Skip to main content

Day 7: The Rules - Chin, Shoulders, Hands

Lesson 15 from: 28 Days of Portrait Photography

Sue Bryce

Day 7: The Rules - Chin, Shoulders, Hands

Lesson 15 from: 28 Days of Portrait Photography

Sue Bryce

most popular photo & video

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

15. Day 7: The Rules - Chin, Shoulders, Hands


Class Trailer

Day 1


First 2 Years: The Truth


Teaching 2 Photographers in 28 Days


Rate Your Business


Year One in Business


Day 2


28 Challenges




Price & Value


Checklist, Challenges, and Next Steps


Day 3


Day 1: The Natural Light Studio


Day 4


Day 2: Mapping Your Set and Outfits


Day 5


Day 3: One Composition - Five Poses


Day 6


Day 4: Flow Posing


Day 7


Day 5: Posing Couples


Day 8


Day 6: Capturing Beautiful Connection & Expression


Day 9


Day 7: The Rules - Chin, Shoulders, Hands


Day 10


First Weekly Q&A Session


Day 8: Rules - Hourglass, Body Language, Asymmetry, Connection


Day 11


Day 9: Styling & Wardrobe


Day 12


Day 10: Shooting Curves


Day 13


Day 11: Posing & Shooting - Groups of 2, 3, and 4


Day 14


Day 12: Posing & Shooting Families


Day 15


Day 13: Products & Price List


Day 16


Day 14: Marketing & Shooting the Before & After


Day 17


Day 15: Phone Coaching & Scripting


Day 18


Second Weekly Q&A Session


Day 16: Posing Young Teens


Day 19


Day 17: Marketing & Shooting - Family First Demographic


Day 20


Day 18: The Corporate Headshot


Day 21


Day 19: Glamour Shoot on Location & Shooting with Flare


Photoshop Video: Glamour Shoot on Location & Shooting with Flare


Day 22


Day 20: Photoshop - Warping & the Two Minute Rule


Day 23


Day 21: Posing Mothers & Daughters


Day 24


Third Weekly Q&A Session


Day 22: Marketing & Shooting - 50 & Fabulous Demographic


Day 25


Day 23: Shooting into the Backlight


Bonus: Shooting into the Backlight


Day 26


Day 24: Marketing & Shooting - Girl Power Demographic (18-30s)


Photoshop Video: Girl Power Demographic (18-30s)


Day 27


Day 25: The Beauty Shot


Bonus: Vintage Backdrop


Day 28


Day 26: Marketing & Shooting - Independent Women Demographic


Day 29


Day 27: Sales & Production


Day 30


Day 28: Posing Men


Day 31


Bonus: Pricing




Photography, Style, Brand, and Price Part 1


Photography, Style, Brand, and Price Part 2


Marketing Part 1


Marketing Part 2


Money: What's Blocking You?


Bonus: The Folio Shoot


Day 32


Photo Critiques Images 1 through 10


Photo Critiques Images 11 through 27


Photo Critiques Images 28 through 45


Photo Critiques Images 47 through 67


Photo Critiques Images 68 through 84


Photo Critiques Images 85 through 105


Photo Critiques Images 106 through 130


Photo Critiques Images 131 through 141


Photo Critiques Images 142 through 167


Photo Critiques Images 168 through 197


Photo Critiques Images 198 through 216


Day 33


Identify Your Challenges


Identify Your Strengths


Getting Started Q&A


Rate Your Business


Marketing Vs Pricing


Facing Fear


The 28 Day Study Group


Selling Points


Interview with Susan Stripling


Emotional Honesty


Day 34


Sue's Evolution


28 Days Review


Student Pitches


28 Days Testimonial: Mapuana Reed


How to Pitch: Starting a Conversation


Your Block: Seeing is What You're Being


Your Block: Valuing and Receiving


Building Confidence: Your Own Stories


Building Confidence: Your Self Worth


Pitching An Experience


Pitching An Experience: Your Intentions


Pitching An Experience: Social Media


Final Thoughts


Lesson Info

Day 7: The Rules - Chin, Shoulders, Hands

Today's challenge is broken right down. My rules, now too many of you are not getting this right. Today, it's about the chin, it's about the shoulder, and it's about the hands, we need to get these hands looking right, we need to make sure they're not gratuitous hands, that they're not just popping up in the shot doing things they shouldn't be doing. This is about pushing that chin forward, working that shoulder, and creating beautiful lines with our hands, today, this is what you'll be practicing. This is a hard one, when you master this, all of your images will look great. Today, we're going to talk about posing rules. Now, you all know my rules by now and if you don't they are chin, shoulder, hands, hourglass, body language, assymetry, connection. Now, I need to break these down for you to make them really simple and really effective. The whole point of these rules is that they make everybody look good and they are an improvement and the base structure of every single pose that I do...

