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Lifestyle Family Photography: Posing and Direction

Lesson 1 of 7

Class Introduction: What are you going to learn?


Lifestyle Family Photography: Posing and Direction

Lesson 1 of 7

Class Introduction: What are you going to learn?


Lesson Info

Class Introduction: What are you going to learn?

Alright. Hi guys (laughs). I am super excited to be here talking to you guys and all the people at home today about something that I feel very passionate about, and specifically, I would say where my passion lies is in family photography, and I'm gonna talk a little bit about that, but I'm really excited and passionate about posing for specifically lifestyle family photography. And I know that some of you are thinking wait, is she crazy, did she just say that she's excited about posing, because I know that posing has kind of gained a negative, it's a bad word in our industry right now. But I am, I am very excited to talk about it because I really think that posing is an art form and it's one that has lost a lot of importance recently and I think that it is still very much important, especially with lifestyle photography, with images like this one. So as many of you know, maybe that's why you're in this class today, lifestyle photography is in really high demand right now, so people are...

really starting to crave a lot more from their family photos. They want something that's different, something that's different from the standard that a lot of us grew up with, right? I mean those more traditional family portraits that have a place and that are beautiful but there's definitely a demand for people looking for movement and fine art and a little bit of connection and something that really speaks to the true personalities of every individual family that is out there. So the thing is is that if you don't have a good set of poses, if you don't have posing and guiding skills, executing a lifestyle session can be really difficult. And I'm gonna talk a lot more about that, so let's move onto the next slide. So let's talk about what we are gonna learn today specifically just so that I can keep myself on track, 'cause I can kinda go off on tangents. So one of the things that I think we really need to start with is we need to talk about why family photography matters. So before I get into connected posing, I want to share with you the heart behind my work and why I really believe, I really sincerely believe that family photography is very important and this is important work that we're doing. I wanna teach you why knowing how to pose and guide is a must. It is essential. If you are going to be a lifestyle photographer, you have to know how to pose and guide and some of you might be thinking, well, I wanna be a lifestyle photographer so why do I need to know how to pose, because those images are candid, right? Those are like in between moments. But that's what I wanna teach you today, is that's actually not very true. So I'm gonna teach you my secrets. I'm gonna teach you why or how I get the connection that I do, how I get images that are really full of life and energy, and organic. Sometimes people tell me my work is intense and raw and I wanna teach you about how I do that. Because what I want you to do today is when I think about some of the posing instruction that I see out there, I feel like it doesn't really give people actual tools, it's more just like here's one picture with the mom with kids and here's a picture with mom and dad with three kids. What I want you to be able to do today is take the actual formulas that I'm gonna give you and go out right away and use it and be able to use these skills immediately. So I want it to be really actionable. Okay. So who the heck am I? I'm gonna show you a picture of my kids because I think it's important to show this. So why should you trust me? There's a lot of photography, a lot of photography education available, which is incredible, right? But why am I qualified to talk to you about family photography, lifestyle family photography today? I've been in business for about eight years and I have specialized the entire time in family and newborn photography, I've never strayed, never done anything else and over the years I do about 100 to 150 families a year, so I've been at this a long time. I do use the word lifestyle to define my work because I think that we're all looking for a quick definition to what we do, makes it easier. But I really don't think that words define what we do, I think that it is more the feeling behind our work that defines what we do, and that's how we become known for what we do and we're gonna talk a little bit more about that in a moment. So why am I showing you a picture of my kids? Because I want you to know that I am absolutely and unapologetically a mom with a camera and I have dealt with a lot of negative stigmas based around that, I don't know if, we've got some women in here and I know that a lot of people at home that are tuning in probably deal with that, too. I have really struggled with people taking me seriously as an artist, and I will admit that in the beginning I was a little bit quiet about it, kind of trying to figure this thing out and trying to make a name for myself. And now, I'm proud. I like to talk about it because how amazing that you can have a complete transformation after having kids, that you can make a business and a life for yourself based on something that is creative. Would've never thought that was gonna happen. I would've said that I was not a creative person before having children. So I'm proud of it, and I want you to be too if that's who you are. I want you to own it. So these guys, yes, this is why I started. I actually hardly ever photograph them anymore which is kind of sad, but they are definitely where I started. So I just really felt like I needed to share that. So I wanna talk to you a little bit about why I think family photography matters, and in fact I would say that it's essential. That sound like something you guys can relate to? So just last week I was back home in Albuquerque, New Mexico and we hadn't been home in a long time and my kids, the first thing we do when we go in the house, my parents start bringing out these envelopes just stuffed full of images, some of them professional, some of them snapshots, and my children were just pouring over these pictures and it was just like oh, yep, here we go, like this is exactly what I'm always preaching and always saying that this is all we have, this is all that we have of my childhood, of my parents' childhood, and it's a tangible memory. It's amazing, it's important. And so before I was a photographer I was a nurse, and I knew that that job was very important. I helped people, I was a newborn intensive care nurse so I was helping people through life or death situations surrounding their baby. And so when I became a photographer it took me a long time, a really long time to really feel that same importance with photography, and