Posing a Small Group: 3 People


Posing 101: Couples, Weddings and Families


Lesson Info

Posing a Small Group: 3 People

So this is talking more about groups, whether it's big corporate shots, or maybe it's going to be a wedding party, or I mean whatever reason it may be, or maybe it's adult families, and so we're going to talk about breaking down what's required for photographing groups. Let me get a little trigger here, all right, so, I know you guys can't see it, but everybody on the Internet can, I have my five tips for group posing. And to look modern, to not look dated, the key to group posing is to have visual balance but not be perfectly symmetrical. That's a really important one. So, for example, you don't want the three people on the left to be posed exactly like the three people on the right, and the primary reason, or one of the reasons that I avoid this, is they're never gonna be perfect, and so then it's more obvious when you fail, when it's not lined up. So actually asymmetry makes it easier for you. It also allows people to be an individual, and so there's more character to it. The one ex...

ception I would say for this, is bridal parties, which we're going to talk about. If you're going for more traditional bridal party shots, which would be on the stairs in the church, for example, then symmetry is okay. It is not going to be necessarily award-winning posing, but it's the posing they expect and they want. So, just to keep that in mind, but we're gonna talk about more creative group shots. So number one was balance but asymmetry, not perfectly symmetrical okay? So number two, is avoid arms and body parts overlapping in ways they shouldn't. A lot of people put, like you have a group shot, and everybody puts their arms out around each other. And everybody puts their arms over each other's shoulders, and it just messes up clothing, it raises shoulders, have the little fingers popping out from the side. So avoid that, if you want people to interact, you should have them interacting with one or two other individuals, but a carefully posed and thought-through interaction, versus let's be friends. So think about how they're interacting when they group. So number three, is thinking about triangles. What I do, and this is my solution for posing groups, is I pose one person, then a second, and then a third. And as I build them they're making triangles with their heads. What you want to make sure you don't do, is you don't line up everybody's heads. Because just like you don't want to pose like a stick and you don't want to pose with your hands on your hips because it is so rigid, if you have heads at different heights, then there's visual interest throughout the pose. When everyone is lined up at the same level, then it's just straight across, static, and uninteresting. So triangles are going to be the most important thing for you. So I actually build it, and I just build slowly, saying one person there, okay, so now that I have two, where would the third be to make a triangle? Where would the fourth be to make a triangle with that? And so that's my solution for building, so think triangles with people's heads. And also asymmetry with their bodies, not everybody needs to match. This is an obvious one, but either the tallest people in the back or sitting. That's an obvious one, but making sure that, you know the whole saying, people are always like, if you can't see me I can't see you, yeah that's true, but even if they can see you it doesn't mean that you can actually see them. So I just try to take care of it right away. Taller people sitting or in the back, just watch out for that. And then number five, for groups, the way that people are physically interacting represents how that group is related. So you would pose three sisters very differently than you would pose three colleagues. Now you could still pose them using triangles, but the way that they interact and physically touch one another or don't, determines, okay, what is the relationship. And so you communicate a lot about how people are putting their hands on each other's shoulders, or the way their heads are tilted. A family, you would have a lot of physical interaction, much closer, heads tilted, whereas maybe a group of colleagues, it'd be posed for triangles, but each person would have their own personality. Because that's the idea, they're individuals whereas family you're trying to show union more. So those would be kind of my key things. So, let's go ahead and we are starting with three lovely ladies. Would you bring one chair out for me? Thank you. Okay, so I will have, let's see, who do I wanna have be front and center? Would you sit front and center for me? Sure. Okay, so I'm gonna have you put that, maybe, little bit further back. And turn it this way, okay. You guys can step off to the side, all right. So, that was like, step off (laughs). All right, is that light on okay? Perfect, all right, so what I do, is I take this nice and slow. I don't know, are you guys like me, do groups overwhelm you, I don't know, in trying to make it look good? So I take it nice and slow, and I pose one person at a time. So I honestly don't have, I didn't actually know what group I was photographing until two minutes ago. That I'm photographing three women, I really didn't know that. So I'm gonna build it like I would. Can you do me a favor, can you put your arm back up on that? Perfect, and turn your hips the other way. So I am posing her like an individual. All the rules still apply, you don't just mush people together. So may I add a second lovely individual? So let's pretend that they're business colleagues, 'cause guess what, they're business colleagues. (all laugh) Okay, so I bring her into the pose. And it's good because their heads aren't lined up. I won't want their heads to line up. So I'm going to go ahead and pose her, and not just say okay stand in there, but let's pose to flatter her. All right, so, I don't know how you're comfortable posing, but are you a hand on the hip kind of person, do you wanna put your, fine, okay, good. And instead of feet flat, put one leg back, or kick a hip out to the side, you pick whatever you're comfortable with, that good? Okay, so I'm looking at this, and she chose to kick her hip that way, nice leading line out, so that's good, all right. So now I'm looking and where would the kind of third head for a triangle go? (audience member speaking faintly) Okay, so the third head for a triangle would go on the other side, or here. So this is what I'm looking at, I've got these two, so another triangle might be here, or here. So I can choose and it kinda depends on what the group is, like if it's natural CreativeLive is cool, she's probably okay with laying on the ground, it would work. So I'm gonna actually do both. She's wearing a dress, so when you do this just, you know, aware. Yeah, be a lady. Knees, (laughs) be a lady is true. Knees together, good, perfect, yes. Great, and what if you scoot back just a little bit? Awesome, okay, so this could be one group for example. And I'm gonna actually have you, just a little bit, 'cause you're just a tiny bit taller, I'm just gonna have you lean forward just a little. Okay, great, perfect, so I will take one group shot. And this is like, if this is business associates, this is like hot business associates, 'cause these all, they have these nice, they have nice attitude here. And I do not know my exposure so let me, I'm just gonna grab a test shot here. (light clatters) And try not to break things, we'll see. All right, let me test this. But notice I'm watching everybody's posing. Can you pull your hand over in front just a little bit more, Tess? Like across your stomach, great, and then loose, perfect. So everybody has nice curves, nice negative space, can you extend that leg just a tiny bit, good, okay good. All right, let's check this. Oh great, we're right, all right let's take a look. So, you guys, I know that you'll have to look behind you to see it, but there is a nice group shot. That is much more interesting than just plain old lined up. Okay I'm gonna have you stand, I'm gonna help you and I'll block you. Thank you. Okay, so what about the other place where I can put her? Right there, I can put her in the other triangle. So I'm gonna have you stand on this side, and maybe you're like associates, so can you put your arm on her, perfect, and I'm gonna watch her pose. So right now, her hips are too straight forward to the camera, can you turn in, great. Pop that hip out, perfect, hand on your hip. And lean in, now what happens, the problem that I'm seeing, and you guys will see, we'll see if you agree, is I'm gonna say too symmetrical. Because the two girls on the outside are matching and I don't want them to be. So instead, what I'm gonna have you do, is I'm gonna have you put your outer hand on her arm, and then I'm gonna have you turn backwards with your hand on, just like that, but pop out that elbow a lot. Perfect, and lean in, and not quite as much, and I don't want the hair on this side of the camera to obscure her neck, so flip it over, perfect. And I'm gonna, you can just drop that back arm. Great, just like that. All right, so that's another way that you could do a group shot. And this would be for me, friends, or business associates, or whatever. And I might turn her, that's nice, I might turn her shoulders a little bit more, but I'd kinda build in triangles. All right, so that says to me, they could be sisters, but what happens if you wanted to show definitely, definitely sisters? Okay, what I'd do, is I look for inspiration, personally, for cool poses and how Vogue and Vanity Fair pose celebrity families. That being said, they also do a lot of those endlessly sprawling layouts that do not work in any normal-sized crop, but for three sisters, it might work. So I'm gonna actually show you a pose, okay? And make sure you guys are all cool with this. All right, so, can I have a stool please? There's a small stool somewhere, okay. (smacks lips) Aw. Oh wait, no it's not. (models speaking faintly) Okay. I think you should be, will you switch real quick? Yeah. So I'm gonna have you on the ground, and so this is totally fine. So I'm gonna have Take this out? Oh, no, it needs to stay, perfect. And that (mumbles) needs to go behind. Sorry guys, I'm wearing a dress so I'm trying not to bend over, perfect, so I'm going to go ahead, and I'm going to have you sit, okay? And I'm gonna have you put your elbow up, back there. Perfect, okay, you wanna snuzzle her? Sure, thanks. Perfect. Always. Lindsay Okay, so, (giggles), and put your elbow, see how she's kind of like, snuzzling in? You don't have to go that far snuzzling, (models laugh) you can just put your arms up like that, good, okay. And so, right now she's sitting back a little bit, she's set back in her chair, so nice and straight and lean forward, perfect. And lean out towards her, and so I can also go ahead and have her, for sisters, put her arm around her more, or sit on that bench, and I think I'm gonna have you, let's do, can you kick too, your knees out this way? Good, and you're gonna put one hand here. Great, and so now I have a triangle like this, and so now it's much more family-oriented, I'm looking, she doesn't know what to do with this hand so I'm gonna say okay, let's put this hand soft there. No random fingers, I'm gonna hide that hand. And loose, right now you have a shoulder up, relax your shoulder, perfect, and then your hand soft there. Perfect, so now I can have a nice little triangle, let's take a look, perfect. (shutter clicking) Now, let's see right here. Good, okay, so I might pose families a little more interactive there, so now I have triangles, okay, so that's three people, and there are a million other ways I could do this, 'cause for example, I could have, let's say I had a couch. I could have one girl sprawled out on the couch, another standing behind it, and another sitting on the ground or sitting behind. You can, I mean whatever you have, just do triangles and connection.

