Scroll down for your cheat sheet
When it comes to head and hands shots, even the most experienced models can sometimes struggle to strike the right pose.
This cheat sheet, courtesy of our sister title, PhotoPlus (opens in new tab), gives you nine ideas for your model to try out when you both need some instant inspiration.
Click on the top-right-hand corner of the sheet below to get it in high resolution or scroll down for written tips – and make sure to check back for more great photography cheat sheets (opens in new tab).
1. Look down
Ask your model to look down to give the shot a thoughtful mood and focus attention on the hands.
Top tip: Use strong eye makeup and shoot this from above to get a better view of the lashes.
2. Wandering hands
Ask your model to bring their hands up to their face, with fingers on one hand resting on the palm of the other, and chin lowered down.
Top tip: Whites under each iris give eyes impact.
3. Sit down
Ask the model to sit side-on, resting their elbows on their knees and with hands underneath their chin.
Top tip: Hands create a nicer shape if captured side-on rather than flat, with fingers gently curled.
Ask your model to stand side-on, with their chin angled towards the front shoulder, then bring one hand up to delicately brush the cheek.
Top tip: Crop the shot close to the hairline.
5. Simple but strong
A straightforward close-up is classic. Ask the model to look directly at the camera, lips slightly parted.
Top tip: Try a very shallow depth of field for this. As the model is looking straight on, both eyes should be sharp.
Ask the model to stand side-on, then use an electric fan to blow the hair across the face.
Top tip: Moving hair makes composing, focusing and expressions tricky, so take plenty of shots.
Ask your model to look up and to the side, and bring the hands up to the face to create a reflective mood.
Top tip: Eyes right suggests a more hopeful mood, while eyes left looks more contemplative.
8. Perfect symmetry
Bring both hands together at the wrist with fingers on each cheek to create a symmetrical frame.
Top tip: Angle the face towards your light source for good catchlights and flattering light.
9. Frame the face
Bring one hand up to the chin, with the other arm resting on top of the head to frame the face.
Top tip: Think about how to pose the hair to create a natural frame for the face.
• Posing full-length male portraits (opens in new tab)
• Lighting setups for professional portraits (opens in new tab)
• More photography cheat sheets (opens in new tab)
• More photography tips (opens in new tab)