In portrait photography, time is often the most significant constraint whether you’re working against a tight wedding timeline or facing a quickly disappearing golden hour.  Quick posing allows photographers to create beautiful images in a fraction of the time that traditional posing methods would take. Time-efficient portraits are not only useful for professional photographers but also for amateurs who want to capture a beautiful moment quickly.  In this article, we will explore the benefits of quick posing and provide tips and tricks for creating time-efficient portraits that look stunning.  Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

Prepare and Plan

Regardless of who you are posing in your photography, good preparation, planning and visualization will help you speed up the process and get better results.  Selecting the right location, lighting, and equipment is essential for creating beautiful images quickly.  Avoid wasting time adjusting lighting or moving locations to maximize the variety in your quick posing.

In addition, communicating with your subject before the shoot is also crucial to ensure that you understand their needs and preferences.  Avoid wasting time on poses that the client will not appreciate by fully understanding their preferences before the shoot.

Quick Posing Challenge for Couples Photography

Quick Posing starts with Foundation Posing and then modifying facial expressions, eye contact, hand and arm placement, and other small nuances to change the feel of each image.

Start with a specific goal, and then working from there. If you want the couples portrait to reflect an intimate moment, for example, start with a “closed pose” with their feet facing each other.  Guide the subjects to manage their gaze and expressions, and capture the primary, initial image.  From there, adjust the following to capture different quick poses:

  • Hand placement – For example, have him hug her waist, have her hug his arm, have her put her arms over his shoulders, etc.
  • Eye contact and direction – For example, have them look at each other, have her look down, have her look into the camera, etc.
  • Head tilt – For example, have them touch foreheads or kiss

With minimal direction and careful attention to detail, you should be able to create multiple intimate couples portraits in under 20 seconds.

Quick Posing Challenge for Women

Using the 3-point check, i.e. the eyes, the chin/nose, and the collarbone/chest, you can pose subjects and create beautiful portraits in very narrow windows of time. As with our couples posing mentioned above, start at the feet and move your way up.  For example, for many female poses, you’ll want one leg straight, with the other leg slightly crossing over the straight leg, as you see in the image above.

Once you’ve established a base pose, you can make micro-adjustments and quickly work through a series of images with quick posing, including the following:

  • Hand placement – hand on the hip, hand holding the wrist, etc.
  • Eye contact and direction – looking into the camera, looking off camera, chin up and chin down.
  • Head tilt – head straight, head tilted left or right, etc

Relax, talk through the pose with your subject, and then capture a series of wonderful images with quick posing.

Quick Posing Challenge for Men

The same concept applies to quick posing with men.  Leaving the chest forward, for example, and turning the eyes, nose, and chin to the side will draw the viewer’s attention to the wardrobe. This is great for fashion posing because the wardrobe takes center stage in the fashion genre. Actions can be kept as simple as adjusting a tie, or standing with one hand in a pocket and one hand out, hanging down at the side. When time is of the essence, simple – yet authentic – posing will often win the day. Here are some quick posing tips for men:

  • Wide stance (shoulder-width)
  • Toes out
  • Straight spine
  • Expanded chest
  • Relaxed shoulders
  • Hands posed with purpose or at rest
  • Neck extended (slightly)
  • Walk, regular

Quick Posing Challenge for Large Group (Standard Symmetrical)

To quickly execute a large group standard symmetrical portrait, start with your centerpiece, which will likely be a bride and groom for a wedding or the parents for family photography.   Place them in a simple pose with their feet slightly facing inwards, and build out from there with the remaining subjects from the group. The key points to watch out for include even spacing, touchpoints to convey connections, overlap to avoid awkward gaps, and symmetrical placement of subjects based on height.

While larger groups take longer to pose, with strong communication and a clear goal, you should be able to capture this type of image in under two minutes.  Once you have the base pose down, add variations, such as the following:

  • Have everyone look towards the center
  • Have everyone hug in closer
  • Have everyone do something silly

All of these options should take less than a minute to execute for super quick posing.

Quick Posing Challenge for Large Group (Editorial)

Generally, large group editorial portraits take closer to 5-10 minutes to execute on location, as opposed to the two minutes offered in this posing challenge.  However, quick posing can still be done with editorial poses, and the same rules apply that were covered in the smaller group editorial portraits section. We still recommend starting with a centerpiece and then building out, varying placement and poses of the subjects, watching for overlaps, and analyzing balance throughout the image.


Quick posing is a valuable tool for photographers who want to create stunning portraits in less time. With the right preparation and quick posing techniques, photographers can create beautiful images that capture natural and authentic moments in real-time. By incorporating these tips and tricks into your photography workflow, you can improve the quality of your images and create more opportunities for capturing beautiful moments.

Start from the bottom and work your way up. What your couples do with their feet will dictate what happens with the rest of their bodies.  By giving your clients a little instruction on what these terms mean, you can easily give them verbal cues to change their position to use a variety of poses for your session. With micro-adjustments, a whole set of compelling images can be made based on these foundation poses plus two more which you can find in our Premium workshop, The Complete Posing Workshop.  For unlimited access to even more photographic education from SLR Lounge, become a premium subscriber!