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Portrait Photography Fundamentals

Lesson 11 of 61

Shoot: Classic Elegance Female Pose

Scott Robert Lim

Portrait Photography Fundamentals

Scott Robert Lim

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Lesson Info

11. Shoot: Classic Elegance Female Pose


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:04:10
2 5 Shots That WOW Duration:14:08
10 Keys to Posing Duration:05:37
12 Shoot: Modern Female Pose Duration:09:04
13 Shoot: Rollover Female Pose Duration:08:10
16 Seven Posing Guidelines Duration:04:18
18 Shoot: Headshot for Male Model Duration:06:45
22 Keys to Couples Posing Duration:10:31
23 Shoot: Couples Posing Duration:06:17
25 Shoot: Transitional Posing Duration:15:25
26 Keys to Group Posing Duration:07:12
28 Shoot: Accordion Technique Duration:04:11
29 Shoot: Best Buds Pose Duration:04:54
33 Shoot: Pod Method Pose Duration:17:58
35 Introduction to Lighting Duration:05:38
36 Soft vs Hard Light Duration:17:10
37 Difficult Lighting Situations Duration:05:52
38 Bright Light Techniques Duration:18:16
39 Overcast Light Techniques Duration:10:34
40 Low Light Techniques Duration:10:27
41 Lighting Techniques Q&A Duration:14:58
42 Drama Queen Lighting Duration:06:26
43 Laundry Basket Lighting Duration:09:44
44 Make it Rain Lighting Duration:03:48
46 Mini LED Bokeh Lighting Duration:08:22
48 Hybrid Flash System Duration:06:42
49 Innovative Accessories Duration:05:35
50 Gear Overview Duration:06:19
51 Theatrical Post-Processing Duration:06:07
52 Ten Keys to Post-Processing Duration:08:37
54 Headshot Post-Processing Duration:24:53
55 Bright Light Post-Processing Duration:09:45
56 Flat Light Post-Processing Duration:14:46
57 Low Light Post-Processing Duration:08:24

Lesson Info

Shoot: Classic Elegance Female Pose

Let's get onto the three essential poses. So, these are the three poses that I use all the time, in every session. I don't actually vary. You saw my imagery, but I don't really vary from these three poses, because a lot of the times, I only got a couple minutes to shoot, and I can only get to these three, and then I don't have time to have anything else, and so these are my go-to's. Everybody needs a go-to in the beginning. You're feeling unsure. You don't know what your subject can do. I immediately go to these because I know them and I know they are tried and true. They work, so if you can master these, then you can feel confident about your work. So, let's get into one. This is the one, the classic elegance, right, so this is kind of like what I said, that princess pose, where you feel very. This is like the number one pose in the world. Ever used. So, especially, if you go into some sculpture museums, or you see paintings of people. They're always just doing this pose, all the time...

