A professional bikini photoshoot is all about combining photography skills and artistic vision to capture a swimsuit model looking stunning in their outfit. It involves careful planning, like choosing the best location, like a beach, pool, or studio, and using light creatively for amazing photos. But it is not just about the bikini; it's about telling a story through the swimsuit model poses that show off the subject’s confidence and style. It is a way to celebrate beauty and fashion while always making sure the model feels comfortable and respected during the shoot.

Beach Model Photography Essentials and Gestures

Before going into an actual photoshoot it is important to set contact with your model by telling through the most important aspects you expect from your model in terms, definitions, and how to pose overall.

We are going to break down our bikini photo shoot ideas into full-body poses, face expressions (mouth, eyes), and hair manipulation, and learn how to set the poses with signs or gestures for each of those, so our model understands us quickly and easily from a distance.

Confidence with squinting

First of all, your model’s expression is by far the most important aspect of the photoshoot.

We need confidence to sell focus into the camera, and for that, the easiest technique is to ask your model to squint a bit with their eyes. Furthermore, squinting with the lower brow is better than using both or the upper one. Present that as if your model is looking at the sun that is forcing them to squint. The eyes are the first place where the viewer is going to look and it establishes the connection as well.

Mouth expression

The mouth is sort of the temperature gauge of your model’s expression, so it can be really cold with the lips sealed, or it can be really warm with a smile. If those 2 are the extremes, we need to set a default spot somewhere in between, which is lips are slightly parted and we can see a little bit of teeth. In this way our model understands the terms, so now you can say “I need you to warm it up a bit” which refers to the smile. Or if we say “Cool it down” to look a little more serious. The same can be done for eye expression by giving hand signs to open or squint eyes more or less.

Hair manipulations

Pay attention to your model’s hair, we want it to look perfect. What we do not want is the hair to be hidden behind or hide parts of our model if they are naturally long enough. We want to show some hair, the neck, and the suit. Make sure that the hair in front is running down the side and slightly covers the armpits and adjust the hair position in case it is covering up the chest and the bathing suit or the neck. So, if you have your model posing with the right shoulder to the camera, for example, you still want to see their neck and ask them to put the hair on that shoulder, the same for the other shoulder, and if we pose the model frontal we want both parts of the hair to be in front having in mind the general hair position to slightly cover the armpits and shoulders. Set the signs or hand gestures for specific hair manipulations and each of those cases/issues. That is important because you are going to be shooting from farther distances where your model may not hear your voice at all, hence, that is a convenient way to fix many things, not just hair or expression but you can also apply that on posing which comes further.

In addition, you can set gestures for lowering or upping the chin, face direction by pointing to the nose, and gestures for tilting the head from the default position to the sides. This gesture method allows you to have full control over your model without having to get closer and talk.

Photography Swimsuit Poses

Now as we have done with the head level, it comes down to posing our model body into the frame.

Set a default position

When it comes down to swimsuit poses for the whole body, not just the head, we need to set the default position of our model first. For that ask your model to put the shoulders back a little to make her chest pop a bit and in addition, ask to arch her lower back to make the butt stick a bit. This sets a nice curve which is important when we photograph women models in swimsuits. And that is going to be our default pose that is meant to slightly exaggerate confident posture. Now set a gesture that your model will mimic from you.

Set body language for poses

When it comes to shoulders and hips, we want to see dynamic angles and avoid straight lines. So show your model how to drop the shoulder, make it relaxed a bit, and set a sign or gesture for that. For instance, you put down your camera and drop your shoulder means your model does the same as you have explained. And the same gesture for a hip pop to side.

Feet positioning

Whenever you are showing your model’s feet, you want them extended with toes pointed. This matters when shooting the full length only, so your model does not have to stay on the toes the whole time, so set a sign or gesture for that. Even when your model is sitting and the feet are lying in the sand, the toes should be pointed. The key point for this is to get the “Barbie feet”.

