How To Pose On Instagram

Even if fashion bloggers like Aimee Song make it look effortless, getting the perfect pose on Instagram takes a fair bit of effort and expertise. We get blogger (and posing pro) Sophia Chong to show us how to avoid awkward arms, short legs and weird expressions in Instagram photos.


Pose #1: The Hand On Ear

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It’s always fairly awkward to have a photo taken by yourself (as opposed to with friends), especially when you’re trying to look cool and relaxed. What we always wonder is – what exactly are you supposed to do with your hands?! Touch your face, apparently. Sophia says she usually touches her ear like she’s tucking a strand of hair behind, or puts the back of her hand against her cheek . If you feel silly touching your face for no reason, try pretending to text on your phone instead.

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Pose #2: The Walking Shot

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While walking shots are a bit trickier because the photos might turn out blurry, this can be remedied by getting your subject to walk at a slower pace. It may look silly, but what’s a few minutes of weird stares for that perfect Instagram shot eh?

Walking Shot 1“Besides just walking towards the camera, you can also walk and turn back to look at the camera,” says Sophia.

Pose #3: The Leg Lean

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Not all of us are leggy models, but it is fairly simple to create the illusion of longer legs in your photos. As Sophia demonstrates in the photos below, leaning against a wall and extending your legs will make them look longer. If you’re exceptionally graceful, you can also try tiptoeing or placing one foot against the wall in a casual, too-cool-for-school kind of way. If all else fails…there’s always Photoshop. (Try the Cymera app if you’re editing pics on your phone – it has a handy Liquify tool.)

Leg Lean 3

Pose #4: The Looking To The Side

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Looking straight at the camera can get a bit intense at times, so a good way to avoid this is to look to the side pensively, as if you were waiting for someone to come by and sweep you off your feet (and possibly also thinking about something deep, such as the meaning of life). Be sure to look toward the side that shows your better profile and don’t slouch or you’ll look like you have a muffin top.

Looking Sideways 2

Pose #5: The Soldier

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The Soldier is a relatively difficult pose to master, but is a good one for #ootd shots because it showcases all the details of your outfit. Remember to turn your hands towards the back (instead of facing your body), so that your accessories and arm swag show up in the photo. Try composing the photo so that the subject is placed towards one side of the photo, rather than right smack in the middle. It looks more visually appealing that way and also…all the cool kids are doing it.

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Pose #6: The Selfie

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We all know that taking a selfie from a higher angle will make your face look smaller, but bring it up a notch up by sitting next to a bright window that doesn’t receive direct sunlight. Part of your face will be illuminated by daylight and your features will look softer. You’ll look glowy and that’s something you definitely want because well, the best way to pull off a selfie is to look pretty. Somehow people are more receptive towards a photo of a pretty face than say, a guy showing off his abs (or lack thereof) don’t you think?

Also, avoid over-the-top duck faces (what happened to smiling naturally in photos?) and posting captions like “Just woke up! #nomakeup and feeling soooo fat today SIGH :(” because it comes across as being fake and attention-seeking. Unless you really do look terrible in the photo, in which case, why would you want to post it on Instagram?


Other Tips To Get The Perfect Shot

1. Lighting: This should be a given, but somehow we still see countless badly-lit photos on Instagram. People! It’s not that hard. The best lighting is natural light, so it’s as easy as getting someone to snap the picture for you outside during the day. OK, this may be a problem if you work a 9 – 6 job and it’s pitch dark by the time you get home, in which case…maybe you should just stick to taking #ootd shots on weekends then.

2. Background: If you want your outfit details to stand out, try posing against a neutral background like a white wall. Brunch is also a good time to get some Instagram-worthy shots, because the ambience will be photogenic and you can get a friend to take some photos for you (don’t be shy, sometimes you just have to be buay paiseh and ask).

3. Composition: For that extra finesse, pay attention to the composition of your photos. Compose (or crop) the photo so that you’re standing on one side of the photo. Make sure you don’t have too much headroom, or you’ll look out of proportion. If you want to emphasize your outfit details, frame the photo so that it focuses on your upper body.

4. Colour: While black and white photos look cool/artsy, photos that have vibrant colours and clear details are more visually appealing. Try editing your photos with apps like Snapseed or Aviary to adjust saturation levels, so that colours stand out more.

About Sophia Chong

Sophia Selfie 1

Although she’s relatively new to blogging, Sophia is no novice at looking good in photos. We showed her the different shots we wanted to take and she posed like a pro. Sophia is currently a student, but she also runs online store The Juice Market which sells both clothes and swim wear. And yes, she designs the swim wear too. Now what were we doing when we were still in school again? Oh yes, hanging out at Serene Centre and not being productive or fabulous at all.

For more of Sophia, follow her on Instagram @sophiachong or check out her blog.