I think that when we set out to do something, we all are looking for meaning in what we're doing, right? So I wanna share with you this family, a story that just happened to me a couple months ago. Because this just really also brought this point home. So she hired me for family photos, mama did, and I walked into their home, we were gonna, they live in a really big estate with lots of property and so we were gonna do the family photos in their home. And they had three little girls, one of them was a little baby just about four months old. And I walked in and I always make a point, we'll talk about this in a minute, but to talk to everybody and say hello and just introduce myself to every family member, gave mom a hug, she was nursing the baby and I just sat down next to her and started talking to her and she said I want you to know that you're here today photographing us as a family of five, and this is something I didn't feel I could put in a session form, I wanted to really tell you in person. We lost our two year old two years ago, and so we're really a family of six, and she said, I'm gonna cry, she said but the biggest thing, the biggest reason I have you here today is that when that child died, we had not one photo of all of us as a family and very few of me in them, she said, her herself. And I cried a little bit with her, as you would if you're a mother, if you're human, right, and someone tells you that, you feel sad for them. And we had an amazing session, it was completely lighthearted and super beautiful and fun, but it was stories like this and I've had many times where things like this have happened in my eight years where I'm like yeah, I'm right where I need to be. This is just as important as what I used to do. So family photography isn't maybe gonna get me on any billboards, I'm not gonna be in Vogue, I might not end up in People Magazine, it's just as important, in fact, I would say it's more important. So in the industry we have a hard time finding I think that family photography isn't always held at the same standard. We don't always get the same amount of respect. I think we deserve it, so that's my soapbox I'm gonna talk to you guys about. So what I want you to know today is, I'll lighten things up now after that story, what I'm gonna teach you today is not how to pose a family in a traditional sense that you might be thinking in your mind like the way that we grew up. I'm not good at that, I'm not good at posing everyone looking at the camera, in a stiff, albeit well dressed unnatural way. That's not me. Those photos are important and they have a place in our industry but that's not what we're talking about today, so what I'm gonna teach you is how to pose for connection, not perfection. So we have to get that out of your mind. I'm gonna show you an example here. So what I want you to know and what I want you to learn is that stuff like this is posed, it's directed. A lot of posing goes into this, and the cool thing about lifestyle photography is that it gives you the freedom to kind of break some rules and think outside the box and for me, this is how I create my art. I'm not someone who has my job as a photographer and then goes and takes artistic photos of my children or landscapes or whatever it is where your passion lies. My passion lies very much in family photography and I think that that's what's great, that's what's so cool about lifestyle photography is that it gives you this creative freedom to make something that really makes you stand out, that really satisfies you as an artist but it's also a really special, meaningful piece for the families that you're working with. Okay. I really want you to raise your hand, I'm not joking about this, okay, and those of you at home can type yes (laughs). So I want you to raise your hand if you love lifestyle photography, so you see something like this, something like this comes up wherever you consume your content and you're like yes, yes, I love this, okay, cool, cool. Alright, raise your hand if you want your families to look relaxed and maybe even candid and in love and natural for your family sessions, that's what you're hoping for, right? Okay, good, we're all together here. Raise your hand if you're frustrated though because you're showing up to your sessions and it's not happening, that's not happening for you. Okay, so yeah, some of you are. And so you leave your sessions, what happens when it's not happening is you feel frustrated, you feel exhausted, you feel defeated, and you may have been chasing a toddler with no plan and so you're probably a little sweaty. So you're pretty frustrated if that's what's happening. Okay. So here's a little thing, a little myth that I like to debunk right away. Lifestyle photographs are posed. And I see experienced photographers, this is a little pet peeve of mine, I see experienced photographers posting stuff like this or something of this nature and their caption says I just love in between moments. I just love candid photos, if every session could run this easily I would be so happy, and I'm like stop, that's not true, and of course once in awhile something like this does happen on its own, obviously, right? That's true, it happens. But the reason that this makes me so frustrated is because I remember when I was first starting out and I had this vision of wanting to be able to do this stuff and I would see it and I would see these captions and I would be like what the heck is wrong with my families? Why are they not showing up and just like frolicking through a field and why are they not hugging each other and being amazing, like this isn't working, I have the wrong clients. And it was because I didn't know how to pose. And I wasn't learning how to pose because I thought this is what I wanted and I thought that posing meant the stiff and traditional portrait, so it was a really big disconnect and so when I see photographers say things like that, I really feel like it's kind of a disservice to our new photographers and I really like to, like she was saying, I like to build community, I like people to know we're all on the same path here and I just think it's a disservice. So you guys, these moments are posed and guided. The entire thing, 100%, I own it, I think it's cool that we do that, I don't think it's something we have to hide. So before I learned how to pose, I left sessions feeling very frustrated, usually exhausted. My clients, they weren't as happy and they weren't as happy for a few reasons. They were feeling exhausted and tired too because I didn't have a plan so they were stressed out and trying to kind of make things work, and my work wasn't as consistent, so no one's gonna be happy if your work isn't consistent, right? But the biggest thing was that my vision wasn't becoming a reality, so I had these dreams, this vision, these emotions and these things that I wanted to create and they weren't happening and that was really frustrating and I almost stopped doing family photography, actually.

