7 Ways for Placing hands in portraits

7 ways for Placing hands in portraits

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Hello dear photo hunter, I hope you have done beautiful pictures recently. While surfing on a photo forum, I saw a photographer have regularly bad feedbacks on the placement of the hands of these models, which inspired me this article.

As in everyday life, in pictures the body language is very important to communicate, and this is one of the first things I say to my models before starting a session. But we must also succeed in framing them, do not cut them, or don’t give them too much importance. They must be there to help for the image reading, move or give something to your story.

One of the problems you may notice with a beginner model is that she(he) will not usually know what to do with them, if you can explain how to do it, then you will get beautiful positions for the hands.

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- Near the face
- Along the body
- In the air
- Other postures

Near the face

There are several ways to place the hands near the face, the one that I prefer is to place them near the mouth because it will give a strong visual impact if the model looks at the camera. By placing a hand near the model’s mouth, she can put the back of the hand to have a wrist movement, or play with her lips to give a sexy side.


The model also has the possibility to put its near an eye to hide or to suggest it. In this case you will get a more mysterious picture.

For a sexy and mysterious side, she can also put her hand in the hairs, but be careful that it does not become too cliché, it must be between posed and natural, which means create a shape with the arm and that it is not too embarrassing in the composition of your photo.


As I said in the introduction, do not cut your hands, but for elbows it's a little different, either it should not be cut at all, or cut frankly on a near framing. To don’t make the arms too troublesome, it’s better that’s the model put it down or up, the young models tend to put it vertically, but it's not so beautiful and you have to either cut it, or widen the frame and thus break the composition.

If you want the arms to be horizontal, you can do a framing in landscape to have a good image reading.

Along the body

The arms along the body is a good option for the full body photo, because the model can have a natural pose, and create lines for reading the image.


You can ask the model to play with the garment or to be in motion to create dynamism. I advise you to make several photos when your model is in motion, so you will have a choice during your editing.

In the air

In order to make your model taller, extending her arms in the air will bring dynamism and movement to your image. You have to make sure that the rest of the body is connected to create beautiful curves.
What I mean by that is that you also need to take care of the legs, the pelvis and the hands created a certain posture to your model, make everything connected, like a ballerine.
Just like the hands near the face, you have to pay attention to the elbows and not to cut them. For this kind of poses it’s good to take the whole body, or make an American plan.


Other postures

Crossed arms
The arms crossed can offer interesting poses, make sure that the hands remain relaxed and not clenched. The model can have the arms closed or a little open.


Hands in the pockets
The hands in the pockets give a cool and relaxed side, make sure that the general atmosphere is dynamic, by the pose or the background.


In a sitting position the hands can quickly look too soft, I strongly advise you to have one that is busy while the other may be natural.


With an item
If you want to highlight an object or that your model poses on a post for example, having it in your hands will give a good reading to the photo and give dynamism.


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