There is no one way to capture travel photos. I am 100% of the idea that photography is meant to capture memories that you will cherish forever. You should photograph whatever means the most to you.
However, I have learned some tips and tricks over the years for how to pose for solo travel photos, couples photos, and even photos with your pets to elevate your photography!
If you are interested in learning more and becoming more confident in front of the camera, then this post is for you.
In this post I’m going to show you 30 different pose ideas for you to use to nail your next travel and Instagram photos!
If you don’t have time to read now, Pin it to Pinterest for later!
- 1. Front Profile Seated
- 2. The Skirt Flip
- 3. The Twirl
- 4. Sit out the Car Window for an Instant Road Trip Feel
- 5. Interact with your Environment
- 6. Bring a Meaningful Prop
- 7. The Hair Flip
- 8. Create Depth
- 9. The Hat Hold
- 10. The Lean for the View
- 11. Try a Seated Angle from Above
- 12. Try a Seated Angle from Below
- 13. Walk Towards the Camera but Look Away
- 14. The Side Profile Swivel
- 15. Sit and Admire the View
- 16. Use Laughter
- 17. Cover an Eye with a Flower / Leaf
- 18. The Cheers
- 19. Participate in an Activity
- 20. Play with your Hair
- 21. Follow Me
- 22. Cover your Face
- 23. The Lead
- 24. The Lift
- 25. The Blanket Wrap
- 26. The Hand Hold
- 27. The Kiss
- 28. Enjoy the View Together
- 29. Kiss your Pet
- 30. The Family Portrait
1. Front Profile Seated
The seated, front-profile pose is great when there is something behind you that you don’t want to cover. Here I am sitting in order to show off the architecture of the glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris.
If you want to elongate your legs, then point your feet. It is best to have your photographer squat a little bit to be on your level as well.
There was a time when I would take travel or instagram pictures and all you would see was the back of my head. Don’t be afraid to show your face and get more comfortable in front of the camera!
2. The Skirt Flip
The number one best way to create more interesting travel and instagram photos is by creating motion.
You can create motion with your body, with an object, or by using your clothing. A great way to create motion with your clothing is by using a flowy skirt, dresses, or other long clothing.
Play around with your skirt / dress and take multiple photos to get a great looking skirt flip! This is more of an art than a science.
3. The Twirl
A great alternative to the skirt flip to create motion is the classic twirl. A twirl is a fun, playful way to create motion and something interesting at the center of your photos.
Have fun with this one, but don’t get too dizzy!
You also want to make sure that you have a fast shutter speed on your camera, so that you do not turn out blurry when twirling!
A faster shutter speed will help you freeze your twirl in time. A “fast” enough shutter speed will also be dependent on your other camera settings, however a good rule of thumb is AT LEAST your focal length.
For example, if you have a 35mm lens, your shutter speed should be atleast 1/35 for handheld photos. I usually don’t shoot less than 1/100 when outside in natural light, and if I am trying to freeze movement I usually start around 1/200.
4. Sit out the Car Window for an Instant Road Trip Feel
Nothing screams road trip like pulling over and taking a photo with a state or country road sign. Just make sure to do it safely of course!
My favorite way to pose for a photo with a road sign is by sitting out of your car window. You will need to sit really far out the window to make it look the best.
The more awkward you feel with this pose, the better it will look!
5. Interact with your Environment
When posing for a photo, think about how you can interact with your environment to make the photo feel more authentic.
If I was just standing here smiling, you might wonder what am I doing taking a photo in a bookstore in Lisbon, Portugal.
Instead, I am reaching for a book to read at a bookstore that maybe I will then purchase and take home. I didn’t do any of that in reality for this exact bookstore, but I do love collecting books in foreign languages when I travel.
6. Bring a Meaningful Prop
Bringing along a meaningful prop helps to tell the story of your photo. Some of my favorite prop ideas are a baguette for walking the streets in Paris, or a bouquet of tulips if you are taking photos at tulips fields.
Props do not have to be over the top or lavish. Actually quite the opposite.
If a prop is too forced, it will have an adverse affect on your photo. It may be awkward for you to pose with in the photo, which will be apparent in the end result.
Think about the most natural prop that you can bring along and interact with. What could be fun to include in your photo that helps tell the story or represents the location?
For example, we picked up this mini champagne bottle on the way out of our Vegas hotel. I knew I didn’t want to just stand with the Welcome to Vegas sign. I wanted to incorporate an element that added some playfulness, but was also true to Vegas Style.
This photo was taken at 8AM in the morning, so I’m sure I looked weird with a champagne bottle, but hey, it’s Vegas after all!
7. The Hair Flip
The Hair Flip pose give a carefree vibe to any photo. The hair flip is best used in a tropical setting or by the beach, however can be used in many other settings as well.
If you don’t have long hair, you can still act like you are doing a hair flip and the same motion will be created with your body giving motion to the photo.
8. Create Depth
This is one of my favorite ways to instantly create depth in an otherwise flat photo. You can use a scarf, a long dress / skirt or any other piece of long clothing to create this effect.
Your photographer will hold one end of the scarf right underneath the camera lens and make sure that your face is in focus.
This is an especially fun photo to play around with and get creative.
9. The Hat Hold
The hat hold is a classic pose for any travel photo. The hat hold pose also works particularly well for Instagram photos.
When you don’t know what to do with your hands, always remember that you have the hat hold pose in your back pocket.
10. The Lean for the View
Leaning into the view is a great way to create an imaginary leading line from the subject into the view. This is also a very natural pose to use when there is a good view worth leaning for!
