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Combination Posing: Demo

Lesson 14 from: Professional Portraits: Moving Beyond Headshots

Gary Hughes

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Lesson Info

14. Combination Posing: Demo

Lesson Info

Combination Posing: Demo

One of the things that we want to do is realize that it's easier to start with one person, and build off of one person, than it is to just throw a group of people up in front of you, and then try to make them all look good. So I will typically start with, who's the boss, all right. Cliff, why don't you be the boss? You're an easy boss right here, so why don't you come right up here. Here, there you go, perfect. A little over this way, that table is gonna be the border of our shot right here, so there you go, perfect. Okay, so Cliff's the boss, so what's a good boss pose? Okay, we'll do a little captain. All right, and I'm gonna pose you, let's see. So Cliff, I want you to turn slightly this way. I want you to slide your right foot out, just like so. Good, and we'll go ahead and have you do one of these. Perfect, maybe a little bit less of the captain. Perfect, and point that toe at me. Bam, yep, okay, so we got a captain, good. All right, so now we have a boss. All right, do we have, l...

et's see who else. Carol, come on up, okay. So now, she's gonna be maybe the second in command. Good, pose on that side. So we have a reasonable height difference there. I think we'll be able to manage that, but what I want to do is I want to, Carol, have you come around this side, okay. Perfect, okay, so now, you can go into the boss, or out of the boss, but her light, let's make it easy. You want to take a tiny step back that way, and I want you to scoot in just a tiny bit. Now people, come this way just a little, there will always be a way more exaggerated difference in a photo than in real life, so people will feel like they're standing so close together, but it won't look that way in the actual shot, okay, so they're gonna be a little less comfortable than they actually would, so let's start with, let's say that if Carol were a subordinate, stand like without bending your knees, just like you normal stand, okay. Now I want you to do a contour, boom. Perfect, or give us the curve, and then we'll put a hand on the hip, or we'll drop that and we'll put that hand on it. There we go, perfect, okay, there we go, there's two. All right, let's see, who's next? Daniel, right, all right, come up this way. He's gonna be my strong, manly pillar on the end. Come on over here. All right, so right here. Perfect, okay, there we go. Let's do this. I want to have you do this first position. Locks like that, good, and then, just give me the gentle arm cross right there. Perfect, one tucked up, one forward. Yeah, that's perfect, you got it, man, I dig it. I'll tell you what, let's go ahead and bring your foot back just a touch. There you go, all right, there we go, there's two. Are we building a team? This is a crack team we're building right here. This is great, okay, good. Now let's say, let's throw something crazy into the mix. Let's say that Cliff is no longer the boss. Let's have you come up. You're still there. Stay the boss. Okay, cool. I want to show you just the difference between you can change the boss, and now, what do we have? Are we riding the train? Hoo-hoo, all right. Just body block Cliff a little bit in the front. Turn your back to him please. Are you all right up there? Okay, now give me power toe. Oh, there we go, power toe. There we go. Give me one of these. Perfect, all right. Turn to me this way. Boom. Now who's the boss, right? Now, we're gonna change this around a little bit. Turn into Cliff this way. Good, and I want you to give me first position. Slide in a little bit more. Cool, perfect, all right, give me one of these. Okay, now Cliff could still be the boss, see what I mean? All we have to do is change one thing, all right, and now, we still have one, two, three, four, slightly different head positions, and so what we'll do is we'll bring Daniel over to this side. Come on over here, and the tall on the end. Who else is tall? Joe, come on, last, we'll get one more up here. Same thing, just do it this way. Perfect, go back just a touch. Scoot in this way. Good, okay. So what we're gonna do is gonna body block for Joe a little bit, and go in for me just a touch. There we go, all right, give me first position. There we go, rocking and rolling. Exactly that, keep first one arm here. All right, looking pretty good. Now what we've got is we've got a line, and you can turn a line very quickly and easily into the flying V. Now Cliff's in great shape, he's got broad shoulders, and I want to make him look like the boss. Cliff, I want you to turn straight on. This way, perfect, boom. Now, we've got a really good flying V. Joe, I want you to tilt your head into the middle. Turn you head this way a little bit, perfect. Daniel, turn this way just a touch. Scoot in, everybody, a little bit this way, and there we go, okay. Now we've got, whew. Now what I want to do, let's say that we're gonna do three-quarter length. I want you to put your feet a little more together for me, Daniel. Point them this way. Good, all right, now, spread them apart. Give me a power shoulder stance. Okay, good, down a little bit. Now we're gonna lean in this, make him a little shorter. At the waist, bend forward. There you go, perfect. Turn your body this way. This way. There you go, perfect. All right, good, so now we've got boom. Look at that, Cliff is the boss, right in the center. All right, so, what do we want to change? Pick a new boss. Pick a new boss. Point, one, two, three, four, five, who's the boss? Okay, Carol. Okay, good. Okay, switch spots for me. There we go, boom, okay. Now I want you to come straight on like this a little bit. Now what we've got is we still got that V leading right towards the middle, which is fantastic, so go ahead and give me just a little contour, and a cross of the arms. This is a really good, an arm cross is another really good way to block the mid-section a little bit too, and anything that's gonna, boom, put something in the middle is gonna be flattering sometimes with people. You don't always need to get the arms away from the body to be slimming, but now we've got, boom, okay, so now who's the boss? Okay, Daniel's the boss. Oh that's easy, all right, 'cause you're the tallest one, right, okay, everybody shuffle, shuffle. Let's move, let's mix it up. Daniel, go right in the middle. Okay, perfect. Now this one, I'm gonna show you the reverse flying V, all right, so go ahead, and we're gonna have you stand right in the middle, hands in your pockets. Give me a wide power stance. That's perfect. Let's do a reverse flying, eh, we won't do a reverse flying