24 Sitting Poses for Flattering Photography Portraits

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Need some simple sitting poses for your next photoshoot?

Knowing where to put your hands, arms, legs, and feet isn’t immediately obvious, but don’t worry – this guide has got you covered!

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Whether you need some sitting poses to try on a photoshoot with friends for an Instagram update, or you’re the portrait photographer directing a model, you’ll definitely learn something useful.

So pull up a chair, and let’s dive right into the poses!

24 Cute Sitting Poses for Photos

1. Crossed legs (pretzel pose)

Andrea Piacquadio

This sitting pose is also known as the pretzel pose because you have to cross your legs like a pretzel.

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If you’re looking for sitting poses with a casual feel, you should include this one in your shot list. Try it while sitting on the floor, on the couch or any other surface that’s wide enough to hold you comfortably.

Check here for more portrait poses.

2. Lean forward 

Moose Photos

Leaning forward is always advisable for sitting poses. This emphasizes your face and makes the body look slimmer as it’s further away from the camera.

If you want to stay perfectly upright, you can push the chin forward and pull the shoulders away from the ears – this is also flattering in sitting poses.

You’ll see plenty of fashion models use this technique when posing.

3. Lean on a table pose

Cottonbro

While leaning forward is a flattering pose, you might feel a little uncomfortable or find it a bit unnatural. You can use a table or a desk as support to fix this.

It also helps to include props in your photo to add character to the portrait.

4. Lean back with legs crossed pose

Andrea Piacquadio

This is one of the most natural sitting poses because use it in everyday life. Traditionally, male models have a wider pose by crossing their leg and putting the ankle on top of the opposite knee – while female models cross the legs so that both knees are together.

However, feel free to experiment with different sitting poses around the same concept.

5. Knees away from the camera

Pixabay

If you’re familiar with some basic poses for portrait photography, you’ve probably heard about the 45-degree rule. It states that you should pose with either your torso or your head turned at a 45-degree angle from the camera – you’ll see it a lot with bikini poses.

Well, the same applies to legs in a sitting pose. Turn your hip slightly to the side to avoid having the knees pointing directly at the viewer for a more pleasing result.

6. Lean back with one arm on the side pose

Shvets Production

To improve a portrait’s composition, it’s helpful to create shapes and angles. To achieve this with sitting poses, try putting one or both arms on the chair’s armrest.

This looks more dynamic, and it creates a triangle that leads the viewer’s eye towards the face.

7. One leg up pose

Pavel Danilyuk / Kira Schwarz

Whether you’re sitting on a chair, a stool or simply a ledge – having one leg bent and the foot next to your hip is a nice sitting pose. It’s perfect for young models and urban style portraits.

8. One leg extended pose

Maycon Marmo / Wellington Artb

For your sitting poses, remember to keep one leg closer to the camera than the other. Depending on how high you’re sitting the extension can vary.

Whether you’re sitting on a stool or the stairs – have one leg bent and one extended. This position will elongate the body and make your sitting poses more flattering. You’ll see this used in boudoir posing to accentuate long legs.

9. Chair sideways 

Mikhail Konetski / Thirdman

You can sit normally with the chair turned to its side to make the image visually interesting. You can also experiment with how you sit – if you want to put one leg up, place your arm on the back of the chair, etc.

10. Lean against a wall pose

евгения / Takuya Sakamoto

If you’re sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall can be a good idea to improve your posture and have a more flattering pose.

This can also be a fun photo if you’re doing a best friend photoshoot, with both models posed against the same wall, looking at eachother.

11. Be unconventional

карина-каржавина / Mitch Oram

Remember that you’re not learning sitting poses for an etiquette class – a photoshoot is a creative activity.

If you’re on a couch, try sitting on the armrest. If you’re using a chair, turn it around. You don’t even have to be on an object designed for sitting – look for creative solutions.

For poses for pregnant ladies, it pays to be experimental as you’ll usually find that sitting isn’t always the most comfortable position for them, especially in the final weeks while expecting.

12. Watch your posture

Omar López

All sitting poses need good posture to be flattering – it doesn’t matter if you’re leaning on your knees or sitting on the floor crossing your legs.

A good posture while sitting means that you keep your shoulders straight – don’t hunch.