. Once you learn them, you can never unlearn them. You can never unsee them and this is so important. I'm also in this section going to talk to you about eye line and facing goals. So right from the beginning, I teach everybody that the fundamental role that you learn in posing is posture and when most people sit comfortably, they sit down until they're comfortable in their position. No matter what body type, and you'll find even lean bodies, they have some semblance of a little double chin going on. Most people sitting quite comfortably, front on, sit back with their chin up ever so slightly. It's also quite odd that whenever you pick up a camera and tune it to a client, they often put their chin up and it's a very common thing for everybody to have their chin up and their eyes are small. So if you put your chin up and I'll put my chin up and we'll both look at the camera this way. What I want to do now is I want to teach you to push the chin forward, just move with me Tiff, and then down there, so it does two things. It defines the face beautifully, and it opens the eyes. Now because Tiffany is leaner in her body frame than me, she doesn't need to go down as far as I do. And because I'm curvier, my forward and down goes further down because it is more slimming. So when you have a curvy body, the chin comes farther forward and further down, when you have a leaner body, it just comes forward, so if the body is really lean, it just comes forward, not down because on a lean body, the space around the chin is a lot leaner than somebody with curves and if somebody's got a really big double chin, then they have to come up first, forward, and down. So there's a couple of really obvious mistakes that people have been making here and that is, they come forward and down with their neck and shoulders. So you can do this with me too, Tiff, they come in forward here and down, and they're saying it's not working. Another thing that people are doing, is they're coming forward and down, but they're going too far down and they're looking up through their eyebrows. Okay, that does not work, all you're trying to do is sit the posture in the body, push the chin forward, and then on this axis here, tilt the face down until the face looks perfect to the camera. So another mistake that people are making, is that they're not square on with the face to the camera. So they're a little bit off and forward and down and that doesn't work either. When you're turned to the side, and if you want to turn to the side this way. The chin, I'll show you, what it looks like from the side, we'll both do it together, the chin goes directly forward here, so just the chin so it's about rolling those shoulders up, nice and tall posture. Now sit down into your normal comfortable, sitting at the computer posture. See, you can see here that Tiffany is going to grow about three or four inches just by rolling her shoulders up and back and then when you start posing people, it's really odd, but when you move people's arms and legs, they somehow tuck their chin in. So I'm always saying chin forward, so just push chin forward, not so much down, but directly forward and then I decide when I'm looking at them from the front of the camera, how much down they have to have based on generally their body size and their neck. So I am curvy, but I have a long neck so I can go up, forward, and I've got a lot of movement here. I can come down, it opens the eyes up beautifully. So, just do not push your neck forward and down. So from the front, turn back, it's about rolling up, sitting up nice and tall, pushing your chin forward and I'm going to go lower than Tiffany, forward and down slightly for Tiffany and further down for me and see the difference, all of a sudden it opens our eyes up. Now, if I were shooting say, sisters, bring your knees around this way, what I do is I sit my pose of both girls together, I always try to get the exact same plane because we're shooting natural light and usually with a nice, open estop. I try to get the same plane in the eyes and then when I sit the pose, whatever that is, I then say to both girls, "chin forward" and it goes towards the camera and then down, and then I decide then, where it looks good, and then I bring them together. So the biggest mistake most people make in this is they get into the pose and then they tip the tops of their heads together like this and then we get an odd neck position, an odd chin position and then when they laugh, they inevitably tuck in and do a big double chin-- (laughs) That one's going on Facebook. (laughs) So it's about coming posture first, and then it's about going sitting the pose, and then it's about going chin forward, and down and then it's about coming together with your cheeks, then you can sit the shoulder in the front, and the front arm to match the pose to finish the pose off. So it's about, sit back to the front Tiff, it's about having really good posture, really good shoulders, pushing forward with the chin, straight down to the camera, and this is something that we need to get right. So I'm going to take a couple of example shots now. I'm going to show you what's right and what's wrong with these shots and I'm going to use Tiffany sitting in this position just using comfortable neck position and comfortable angle, so let's do those for you. So Tiffany from you in a rested, sitting comfortable position here, okay, from there, I just want you to come up into your posture, straight up and down, perfect. Now, I want you to just stay exactly where you are now, just bring your chin forward towards me just ever so slightly now, okay and just go lips together and relax your mouth, perfect. So from here, as you can see, Tiffany has a very narrow chin through the bottom half because she has just got a perfect face shape and she's not really sitting, she doesn't need to come forward more than that, tuck your chin back to that. (laughs) Sorry, but just not so much, just yeah, actually, what you just did, when you're relaxing and you did a big smile, no, no, no, not your back, yeah, when you're relaxing, you do seem to pull your chin in anyway. Okay, from here, what I want you to do is push your chin towards me now and that's exactly right and a little bit further forward. So you probably see on the side view camera how much she is pushed forward and now I just want you just to tip your chin down towards me a little bit more and just hold there. So from here, this position here, I just want you, I'm going to take a still, and now I would like you to push your chin further down, okay, so just on that up and down axis, so not moving your shoulders, good girl, just pushing down here. I feel like straight away, she's gone too low, we're gonna to take a shot so you can see it. I feel like this pose is making her eyes look really large but the space between her eyes and her eyebrows has now gone too low and her chin has almost disappeared because she's gone very lean through the bottom half of her face so I don't want to push her chin down that far so bring your chin back up to me, and that's right where she is there. So the only thing I have to worry about for Tiffany in this position would be really just pushing her forward towards me. So, sit back down into your relaxed position again, okay, just nice and comfortable and relaxed, that's exactly right, okay, so don't sit back too relaxed, that's it, halfway. Alright, now, I'm going to stop this and I'm gonna swap and put myself in the same position, and get you to see my chin going forward and down, so let's try that. So this is my relaxed sitting position and I also noticed I've been filming myself a lot this last year, I noticed whenever I speak to the camera, I would always automatically throw my head up and to the right, if you haven't got somebody directing you well on video or camera, it's a very natural instinct to through the head back when we talk. It's also a thinking position so if you're thinking, you're looking up to the left, you're looking out to the left, audio, visual memory and you're also delivering. I found that most of my video was here, so when I'm looking at a client, the first thing I notice is that role of engagement so the first thing I do is get them to sit up first. Now because I'm curvier than Tiffany, I'm going to be able to bring my chin forward and I'm going to be able to bring it further down than her. So I just want you to have a look where you feel like my chin looks like at it's best because I want you to see it. If you can see it, you can correct this. Now the first thing that we're going to acknowledge is the camera right now is pointing directly to my nose so the camera is here, it is directly square to my face, I'm not shooting on a downwards angle or an upwards angle at all, I'm shooting just below the eye line, so let's have a look at where my face looks it's best. Is it, this is forward, so