. It's like all the over the. You can even go into fashion magazines right now and you will see this pose. So, you have to learn it and in general, it just makes everybody look better. You gotta learn it. So, what is it? One, nose toward the light. Cuz when you put the nose towards the light, that means that the brightest part of that person is gonna be seen, the face, right? So, a lot of times you forget about that, but that very base. I could repeat this a hundred times to you, and then a lot of times when we go out in the field, we forget about it. But, that is the number one thing, is that you gotta remember to put the nose towards the light because it keeps their face, the brightest part, and your eye goes to the brightest part, so that's what you want to see is the face, and so that's why it's really necessary. The second thing is that you turn the body away from the nose. In the beginning of my career, I didn't know how to pose and I said you know what, I just noticed that if the head is one and the body is the other way, it looks natural already. If you don't, and I see this a lot. You'll see a lot of stiffness in your posing if the body and the head is pointed the same way because it tends to look very robotic. But if you simply just turn your body one way and your head the other and you shift your weight, bam, it's a pose. And it's a very simple concept, but it just works. So, when I was in the heat of the battle, when all chaos is breaking lose and there's tourists everywhere, and you just don't know what to do, just keep it simple. Okay, where is the light coming from? Put the nose that way, turn the body the other way, and you've got a shot, I guarantee you. I've been using this for over a decade. It works. Create short side shadows. So, when you have directional light and you have the nose toward that way, you'll get a shadow on their face, that shadow is important because it sculpts the shape of your subject. Photography is two-dimensional. The only way that you're gonna see shape and contour is through shadow, so for me, lighting is not exposing my subject correctly, necessarily, but it's about shaping my subject and accentuating their shape, making them look thinner or just defining it, by using shadow, and it's maximizing their beauty. Now, the whole key to this pose is it has to feel like a sweeping motion. I don't know if any of you play golf out there, but that's the feeling of it. I don't play golf, but when you swing through, that's the pose. It's that feeling, even on the back swing, right? Oh hello, hi. (audience laughs) Oh, selfie, there it is. Hi. Wait, let me get my golf swing going. Okay, now, shoot. Right? It's that sweeping and feeling motion. It has to feel that or else it's gonna look very robotic. But, it has to have that flowing feel to it, and getting your subjects to move helps them get that pose. So, let's break it down a little bit more. So, one, face towards the what? Light, right? And you notice her face is towards the light and you see the short side shadow on her face. So, you can see in this subject, she's very beautiful, but she has a wider face, right? But, what defines it, so she doesn't look wide is that shadow right there defines that. Now, a lot of times when you are shooting weddings, they're wearing what color? White! Is that correct? So, in order for you to see the texture and the shape of that dress, you have to have shadow on the dress. So, if you turn the body away from the light, look at how that shadow accentuates the bodice area. Right? And it sculpts. This lighting and the shadow sculpts her shape. And that's what you want. So, that's why you don't just have the light right in front. So, if I had the light in front, all that shadow would be gone. You get no shape. So, it's very, very necessary to have that shadow, especially if they're wearing white, you have to turn their body away. If they're wearing a darker color than the face, then it's okay to have the body and the face in the same direction because you're not going to blow it out, but if this body was turned to the light, then those highlights would be blown out because that light. Usually, that white is always brighter than the complexion of our face. Is that not correct? And so, if that's also pointing toward the light, you're going to blow out the highlights here and the face is going to be darker. Alright, so one, then all weight is on the leading leg and is straight. So, the key to that is so when they're posing, this leg has to become completely straight, not bent. So, a lot of people have a hard coordination, really you think it's easy but a lot of people, it's hard for them to actually put all their weight on that leg like that. So, a lot of times you'll do it and their knee will be slightly bent and it just won't look right and go, oh straighten out that leg. Bam! There it is. It has to be shifted there, okay? That one leg straight and then, that trailing leg is slightly bent, okay? It's like your holding an orange with the two knees, right? So, like if there's an orange in there or an apple, you want them together like that. Here is some examples. This is the first time she's ever posed. First time, right? She just came out and I just put her in that pose. Very first time! She's never done it before, but just following those techniques there. Nose towards the light. I had the light over here and it's very easy. Again, here's that elegance feel. You can feel it. This is slightly different because she's walking in front, instead of just walking like this. But, she's walking in front, but it's the same pose, really. But it's that feeling that you want, that elegance, right? Just a different way. See, I posed her here. Now, I'm looking at and critiquing myself, but I like it. I should have raised that hand a little higher, but anyways, it's still got a lot of like, so hey, whatever. (laughs) But, I posed her that way, just had her shift her weight, had her look this way, had the light over there, looks beautiful. Here it is, again. Typical wedding situation, or a typical posing, where you have some directional light in, the nose goes toward the light, the body away. You see the shadow right here. You see the shape on it and you have all that. Here, I had her weight shifted on the shoulder and her hip popped out that way, but it's that same feeling. Wrapping around, okay? So, let's just do it, right? So, enough talking and let's get Elaina in and let's kind of go through the motions. I won't grab my camera, eh maybe I'll grab my camera. No, I can't pose and hold my camera at the same time. Alright, so we have a beautiful model here. We're gonna get our lighting going, okay. We're going to kind of pretend that this is window light. If I could just drop down the house lights a tad, so they can see the dramatic lighting that we're creating. And kind of eliminate the ambient light so we can see the light straight. Okay, so let's say that the light was coming in this direction, right? So, all I know is that her nose is going to be that way, and then her body is going to be pointed towards the other way, and so what I do is I just kind of help pose with this person. My technique is I show them cuz it's easier for them to see it than for me to describe it. If I could just have you kind of lean all your weight like this, like I'm a mirror and so you pop your hip out this way, right, and you look towards that way. That's beautiful, okay? Now, this is a typical situation what's going to happen, is that when they pose for you, they're gonna put all their weight there, but you actually want it more exaggerated. So, I'm going to actually click it and show the audience what I mean. And so now, I have everything right, but her hands are at the same level so I'm just gonna change it a bit. So, she can do that and so, let's just do a little bit something more classic, where you're maybe just holding your hair off like this and then maybe, yeah, just bend your shoulder, your elbow right there. Okay! So, I'm going to take a shot right now and I'm gonna to show you what I mean. Let me arrange, take off my. One, two, three. (camera clicks) Good. Now, that's what they're gonna give you, but what really I want is I need more. Pop that hip even more. So, do that same pose. There you go. And so I need that extreme there and look back towards the light. Let's just move this a little bit over here, right here. Won't you pull out your hair this way? Just kind of pull it there. Right there. Chin up just a bit and look straight over here. Right there! Good. And move this arm back. I want to see a little bit of space right there. Perfect. Tuck that arm in just a tad, right there. Chin up, I need to get some light into your eye. Turn right there. Beautiful. Stay right there. Okay, now, give me that little hip. Give me some more hip, right there. There you go and turn your head up just bit. Right there. Right there. And you can actually look at me. Right there, perfect. (camera clicks) Good. Now, yeah. I like your head turned like that, but turn it this way. There it is! Right there. That's the classic look right there. If you can tilt your head down just a bit more, that would give you the classic feel. Right there. Chin down just a bit. Good. (camera clicks) Turn your head just a little bit more this way and look straight out over there. That is great. I love it. Right there. (camera cicks) Perfect! That really just demonstrates that classic form. If you move back, I could do a full length, if possible. The one thing is if you get the base right, you can shoot tight, you can shoot landscape, and you can shoot wide. It's all set up and it creates an efficient shooting method. If you get the base right, starting with the feet, and then moving forward, if all that is correct, then you can go to town. You can go wide. You can go tight. You can go whatever and get a variety of shots. Let's try that again and see if I can take a full length shot. I'm not quite sure if I can do it. Perfect. That's great. If you can do that, pull your hair again, and then look out. Oh, I like that. Look down like that. Good. Close. Close. (audience laughs) I'm still here with you guys, folks. One, two, pop out that hip a little bit more. There you go. (camera clicks) Good. Turn your head up. Yep, like that and then turn right there. Good. Let's do one more and we're good. One, two, three. (camera clicks) So, watch, I could do that. Now, do that same pose. Now, and then I'm gonna shoot real tight, so turn your head towards the light, but look at me with your eyes. Now, I can do. Move that arm back so I can see some space right there. Good. Oh yeah, just look right there, like that. Look down, right there. Let me just hit this real quick. (camera clicks) Then with your eyes, look at me, but keep your head more towards that way. Yeah, that's it. Right there. Right there, hold it right there. One, two. (camera clicks) Turn your head a little bit more this way. Good. And then look at me with your eyes. Perfect. So, no matter what, if I'm going wide or tight, I still gotta a good shot. Is my lighting not in the same position? Everything is the same, but when you get it right from the bottom up, it makes everything a lot easier for you. So, that's that pose. Thank you very much. (claps) That was great. Let's keep moving on. This is a very simple technique. That's why I love using constant light. I have a video light through an umbrella, and I can take that wherever I go, as long as I'm in a lower light situation. I can just go to town with that, and I don't have to be concerned about the flash and all that. I can see the light on my subject and it's very, very easy at that point.

