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How to Pose Your Hands in Photos for Flattering Results Every Time

All you want to do is take a cute pic for your Hinge profile or show Instagram where you spent your vacation. But after 23 snaps, you still can’t figure out why your hands look stiff and unnatural. Never fear—it happens to the best of us, and photogenic qualities can be acquired. That’s why I, a photographer, have put together these 13 rules that answer the question of what to do with your hands in photos. Try them out, upload them, and watch the likes roll in.

As someone who’s photographed plenty of portraits over the years, I see many posing mistakes. The number one question I get is “What do I do with my hands?!” And I understand. Hands are awkward. Barbie may be iconic, but stiff, doll-like hands are unflattering on humans. (Or, heaven forbid, the Arthur fist that lives in the meme hall of fame.) There’s good news, though. Hands are versatile! Whether you’re taking a solo portrait or crowding into the frame with friends and family, are trying to update your 13-year-old LinkedIn photo or are hamming it up in the photo booth, you have so many options. From playing with your clothing to “teapot” posing, the variations are truly endless.

Crossing one arm in front of your waist looks natural in every pic. You can either bring the other arm up toward your face or let it hang loose by your side. Just make sure not to hunch your shoulders.

It sounds bizarre (and a little gross), but it totally works in pics. Just bring your hands together in front of your belly button like you’re about to clasp them or pick at your fingertips, then pause to take the perfect shot.

The trick is to put them only partially in your pockets. A full tuck will create bulk around your hips. Also, be sure to drop your elbows and shoulders on either side of your torso.

Obvious? Sure, but the teapot pose doesn’t live in infamy for nothing. The worst thing you can do in a photo is smoosh your arms tightly against your sides. Instead, place one hand on your hip, relax your wrist, and keep your shoulders down. As long as your posture is casual, the overall look will feel natural.

If the hand on your hip feels too forced, try this pose instead. Stand up straight and let your arms fall loose next to your waist. Pull your elbows and shoulders ever so slightly behind you. That way you appear longer and leaner on camera, and your hands won’t feel as staged.

We’re not talking about a death grip—just a delicate placeholder for your hands. This can be considered a variation of the “raptor” pose often seen on the red carpet.

When in doubt, give your hands something to do—like hold the Starbucks Pink Drink you just picked up. Pro tip: Keep your fingers together, as splaying them out will make it appear like you’ve suddenly sprouted claws.

I like to do this in two ways. First, you can make the motion of tucking your hair behind your ear. If you feel weird holding still, just repeat the motion while someone takes your picture on burst mode, and you’re guaranteed to capture an angle you like. Second option: Play gently with the ends. As for the free hand, put it in your pocket, cross it over your chest, or rest it on your hip.

If you’re sitting down, rest your chin on your hands. This is as simple as making two fists and leaning your chin on them. Or, you can place one hand on top of the other, and then rest your chin. (Handy if you have a manicure you want to show off.)

There’s nothing a power pose can’t fix. Instead of doing a traditional “criss-cross,” I like to rest one arm on top of the other so it doesn’t look like I’m just hugging myself. Alternately, you can do as the model above and bring your arms up but only clasp your hands.

A fun pose if you’re traveling. After all, you have to put the Eiffel Tower on display, don’t you? But even if you don’t have something to show off, you can always take a page from Ke Huy Quan, who’s made the point something of his signature.

If you’re sitting down and wondering what to do with your hands in photos, this tip couldn’t be easier. Remember not to interlace your fingers lest they look like slugs. Instead, opt for resting one hand on top of the other, and keep your fingers together.

They may be in abundance at a photobooth, but if you’re not in one? Anything can be a prop. Your wine glass, a book, a vintage camera, your handbag. The goal of the prop is to give your hand something to do.

One of my favorite things I used to tell portrait subjects to do was play with their skirt or pretend to unbutton their suit jacket. This achieves two things. First, your hands are occupied, and secondly, it adds movement and visual interest to the image. Win-win.

I like this pose because it occupies your hands and also creates a slimming effect, bisecting your upper arm and torso. To pose, I like to stand with my back facing the camera. Then, I throw the jacket over my shoulder and turn that shoulder towards the camera. Alternately, you can style your jacket like Camila Coelho above, and hold the lapels of the coat.

Easy, right? Just make sure that it makes sense. Example, if your brother is six feet tall and you’re five feet and three inches, put your arm around his waist and don’t try to throw it over his shoulder.

Either Austin Powers-style, or make it a variation of the pose above. You can also try a heart pose if pointing fingers isn’t your style.

This is a great pose if one person is sitting and the other is standing. The person standing should position themselves so that the other person’s shoulder is bisecting them at the waist (or thereabouts).

When you’re taking photographs with children, there’s never a question of what to do with your hands in photos because your hands are always full. One of the best tricks to wrangle a squirmy Junior who’s not having it? Pick them up. I like to ask parents and kids to eskimo kiss here—it’s cute and feels natural.

And there you have it—you know how to pose for photos that make you look and feel like a million dollars.

Source: PureWow