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Posing Guidance for Him

Lesson 2 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

Posing Guidance for Him

Lesson 2 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

2. Posing Guidance for Him

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The lesson is about providing posing guidance for men during engagement photography sessions. The instructor explains how to guide men on their stance, spine posture, chest expansion, shoulder relaxation, and hand positioning. They also discuss the importance of body language and building confidence in front of the camera.


  1. What is the recommended stance for men during engagement photography?

    The recommended stance is a wide stance with feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed outwards.

  2. Why is it important to have the toes pointed outwards?

    Toes pointed inwards can signify a lack of confidence, so having them pointed outwards helps convey confidence.

  3. What role does the spine play in posing?

    The spine posture is crucial in posing. The lumbar spine should be rounded out while the upper spine should be straightened.

  4. How can men appear taller in photographs?

    By maintaining proper spine posture, men can appear taller in photographs, with a difference of one to two inches in height.

  5. What is the recommended hand positioning when not doing anything?

    When not doing anything, it is recommended to keep the hands at rest, avoiding awkward straight positions.

  6. What is the significance of the thumbs being outwards?

    Thumbs outwards is considered a power stance and can convey confidence and visually draw attention.

  7. Why is it important to start the photo session with posing guidance?

    Starting the session with posing guidance helps build trust and confidence between the photographer and clients. It also helps clients relax and feel more comfortable in front of the camera.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Posing Guidance for Him


Posing Guidance for Her


Foundational Posing


Posing Touch Points


Couples Body Language


Posing Three Point Check


Posing Tips with Demo


Lesson Info

Posing Guidance for Him

I'm gonna start with guidance for him. So, this is actually the way that we start every one of our shoots. Okay, we always encourage our clients, this is Travis. Travis, he's amazing, full beard, I love it. So, Travis we're gonna be posing you in several different kinda positions, kinda showing people how to pose. And this is the thing I know Travis and Danielle you guys have posing experience. I want you guys to kinda pretend like you don't. Okay, so just forget it. So, when it comes to guidance for him. Well, starting with the stance. So, basically what we usually say is we're going to go with the wide stance. So, working our way from feet up, right? Wide stance if they ask how wide 'cause some guys will kinda do this, they'll be like yeah, what's up and like their legs are really far apart and you're like, not like riding a horse wide, but like shoulder-width. Okay shoulder-width feet out. Now the toes are kind of a big thing. This is the weird thing, these are body language things ...

