. Bra straps also are NOT scandalous. Would you hide a tank top strap?


Similar to #2, this full body photo, commands attention…even more so, with my hands on my waist. I probably should have looked closer at my fingers that you can see and softened them (but you get the idea). Again, my weight is still shifted on my back leg to give a strong powerful stance and appearance of slimming my body with the weight pushed back ever so slightly. The gaze down is intentional and it doesn’t make the viewer uncomfortable to look at for a little longer. Holding a gaze is weird and starts to feel uncomfortable, so photos without direct eye contact can put your viewer at ease. It’s weird, but it’s true. Also the space between my camera left elbow (real, right), separates my elbow from my body giving space so I don’t look like a long cube. With a pale sweater and pale background, it was important for a little shadow to poke through the elbow triangle to give my body a little shape.


See what I mean about not looking directly at the camera. It’s a softer pose and expression doesn’t need to be 100% engaging as the attention is directed off camera and not designed to capture the viewer. It gives a sense of “what is she thinking?” or “what is she planning?”. One thing I would change about this image is the full palm. My hand would look less large, if it was angled so you only see length along my pinky finger vs the whole back of my hand. It’s a small detail that isn’t too obvious in this photo as my hand blends nicely with my shirt. Again, my body is angled 45 degrees to the camera giving a round shape to my backside, and showing the curve of my shoulders. Makes for a softer more feminine photo.


In this photo, you can see I pulled back my camera quite far to get more of the backdrop in the image and more of my body. Still sitting on a wooden box, this time covered in sheer fabric like the backdrop for a soft glowy look. Being barefoot was intentional. I feel it creates more of a “this is the real me” vibe. A playful, not dressed up, casual photo that creates an image that hopefully evokes trust and relate ability. The soft white shirt against the soft white backdrop also create an image that focuses solely on me, in order to build rapport with my viewer. One thing I could have changed is to lift my chin slightly to better define my jawline. That’s just me being picky.

Rapport, likability and trust are all key things you need to build an audience and customers that will want to do business with you. You’ve heard it said before, people want to do business with people they know, like and trust. Being the face and brand of your business is critical these days to stand apart and make yourself and your products a destination. We can’t compete with Amazon and Walmart and Costco…we need to compete and find a space in the relationship way of doing business.

Back to the pose…that was a side note on WHY you need great photos on your website, social media and anywhere you show up…

I am still 45 degrees off centre to the camera. Ankles crossed and legs together create a more feminine pose. My arms casually placed between and on my legs and leaning forward slightly, is more inviting to the viewer. You can also see based the shape of my quad, that my front leg is not squished on the wooden box…actually lifted up by my toes, giving a curvy leg shape, vs a squished, flat thigh.


This MIGHT be more skin than you are comfortable sharing for your business or on your social media, but really…it’s shoulders. Again, more skin gets seen with pictures from your beach vacation. All the same, I get it. You may not be taking this pose for anything more than yourself, but that’s ok too. Not ALL Self Portraits need to have a business or professional purpose. It’s totally ok to want nice photos of yourself, just for you to look at and think “wow! I look great!”

Whatever the reason, lets look closely at this photo. My shoulders are slightly shrugged giving a hint of intention and expression, not just flat and no purpose. I tossed my hair off one shoulder to show a more intimate and vulnerable side. If I was looking straight to the camera, it would be confusing as you would wonder what my intention of the photo was if I was looking right at the viewer. This gaze, again, has you wondering what about what I am thinking? Who am I thinking of? The softness and romantic background lends itself nicely to a softer more romantic pose and wardrobe selection.


Different sweater and same boots, different colour and the photo is just a little more sassy. Black shirt/sweater with the red boots have a little more sass and attitude than a soft white sweater and traditional black boots. The pose is almost the same. You can tell my weight is on my camera left (real right) leg, as my other leg is bent and not weight bearing. Having my legs apart gives the look of a little more strength and confidence and sass. Looking down also gives an illusion of wonder and makes the viewer question what I am thinking. My hand in my hair gives some movement and removes the stiffness and stillness of the image and gives my hand something to do. People often freak out in photos about what to do with their hands. Best way to have a relaxed “un-posed” pose, is give your hands something to do. Brush your hair, do up a button, pull a zipper, straighten a necklace, put them in your pockets, hold something…awkward hands can really impact a photo, so give them something to do.


Last but not least, show your personality in your posing. Laugh, have fun and be joyful. Photos aren’t just about getting the “corporate headshot” style to post once on your website and to update your profile picture. Let your personality shine through. I feel like the days of the boring headshot are behind us. People want to see real people with more of a personal branding image. To me, the difference between headshots and personal branding is simple. Headshots are just that. Head and shoulders straight on to the camera with a posed smile. Personal Branding is more full body, 3/4 body with/without props like computers, notepads or even coffee cups. Personal branding speaks more about who you are and what you represent. Remember, you are your brand and if your brand doesn’t resonate with your authentic self, you will have a tough time finding and speaking to “your tribe”. The people that resonate with you. They are the people that want to learn more about you, before they learn more about the service or products you offer.

This pose hopefully make you smile when you see it. My smile (laugh) is authentic. Typically a genuine laugh has your teeth comfortably separated and a twinkle will be seen in your eye. You can’t fake that. The shape of my body is also intentional. 45 degree to the camera, front leg lifted slightly higher than the back leg and I am turned enough to see the curve of my back and butt. Shapes are more flattering. If you have curves, don’t try to hide them. You are NOT A BOX. You are curvy…be you. Authentically.

So, that’s a few suggestions on where to start with posing. Sitting and standing. Looking at the camera and looking away. Horizontal and vertical.

If you want a few more ideas for inspiration, check out this post.

Want to learn a little about camera settings…check this out.

Looking for ideas on how to take photos in a small space in your home on a tight budget? This link is for you!

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