clearly that takes away my double chin, now I want to shape my face, so I want to shape the bottom half of my face to make it look good. So is it here? Is it here? Is it here? And is it here? When do I look too low and when does it look really good and when does it look really good for the shape of my face. So I just want you to see this so that you can start trying to find it. Now a lot of people have problems coaching people with the chin folded down, so remember we're going to learn about the chin pan, because it's the best way to direct people. Also, I teach people the chin pan which is that one. I gotta teach you the tilt as well because a lot of people will throw their head off to one side and that doesn't work either. We want to come up first, and sit the position straight to the camera and then move them. Okay, so we don't want to start tilted and then try to bring them folded down, I'm going to show you how to do this on the side as well. So this is what we really have to get used to doing. Chin up, shoulders back, chin forward, and then find the shape of the face. So remember, when it looks good, that's when you get your expression to come through, the eyes enlarge, the chin is slimmed down, the neck looks good, there's no double chin and then you can work your expression from here. Nobody buys images with a double chin in it, so if you get it, you have to learn how to Photoshop it. We're going to show you how to do that too. Okay, so from here, Tiffany's in a side position, sit up nice and tall, Tiff, that's it, perfect, good posture, push your chin forward, good girl. Big difference there, now what I want you to do is bring your chin all the way around to me this way and look at the camera. That's it, so what most people do here, exactly the same thing, is that they get this bunch here, also it's a very natural instinct to tip the head back when you look over your shoulder. It's quite strange that people do it, but they do. Sit up nice and tall and all I do is I say, "bring your chin to the edge of the shoulder." If you put your hands onto your thighs, that's it. Now I feel like, what happens is most people are still tilted back, so if you tilt forward, good girl, and then bring your chin long and then work your shoulder forward, just ever so slightly, then you've got exactly your chin forward and down from the side. Stick your lips together, mouth relaxed Tiffany. I'm just going to take a still, perfect, and really, I just want to show, lean back a little wee bit in your angle, tuck back into your chin that way, drop your shoulder back, that's it, it just does not sit in a perfect face to the camera. So straighten up for me, nice and tall, bring your chin all the way to the edge of your shoulder, that's a girl, and the shoulder caved forward, perfect, stay here. Right, from there, that is a perfect side, chin, forward position and it's really, really easy to direct. So now I'm going to show you how I do chin pan using my hands and tilt using my hands to direct. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to show you how I use my hands to direct, so when I'm shooting a client and I have my camera here, I can take one hand off my camera, hold the other one and I simply put my palm out flat and say, "chin forward and down." And I can direct her, anywhere I want to go. I can also go this way and this way, and people just follow, it is one of the strangest things. We've decided it's a universal language, we don't know where it came from, I just realized that I used to put my hand up when I was shooting and I didn't realize I did it for a number of years, and I would say, "tilt this way a bit, tilt this way a bit." Now I watched commercial fashion photographers and they do this, they'll go, "chin that way" and, or else they'll just point in that direction and the model will instantly start posing in that direction, we don't get that luxury with normal clients because they don't know. So this is chin pan, it comes up, forward, down, side to side, now, just like everybody understands that they also understand this, tilt. So, to the front of the camera, that's what I do to my client, as I go like this, they tilt their head either way. Now you can put this hand up and say, "just bring your chin this way," because they tilt, everybody does it, I don't know why, so that is the pan, that is the tilt, really important. Now, the other one I do is, sit comfortably and bad posture, now I pretend I'm pinching people. Now, I always say, a lot of people, I hear photographers all the time say this, "I want you to pretend "that there's a string going up through your spine," and blah blah, they tell this big long story, I just do this, "sit up." Everybody knows what that means. I say, "sit up tall" and I do a pinching action with my hand, and every single time I've done it, it's worked. So, relax down, and you're going to give me lots of money when you wake up. (snaps) (laughs) Okay, so from here, we can look at this, I want you to sit up tall, I want you to bring your chin towards me, I want you to give me a tilt this way, good girl, straighten back up. And those hand movements, those three hand movements make a significant difference when you're posing people. Isn't that easy, isn't that amazing? So once you've learned that, I need you to do that to everybody and I want you to practice on anybody you like, you can just say to somebody here, "follow my chin, follow your chin with my hand" and just direct them to go that way and that way and then towards you and then down and then back up again, and then down. Now remember, if you start posing people, they instantly resit quite naturally back into their natural position. It happens slowly, but it's just, it's a gradual reseating, this is where I instantly take control and say, "sit up again, chin forward, hold that." And the more direction you constantly give people, the more they secure that they feel on the other side of the camera. In fact, I never stop talking, I'm always saying, "sit up nice and tall, keep those elbows in, "chin towards me, good girl, hold that pose, hold that pose, "sitting up nice and tall, let me see that chin again, "hold that pose, a wee bit shoulder." So keeping that consistency, that consistency is also confidence and once you practice it, and you can start talking to your clients like this, they will sit into these poses so fast and they are so busy listening to you and thinking about what they are doing, they're not thinking about being photographed and it makes a really big difference. So that's our chin pan, L tilt, and our sitting up nice and tall posture. Enjoy practicing that. Have a look what I'm getting here right now, I'm going to show you a little face angle trick, so with Tiffany, all she had to do was push her chin towards me, and then down very slightly. So one of the biggest mistakes we constantly see people making is when they're turning their face off to the camera, and so, have a look, we don't get a lot of movement in this position, I'm going to turn Tiffany say, 40 degrees, now straighten up, I'm going to bring your chin this way, not too far, and then fold them down here, that is okay, that is doable. But notice, because she's smaller in the bottom part of her face, she's heart-shaped face, that her chin is instantly gone so I'm always going to bring her back to the camera and straight on because that's where it looks perfect. Now, I feel like we've been seeing this a lot. It's about when people take their chin to their shoulder, not their shoulder to the chin so even if you go back and hold that position so I can take a still of it, I'm going to take a little still there and now what I want to do is correct that position so I want you instead, to bring your chin forward and instead of changing your face position, I want you to just bring your shoulder to the front, okay, stop, now bring your chin down. Now her face has not changed from the camera, I'm going to take a still here and all I did was bring her shoulder to her chin, not her chin to her shoulder. So straighten back up for me and just show that position again where they turn away from the camera, I think what most people do is they try and do a little bit of a 60s, straighten up, and just do a little 60s, that's it, no, that's it, okay, for starters just move your hair for me Tiffany, there, perfect and then tuck in here, okay. Oh, let me take us to that, this is the shot I see all the time and I always look at that and I think, I know in person, they probably think that they're being quite demure and then they're doing the little look down, but the truth is, is to camera, it does nothing for the face so I would rather you push your chin forward and bring your shoulder to your chin not your chin to your shoulder. And if you want to go on the 45 with your body then that's okay, just don't turn past 45 degrees on the face, stop, too