Skip To Content

    If You Think You Aren't Photogenic, This Photographer Has Tips For Even The Most Awkward Posers

    "Park that dump truck on your heels, arch that back, and show off that booooty."

    Illustration of a person filming a video with "Under the Influence" written over their head
    Kathy Hoang / Via BuzzFeed

    Hello to the internet-obsessed! Welcome back to Under the Influence, a series where I not only chat with your favorite creators about who they are both on and off camera, but also get the scoop on how they gained their following.

    Today's influencer: photographer David Suh, whose step-by-step posing instructions and IG-obsession-worthy pics have garnered the attention of over 3.1 million followers on TikTok.

    If you, like me, are constantly scrolling through TikTok, then you've more than likely seen a video of David teaching the internet how to pose in a multitude of hypothetical situations, like:

    How to pose at the beach:

    TikTok: @davidsuh / Via tiktok.com

    "First, be on your knees, turn 45 degrees to the side, park that dump truck on your heels, arch that back, and show off that booooty," David instructed his model — aka his assistant, Lucero Morales — in the first of three beach poses. "Work those shoulders, and voila!"

    How to make your head look smaller (or booty look bigger):

    TikTok: @davidsuh / Via tiktok.com

    "The closest thing to the camera appears the largest, so here, my hand is larger than my head. But, when I bring it here, it's not," David demonstrated. "We can use this to our advantage. Let's say I wanted to make my tiny Korean ass bigger. Then what I need to do is bring it toward the camera and it upgraded to a little Korean dump truck. Under the same principal, if you want your face to look smaller, you just need to bring it back. Lean back a little bit and then, added benefit, you'll look even longer in your legs."

    How to thirst trap:

    TikTok: @davidsuh / Via tiktok.com

    "The art of thirst trapping is quite a simple one," David shared in a video. "Give them what they want, but not all the way. Let their mind do the rest. ... Make sure the mood is right, [and] let your attitude bring it all together."

    How to avoid a double chin:

    TikTok: @davidsuh / Via tiktok.com

    "Avoiding your double chin in photos is a lot simpler than you think," David said. "Just think about when you do see your double chin. For me, it's when I have my face squished in, lying down with the camera angle low. So I'll do the opposite: angle up, chin out, there you go!" 

    How to pose plus-size women:

    TikTok: @davidsuh / Via tiktok.com

    "{Put] one foot out to lengthen your leg; bring the knee in; both hands at your waist; work that shoulder; and if you're shy about your tummy, kick that booty back," David shared. "Chin toward your shoulder, and voila!"

    How to take better photos of your friends:

    TikTok: @davidsuh / Via tiktok.com

    "The very first thing I do all the time is I show my friends where to pose and how to pose," David said, with this tip being the first of four. "I don't tell them, I show them. This is by far one of the most important tips. By doing this, you're acknowledging how nerve-racking it may be to be in public and taking photos, and you're willing to share the spotlight. You're really setting the tone to be a moral support and not just some photographer."

    How to get a more masculine aesthetic:

    TikTok: @davidsuh / Via tiktok.com

    And he even has posing tips for plant parents who want to show off their babies:

    TikTok: @davidsuh / Via tiktok.com

    "Grab a little chair, sit down, foot up top [on the pot], [other] foot up top [on the chair], go for a little lean, show off the bicep — sheesh," David joked while simultaneously pulling off a perfect plant pic before showing a few other posing options.

    David also gained notoriety for his Instagram audits, which capture the attention of anywhere between 1 million to 8 million viewers.

    Fans interested in upgrading their photos will tag him in a post and, with a close attention to detail that sometimes includes David mirroring their featured outfit or hairstyle via dresses or wigs, the Sacramento-based professional will share a video instructing them on how they can get the perfect shot with what they have.

    One Google search will reveal that in the age of photo-sharing apps and influencers, many are interested in nailing that perfect pic. But, once in front of the camera, it can sometimes be hard to figure out what to do next — whether that be with your hands, with a prop, or even with the person next to you.

    Google

    "I serve the everyday people, mostly everyday women, and realize that they're coming in nervous and sometimes having no hope of seeing a beautiful photo of themselves," David told BuzzFeed. "I realized that I can't just throw them in the water without guidance or a safety vest. For my clients, and for myself, I learned how to pose."

    When the pandemic hit and the 26-year-old's professional studio — where he employs one full-time assistant and 5–8 rotating helpers — saw slowed traffic. So, David took to TikTok and expanded his audience by responding to videos of people online who think they are too awkward to do cute poses.

    His willingness to personally learn how to pose paid off.

    To help, David created a challenge, which he attributes to being the true catalyst of his account launching into the massively followed page it is today. In the video, he slowly walks viewers through the motions of a fundamental level pose for a feminine frame. Not only does the clip help you pose, but David also explains ~how~ these movements will accentuate different body parts.

    @davidsuh

    Per request, here’s the challenge version! Bring the inner 👑 out. Add a before & after and tag #suhpose for me to see! #posing #womanstyle

    ♬ Women posing fundamental DUET - David Suh

    Since posting, nearly a thousand people have duetted the video — a feature which allows TikTok users to shoot a video side-by-side with someone else's. While David's voiceover plays, men and women alike maneuver into the pose and are officially photo ready.

    In reality, David believes that no one is truly unphotogenic. Instead, us awkward souls just need to learn our angles and ~commit~. "The biggest mistake I see is [people] not believing in themselves," David said. "I've recently talked a lot about posing being like dancing. You can learn the movements, but if you don't have the soul or heart, it's going to look stiff and not like you're dancing. Part of dancing is feeling the music, space, sounds, the mood. You have to believe it!"

    Whether in or out of the studio, David's tips find a way of attracting others through his empathy and patience. His assistant, 23-year-old Lucero, told BuzzFeed: "Posing isn't always the most comfortable thing. Things often feel unnatural, but David is willing to get in these awkward-feeling positions to showcase what it looks like," she said. "Clients aren't put in the position to guess if they're doing the pose correctly if David is walking them through each step of the way."

    Lucero, who self-identifies as a shy type, attributes part of her own comfortability with taking photos and confidence to David's help.

    "I never would have thought I'd be posting this many photos of just myself on Instagram until I met him," she shared. "He's consistently pushed me to post content online to showcase the growth I've made within the past couple of months. I still have a long way to go, but he reminds me of who I was when I joined his team and recognizes my accomplishments for what they are."

    The same energy correlates between David and followers online. "I've seen countless people in my DMs or in my comments section saying, 'Hey, it took me a long time, but I finally took some photos that I like. And I'm going to keep trying,'" David shared. "That's the reason [why] I keep doing this. ... My simple goal is to help people see themselves as beautiful in photos, and in return, beautiful in life and as a person."

    When one follower asked for tips on how to be more confident in front of a camera, David told them: "Whoever you think you are is not who's going to be at that photo shoot. ... At the photo shoot, you will be flawless and running the world like Beyoncé. Bitches better be getting your money like Rihanna. And you better be loving yourself like Kanye loves Kanye."

    Since going viral for his empowering, energetic tips, the 26-year-old's team has grown, allowing him to take on bigger projects and work with more clients like Stitch Fix, LA's local KTLA news team, Pye Jirsa from SLR Lounge, and more.

    Now, he's working on furthering his educational content for both models and photographers, nurturing his curious fanbase, and updating the studio so it can house all of these new developments.

    If you want to keep up with David and his journey, you can follow him on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, or visit his website to book a session. You can also follow Lucero on Instagram.

    TikTok videos not playing for you? You might need to change the settings on your device — here's how.