11 Bikini Poses for Swimsuit Photoshoots
Bikini photos can be a difficult thing to master. We all have our insecurities, after all – and unfortunately, we ladies have been conditioned to believe that a “bikini body” needs to look a certain way.
I’m here to tell you that’s simply not true. Anyone can shine in bikini photos, regardless of body shape and size.
It all comes down to confidence, the right poses, and some helpful direction from the photographer.
In this guide, I’ll run through the best bikini pose ideas to get you prepared for your upcoming project.
If you’re a photographer about to embark on a summer beach shoot, these bikini poses will be a great reference point.
And if you’re in front of the camera – these bikini poses have you covered as well, regardless of whether you’re a professional model or simply want to learn some flattering poses for your summer Instagram pics.
So let’s dive in.
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How do you Pose in a Bikini?
Many fashion poses will work equally well for swimwear shoots – the key is for the model to be aware of her body and its best angles.
Here are a few general pieces of advice that apply to many different bikini poses:
- In full-length bikini pics, stand with one leg forward, toes pointed slightly out, as this elongates the legs.
- Always try to create space between the arms and the torso. Pressing the arms into the body makes them look bigger and distorts their shape.
- Hands are a difficult part of the body to pose, so find a way to keep them busy. Some ideas are fixing the hair, adjusting the strap of a swimsuit, or holding a prop like an ice cream.
- If you’re specifically wondering how to pose in a bikini selfie, all the same tips apply – though some poses will be easier to shoot solo than others. You can use a self-timer or remote trigger to nail your shot with a stunning beach scene behind you or take a phone selfie in the mirror at home.
Now let’s look at some specific bikini poses and tips to try at your next summer shoot.
1. Pop the hip
Bikini poses don’t have to be overly elaborate; simple standing poses work well regardless of whether you’re shooting at a beach or pool.
The trick to making the pose look natural and flattering is to avoid standing too stiffly. Even if the shoulders are square to the camera, you can turn the hips slightly and pop one hip to create a beautiful curve along the body.
Remember to keep some space between the legs to show their full shape. You’ll see professional bikini models using this pose day in and day out.
2. Stretch up to elongate the torso
Some bikini poses can instantly change your mood and get you feeling confident. Stretching your arms up has that effect because it’s a powerful pose as well as a flattering one.
This pose elongates the torso, narrows the waist and stretches out the stomach to make it appear flatter.
Shooting upwards makes the model appear truly Amazonian in stature (see the picture on the right above), so get down low with the camera if you want some extra-striking bikini pictures to light up your Instagram feed.
3. Use the three-quarter turn
A universal truth to posing is that the three-quarter turn is always flattering. This common portrait pose basically involves turning the body a quarter of the way away from the camera.
If you’re after bikini poses to look thinner, start here. Having your hips on an angle to the camera immediately makes them smaller than they would be front-on.
You can use this pose in your bikini photos in many different ways. One of the simplest is shown above: the model turns their whole body slightly away from the camera and looks straight ahead, hands on hips (or lower back).
You can easily come up with ideas for variations – like tilting the chin up rather than down or positioning the arms overhead.
4. Bikini poses for lying on the side
Lying on your side – whether on the sand at the beach or a sun lounge by the pool – is a classic pose for bikini photos. To really make it work, though, you need to keep some things in mind.
Firstly, this pose works best if the model crosses one leg over the other (all the way, so the knee is resting on the ground). This creates a beautiful curve shape in the body and also elongates it.
The other leg should be fully extended for more length. Bonus points for pointing the toes gently (don’t curl or tense them up).
Finally, don’t ignore the arms: they’ll look best if they’re not squashed against the body. Try raising the torso up onto one hand for support, or resting the elbow on the ground with head in hand.
Speaking of hands, take care that the model’s hands and fingers are relaxed and preferably not curled, such as in the beach photo above. Here’s an article on specific hand poses for inspiration.