far. So, two things, one is when you rotate away, you lose that back eye and her face loses it's shape and the other one is when you go up and down here, you lose the shape there as well. So, again, I'm shooting her directly on her eye line, so we're nice and front on and so sitting up nice and tall Tiff, bringing her chin towards me and now move the shoulder only and don't tip your hip back and rotate into a back position with your chin forward and this way a little bit more, that's it, chin down now that's as far as I would tip away with the face. Now if you were going to turn your back to me a little bit more, keep going, stop, and chin down, that is a perfect position for the face, I'm going to take a still there and then, that is about as far as I would turn the face away from square. So come back to square again, stop, shoulder forward, now don't move your face, and now just open your shoulder up to me a little bit, and your chin is still pushing forward, not too low, up a little touch, that's a girl. Remember, they can't see their chin position from camera, you're the one changing their chin position. Open up your shoulder a bit more, keeping your chin towards me, still up a little bit with your chin, beautiful, that's it. That face pretty much stays close to the camera all the time. What I'm going to do is I'm going to jump in there myself and show you what to do when you need to slim the face down a little wee bit more. So as you can see now the difference between Tiffany and I is I have a round face, or an oval, I don't actually have the heart shape. So I carry more through here than Tiffany does that is why when I bring my chin forward, it significantly slims down my face and makes it look better. Now I want to show you something really interesting with a bigger face like mine, I can actually turn off on a 45 and look back to the camera and it doesn't look wrong, but Tiffany, it looked wrong because her face is so lean at the bottom, that her chin just went away quickly. You can actually do a 45 pose here or here, you can turn two different ways with my face shape. Because it's both slimming and in fact, it's probably more slimming. When I put my chin forward and then I turn 45 degrees and then I push it down a little bit more and then look back, you can see it slims me right down on this side. So as long as my posture is upright, chin forward, 45 degrees tipped forward, and looking this way, what I don't want is when you go too far and the eyes are over here because then you can't get a good expression and that doesn't look good on my face either. The second mistake people make is to drop down too low here, so they probably think they're being all sexy and demure and that just looks wrong, you're better to turn me 45 here and bring the shoulder into play than you are or keeping me front on, chin down and just bring the shoulders in. So it's about constantly directing where you want their face, I'm always cropping to the top of the head, not into the hair, but just to the top of the head, I do crop in camera quite tight naturally. My constant direction to my client is lifting up, chin forward, bring the shoulder around and they'll often do this. As soon as I see that, I say, "no, no, no, bring your face "back to me, bring your shoulder forward, "don't move your face, don't lift them, "move the head with the shoulder." It's such a natural thing to move it. And when I say "bring your shoulder forward," they will often do that and people also do this. It's quite odd, so just keep it up, forward, work the shoulder, and then you tell me from the front where my shoulder looks good, I don't want it over my shoulder. I don't, I want to keep this space. If my shoulder's too dominant, too big, drop it down, but still bring it forward, so you can bring it forward low and drop the chin, or, so you can bring this forward, and then drop the chin down and it still looks better, if that doesn't look good, you don't want to connect, so down to here, but still, not turning my face away. So don't let them do that, it doesn't look right and don't let them do that, or this. Tall, straight to the camera, maybe if you can slim down the face, not too low working the shoulder in, you control the frame so if you do this confidently, they'll listen to you and when they feel good they will just be able to move and then you can keep directing them strong and it is the best way to photograph people, good luck practicing that. So now what we're going to do is talk about shoulders. So first rule is chin, second rule is shoulders. Now that you know my work and you've seen how I pose, you'll notice in all of my images, that I am always dominating and working the shoulders. The shoulders are a really significant part of my brand. I believe the shoulder is the difference between body language and not. I believe it's the difference between believing a shot or not, and I think it is the difference between shaping the body in the most beautiful way or just keeping it flat and making it look more structured, more posed. So today, the shoulder challenge is a good one it's one you have to practice, now I'd like you to do mirror work, always do mirror work with the shoulders. Now the easy way to move shoulders without mirroring and there is two ways to pose somebody, you can say, "mirror me" and they can mirror you. By the way, Tiffany did just what every client does, I told her to mirror me and she did the opposite. Okay, very common, 99.9% of your clients will do that, so when they do, do that, I say, "no, mirror me." And they instantly switch over. Now go back, or you can just do this and say, "move your shoulders like that." So just like chin pan and tilt, the shoulder movement is full control so when I'm on the monopod, I can just say, "shoulder back, chin that way." And I don't have to change anything, I don't have to go towards her, I don't have to touch her to pose her, I don't need to say, "could you put your shoulders here like this?" Because you don't need to do that. You can point to the shoulder and say, "move that shoulder." Or you can say, "put your left hand back," left shoulder back, but people get confused over their left and right, I see them often struggle, it's so much easier just to push this way and you don't need to touch them you could do this from back on your monopod. I would just say, "shoulders back this way and chin "towards me and then chin around this way and down" and I could just move people like that. So easy, so just remember, shoulders, chin pan, and that's your tilt, and that is your posture. So sitting up nice and tall, chin towards me, beautiful, shoulders this way, and chin this way, and down. Just like that, now, shoulders. Why do we bring the shoulder in? When you look at the front position of the shoulder and look at both of us, what I'm going to do, is I'm going to put us both this way, 45 degrees, so you go the same way as me, okay, and I'm just going to speak to Tiffany so that she can hear me posing her, I'm not showing her, she's right beside me and I'm just going to say, "bring your face straight back to the camera," so that's the end, now, we want to be square to the camera always with the face. Now I want you to work your chin, Tiffany, toward your shoulder, okay, straight away, something changed in our body language and if you open your shoulder back up again, and look at that pose again, now connect the chin and the shoulder, okay, now from here, do a little bit of a, when you relax your shoulder, bring it forward, I want you to push your chin right to the edge of your shoulder and I want you to do a little wee bit of a smirk and eyes and I notice really early on when I started to pose people, come back to the front, that the shoulder was really significant. When I was in a cover girl position, so when your hands are up on your waist here and we're here and I notice that when the hips went out, if the shoulders were up, hunched, they looked really uncomfortable. I also noticed that when girls are on the catwalk or on the red carpet, they were always working their shoulders forward and back, I noticed that it made a significant difference to the way they were posing their bodies and so that shoulder, working that shoulder forward, just made such a difference to the posture so I always call it, "leading shoulder." So if Tiffany and I are both slightly forward, our leading shoulder is the one closest to the camera, so I'll say, "just bring your shoulder forward "towards me this way" and I'll bring it forward, so the mistakes that everybody makes here is they bring it too far forward, they over connect the chin and the shoulder here, they bring it too high and it looks hunched. So this essentially is about a flirting body language it's about, put your hands down here, Tiff, and just bring the shoulder and connect it to where you are. It's about connecting the body language of