11. Try a Seated Angle from Above
Playing with angles can create a whole new look to your photo. I suggest that you are seated when you try out a really high angle like this, so your legs don’t look shortened or distorted.
12. Try a Seated Angle from Below
Another great angle to play with is shooting with you camera at a really low angle. Again a seated pose is the best when shooting from a really low angle not to make any body parts looks distorted.
13. Walk Towards the Camera but Look Away
If you are looking for a really natural and casual pose, try walking towards the camera but looking away like you attention is focused on something more interesting.
It’s best to look towards the light source when using this pose so that your face is illuminated!
14. The Side Profile Swivel
You can do a standing side profile pose, or elevate it with a swivel and hat hold. The swivel is best achieved with some flowy clothing to help create motion, but is definitely not a requirement.
15. Sit and Admire the View
Sitting and admiring the view is an easy go-to traveling pose that you can use in just about every situation.
There are a lot of good varieties of this pose too, you can sit with your back fully to the camera or a side profile sit with your legs bent. I would go with whatever is most natural for the situtation.
I will usually sit sideways if there is some type if wall, that usually feels more natural for me. Another tip with the seated pose is to try to create as many triangles as possible.
For example, see the below photo for how to create triangles with your legs and arms while seated. This is the best way to create a natural, but elevated seated pose.
16. Use Laughter
The best pose you have in your back pocket can be to just show your true emotions. When we first saw this view driving from Predjama Castle to Lake Bled in Slovenia I think I gasped.
I immediately made my husband pull over on the road and got out my camera. I remember being so happy in this moment. And instead of trying any poses, I was just truly so happy here to be witnessing this view.
Let your true emotions shine through the photo and you are sure to nail it!
17. Cover an Eye with a Flower / Leaf
Another great pose idea is to find a flower or a leaf from your surroundings and use it to cover one of your eyes in the photo. This is a fun way to incorporate your surroundings and make your photo more interesting.
I like to do this pose with fall color leave or bright colored flowers to make sure they stand out!
18. The Cheers
Everyone can related with a cheers! This pose is a great way to create a light hearted and celebratory photo. This type of pose also gives your hands something to do. Whether you cheering with wine, Champagne, coffee, or hot chocolate, everyone can relate.
Have fun with this pose and maybe incorporate your photographer by reaching out to cheers them as well!
19. Participate in an Activity
Another very natural pose is to act like you are partaking in an activity. In this photo I am definitely pretending to row this wooden boat on Lake Bled, when we all know full well my husband was doing all the rowing.
Some other great activity ideas are riding a bike, reading a book on the beach, ect.
20. Play with your Hair
If you don’t have a hat to hold, you can easily substitute with playing with your hair. This pose gives your hands something to do and is a pretty natural movement.
21. Follow Me
Usually the “follow me” pose works best if you are walking away from the camera down a road, through a hallway/gallery, or up a staircase.
You could even do a variety of this photo where you are closer to the camera and are looking back holding out your arm for the viewer to follow you.
22. Cover your Face
The cover your face pose creates mystery and additional interest to the viewer. Here I am using my hat, but you can also use a bouquet of flowers or a book at the beach.
Great Poses for Travel Couples
23. The Lead
A great travel couples pose if for one to lead another while holding hands. This creates depth in the photo and is a fun couples photo that you can cherish for years to come.
Everytime I look back at this photo I am reminded of the amazing time we had exploring the temples in Luxor, Egypt.
A way to change up this pose is for one person to look back towards the camera (usually the person closest to the camera).
24. The Lift
I like to use this pose when the background speaks for itself, and the photo is really all about the couple.
25. The Blanket Wrap
I like to incorporate a blanket into many of my photos as a prop, but it always works really well for couples photos. It is a natural way to get you closer to your significant other and makes for a cozy photo!
26. The Hand Hold
The simple hand hold is the perfect was to interact with your significant other in a photo but doesn’t take too much attention away from the surroundings.
The hand hold is also a great alternative to showing more affection between couples in countries where the culture is more sensitive to these types of displays.
27. The Kiss
Now if PDA is no problem, feel free to throw down a big kiss with your significant other! Here we are the only ones in the lavender fields in Provence, France so we took this as a great opportunity for a kissing pose.
This pose would even be cute with a little foot pop or a dip!
Great Poses for Traveling with Pets
28. Enjoy the View Together
The sitting pose and admiring the view works well for pets since their attention spans are usually short.
The reality behind this photo was that the water was so incredibly clear and our dog was mesmerized by the little fish swimming around. I was holding onto his leash in fear that he was going to jump in at any moment!
29. Kiss your Pet
This one just warms my heart, I don’t know if I need to say much more! I think our dog knows now how to pose for my camera!
If your pet is willing, any type of interaction between you two is going to be a crowd pleaser in photos!
30. The Family Portrait
The classic portrait pose, can be used alone, with couples or with pets as well. It’s one of my favorite ways to capture travel memories that is simple and quick.
And let me tell you, these two in the photo need simple and quick when it comes to photography!
I like it keep it simple and easy with pets and significant others because at the end of the day I just want to capture the memories.
At the end of the day, photographs are meant to capture moments in time. Poses can help to elevate your photography, but the most important part is just to capture memories that you will cherish forever!
These are just a few helpful ideas to use if you find yourself in a pinch, looking for something to do with your hands.
If you have any other great pose ideas for travel and instagram photos that I have left off the list here, feel free to drop them in the comments below – I would love to hear from you!