Floor Posing Small Groups - Live Shoot


How to Pose Family Portraits


Lesson Info

Floor Posing Small Groups - Live Shoot

So we have an amazing family I'm going to bring them out and I've memorized all their names we have jason come on out we have jacob who loves to be hugged by strange photographers way have liam we have olivia we have kira anna who I won't forget ivan and of my own kelly and finn so it's going to your family today and we might actually bring in some audience members just could I see a few people in black so I always like to do how many people can we actually add to this picture? So I'm going to start off with mom and we're going to break it down or actually build it up right? So let's build it up does anybody have any problem questions that you particularly want me to tackle today anything like how to do this, how to make mom this how to make that anything well heard a lot of the number one things that you know that mom's asked so great and the great thing is to is I have totally enjoyed watching a lot of creative live episodes and just watching lindsay adler I love her she's amazing ri...

ght? But as I watched her posing like no two year old is gonna hold it for that long right? Like it's just not gonna happen like so when you have this money different ages, you have to be very careful about how long you're asking him to be in one place how long your ask himto hold a pose and little ones tend to wiggle like this guy, you know, like a wiggle, they can't hold a post, we have to work a little bit faster, we have to be a little bit silly and we may have to sacrifice perfection for expression, which is normal with family portrait, so we'll let finn warmup he's doing a really good job and let's, let's start with kelly let's start with kelly and the girls, and this way the boys can take a break, so when I photograph family is one of the main things that I'm looking to do is create family albums, right? So I want to be able to sell walled fortress, but I also want to be able to sell albums, so I worked towards every different combination that we can do. So the first thing I started thinking about his body size, height, who's going to go in the back, who is going to go in the front? Are we going to do a standing post sitting pose? Are we going to sit on the floor? We're going to sit on a chair, we'll sit on a couch and there's so many different things we can do, but first thing I'm doing is analysing bodies heights rights already? No, we I mean, we have four different heights here that we can use to our advantage. I am I going to sit them on my going to stand them, um and we want to create diagonal lines and triangles, right? So the other thing that's really important when you're doing groups is getting all of the faces on the same focal plane, and this is a really big deal, and I think a lot of people miss this, so you pose groups together, but you've got one person always back here in one person all the way up here, and what happens to this person is they start to look smaller and this person starts to look bigger, and then they become out of balance in the portrait. So while I'm working today, well, you'll notice is that I take a lot of time making sure that heads come together and are on the same focal plane for several reasons once the body's look more proportionate and two so I can shoot a shallower depths of field, right? Because I really like my dreamy, creamy backgrounds and even in family groups, you can still get that as long as all your faces are on the same focal plane, so let let to do it wrong first, right? And I like to work on a tripod, let me start by saying this, too, for family groups, I like to work on a tripod because my camera set up, I don't have to worry about it. And the other great thing about working on a tripod is when I'm back here and I'm already set up instead of talking to my subjects from here, I can now be appear, and they start to look at me and laugh and I could direct and I can see things a little bit better and then I can shoot my image without ever having to move the camera and also frees up my body. So I have to get up now down no, like strapped across my body, it just super easy to have it on a tripod, and when you're working with groups there primarily gonna be in one space, they're not running around, I don't have to chase him unless they're too, but we're not going to do that today, so let's, just do it all wrong, so killing the sky have you come and sit down on the ground? Harvey, you're comfortable, right? So how does this make kelly's body look? And please just yeah be honest right this is not the best way for her body to look there's a couple things her knees or coming closer to the camera and that's going to basically make her legs instantly look bigger no matter how small she is so want to flatten her body out to the camera another mistake I see a lot of people make is go ahead and sit right on your bum full and then cross your legs over I see a lot of this going on with family portrait and then they plop a kid in the middle here but what happens to her body is it completely shrinks down and it just it becomes flat and kind of compressed if we roll her onto her hip with her legs going out in that direction she instantly will look thinner so that your legs got a little further and this also becomes a base of a triangular bottom for the frame right? So see how by turning her body this way we've lifted her up we've given her a space here and now she's up nice and tall instead of slumped if she rolled all the way over is another classic mistake roll all the way over on you just like sit straight with your legs that way see what happens to her body here so I really want you guys to pay attention what happens to the body when it's wrong because by paying attention to the body when it's wrong, you really learn how to fix it. So roll onto that right hip. Perfect. See, her body just became more elongated. I also have a space now to add, uh, child here, because what do we want to do with mom's body? We want to hide something, right? She knows. Hide my body. Okay, so, kira, being the smallest one of the group is going to come right here in the front. So I'm gonna have you come here and I'm gonna have your leg's coming out to the right. And now check out the base of this triangle right here. See where we have a nice face and look what happened to kelly's body when we put kira right here. A print. So I'm gonna scooch or just a little bit and then you'll lean toward your mom just so screwed your touch this way. Just a little bit more. There you go on and then kelly. Lena, this way. Just a little bit. So now. They're hidden but watch what happens there face kelly's hidden but her face is still not on the same focal plane so I'm gonna have you lift up and lean over