Also, make sure your back follows its natural curves – this keeps a good posture, and it’s a more comfortable pose.

13. Legs to the side pose

Vlada Karpovich

Typically, sitting poses work well regardless of where you are and what you’re sitting on, but this pose needs a wide surface – so it’s best for sitting on the bed or the floor. The idea is that you pose with both legs to the side.

If it’s uncomfortable to stay upright in this pose, you can extend the arm in the opposite direction. This will also create shapes and angles that make the photo more interesting.

This arrangement also works well for family photography poses, with each member sitting at ease in a semi-circle facing the camera.

14. Elbow on knee pose

Ushindi Namegabe / Guilherme Almeida

This is one of the most classic sitting poses. As always, it becomes a classic for a reason – and that’s because it works.

15. Bent legs pose

Vlada Karpovich

This sitting pose is mainly helpful when you’re sitting on the floor. Simply sit and bend your legs, one horizontally and the other vertically. This is a very casual pose that works well for all types of models in an informal setting.

16. Kneeling

Adam Kontor

This is a variation of a sitting pose – it’s more a knee pose. It’s a good variation if you don’t want the model to pose standing up.

17. For kids – Ankles crossed pose

Kha Ruxury

This sitting pose is perfect for children’s portraits – but you can use it for adults as well to give a laid-back feel to the pose.

18. For kids – Sitting on the floor pose

Singkham

Kids look great when they pose sitting on the floor. It looks very natural and they’re free to move and try all sorts of poses without risk.

Of course, young models and adults can also pose sitting on the floor, but it’s one of the most informal sitting poses – so use it only for specific moods.

19. For couples – sitting on partner’s lap pose

Wesner Rodrigues

This sitting pose is fun and casual – it’s mainly used for romantic partners. You can sit and experiment with multiple pose variations. For example, with both looking at the camera, looking at each other, kissing, etc. – the choice is yours.

See here for more couples poses.

20. For couples – one facing the camera pose

Marcus Aurelius

A sitting pose suitable for a couple is to have one of them straight towards the camera while the other is facing the partner and sideways in relation to the camera.

This classic wedding pose works best for romantic couples – but it can also be a couple of friends, family members, children, etc.

21. For couples – Knees towards the other pose

Anna Tarazevich/ Mikhail Nilov

Sitting poses for a single subject are somewhat manageable. However, poses for more than one sitting subject are more complex.

When there are two people in the photo you can pose them with the legs pointing at each other. This will indicate a connection between them. Also, it meets the 45-degree rule of the knees to make it aesthetically pleasing.

22. For couples – back to back pose

Ekaterina Bolovtsova

This is a very versatile sitting pose because it can work for a loving couple and a pair of rivals – the message is all in the attitude, the facial expression, and the general ambience.

While the backs of the models are touching, the rest of the body can assume different poses. For example, the legs extended crossed at the ankles, one extended and the other one bent or both legs bent, forming triangles.

23. For groups – look for different sitting poses

Any Lane

When you need to pose a group, it’s good to have variety. If everyone sits in the same way, it becomes visually dull.

Try to find different poses that can complement each other – one can pose with their legs open and another one crossed, maybe one is sitting with the legs to the right, and another one is sitting to the left and so on.

24. For groups – use different heights for better composition

Cxpturing Souls / Olia Danilevich

On top of finding different sitting poses for each model, try to sit each one at a different height. For a portrait with a casual or an urban feel, you can pose the group on the stairs, and everyone can sit on a separate step.

You can also use a couch to pose the entire group. This way, one can sit normally, another one can sit on the floor, and the last one sit on the armrest – play around with different poses.

There are many solutions for sitting poses that give models a different height – just be creative.

Final Words

Sitting poses are always tricky because you suddenly feel awkward about your hands, legs, and posture. However, sitting portraits can be very flattering, and they’re helpful in any number of situations.

I hope these sitting poses ideas are helpful for your next photoshoot. Let us know in the comments which pose is your favourite.

solocards
Solo Cards: Posing Made Simple

111 illustrations of stylish poses you can use as guidance when directing men and women. Print the cards to keep in your pocket, or add them to your smartphone for quick reference.

Get Discount
Shotkit Writer & Camera Gear Reviewer

Ana Mireles is a Mexican researcher that specializes in photography and communications for the arts and culture sector.

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