Bikini model photo shoot interaction matter

While it is nice to get a professional model in front of your camera who knows how to pose and might be able to just knock it out of the park without much direction, chances are as you are getting into this, you are probably going to work with models who need a lot of help in direction. One of the biggest complaints here from the models on a day-to-day basis is about other photographers and that they were very quiet during the shoot, not giving them feedback, and not directing them. This is why establishing contact by giving that initial tutorial is essential for a bikini model shoot, it sets the rules, and interacting is more fun, unlike flat shooting without any feedback. Having these ruses and gestures set, you really take control over your photoshoot and the model, and the model in turn will shine with confidence, understanding what you want her to do in quick succession. This sets comfortable conditions for both the shooter and the model which is an overly great workflow.

Swimsuit Photoshoot Ideas with Set Poses

Now let us see some actual references which apply the techniques for posing that we discussed. These are set poses, which can be good or bad for your model, so it is important to know what works best for your current model and find specific sets for her. Copying is not bad, but what is better is to be able to make it perfect from the reference, do not forget that, your model is individual and you both are in the same boat.

Shy silhouette

The model stands slightly turned away from the camera, one shoulder closer to the lens, and the other slightly angled back. Arms could be slightly crossed, or hands can nervously play with the bikini straps. The gaze is averted downward or to the side, evoking a sense of timidity and introversion.

Confident Stance

This pose exudes assurance and strength. The model faces the camera squarely with shoulders back, radiating confidence. Hands could be on hips, arms relaxed by the sides, or crossed overhead. The gaze meets the lens directly, conveying self-assurance and empowerment.

Enigmatic Gaze

This pose plays with mystery and allure. The model faces the camera or slightly angles the body, turning the head away while looking directly at the lens with a captivating, enigmatic gaze. It's about creating intrigue through a coy expression and body language.

Shoulder-Level Confidence Boost

This pose accentuates confidence through posture. The model stands tall, shoulders pulled back and relaxed. This stance emphasizes the shoulders being on the same level, projecting a strong and assertive presence. The gaze meets the camera with a composed expression, radiating self-assuredness.

Sunset Sway

Set against a stunning sunset backdrop, the model stands on a sandy shore. With one arm gracefully lifted to shield the eyes from the setting sun and the other hand resting on the hip, they strike a dynamic yet relaxed pose. The body subtly sways, capturing the essence of the moment as the colors of the sky merge with the scene.

Ripple Serenity

In a serene pool or ocean setting, the model partially submerges, creating gentle ripples around them. With one arm resting on the water's surface and the other framing the face or hair, they exude tranquility. The gaze is contemplative, capturing the beauty of the surroundings while radiating peacefulness

Breeze Whisper

The model stands with one leg slightly forward, creating a dynamic stance. Arms are raised gracefully, fingers lightly touching the hair or gently brushing against the cheek, as if capturing a whispered secret carried by the breeze. The gaze is soft, with a hint of intrigue, inviting the viewer into the moment.

Post-processing Images

The bikini photoshoot is more about portraiture, so we want our model to pop in the frame which means some background cleaning from distracting elements. Besides the background, we also want to have our shots framed perfectly. In case we didn’t do that in the actual shoot, we can crop the image in a way our model looks best.


If you want to get more inspiration for your beach photoshoot of a model you can take that from our boudoir photo ideas article which correlates with the current one. We pointed out how it is important to set the connection for future interaction between a photographer and the model which is 60% of success as the rest techniques come from that basis, and directing your model with gestures and body language is a convenient way to start working together. As things become more complicated, where we apply these base techniques we can see specific examples of the already-made photoshoots and try to mimic that with our models. But do not forget to know your model features and some of the poses may not look great for your model, unlike the others, while the opposite is also true and you can even make it better from the reference. Besides, do not forget to do professional photo retouch in the end, and if you are not an experienced editor you can always get help with our service in this regard.