her shoulder just a little bit and then lean back toward your mom and turn your face to her a little bit see now how they're on the same focal plane this is just great image let me get it we're here it's awesome that's perfect so we're not worried about backgrounds and don't forget to look at me your face or your face with me just a little bit more cure and then till this way toward your mom and aunt kelly lift up a little bit more and lean over her you know what? Go this way that's it and I like to have heads going in opposite directions so now kelly lean over her shoulder this way extend all the way out and then kira turn toward your mom just a little bit. So turn your nose with me just little bit there you go. I'm gonna come this way and then shut down the slope but cure and turn your face back to me just a tiny bit just a tiny bit that so right here now I can come up here, I've adjusted my focus I've adjusted my cropping and my framing oh, look how sweet they are okay, I'm gonna have you slide this way just a little more curious to get a little bit lower get a little bit lower and now lean on your mom but extend all the way out that's it and now lean over her this way and go ahead and wrap your arm around her if you can yep and well I'm not quite there yeah so right in here hands together relax this shoulder just a little bit and now lift up and now you're gonna lean in and see how now their heads come together on the scene focal plane and mom is what kelly is totally hidden right? Perfect. So that's just a easy way to get that so mom's gonna feel really good about this? The other thing is notice where my camera angle is my camera angle is up higher so I'm up higher which makes her chin come up and she lives and leans towards me and the last thing I generally say to anybody in a group is lift up and lean in so go ahead lift up and lean and squeeze boom but what happens when you tell people the lift up and lean in this like natural smile just happens and squeeze there you go squeeze and then you just make a crazy funny out sound and they smile right so perfect now we can add some more children insist so we'll always start by with a small group and then we'll add, so you're a little bit taller. So I'm gonna put you right here. One need behind your mom and won me here, coming over the shoulder. So the nice thing about the legs and the nis is that we can move the legs in for height. We can separate the knees to make people shorter, so I used the knees and the legs quite a bit. Toe alter people's heights. So when she gets down here, I'll be able to see where she's at that's it so separate your needs just a little bit more and okay, so now you know, tuck your push back just a little bit and lift up from the shoulders and lean over your mom, see how her face is now on the same focal plane is her mom. So if she just sat there normal, so sit there normally and come all the way up, see how far away she is so leaning into the group is so essential and leaning in comes from lifting up and leaning over the waste, not slumping or over. So if I normally would you say lean into your mom just naturally see what happened to our body. She's all shoulders to the camera and she looks locked. So I'm gonna have you separate your feet a little bit more. Scoot down just a little bit. I want you to lift up from here and now lean and see the difference in her body. It's so subtle but some of the language that we speak to our clients is essential. I'm a yogi girl. I love you, there's. A lot of my language comes from yoga lift up from the centre of the spine that's it, pull your shoulders down and back, roll them in and leaned together just a little bit more. Squeeze look at that and now check it out. We have a really cool bag and a line going on here now, here's the reason why you need a work quick with children, because look what happened to kira she's like, yeah, I'm john she's five minutes in and she's done right? So lift up nice and tall form a cure that's it much better, and then now when I get back here, I'm going to notice small details like odd fingers coming out of shoulders. I'm a big fan of hair and hands and family portrait because I love the feeling of families wrapped around each other. But if you see fingers coming out of weird places, we need to hide those especially on dark clothes because this just becomes an instant distraction so either have her hand below her mom's back or what I'll do is first I'll do a little bit more formal and then I'll have them wrap their arms around each other so let's start this way and then you can bring your hand up on your mom perfect so remember here were just talking about posing I'm not concerned about lighting or background or anything like that I just want to show the post I'm goingto make sure I'm focused and I'm gonna come back up here that's it clearly not lift up, lift up lean and squeeze together and olivia come toward your mom just a bit more in this side of her face that's it and then looking up at me really kira don't you giggle don't do it don't do it and look right here at me can you hear me see how sweet that is it's so easy we're a little over, I'm gonna take my exposure down just a little bit so that you guys get a better idea of what actually looks like so when I'm working outdoors I'm usually in natural light I'm looking for open shade nice flat available light for family portrait with family portrait so we don't want to go crazy with all kinds of crazy lighting because we wanted to be nice and even and flat for family portrait school that's even better here we go except you guys need to smile oh my gosh there we go okay, ready cure there you go but no just relax your hands here let's let this hand come out here and let this hand just relax but nice and tall so come up from that shoulder there you go awesome and olivia just fix your hair on your mom's side you've given her no on your side of yep that syed you're here for perfect and then lift up lean over your mom's shoulder come a little bit closer to me a little bit closer up a little bit higher a little bit closer to me that's it perfect so the last few things I'm always saying to people is lift up lean and get those heads close together I'm a family photographer I love closeness now how often does your family get this close together? Not very often how does it feel for you but what is it nice to have your children all like close together right? So for family portrait I love closeness so I'll come back here now I've done a traditional you know classic pose and I'll go olivia squeeze your arms all the way around them and then kelly bring your hands in and all the hands together bring him up bring him up bring him up bring him up on I love it except we've lost cure a little bit right she's became no neck in there also