Ever stop and wonder how your favorite celebrities look so inspiring and radiant on the red carpet? Hair, makeup, and gorgeous gowns aside, the fact is, so much of mastering photo-opps is knowing how to stand, finding your best angles, and looking confident for the camera. And while taking flattering snapshots 100 percent of the time isn’t an easy skill to master, there are lots of tricks of the trade you can learn—just from studying the step-and-repeat. That’s why we’ve dissected and analyzed thousands of photographs of our favorite leading ladies and culled 12 of Hollywood’s most popular (and most flattering!) poses. Here, our rundown of every stance you need to know to make your next shot your best photograph yet.
The knee pop
The ubiquitous knee-pop pose is everywhereon red carpets because it’s easy to do, photographs well from so many angles, and doesn’t look at all contrived. For a curve-enhancing stance that shows off your legs—and draws attention to your gorgeous shoes!—shift all your weight on one leg and drop the other knee forward-center.
The ankle cross
Want to instantly look 10 pounds thinner and long-legged, to boot? Keep it simple and try the classic ankle-cross stance. Step forward and tightly over, resting your weight on the front foot. Or, lean on your back leg and gingerly crisscross your other leg at the ankle. Done and done.
The Svelte from the side stance
Here’s a red carpet pose cribbed straight from beauty pageant runways. Turn to the side, suck in your tummy, bend one knee, and slightly arch your back to create the illusion of a much more shapely rear. And cock your head down to one side to complete the sleek S-shape.
The over the shoulder
While this one may feel awkward to execute under ordinary circumstances, it’s a killer pose to save for extra-special occasions. Just turn away from the lens, plant your feet firmly together, and glance back at your photographer. (It’s especially handy when you want to show off a little skin in a beautiful backless dress!)
The hand on hip pose
The hand-on-hip look is a versatile classic that always comes across as poised, and you’ll never look like you over-thought your stance. Step 1: Lift hand. Step 2: Place said hand on hip. Other key points to remember? Relax those shoulders—drop them back and away from your ears. Same goes for your bent elbow—let gravity do its work. (The last thing you want to look is tense and uncomfortable.)
The double handed hip
One hand on one hip looks confident and at-ease, but when you need to bring out the big guns, consider placing both hands on your hips. A very pose-y pose, reserve this one for situations where you want your star to shine—moments when you’re looking to be the center of attention. Square off your shoulders and stand up straight—just don’t forget the kittenish gaze and sly smile.
The lean back
If you have an athletic or super-slender figure, this pose lends a little extra curve mileage. A favorite of ultra-svelte celebs such as Victoria Beckham and Kate Bosworth, it creates a hip-jut from the front and an exaggerated S-curve from the rear view—both of which give off a delicious, voluptuous illusion. To nail this look, place one foot in front of the other—slightly angled, if you can—and lean ever-so-slightly backwards, pulling your shoulders down in the process. Just do your darnedest not to tip over!
The forward step
Looking for something a little less pose-y? Try this one—just think of it as Ankle Cross’s playful and flirtatious first cousin! To perfect this pose, practice taking jaunty steps forward in front of a mirror, pausing to smile in between. The trick in pulling off this lighthearted and movement-filled stance is to make it convincingly appear as if you’re actually walking.
Perfect Patrician Pose
A favorite of socialites and It girls the world over, this particular pose passes on the frilly arm movements, extraneous leaping, and other theatrics for a straight spine and firmly planted feet (with one foot pointed directly at the camera lens). It alludes to an unshakeable, cool confidence, so stand up perfectly straight, lock those knees, square your shoulders back—and don’t forget the gleaming, approachable, radiant smile.
The Booty snap
Remember in Legally Blonde when Elle Woods teaches manicurist pal Paulette about the Bend and Snap? We call it the Booty Snap, otherwise known as a peacock pose that shows off every last one of your curves. Get the look by popping on your highest heels—they really make a difference here!—pressing the palms of your hands into your lower back, and pushing up your chest. Boom.
The leggy look
If your long legs are your favorite feature, take a tip from Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lopez and adopt this in-your-face stance that shows one completely off. Make your gams the center of attention by squaring your body, thrusting one leg out, and cocking the opposite arm on your hip. Obviously it helps if you wear a dress with a high slit and add a touch of sheen to the stem on display, too
The kick back
The flirtiest red carpet pose of all happens to be one of the simplest to achieve! All you have to do is turn to one side, peer coyly at the camera, and lift one leg up at the knee behind you. Make sure to do something with your arms, though, like playing with your hair—otherwise you’ll look like you’ve been caught, mid-air doing the Peanuts Charlie Brown dance.
Of course it’s no use having a great pose without the dress to go with it.
Email concierge at email@example.com to get this look