Skip to main content

Directing Your Clients

Lesson 4 from: Lighting and Posing for Wedding Photographers

Caroline Tran

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

4. Directing Your Clients

Lesson Info

Directing Your Clients

Let's move on to posing. So how do we get, how do we get clients to do what we want them to do? You have an image in your head, now how do you get them to do what you do? Now, the cool thing is, the way I direct people, it works with kids and adults. So my method of directing is the first thing is I mirror physically and emotionally. So if I'm, say, doing a bridal portrait, and I want her to be really soft, I will suddenly speak really soft. Like I change the mood of the room so that I can get these emotions out of her. If we're having fun and I want them to be more energetic, I'm gonna pose them like this, or I'm gonna direct them with a lot more energy, because they're gonna mimic the energy you have. The other, the second thing that I do, and this one works really well for kids or adults, is I give narratives. Like a lot of these people, when they walk in, it's like, they don't know what they're doing, right? So like, I remember I was teaching a class, it was a posing class, specifi...

cally, and it was supposed, we had this idea that it was gonna be shot in this hotel room and was gonna look great, and then last minute, because of conflict, we had to, we got moved into a conference room. So picture your very boring hotel conference room. So we weren't able to get the nice penthouse suite that we were promised, we were in a conference room. So now I'm trying to shoot this couple as I'm doing this demo, live demo, and it's really hard to get inspiration when you're in this windowless conference room, institutional conference room. So what did I have to resort to? I had to resort to giving them narratives. I had to tell them, okay, close your eyes, we're in a field. (laughs) The wind is on blowing ya. So you set the mood for them in that sense. And when the scene is naturally happening, like, for example, on a wedding day when there's actually already a narrative happening, you don't have to do that so much 'cause it's already happening for you. But in a portrait session, for the most part, you're gonna have to create that narrative for them. What are they doing here? Are they on a date? Are they on a business meeting? Like that would be two very different moods. So that's where you have to set that mood for them. So, for example, in this situation, I told her to pretend that it's been a long day. I mean, this was like a studio shoot, but I told her, pretend that you've just had this long wedding day and you've been dancing your feet off and you are tired. You finally find a chair, so snuggle up into that chair. Then I tell him, you walk into this room and you see her sitting there, you see your bride alone for the first time today. Go up and take that moment with her. And so I set up that scene for them, and then I let them run with it after, but I think that's how you get a lot of those genuine emotions. You get them in that mindset and then let them take over from there. So things to keep in mind when you're posing somebody. Their limbs. What are their arms and legs doing? Because a lot of times, I think the hands and the feet is what gives it away that someone is not comfortable. So whether it's like because they're in a fist or their hand is like this or their feet, you know, like, the awkward limbs is usually what, I think, makes something look unnatural, so. Be mindful of that, and how can you make them, like give them something to do with their hands. I think that's why I like props, because it gives them something to hold onto. Pockets are great. And the other thing is expressions. So now you got them in this great pose, and now, do they look awkward in the face? They have to look relaxed in the face, too. So whether you're calling them on it, sometimes it's like the furrow in the brow, that you might have to ask them to relax. Sometimes it's closing your eyes. I think closing your eyes is kind of my default go-to if someone is feeling a little too stiff. And then the other thing to keep in mind is anything closer to the camera is gonna look bigger. So here is an example of that. Same, like taken just seconds apart. In this one, I was down on the ground, so their feet was closer to me. So their legs look long, their heads look small. For this one, was straight on. So you can see there's a difference. Now. Show me really quickly, if you were holding your phone and taking a selfie, how would you do the selfie? Okay. (laughs) Right, everyone, right, it's. (laughs) So why do we do that? We do that because it makes our eyes look big and it makes our bodies look small. So when you're doing a close-up selfie like this or a close-up portrait of someone, that's an okay angle to shoot at. However, if you are doing a full body shot and you do that, that makes them look short. So something to keep in mind. So when I'm doing portraits, I prefer to be very flat, like keep my plane very flat, like this. If you go bottom up, that can give you a little bit, if they're jumping, then I'll go from this angle up. But I rarely ever shoot full body from top down unless it's really exaggerated, like aerial-looking, otherwise it makes, it shortens their body, big head, short body. (laughs)

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Posing Tips

Ratings and Reviews


I had such a great experience at Creative Live. Everyone was super nice. I flew from Los Angeles to Seattle for the first time and Mariangela was kind enough to help me with transportation, hotel, restaurants, things to do in Seattle. It was a fun continue education trip. Caroline Tran's class was amazing! I can't wait to go back for another class at Creative Live.


Enjoyed the class! Especially liked seeing how Caroline transitioned and shot the engagement shoot with the cute couple. The pick up points were great, love the analogy to piano since I'm pianist as well. I use her refined presets too and really like the outcome :) Would recommend that as well!

Student Work