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Posing Tips with Demo

Lesson 8 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

8. Posing Tips with Demo

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of this lesson is about engagement photography posing tips, specifically focusing on natural pointers, hand poses, body language, eyelines, and pose duplication.


  1. What is a natural pointer and how can it be used in engagement photography?

    A natural pointer is when a pose or gesture draws attention to a specific area, such as the stomach. It can be used to create intimate connections in certain situations, but it's important to understand when to draw attention and when not to.

  2. Why should photographers be mindful of hand poses in engagement photography?

    Hand poses can significantly impact the overall composition of a photo. It is recommended to keep hand poses simple and avoid complicated finger positions to prevent distracting elements in the frame.

  3. What should photographers consider when it comes to body language in engagement photography?

    Photographers should be aware of the connotations and meanings associated with certain body language gestures. For example, grabbing the wrist can evoke a parental connotation, so it's best to position hands differently to avoid this.

  4. How can photographers create a sense of naturalness in poses?

    Pose duplication, where both individuals in the photo are doing the exact same thing, can make a pose look posed. To create a sense of naturalness, photographers can have the couple do something different with their arms or avoid duplicating each other's poses.

  5. What should photographers keep in mind when it comes to eyelines in engagement photography?

    Eyelines should generally lead down and towards each other or one should be directed towards the camera. This helps create a more visually appealing composition. If one person is looking outside the frame, it may feel odd unless there is a specific element being framed, like a sunset.

  6. Are there any recommended resources for further learning about posing and body language in photography?

    Yes, some recommended resources include the books "Picture Perfect Posing" by Roberto Valenzuela, "Posing 101" by Lindsay Adler, and "The Power of Body Language" by Vanessa Van Edwards. Additionally, books like "The Definitive Book on Body Language," "What Every BODY is Saying," and "The Charisma Myth" can also provide valuable insights.


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 Tips with Demo

All right, so natural pointers. Do this for me. Go into a stack pose with Danielle stacked in front of... And I want you to hug Danielle across the belly. Just go across the belly. And Danielle, put your hands in, open up to the audience so everybody can see. Perfect. Okay, so visual weight, what happens, where do we look right now? There's kind of a lot of attention going here, right? There's a lot of stuff going on there. So, which is great if we're shooting a maternity shot, fantastic. We want that attention there. But if we're not doing maternity and it's not the prom, (audience laughs) then we probably wouldn't necessarily do that. But the thing is that I always say that these rules are meant to be broken, because I will sometimes do this, but there's certain situations. If I'm shooting a couple and maybe she's a little bit, like, maybe she's a little bit overweight, I would not do this pose, because that brings the attention to the stomach. But if she looks flawless like Danielle...