the pose and bringing the shoulder in and working the shoulder. So now I want you to go back and look at my work and notice the shoulder in every single pose. So I'm going to do a quick rotation around Tiffany and I'm going to show you the good and the bad of what people are doing really wrong with the shoulder. Now, if you have a very curvy client, and you want to slim them down, you don't bring their shoulder up, because if you close off this space here, you make the neck look shorter, you make your client look wider. Okay, but you can still bring the shoulder forward, but it just comes forward and down, so you're going to open as much space here. We're going to shoot a lot of curves over the next month. But I just want you to see the difference between Tiff having her shoulder forward, and me having my shoulder down. Okay, if I'm here, I don't want to crowd that space, so I can still bring it forward, I just don't need to take it all the way up, really important. The second thing I want you to watch, is no matter who it is, if they bring their shoulder forward, a lot of tension goes into the arm, so if the arm is pressing up against the body, it's gonna look big from side on, so you need to consider that when you bring the shoulder forward. Also, when you tell people to bring their shoulder forward, somehow their neck tucks in and that's where you have to reposition them. So it's about constantly monitoring their position to the camera and it's about learning your angles. Okay, if they both look too high, you need to drop their shoulder down and then bring their chin long and forward and down. If they look bottom heavy to the camera like this, you need to tip them forward, but keep the shoulder engaged. If they go too far to halfway point, bring it back or take it all the way. But you've gotta look in the camera and see this angle. So the only way I can teach you that is by showing you bad, through to good and back to bad again. So let me take a nice closeup shot working through Tiffany's shoulder positions and then you can go in and practice your shoulder movements with lots of flirting and fun. (laughs) Okay, from here, I want you to put your hands onto your waist and I want you just to work the shoulder forward, okay, stop, now just pull this out by back, good girl, now I just want you to push your chin towards me now, stop, don't move now, let me take a shot of that. Okay, if I go back to the position you were in before, before I told you to put your chin forward, say you start here, let's start again, and then I went, "shoulder forward" and you were just normal chin there, so all of a sudden, when I push, let me take a shot there, when I push this chin forward, straightaway, I get this beautiful connection there, there it is, there's no neckline, it's absolutely perfect, your face is sitting in a beautiful position, but more importantly, I'm gonna move the hair off your shoulder so that you can see that line there. That shoulder line is what we want with everything. We want everyone to work that shoulder forward. So it's gonna be very quick now to bring your chin down to your shoulder, stop, now that is wrong, and now what I want to do is take you back to normal position, no, no, back to, sorry, normal head position, chin forward. Stay there, back to the chin forward, and instead, I want the shoulder to come forward, not the chin to come down, so this time, that's it. Now, that, I love, now straightaway, the shoulder's working it, but she's gone too low because she's leading, because she put her shoulder forward, she leaned towards me. So I want you to sit up tall, Tiffany, that's it, work that shoulder forward, okay, you just did it again, you came straight towards me. So sit up tall, work that shoulder forward and now bring your chin straightaway to me and down, perfect. There is is, right there, and I know when I've got it because I can see it in camera, so if we look back through those images, it's so subtle, let's see now if I push your shoulder forward even a little bit more, and then sit her upright a little bit more, now push your chin towards me, okay, now just drop that shoulder down, see how I can move her around in frame and I know what looks right and looks wrong so I want you to look at people like this and sculpt their bodies until you start to see that shoulder. Now just stay in this position and I want you to move away from me on the chair, so just walk your feet very, that's it, stop. Now, open that shoulder up to me, move nothing else, straightaway there, I've got no connection in the shoulder and now all I'm going to do is get her to bring her chin connection in, so bring that right in there, perfect, and long chin. Okay, now I say long chin, you may have noticed, I'm just going to go down on my frame so you can see a little bit more of her body. I'm loving that right there and for two reasons. One is I've got this incredible shape here, I've got a perfect bust line, she looks slim through the waist, and I can see this beautiful triangle which is right here. Now as soon as I create this space, amazingly open. Now something I'm going to show you is if you move the hand around to the back and that pulls this back but she can still get this beautiful shoulder shape, don't move, I'm going to take a still there and I really love that. Now that opened her up even more so just push your chin towards me now and down ever so slightly, I'm going to take a still there and now I want you to do a fundamental mistake would be elbow comes too far forward, okay, so just the elbow, not the chin, the shoulder looks good, but the elbow doesn't. When the elbow dominates forward, all of a sudden the bottom half of the arm looks huge and if it goes back too far, they pin, there it is, right there, and that is a big common mistake, right there. When she pinned her shoulder back, she loses the body language of the shots so just bring me your shoulder back and again, so your hand has to be, perfect, long chin, and down, and then a tiny little smile on your lips there, beautiful. Don't move, okay, so now I'm coming back to this position, I want to take her a step further, I want to go side on, okay, and I want you to work the shoulder forward and a common mistake that everybody makes here is they put the chin over the back of the shoulder and it looks very disconnected. It looks like a bit of a broken neck and I see it particularly with very lean bodies. Put the hands straight down, Tiff, but keep the shoulder, that's it, I see that, a lot, that is a very common mistake. Also, I think you should lift up really tall if you want to hold this position, keep the shoulder forward, that's it, but just don't put the chin down onto the shoulder. So chin towards me but not down, is what I need you to do, so just keep that, stop. Now, I can very gently rotate her in this position even further and it still looks good, but you know what looks better? Before I rotate her, I want you to tip, okay I'm going to change this angle here, just so I can show you how she's going to tip into this frame, I want you first to tip forward like this, perfect, don't move. Okay, now, when she works the shoulder in, she's on a slight angle, see that? Perfect, but I see it come into play, long chin towards the end of your shoulder, good girl, stay there and then when I'm going to get her to do, is bring her chin around even further, stop, don't move. Now, at the moment, she's sitting on the back of her shoulder again, it doesn't work, she moved to the front shoulder, but she didn't move her back shoulder so now I want you to just move your whole body, stop, that's it, can you see that right there? Now, this works for so many reasons, tiny little smile, good girl, this works for so many reasons, it has got beautiful body language, great breast line, slight tilt forward, I just want to make sure that hair is always full at the back like that and I would like this more if the hand was tilted back this way, so I've still got a shoulder forward, but I've got her arm pointing backwards ever so slightly, and I absolutely love this, its a go to and it's a perfect shoulder position, long chin towards me, and just because I'm a perfectionist, and it's going to save me Photoshop, I'm going to get that little lock out, I'm going to make sure it's nice and full and then I'm going to take my shot there. So all the way around tipping forward very slightly, Tiff, no, your whole body and working the shoulder a little wee bit more, good girl, there it is. Okay, now something I don't want to do here is go directly up and down so if she straightens her arm up and down, so just bring your hands flat, that's it and there, that makes her body look thicker than it is and we don't want to do that, we want to work that shoulder in. Also, notice now what Tiffany's doing, is she's sitting down into her chin, she's quite comfortable there so she's going