that we don't necessarily know why they are this way. We just know that they have a certain effect and from the setting, or from the different scientific studies that have been done, and the books that I've read on this. I've learned that it's because of lack of confidence. So when you have your toes pointed in, this actually is a sign for a guy of a lack of confidence. So, if it looks a little bit odd and you'll see it when you pose a bunch of groomsmen, almost always, if you have eight people, if you have eight groomsmen, they will be one guy that has his feet in, a little bit and he's just like this. Okay so, wide stance, toes pointed out, straight spine. I'm gonna be talking a lot about the spine and it's one of those things that and we're also gonna reference some stuff from Roberto Valenzuela, he's a friend of mine, he is a great course that we're gonna be talking about. It's one of the courses that we're gonna reference and recommend later on. But the spine is such a big deal. Okay, the spine is huge in your posing. And what we wanna do is let me get you over here brother. I'm a little bit touchy feely is that Is that okay? Yeah, Sure that's fine Yeah? Okay (audience laughs) Rub my back. Okay, you said it was fine dude. Yeah, okay, it's all good. Okay so, what we're gonna do is, I want you to stand profile, just so they can see the profile. I want you to as you're standing, just let your back relax and kind of sit over. Just like you would be sitting in front of a computer basically. (laughs) That's a lot, that's like the screens really low on your keyboard. You gotta get a bigger screen. Okay so, you can see the rounded spine right here. What we wanna do is we wanna straighten out pieces of, certain parts of the spine. The lumbar spine, the lower spine, we wanna keep it rounded out. So you're gonna keep a smiley face right here. Okay, so kinda keep this rounded out. And then your upper spine, you're gonna keep straightened out. And if you are, a lot of our clients are doctors and medical professionals and so I like to say this is your lumbar spine. This is your thoracic spine. This is your, it makes me look cool. Like, I'm like a doctor, just without any of the degrees and stuff. Same thing, though. Okay so, that's our spine stance. Next thing we do, you can face the camera again and what you'll notice is that as soon as somebody does that, it's like a one to two inch difference in their height. Okay so it gets them stood up and it gets them looking tall. And the next thing is basically to expand the chest. So, before a photograph we'll tell our guys, take a breath in. Take a breath and expand the chest. Do you see how it automatically opens the chest up? And it makes it look like he just did about 50 pushups, in a breath. (breathing in) Don't we all want that? Yeah I did just do, 50. You did? I should've done 50 pushups, I'm jealous. Okay, relaxed shoulders, what this means is that sometimes a guy has a tendency to kinda leave the shoulders up. We want him to just kinda hang, relax. Let him take the weight off his shoulders and then basically the hands, we need to do something with the hands, and when we're not doing something with the hands, we leave them at rest. So, and the meaning to this is that, if you were just to hold your hand out like this. That's weird right? Yes Like, you know how like in there's different movies, Will Ferrell's one of my favorite actors, and he's like "I don't know what to do with my hands." Remember that in, yeah, Talladega Nights. Guys, we don't know what to do with. I know I love it when like, the guys smile and the girls are like Will Ferrell who cares. (audience laughs) Okay, but my wife doesn't get Will Ferrell jokes. So, guys we don't know what to do with our hands. That's the basic truth is, the simple thing is if you bring a hand up. You're giving it a purpose to be up. If it's up and there's no purpose, then that looks off. Okay, so we have to have purpose. If you hold you hand out like this, one hand out, that doesn't make sense. But as soon as I put a mug, then that actually makes sense now, right? So now, it's like, okay this is a mug. But the thing is, hands draw a lot of attention too. We refer to this as basically, you're giving energy to his arm, right? You're basically bringing it up into a pose and so, what happens is our visual attention is draw towards the mug. If you want to hold something and not bring visual attention to it, we bring it back to rest. So you can hold that now at rest. Okay, so he can still hold something, if he wants to have something in his hands. Like sometimes when, you know, it doesn't matter when you're posing if a guy is holding something you don't wanna bring attention to it. You would leave it down, same thing with the girls. If you want a photograph to show off her clutch, you'd raise the clutch up in the shot. It brings attention to it. So when the hands aren't doing anything we put 'em at rest. Now, there's interesting things about the thumbs. Notice how his thumbs are out? That's a body language sign. This is a power stance, I don't know if you guys, okay so thumbs, hands in, thumbs out is a power stance. This is a nervous stance. This is also okay, but this like you'll watch, like when celebrities have their hands in their pockets, they generally go thumb out. It's a way of drawing visual attention and we do it, it's all done subconsciously. But that is a more, it'll have a perception of being more powerful than just putting both hands in the pockets. And I don't generally like to do this, because it also eliminates the skin. And so it kinda makes it look weird, like there's two pieces of skin on each side with clothing on each side, so. Okay so with the neck we extend slightly, just so that up here, you know, we kinda, bring his neck out a little bit. Just a little bit, you don't need to do too much. All that does is just kinda slims down the neckline a lil bit. And then with a guys walk, I always kinda show this, like I usually show this with the girls, with the guys they just walk regular. So when you walk you just walk normal. That looks great. Guys are really simple and straightforward. Let's bring in our girl. Danielle come on in. And we do this guys, before every single shoot. Now, I don't go into the depth that we do, on what we're doing here. Like we don't talk about body language. We don't talk about all these things. I might give them like a few lil tips here and there. Oh there's one thing I forgot to mention, by the way. But we don't go through this. It takes about five to 10 minutes to do this at the beginning of a shoot. And what's cool about this is, how many of us have had clients that come to us and go we're really bad in front of cameras. Raise your hand if your clients have said that to you. Okay, I guarantee, pretty much, like nine out of 10 of my clients say that. Oh but he doesn't know how to pose or we don't have experience in front of the camera or you know I've even had my like brides they like throw their groom under the bus. They're like I'm good with this but he's terrible. And I'm like it's gonna be okay, don't worry. You gotta build the guy back up, 'cause those things hurt after awhile, man. Don't they? They hurt. Absolutely. (laughs loudly) Okay so we started this out, and the reason that we started on every single shoot is because well we tell our clients not to worry, to confidence in us and by starting the shoot with that. We'll actually arrive about 15 minutes early, we start with this and what it does is, it sets the tone for I know what I'm talking about. You know what I mean? We start the shoot out with they now understand that I'm a professional that this is what I do and the trust is established, and my camera is down this entire time. This is when we're building that relationship. I'm showing them to relax, to have confidence and they don't even think about taking a photo.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Pre-Shoot Videos
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Presets Installation Guide
Gear Guide
Favorite Software
Lightroom Presets

Ratings and Reviews

CPR Photography

I think Pye Jirsa is one of the best, if not the best, instructor for photography on Creative Live. He is very personable, smart and approachable. He has a perfect blend of personality (comments, laughs, tangents..) to the amount of instruction. He asks the questions for you, because he knows you are thinking those questions right then. He's very good about identifying settings, gear, etc.. and not leaving us in the dark about how he "got the shot". He goes into great detail. His instructions flow, but are linear, which is helpful. He's very organized, and you can tell that he really put a lot of work into his presentations (slides, video, test shoots, live teaching, graphics, etc..) I have been listening to him for like 10 hours straight, and still haven't gotten tired of him. He keeps things moving, He's very funny too. Nice job, I've learned so much. :)

a Creativelive Student

This course was AMAZING. I'd say int he past year or two I've fallen into a slump. Uninspired by my surroundings and uninspired by my clients. As a result, it showed through my work. My posing suffered as well and more than a handful of times some of my shoots became more than awkward. Then I bought this course and watched most of it in the course of a day. I walked away inspired, blown away, and renewed. The next day I walked into an engagement session confident. I gave my couples a quick overview on posing and then we just had fun in front of the camera. Immediately afterwards they texted me about how amazing their shoot was and how relaxed I made them feel about posing. The photos turned out fantastic to say the least. I've since shot several more engagement sessions and each one of them has been amazing. If anything, this course should inspire photographers to think outside the box and provide you with the necessary skills to take incredible engagement photos. Thank you Pye and Creative Live! I cannot speak more highly of this course. I should also state I purchased Pye's Natural Light course on SLR Lounge: this course is a wonderful addition to that. If you already own the natural light course and are hesitant about purchasing this one, don't. Buy it and reap the benefits!


This is by far one of the best courses I have taken. Pye makes learning fun and easy to understand. I feel like I have learned so much throughout the course, that I have truly advanced my photography skills. I am so excited to get out there and try so many of the techniques that he showed. I would love to take another course of his. The pricing for the course doesn't even compare to how wonderful the education truly is, I really got more than my money's worth on this one.

Student Work