, then it doesn't really matter, and I can put them in this pose and have a very intimate connection with them and create that. But I need to understand that if I put four hands going to a place, it's gonna draw attention there. So we know when to draw attention and when not to draw attention. The other finger, the other point of this, pull apart from each other for one second. Just, you can step apart from each other. Guys oftentimes do this. Do the thumbs in with the fingers doing this. Okay, and point them in. Yeah. I don't know why guys do this. It's, like, a masculine thing. They're like, what's up? (audience laughs) But then when you look at the shot later on, you're like, dude, there's, like, eight fingers pointing towards your crotch. It has that visual weight towards it, right? 'Cause the fingers are natural pointers. So know that your fingers, your hands, your arms, wherever these things lead to in a frame, if you're posing them, if you're creating energy with them, there needs to be a purpose for it and it needs to be where you actually want the eyes to go. If you want the eyes to go, like, that's why fashion stuff, we go like this, 'cause they want the eyes, like, to go, they want your eyes to go right to their face, and so they'll, like, use the hand to, like, point into the face. Is this right? Boom. (audience laughs) Okay, thanks. Got it. I love it that the boom was on the moment that it shouldn't've been on. That's all right. (audience laughs) Okay. So usually with the hands, when they're holding hands, we like to do simple fingers. So when you guys hold hands, just hold hands like this. That's the natural thing, though. Do that, the interwoven thing. So most couples do this. This kinda stuff, I need to, like, say this once again, 'cause, like, I wanna give you guys rules and frameworks and systems without making them rule your lives, okay? So the thing is that that does not break a pose. Neither does if he's holding her around the stomach, and it's the perfect expression, it does not, you should still deliver it. It's a great photograph, right? These are just things to be aware of. The fingers here look a little bit complicated. It's not a big deal if I'm shooting it wide. It's a very small part of the frame. But if I'm shooting it tight and they have this going on, it looks like shrimp cocktail. Right? Like the shrimp hanging off the glass and, ah, ah! That's live shrimp. In China they do live shrimp a lot on the cocktail. It's interesting. It's a thing. It's a thing. So I like to do simple hands. Just go over, there you go, perfect. Just like that. Great. There's certain things, too. I'm gonna show you guys some body language stuff real quick. Watch this. If you were to hold his, so do this. Hold onto her wrist right there. What does that do right now? Like, can you guys tell me what connotation that has? (man speaks off mic) Okay, why? How did every single one of you know that without studying body language or anything? How did every single one of you know that? Don't like it when it happens? Does it not remind us of, like, being a parent and grabbing and going for... (man speaks off mic) Um-hum. Okay. So if they're in a sitting position and they're grasping arms, and you see a wrist grab, you promptly move the hand towards the forearm or up towards this side or down or towards the hand. Don't go for the wrist. These are those pieces of body language that... And you wouldn't do this for, like, a walk. Like, oh, grab her wrist. Let's go for a walk (audience laughs) Like, that's not the shot that we're gonna do. But oftentimes, like, if they're, if you guys were hugging together or close together, that can naturally happen when he brings his hand to the wrist like that, okay? And then you go, okay, just slide the hand down onto the arm a little bit. Maybe go even for the back of her arm, and so forth. So be aware of those things in the hands. The hands have a lotta power. Okay, we talked about hip space. I gave you guys that awesome example which I don't think anybody's, nobody's said it better than that, so I hope everybody just, nobody's shown it better than that. Okay. One other thing I wanted to talk about was pose duplication. Basically, we can create a sense of naturalness by not having the couple do exactly the same thing as each other. Roberto did this, too. He called it mirroring. Copying, mirroring, one of those things. But basically, what we're trying to do is, if you guys are hugging against each other, and do the exact same thing. So both of you guys hold each other on the hips. Okay. This generally is gonna feel a little bit posed. That's okay if you want it to feel posed. But if you don't want it to feel posed, then we create a sense of naturalness by doing something different with their arms, okay? So they just need to not be duplicating each other in a pose. Make sense? Eyelines to frame. We want our eyeline generally leading down and towards each other or one going into the camera. If she goes, what's out this way? And she looks towards that side, and he's looking down towards her, this would be okay if there was a sunset over here and we framed it so that you could see the sunset, right? But if we're cropping the frame off right here and she's looking outside the edge of the frame, that's gonna be a little bit odd. All right, so again, if he is looking towards her and you guys go kind of like that shot, all you have to do is just tilt her chin forward toward the camera, have her look towards his chest. Like, right down, right at the pocket. Do his nipple. Look right at the nipple. Yup, there you go. Perfect. Fantastic. I do this stuff a lot when we're posing. I, again, know your clients, know what you can get away with and stuff with your clients. But I'll say things like this a lot 'cause you get reactions, and those reactions are so fantastic for candids and everything. All right. Communication and cues. That's next. All right, guys, I think you guys are good for now. Thank you guys. Give them a hand. (audience applauds) Perfect. So if you guys want more info on posing body language, I'm working on this thing. I have no idea when I'm gonna have that done. But right now you can go look at Picture Perfect Posing, which is fantastic. Posing 101, Lindsay Adler. She's amazing. She references a lot of stuff from Roberto's class, too. And The Power of Body Language with Vanessa Van Edwards. Vanessa, these three are friends of mine. They're fantastic people and educators. Vanessa has a code, as well, which I think Kenna knows, and they'll, I think it's, like, VanessaPower30. And they'll put that up. She has a coupon code if you guys are interested. Another, some of my other favorites. So I love studying body language. The Definitive Book on Body Language. These are very inexpensive books on Amazon, 20, 30 bucks. Same with this one, you guys. You guys need to have that book. Definitive Pose on Body Language, or Book on Body Language. What Every BODY is Saying. This is a book that was done by a former FBI agent who basically studied interrogation and so forth, which a lot of it applies to engagement photography, guys. I know it's, like, interrogation, but, eh. And The Charisma Myth. Another one of my favorites.

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