to keep sitting down into that chin so watch the simple movement, chin back to your shoulder, lift it up, now not backwards, sorry, towards me now. Now work that front shoulder, good girl, there it is. Such a subtle perfect movement and it makes such a significant difference to this pose. So those shoulders, really important. Come back to the front, Tiffany and what I want you to do is I want you to move, let's go, put your elbows together, that's a girl, and from there I want you to tip towards me from the back, okay, I'm just going to lift that up, perfect. Now I want you to engage your chin towards me and down. Don't move, I'm going to put that down so you can see perfect frame, how I would shoot that and then what I'm going to do is I'm just going to work one shoulder there, good girl, don't move, I'm going to take the shot. Now let's look at the difference in this shot. One of them is, for starters, Tiffany is big busted so as soon as she brings her hands in under her boobs, now come flat to me again, I make her boobs look smaller. So if she's back with her shoulders back like this, then there she is, right, all boobs. So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to bring the focus to her face without going off on my angles using her shoulders. I'm going to get her to hold her elbows underneath her boobs, I'm going to get her to tip towards me ever so slightly, stop, not too much, there, not she's dominating with her face and now to get some body language in there, all I have to do, let me take a still there, is just put a little bit of a kicker, just a-- (whistles) Like that, stop. Not even that far, real subtle. Chin up a little touch, don't let it get too low, tiny little smile in her mouth and eyes, good girl, that's beautiful, now I add a fan to that and straightaway, I have a beautiful shot with beautiful body language and I absolutely love what it's doing to the camera. So really, really important, using those shoulders and making sure they stay upright all the time and then pushing the chin forward, don't lose the chin position, work the shoulders to the chin, not the other way around. Alright, let's talk about hands, I always see three types of hands in an image, I always laugh about this, I always see fists. So often people seemingly are relaxed with a fist and I often see the fist come over like this where they won't touch somebody. Also, I see the claw which really is a lot of tension in the hands and people do poses where they are down like this but it's stiff and rigid. And then the other one is straight hands so I call them "Thunderbird Hands" or "Barbie Hands" and people will often do this too, rigid hands and then rigid hands to the face. So it always makes me laugh when people do these rigid hands, so I teach people about ballet hands, to me, ballet hands is when you soften the hand and then you move the fingers just like this and then you have a nice soft wrist. So when the hand's hanging down to camera, it's just nice, soft fingers. And I sort of speak a universal language, I say, "ballet hands" and people always know what I mean. I always watch poses, because I can tell how experienced a photographer is by what the hands are doing in an image. Now what I've been seeing wrong with a lot of the hands is what I call, "gratuitous hands." Okay, so let's look at a couple of things that go wrong. One of them is when people bring the hand up to the face, and it clamps to the side of the face, all of it, two things are wrong with this image. One, is it squishes the cheeks, it squishes the chin, it's not flattering at all and is a big hand clamped to the side of your face. So what I teach people is to lift up nice and tall, through your posture, and I teach people to cup the face, but not actually hold it. Now that looks beautiful and it really works, it also works really well if I tilt the hand back a little bit further away from the camera so just to there so it's not dominating in front of the face so that's what I call "cupping the chin line." Now a big mistake that people make is that they put the hand up into the ear this way, so they're leaning forward here, I call that, "talking on the phone." So that to me, is when you see somebody talking on their cell phone. (babbles) (laughs) And they've got their hand clamped over their ear. Now, we're trying to create body language and that body language there is, "I don't want to hear what you have to say." It's a blocking body language and it looks wrong. So if you want to take the weight, take from the outside of the hair just with the fingertips and then tip down onto that hand so that it's actually doing something, but even that is still too much on the ear. What I would do is bring the elbow out and put the hand or fingertips either lower around the neck or I would go on the inside of the hair and go like this, and comb out your hair so it's away from your neck. That works too, but do not clamp the hand to the chin or to the ear and do not put the hand up between the face and here, this is a no-no. So when they're lying down on the ottoman pose, I see this a lot, right up under here. I would rather you talk your hand out, touch your fingertips behind and just use the weight of your hand to engage the chin. Now, "Gratuitous Hands" are when they don't need to be in a shot and I see this a lot. If I was going to bring Tiffany's hand up and into the image, I've got to make sure it's there for a reason so if it was cupping the face and it's a beauty shot, then it stands to reason that it's here for a reason. It's to frame her face and make it look beautiful. Now, if it was this way, so she's just bringing the attention to her chin and they're really soft hands, that works too, but I just don't see the need for hands to be up on the face for no reason. Somebody said to me the other day, "why is it when I look at your images, "and you do this shot here where somebody touches their "face, why is it when I do it, it looks really good "and when other people do it, it looks really awkward?" And I can only really describe it one way. If you're going to bring your hand up to your face, and speak to somebody, you wouldn't be like this, would you, you wouldn't be talking to the person, that wouldn't be your body language, but if you were here, then it makes sense that it's more natural. So I want you to move the hands around until you find natural hand positions, so I'm going to reposition Tiffany now and show a floating pose which I see all of the time. So this is a shot that I take a lot and remember, it's the one that I take, I'm actually gonna take a proper shot with Tiffany, but I just want to show you something. I find with floating hands, when Tiffany had her foot up on the box, she had a reason to be leaning forward. Which means that the hand naturally sat on her knee, the elbow did, which meant her hand was free to do all of these movements. Now when you're in an upright position, doing a Cover Girl shot, you have to give me a reason to want to bring your hand up to the face. So I do lots of different poses where I do things like this, where I kind of sweep the bottom of the chin and if you get somebody with really good natural movement through their arms and through their chin, then it works really well. But what I'm seeing is a lot of shots just like this where, for no reason, we've got a hand up in the frame and I'm just going to show you a before and after of why I think this looks wrong and why I want you to stop doing it. Also, the other one, is when the hand comes up to the top of the head, it's getting clamped onto the top of the head, I turn the hand over and just touch the back of the crown. It makes a really big difference when you crop it out, it makes a big difference to the shape of the arm. And I just feel like those hands need to be treated really naturally, or they don't need to be there at all. So watch this example, so first thing I'm going to do is get Tiffany to bring her chin away from her neck because that gives her a beautiful shape to her face, perfect, now what I'm seeing is a lot of this. People just bring a hand up to the face and now just pull it away from your face a little bit and even just soften your fingers a little bit and then I just don't see the point of that hand being there. So no matter what it's doing, whether it's on the throat, just come down, that's it, or whether it's down a bit lower, I don't know why that would be there for the shot, I would rather take the hand straight down, and I would rather put the hands out and the elbows in and so if you can just flatten your hands down, that's it, now push your chin towards me more. Okay, now to counter weight the bottom of the waist, I'm just going to push your bum back very slightly there, okay, now chin down. So that to me, is perfect. I don't see, I'm just going to take a still here, now when you go back into your standing