5. Bikini poses for lying back
Lying on your back can be a great pose for bikini photos if you do it right. The trick here is to use the entire body to create curves, rather than staying too flat to the ground.
You can do this by arching the back slightly off the ground and bending up the knees. Arms can rest gently by the side or overhead – either works well in this go-to bikini pose.
Another lying down pose is to recline back and rest on the hands or forearms. Throw the head back as if soaking up the summer sun – it’ll make for more dramatic pictures.
6. Tricks for better booty shots
Sometimes you’ll need to take bikini photos from behind – for example, if your client is a swimwear brand wanting to showcase their latest bikini bottoms.
Or – let’s be honest – you might just want to show your Instagram followers that your booty workouts are paying off!
Either way, to get the most flattering shot of your bikini-clad behind, avoid standing with both legs straight as this will flatten out your butt. Instead, stand with one leg slightly in front of the other and put your weight on one foot.
Rising up onto your toes and arching your back slightly will also help to give roundness to your posterior.
7. The cheeky peek over the shoulder
If a straight shot from behind is a little too obvious, try this: it’s definitely one of the best bikini poses for showing off some booty in a subtle and flattering way.
To nail this pose, the model should stand turned away from the camera at an angle. They can give a look back over their shoulder to make the photo more engaging.
If you want to accentuate curves and make the booty a focal point, the model can lean forward slightly so her bottom is sticking out and closer to the camera (like the example on the right, above).
Either way, this pose creates a very flattering angle for the butt and thighs and is great for all figure types, making it great for plus size boudoir models.
8. Kneeling bikini poses
Kneeling-on-the-beach bikini poses can feel a bit overworn, but there’s a reason they’re so popular: they work.
The trick to posing while kneeling is to rise up halfway rather than resting your butt on your heels. This elongates the thighs and makes for a more flattering shot. The legs should also be kept slightly apart.
You can do kneeling bikini poses front-on, or with the hips turned three-quarters from the camera – go with whatever is most flattering for the model’s figure type.
9. Sitting bikini poses
Sometimes you want bikini poses that are really natural and low-key – almost like you’re not posing at all.
If that’s what you’re after, try this for your next Instagram beach photo. Sit with both legs tucked underneath you (or instruct your model to do so), then lean forwards and support yourself with one or both arms.
A few tips here: push the torso away from the ground using your hand to keep the body elongated, and avoid twisting the upper body too much as that can distort the midsection.
10. Sitting front-on
Bikini poses to hide stomach are hard to find, but if you (or your model) are self-conscious about their midsection, this one can help.
The model sits down with both legs bent up (i.e., knees to chest) – this gives some cover to the stomach while at the same time allowing her to come across as confident and relaxed.
One or both arms can be rested on the legs to complete the pose.
11. Using close crops
Here’s another flattering pose that’s great for those who are self-conscious about their figure.
Sitting with one leg best right up toward the chest hides the belly. The model can turn her head to the camera or flaunt her side profile. Running a hand through the hair keeps the hands busy in a natural way.
A close crop – like the one above – transforms the image into more of a beauty shot than a typical summer swimsuit pic, so play with different framing ideas to get different effects.
Posing for photos is always difficult, but it’s even more daunting when we’re wearing bikinis or other summer fashion items that make us self-conscious about our bodies.
Don’t let that deter you: if you’re the one posing, relax; show off your personal style; use your photos to capture the beauty of the beach environment or how much you’re enjoying your summer days lazing by the pool…
And above all, remember that there’s nothing more beautiful than a girl who’s confident in her own skin.
If you’re the photographer, keep these bikini poses as a reference; hopefully, the ideas and tips we’ve supplied can help you direct your model to shine and be her confident best.
Do you have any questions, or other favourite bikini poses or beach photo tips to share? If so, drop us a comment below.
Tania Braukamper is an Australian-born writer who also loves to take pictures on her banged-up (yet surprisingly resilient) Canon 5D Mark III. She currently lives in Portugal.