V. Let's do the W, okay, so let's go Cliff on the end. Go right here, remind me your name one more time. Sharon. Sharon, thank you, Sharon. Okay, gosh, remember that, good. Now scoot in a little bit. There you go, turn this way. Step forward just a little bit. Okay, Daniel's the boss, right, so we got one, two, three. We got a W. It works perfect. But what if we have somebody who we want to body block, okay, so Daniel take a step back. Keep going back, and now ladies, we're gonna come in just towards the middle a touch. Okay, now guys, come in on the end. Joe, come to me a little bit this way. Good, and now we've changed his relative distance from the camera, from the view so that now, he has been reduced his size by 20%, see what I mean? So now, we've got people a little bit closer, so I got a really good team here. These guys can sell you some real estate like nobodies business, this will be awesome. I'm very excited, okay guys, have a seat. That's good, thank you so much. (applause) Yeah, give me some woos. A piece of cake, right? But what if we do it a little bit differently? What if we got something that's a little more relaxed? What if we're a software company? What if we're make organic juices and kambuchas, or something like that, like what, did I say that right? No, what is it, kambuchi? Kombucha? I don't even know. Let's bring, yeah, that's fine, yeah, let's do this. So what if we want something that's a little more relaxed, a little less intense, cool? Thank you, perfect. Great staff here. So let's talk about using props a little bit. Let's go ahead and, you know, who am I gonna use? Have I used you, Mary Ann, yet? Come on, come on down, okay, perfect. So, what we're gonna have, just stand right here, behind me, or behind the chair, not behind me. Good, okay, so now, we want to do something that's a little more relaxed, so I always like to bring in stools, chairs, you want something that isn't going to imply like a wall of powerful people in front of you. You want to relax, give a little more space, okay, so let's go ahead and have Savannah. Yeah, there you go, perfect. Have a seat. There you go, perfect. Scoot back this way just a little bit in the chair. Rest your left arm on the back there, okay. Then cross this leg over that leg. Perfect, there you go, nice and relaxed, perfect. Then we got two. I need you to put a hand right there. How you doing? Just turn your body out a little bit this way. Keep going, keep going, keep going, perfect. Give me a little shpoot, okay. Go back just a touch this way, keep going. Yeah, there we go, perfect. All right, who's next? Let's get Cathy, okay, come on up. All right, come on back here. Boom, right there. You know, you have thousands of people are watching you. Thousands, no, you're doing fine, okay. Come forward this way, Cathy, a little bit. Perfect, there you go. All right, let's do this, Daniel. Have somebody tall to put in the back here. Here we go, come on back here. There you go. He's the IT guy. That's how you know he's back there. Right, okay, perfect. So yeah, get a little bit closer. Yeah, rest a hand here. I like people, in a little more casual shot, I like them resting on stuff, and I like them leaning on each other, leaning on things that have more room around them. See, it's a lot less more aggressive, but we're still playing by the same rules. Head up here, head down here, we're making triangles, so let's put Cliff, come on down to the end. Cliff is the CFO of our Kombucha company. Here you go, all right, so I want you to come out on the end, just a touch. Turn out just a little bit this way. Move over last, yeah perfect, okay, and oh by the way, thanks for, go ahead and demonstrate that pose. Never ever ever ever do that pose. Okay, so I'm gonna turn you out, just a little bit this way. There you go, or with sometimes, if you're gonna put somebody facing the opposite direction, on the end is pretty good, all right. Looking good right there. Everybody got it. Okay, how many more do we want to build into this team shot? Do we got anybody else tall? Joe, come on. Come forward this way, Cliff, just a little bit. Joe, come around the back. Here we go, slide right into there, get that head, get forward, get forward. Belly up to it, good, all right. Yeah, I like the hand on you, look at you guys. Okay, now do you see what we got here? One, two, three, four, five, six. Doing pretty good, and as long as you're obeying the rules, as keeping the heads on different levels, and you're body blocking, you're flattering people, or using a combination posing, but it's a little more relaxed. You're gonna be able to just start with one person and add, and start one person, and add, and it's totally acceptable, it's totally cool, when you pose a group like this to go, you know what, let's just switch you two. Let's move that. You don't have to nail it on the first try, but start with one and build. It makes it so much easier on you mentally to take one person at a time, and add them into a group rather than pose everybody all at once. All right, thanks guys, have a seat, perfect. Thanks for giving them some woos, woo-woo!

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Ten Tips for Professional Portraits
SEO Workbook
Posing Guide
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


Gary is super knowledgable, yet down-to-earth and relatable. I love how he explains the exact gear he uses but also describes ways to accomplish the same look using DIY and less expensive alternatives. The segment where he demos a live shoot in multiple, difficult lighting situations is worth the cost of the class alone! Bonus: He's super funny. He could probably double as a comedian on the side, but I digress. This class was informative, funny, and very practical for any photographer that wants to increase their profit and expand their business into the professional world. He gives all his prices and workflows so you can get up and running in 2 days! :) Awesome class overall, and it's a great sequel to his professional headshot class (which I also bought and loved.)

Richard Blenkinsopp

I love Gary's straight teaching style, and appreciate him demonstrating with regular people, not models. This is the real life of a regular photographer! I wish Creative Live could show more from the photographers viewpoint, so that when he's posing and moving lights etc, we see exactly what he's changing, and can analyze why... not sure how they'd achieve this in a live environment though. Loved his going around to less than ideal locations and finding the place that works. My favourite course on Creative Live so far.


Gary makes taking editorial portraits look simple and fun. I want to start shooting heads! I love Creative live and Gary is really doing a great job. I got to buy the class next. Thank you.

Student Work