position so I just want you to go back and then bring that hand up again. Two things for me, one is the arms, the wrist line really dominates through here, I don't think you would speak or flirt with somebody like this, I don't see it as a very good position, even if you're cupping and it's nice and low. I really don't see the need in a standing position to bring the hands up to the face. Now very different, if we're going to do something, let's just try, putting the hands like this turning your hands away, that's it, and just nice and tall Tiff, so don't go down, and just go higher with this hand, that's it and just touch down on the top of the head. Okay, now, lift your chin up to me real super model, now chin that way just a tickle, don't move. Now that makes some sense to me if I can match the pose to her hand, so it makes more sense, let's look at it like this, if she's going to super model out her hip that way, that's it, and then lift your chin up, so it's really rocking that sort of super model pose, then that makes sense to have her arms up like that. Chin up, stop, relax your mouth, now that to me, means the body language matches the pose. Now if I put her in this position and bring her chin down and do a smiley, friendly face, or, it just, it doesn't work, it doesn't match. And what I'm trying to get you to do even go lips together, just normal face, straight hip. If you don't make her body work, then essentially, she's just a girl standing there with her hands on her head and the same applies with the hands so, when I bring the hands in, if I bring them to the face, I'm going to bring them in here, if I'm going to bring her elbows in, and them I'm going to put her hands around her throat, that's it, I'm going to do something like that, but I need the body language of what she's doing to match the expression. Straighten your head out to me, stay forward like that, because I like that and now tip down with your chin, stop, right there. Now that makes sense to me, more sense than the other one, your hands are a little bit too close to the ear on the side, so just tip back, that's the one, stay there, and now bring your elbows together as close as you can. Now that, I understand because she looks like she's leaning forward in a beauty pose, but she's not. Also, we could do something perhaps, let's go 45 degrees this way, and I want you to touch the top of your head, that's it and then I want this hand up here and so you're looking, lift that one up higher so I can't see it, good girl, now I want you to bring your chin through and just, that's it, stay right there, yeah, good girl, right. From there, lift your chin up, now I understand that I can bring the hands up around the body like that, that makes sense to me, so what I want to stop happening is just to see a random hand, so go back to the front and I just want you, I'm just going to check my focus, hang on, because you've come back to the front, I'm just going to do that, perfect. This time what I want you to do is seeing "Gratuitous Hands," I'm gonna to call them, when they just sit up on the shoulder. Okay, I don't want to see this, again, it's not body language, if it goes out, that looks better, I understand that, stay square to me though Tiff, don't turn your hip away from me. Okay, I understand if the hand folds slightly on the inside of the shoulder even more this way, and even then, if I'm gonna to do that, I'm gonna bring her around into the shot like that because I don't see it working any other way. And then tell me this, if I swap her hand to this side and then I do the same turn away, doesn't it make sense that the back hand is up instead of the front hand? So just think about where the hands are and what I think you'll really need to do is ask yourself if she was flirting with me right now, or talking to me, would her hand be there? So people play with their hair, so just mirror me, they play with their hair, they play with the outside of their hair, they touch parts of their body that they want you to look at, they sweep across the decolletage, they do all of these movements. These and natural movements, but a hand stiff on the shoulder, that's not a natural movement and a hand stiff on the face, in fact a hand cupped on the face, is just not a natural movement unless they're leaning forward in a beauty pose. So let's really work through hands and remember, we never cross the decolletage because that shuts down all the body language, we never ever cross over here, we don't need to put our hand here, but there are some really cool things you can do to direct hands when you're in full movement and one of those simple things like this, you can get somebody to hold their hands in the front, okay and relax them down a little wee bit so keep them up into frame, that's it and I just want you to turn this way a little wee bit and when you lean forward, I want you to use your hands and laugh. So people can do that, they can also touch their heart, which looks really beautiful and this looks beautiful with a maternity shot, this looks beautiful hands to heart, they can also touch the bottom of the decolletage, sorry, the bottom of the bra line, stop, that it perfect. Now that makes sense, now if I touch the bottom of the bra line and then sweep the shoulder, both those movements make sense to me. So both hands on the heart, both hands together, laughing using the shoulder with your hands there, they make sense, but neither flat. Also, we don't ever want hands to the back of the camera, I see this a lot. People will do this when they bring their hands up, that is not cool, there's nothing cool about that at all. In fact, if you don't turn it side on, that really doesn't need to be there, it should never be here, so if they sweep their hair and they're showing the back of the hand, big no-no. You know when they're forward, when they got their hands over their knee and they do this and their hands are to the back of the camera, none of that. Okay, we always want to try to move their hands lower, put your hands down so I can still see your face, inside on to the camera. And then the second thing I think is fundamentally wrong is symmetry in the hands, so when you've got two matching hands, so even when you're holding the collar in a shot, I don't want to see two identical hands. So, like you're holding a jacket collar, just make sure one's just a wee little bit different. And thumbs out, I see thumbs out a lot, people have their thumbs always out or their little fingers are stiff so their hands are seemingly relaxed and their little fingers are stiff. Okay, so just watching hands all the time make a big difference. Now the easiest way to direct people is instead of telling Tiffany to put her hand here because she's gonna do that, I'm going to tell her instead to use her middle finger and just sweep across her decolletage, a little higher. So across your collarbone, stop. And as soon as she starts moving, her hands are going to go naturally into position. Now the other one is and it's a really good one, is when you turn slightly this way, and I want you to put your hand onto your upper arm. So we often see this and people are wide hands and they're directing here and straightaway, it looks wrong, so if you turn your body back to me, stop, tuck your thumb in, and instead of being back of the hand to the camera, go around a little bit more and just sort of hug the arm and lower. Okay, now turn your body back to me and push your bum back, that's it. Then you're hugging the arm, chin forward, instead of putting a big clampy arm over here and that's really really important. Thumbs just push the hands away from the frame, turn them side on, bring the thumbs in, if you can see them in frame, soften them down. If they're having trouble moving, move the hands, like sweep the bottom of the chin, sweep the decolletage, exit soft, come down the side of the face, that's it. So draw a line down the side of the face, that's it, beautiful, down the neckline, sweep the neckline out here and sweep it that way. You can see the difference, you can see the difference in real hands and just make sure that you're actually creating a real body language and then when you do that again, Tiffany, I want you to come down to here, stop. I want you to bring your chin down ever so slightly, I want you to completely relax your mouth. Make it work for the body language with the expression, make them both work. Come up to here and then just bring your chin forward and down, and then touch the throat down, so just kind of stop, bring your chin down now and this elbow goes across just a little wee bit more and a tiny gorgeous little smile, now the eyes, good girl, you got it. So make it work, make those hands work, and make sure they look natural, all the time and turn them away from the camera and don't bring the hands up to the face unless it's gonna mean something.

