21 Swimsuit Poses to Try, Whether at the Beach or Poolside
Mastering the art of the perfect beach pose that highlights your tropical vacation destination while showing off all the exciting design details of your swimsuit isn't exactly an easy task. Whether you're wearing one of your favorite go-to swimsuits or showing off a new purchase, it's nice to have a few images to reference for inspiration. And while models seem to effortlessly stand in front of the camera and get the shot, it's not always organic for the rest of us. So we asked a few fashion-industry insiders, many of whom have perfected poses through the years using Instagram to document their looks, for their tips on how to best capture our getaway pics.
For NYC-based model Sarah Kim, posing starts with getting to know herself: "As someone who has body dysmorphia, I have to make a conscious effort every day to get to know my body, because I believe that to feel confident, especially in swimwear, I have to become physically, emotionally, and spiritually joined as one," she says.
"People are experts in posing to make their body fit in the social template," style maven Anna-Lotta Martina Nanne says. She notes that what you see on social media should always be taken with a grain of salt. "Women overall already put so much effort into fulfilling what society expects from us, how we look, and how we present ourselves," she says. "In the end, it's not about posing to make someone else pleased; it's about your vibe and happiness that determines having confidence in your body."
As you'll see from the swimsuit poses ahead, there are several ways to twist, turn, sit, stand, and kneel to show off your design's details. Whether it's a waist belt, tie sleeve, or ruffle down the neckline you want to highlight, check out some ideas and try them out for your next vacation shoot. The best part? You can work with a professional photographer or a friend — or pull off many of these poses yourself with the self-timer feature.
Beach Pose: Coordinating Your Background
Find a background that mirrors your swimsuit's motifs, color, or pattern, and aim for an editorialized concept to master your beach pose.
Swimsuit Pose: The Glamour Shot
You may not kick it poolside with your delicate mini bag and jewelry, but piling on the accessories helps you get into the vibe of your shoot and provides your swimsuit pose with a bit more character and flair.
Bikini Pose: Leaning In
If you're taking a mirror selfie from the knees up, straighten your posture and lean forward slightly to ensure your full bikini or swimsuit is in the center of the frame, making for the ultimate bikini pose.
Beach Pose: Self-Timer
You can use your cooler or speaker to prop up your smartphone and manipulate the image so the finer details of your suit appear fully in your beach pose, along with the sun hat and jewelry that complete the look.
Swimsuit Pose: With a Button-Down
Perhaps one of the most classic cover-ups, a white button-down acts as a chic finish to your swimwear, especially when it comes in a classic print. Allow it to fall off your shoulders to show off every detail in your swimsuit pose, and finish with luxe, everyday jewelry, like hoop earrings.
Beach Pose: Candid Walking
When the beach pose photo is equally about your swimsuit and your vacation destination, find an open area and ask your photographer to capture some candid shots of you navigating the scene or just taking it all in from afar.
Beach Pose: The Palm-Tree Shot
Whether standing in front of, beside, or leaning on one for support, palm trees or palmettos are a photographic staple and the ultimate bikini-pose backdrop.
Swimsuit Pose: Relaxed
Digital creator Shalini Acharya recommends starting off relaxed with your arms and legs stretched out to elongate your figure. Take it from there, and try a few different swimsuit poses that feel comfortable.
Bikini Pose: Sunbathing
If you want to capture your full swimsuit while lying in the sun, hold your camera up slightly behind your head and bend it forward. You should be able to fit your whole look in the frame with ease, making for a no-fuss bikini pose you can document all by yourself.
Bikini Pose: Walking Forward
For a bikini pose with movement, take steps toward the camera to show off your suit in action. You don't have to put on a model face, either. Allow yourself to be natural, adjusting your top or underwire just as you would if a camera wasn't in your face.
Beach Pose: Accessory Play
Kneel on the sand with the ocean as the backdrop behind you, and adjust your accessories — including your cover-up and sunglasses — taking them off and putting them back on for your photographer, who will provide continuous shooting. Take your pick of the portraits, and curate them into an album for a beach-pose series.
Bikini Pose: The Leg Cross
Digital creator Shahirah Ahmed's signature bikini pose is a leg cross, whether sitting or standing. As for her hands, she gracefully tucks her hair behind her ear. "This pose elongates my legs, elevates my posture, and the one arm adds a powerful touch," she says.
Bikini Pose: Matching Set
This bikini pose is all about showing off a look that comes with three or more pieces in the same print. Opt for a clean background, such as a white wall, and adjust yourself so that every piece is in direct view. Draw attention to the details, like a waist belt, by touching them lightly with your hand that isn't holding the camera.
Bikini Pose: Hats Off
Draw attention to your hat, and the way in which it completes your bikini pose, by pulling it down over your face and showing off the complementary colors.
Bikini Pose: Strappy Details
If you're wearing a suit with alluring side details, like string ties or a high leg, lie alongside the edge of the pool and arch your back to emphasize your favorite elements. Bonus bikini-pose points if you also slip into sneakers and just so happen to be parked up at an infinity pool in front of a bright blue sea.
Bikini Pose: Lean Back
In order to show off the details of your bikini, such as a halter neckline or the ruched fabric on your bandeau top, kneel down and lean back, allowing your cover-up to fall off your shoulders so the full emphasis is on your coordinates.
Bikini Pose: Unedited
Nikki Gamble opts for an organic, unedited bikini pose when shooting vacation content, allowing followers to see what she's actually doing poolside. She doesn't have a go-to background, but instead focuses on what her body looks like naturally. "When you feel confident inside, it shows on the outside," Gamble says. "Embrace the stretch marks, or power lines, as I call them, the blemishes . . . they are normal and are what make you you."
Bikini Pose: On the Balcony
If you happen to be on vacation, the tropical atmosphere off to your right or left will likely be as alluring as the confidence you display in your swimsuit. Standing up above it all, strike your bikini pose in front of a zoomed-out camera lens.
Swimsuit Pose: Bird's-Eye View
Another way to capture your look in its entirety, matching cover-up and all? Have your photographer try a few different seated swimsuit poses from a bird's-eye view.
Beach Pose: Candid
Walk along the shore, and search for a rock to elevate yourself above the sand. While you're setting up, have your photographer begin snapping photos as you adjust your accessories, and make sure they're all front and center for your beach pose.
Bikini Pose: Poolside
When your suit makes for a bright contrast to the alluring pool beside you, try some candid bikini poses right by the edge of the pool.