bringing han dre here bring him right here that's it hold your mom's hand and let's put your mom's hand on the outside because some day one of her girls going to get her rings so you want to you know show it in a family portrait right and then fingers like so let's not do like claw fingers let's keep him nice and close to get write these look weird this looks nicer right? So like I said I'm a big fan of hands I don't mind hands and family portrait for the reason of it makes the whole entire portrait feel more but that's even cute look at that you know such your family those your girls write those like oh squeeze squeeze a little bit more let's get a little tighter and let's just change this up a little bit and let's do that here and let's take your uh tear tie off and then keep the fingers together just a little bit there you go and bring it around just a little bit olivia on that side so I see your whole arm but round the elbow just a little bit right there perfect and lift up olivia wash your posture they go lift up, lift up squeeze take a deep breath in hey having fun yet yeah okay but wait we have one more girl right I didn't forget about you and I promise but look at this nice little space for anna going now see how the bodies air puzzling together so her body's turned out she canal lean over her mom's head so I'm really literally looking for how can I puzzle the faces together and get them in nice and tight it's just my style I like tight close up images of families if you like more uh full laying for more environmental the styles you know not for you but for me okay so here we go so one foot here and one knee here and let you put me out so I'm always looking for crevices that have created spaces in the bodies where I can put other body parts so imagine you open to puzzle and you spread all the pieces out on the table and now you're starting to look at what piece fits in wear and that's what I do with bodies like that's a puzzle piece for me right there behind this knee is a puzzle piece this shoulder is a little piece of a puzzle and now all of these pieces can come together living is a little bit taller than anna so about time we're done she'll be appear and anna will be here and we're going to create different heights and now I don't normally say teo families is get your jaw next to the temple so we're going to put your jaw next your mother's temple and this is also another good way for you to get the face is exactly where you want with nice strong posture that's it so a little trick back here which I just didn't step out here just a little bit and slump for me just a little bit if you really can't get someone to sit up straight, the best thing to do is take two fingers one on the shoulder and one on the small of the back and just lift her up so press the small of the back and pull the shoulder back and look at that there you go and lift that's it so you know I always ask is okay, well I'm a touchy feely person so if you're not is it okay if I touch your shoulder lift and then lean over from the waist squeezing so now get your knee right and tight in there and see with my camera being on a tripod I never have to worry about it everything is in the same spot I'm just adding to it so there's no reason for me to read compos right? Oh that's awesome and I lean over your mom just a little bit more yes and olivia get a little bit taller until your head into your mom and she now just little bit ow oh my gosh look at how their faces are on the same plate I love it perfect squid yes and then kelly till your head with me this way just a little bit and then kira till this way just a little bit she have create a little bit of like angles in their heads now and olivia lift up away from your mom just little bit more turn this way because she was squishing her hair just a little bit and olivia tilt in this way just a little bit and an itching down just to drop olivia chin down just to drop perfect alright then squeezed oh my gosh I love you guys are pretty awesomely cute okay don't blink this time right that's every lift up squeeze so that's the way I'm working it but look, we've got did you notice my fingers? My odd fingers yeah there they are so this is no good that's weird, right? If she if she brought her hand all the way around and was like embracing that would be okay but I can't see where these fingers come from there's no hand attached them so they just looked like alien fingers this is okay to me this is okay cop down a little bit lower but we're getting either hide those alien fingers or bring him all the way around but for this case because we have all this black I don't want to see that was right. So let's do it one more time. So these are just some of the small details? Yeah. Oh, there she almost had him write. You almost had those alien fingers out. And then bring your hand to your mom's arm right there. That's it. Now, these air great age is to work with because they'll stay this way for relatively good period of time, right? I'm gonna back up just a little bit. I'm gonna just stay right there. Just get there you go. Perfect. I knew that was gonna happen. Awesome. Say say like, oh my god, I can't believe she just sat on his lap. Yeah, so leave that now if you really want to get picky, right? If we did, I would just turn her hand out this way to stroll the end of it. But keep in mind when you're posing and working with families and children of this age, you've got to be quick. So your directions have to be quick and I have to be precise because it can't stay like this for very long professional models, they get paid to stay like this, my clients pay me to put them like this, they don't want to stay like this too long

Class Description

Capture the magic of a family in a group portrait. In How to Pose Family Portraits, Michele Celentano will teach you how to take memorable family photographs of groups – sized 2 to 100. You’ll learn how to use bodies as puzzle pieces and how to position them together as Michelle poses and shoots a family of eight.

This ninety minute class will offer up fresh inspiration for your group portraits and completely change the way you photograph families of all sizes.


Joshua Meadows

A good course on posing groups and families. It is good supplemental information if you've already studied some other posing courses. The only drawback for me is aspects of the photographers social interactions aren't to my liking (acting like a chimp and blowing raspberries). I will say though that she does have high energy and give compliments and talks with the subjects on things they like. That is what I would do on a shoot and she does that well. As for the posing it was macro level of fitting people together with a skimming of the minor details. It is a good condensed lesson and worth a watch.