Class Materials

bonus material

Business Checklist
Keynote Part 1
Keynote Part 2
Posing Guide: Set Map and Outfit
Posing Guide: Flow Posing
Posing Guide: Couples Posing
Posing Guide: Curves
Posing Guide: Teen Posing
Posing Guide: Family Posing
Posing Guide: Over 50 Demographic
Posing Guide: Beauty Shot
Posing Guide: Posing Men
How It Works
Styling and Wardrobe

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I have purchased four of Sue's courses and love them all. I have learned so much. I found the lesson on connecting with people thru their eyes has made a huge difference in my photos already. Her before and after's made me cry. I want to be able to take these kinds of photos for my family and friends. I just love what she does. She is such a great teacher. I learn much better seeing things done, so this was the perfect choice for me to learn. I love Sue's humor, her honesty, her detailed teaching and sweet and wonderful personality. Her sessions will or should not disappoint anyone. It is the best money I have ever spent on self-help teaching. Thanks a million creative live. You GOTTA LOVE SUE!


Pure gold. Sue Bryce is likable, talented, funny, and an amazing teacher. She calls you on your BS (your excuses for why you aren't succeeding), gives you business, posing, marketing, pricing and LIFE advice. The class is 58 hours long - and you spend the majority of it looking right over her shoulder, through her lens and watch her walk through many, many photoshoots. She verbally and clearly repeats several critical formulas for success so it's imprinted in your mind. Her advice is crystal clear and your photography will dramatically improve after this class. Before Creative Live, you'd NEVER have had the opportunity to shadow a photographer of her quality... hands down the best photography class I've ever taken.


I have just began this course and I am excited to see how following her model will help me to improve and get my business started. I have been through the first two days and there is lots of information to absorb and things to get in order before I begin the actual challenges. I am thankful that there are photographers out there who are will to reveal there secrets ad are truly invested in others improving themselves in all aspects of their life and not just their photography skills. Thanks Sue Bryce for your passion for empowering woman and your knowledge of creating and sustaining a business by being true to who you and commitment to the improvement of others! I am excited to grow myself and my business, I am confident this will be worth every penny! Were the templates for the email PDF included in this course

Student Work