Class Description

Need to pose a group of people quickly and effectively? Join fashion photographer and CreativeLive instructor Lindsay Adler for a hands-on introduction to posing couples, wedding and families.

Using live shoots and a 5 guideline approach, Lindsay will give you a posing foundation and essentials poses for working with more than one subject. You’ll learn how to pose mature, uneven height, maternity and same sex couples. Lindsay will teach you how to navigate the chaos of a wedding day and pose with brides, grooms and weddings parties. Additionally, she will show you how to pose families, kids, and parents in a variety of scenarios.

Taking the reigns and posing a large group can seem daunting. This course will show you quick, easy steps you can follow to pose groups of 2 or more people and have everyone looking their best.


Santosh Mareddy

Lindsay Adler's Posing That little Queens looks Like Awesome,... Loved it


Lindsay Adler is a Creative Live treasure! Her teaching style is consistent, relaxed, easy to listen to, and to the point. Several times now I've intently watched her various classes "live" only to later purchase the class so I can review it again and again...I've never been disappointed. Thank You Lindsay!

Ginny Koppenhol

Lindsay Adler's Posing class gave me tons of confidence going into my first wedding shoot. Posing was one of the aspects I didn't have a lot of experience in, but this class is so clear and helpful that I managed some great creatively posed shots on the day!