Class Description

Posing and guiding is an art form. Lifestyle Family Photography has gained a lot of popularity in the industry. What many don't understand is that quite a bit of posing goes into that lifestyle look. When you step into a lifestyle family session you need to have go to poses and the ability to guide your families into genuine emotion and interactions, all while keeping the session under control. During this posing class Elena will teach you what it takes to execute emotive family posing as well as give you step by step instruction for some of her favorite family poses. You will learn exactly what to do and say to create artistic and connected family poses.


Kristen Anderson

I would recommend it because it shatters a few misconceptions about building a lifestyle photography business that a newcomer like me battles on a daily basis. So much information on the internet and just so much of it is false and should even apply. But we do, we waste our time and resources on pursuing phantom myths about the business and we suffer. Our families suffer. Elena addresses some of those misconceptions here and gives you some tips and models to follow to help navigate as a new start up business. She made me feel like my passion for this is not misplaced and to keep going. This isn't an all encompassing tutorial on everything you need to have a successful business. If you are looking for that, you won't find it...and heaven help you if that's your goal. But, it does do what it says it will do. Help you learn and understand the necessity of posing in a lifestyle shoot and implement poses that will put you and your families at ease and on the path to a successful session. I'd definitely recommend it for it's price point. It was very useful.


Elena Blair is a talented, positive and creative teacher. She is a great communicator, and builds you up as the student to be proud of where you are as an artist, while at the same time, motivating and inspiring you to take it to the next level. It was really neat to get a front row seat to her process. She is very energetic, and offers a refreshing perspective on how to run a session and a business. Awesome class! I can't wait to see what she does next!

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Excellent course and great teacher. I love how clear and conscience she is. I also appreciate how she gives specific examples of her work, and step by step instructions on how she sets everything up. There are so many tips that I will be incorporating. I would highly recommend this course.

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