Class Description

Want to be able to go into any situation with your camera and have the confidence to know you’ll get the shot? Award-Winning photographer Scott Robert Lim goes in-depth on the four foundational elements you must conquer if you want to develop your creativity and style.

Scott will give you the guidelines you need to master:

  • Lighting
  • Posing
  • Composition
  • Post-Processing

Once you master these fundamentals of portraits, you free up your mind to get creative and ultimately get the shot.


Vitor Rademaker

This course is amazing! Scott is extremely straightforward. He goes directly to practical problems, tips and etc. He explains every thing very clearly, and he is also very funny and charismatic, making you laugh as you learn. He shows that you don't need a lot of expensive gear to make very nice pictures. So I have saved some money as well, cause I was about to buy some gear that I wouldn't need right now. It is for sure one of the best photography courses I have ever attended to! I highly recommend! Thanks a lot Scott! You are the best!


I have purchased a number of classes, this being one of them. The quality of the information was good and the level at which Scott spoke was appropriate for me. Having a course sylibus would add greatly to the value, which usually is not part of the programs I've purchased including this one, unless I've missed it. I believe the speaker should be required to provide one. After watching the videos, much of material can be recaptured by seeing it in writing. I would like to hear back from Creativelive their thoughts. In sum, good topic, good speaker, good technical audio and video quality by Creativelive


Another fantastic class with Scott Robert Lim! The combination of his knowledge, willingness to share, passion & entertaining personality makes him a top choice for photography education. Learning not only the "what", but the "why" & "how" can transform one's entire approach towards MAKING pictures. A constant inspiration to get better & better through practice.