Is there a term for this awkward stance used in group photos?

I’ve been noticing group photos in a local Facebook group lately where everyone is standing with one hand clasped on top of the other. It looks really uncomfortable, unnatural, and stupid, especially when the whole group is doing it. Is there a special term for this stance?

Examples from the group:

The Fig Leaf. The link is to the Westside Toastmasters in Santa Monica, California.

Isn’t that just how you stand when posing for a group photo? Gotta do something with your hands, after all.


It’s described as authoritative and determined and creating a stronger group look for people of different sizes.

You see it alot in sports teams, police(as show in your pic), military for that reason.
The Fig leaf term sounds legit to me.

I avoid that awkward position by making sure that I’m the one holding the horse in group photos.

Well, how do you stand, then?

I can’t remember the last time I was in a group photo. Probably in my high school yearbook in the late 1980s. I’m sure it was hands by my sides, though.

Women athletes in group photos often have their arms linked, on each others shoulders or waists.
That’s strange.

Leaned waaaaay over into frame making some stupid face, usually with my tongue out, flashing double Dios.


Yes, I’m certain Great-Aunt Matilda will just be pleased as punch to see those in this year’s family circular.

All my Elders are dead. Except my parents. And I learned this by watching them.

Considering your avatar’s look, having your hands match your shoulder horns only makes sense.

Back to the OP:
@Beckdawrek nailed it. It’s no-nonsense without being overtly threatening.

See also group photo of medical workers - Google Image Search. The medical folks often do the arms crossed across diaphragm look, hands grasping opposite elbows. It’s Determined. Unflappable. We Will Not Be Stopped.

A line-up of cops doing that look for a group photo would look like a phalanx of toughs ready to break up your riot if you come one step closer. Not good for PR.

When I take group photos I tell them to put their hands behind their backs or to the sides. It looks more relaxing, but not too relaxing. A hand in a pocket or hooked into a belt loop is good too. Better than looking like they’re trying to hide their junk.

Not me, but I’ve seen groups with one or both hands with thumbs up or one or both with peace signs.

I guess I’m showing my age or uncoolitude. A google image search for [group photo] shows lots and lots of young adults doing silly poses, or at least real informal: laughing, grinning, having fun with it.

Somehow I implicitly expected to see organized ranks of rigidly smiling folks facing the front at Some Important Occasion. How quaintly 1960s of me.

Then again, the sort of pics I was thinking of were predominantly shot on film, and the pix that are easy for Google to search up are in the electronic realm. So their search results are heavily biased in favor of the last WAG 20 years, with comparatively almost nothing from before. Yes, there are millions of digitized old photo prints online. But that pales to nothingness in face of the continuous onslaught of trillions of new e-pix every year.

That’s disgusting, and ruins the picture for the rest of the group. Why do guys do this?

Unless you’re talking about an actual animal, in which case I apologize.

I hold the horse over my head to stand out from the croud.

It’s to make sure no one in the photo is bunny-earsing anyone else?

You mean, parade rest or attention? Seems kind of formal.

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of holding my arms behind the backs of the guys next to me. It shows solidarity, but it’s not as sentimental as arms around their waists or shoulders.