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Posing 101: Essentials

Lesson 8 of 10

Posing Contact Sheet Examples

Lindsay Adler

Posing 101: Essentials

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

8. Posing Contact Sheet Examples

Lesson Info

Posing Contact Sheet Examples

All right, so what we're going to do right now. I'm breaking my rule of everything being boring backgrounds and poorly lit. I'm going to show you a couple images 100% raw, out of camera, from a couple shoots that I did. In showing, well first of all, models don't necessarily know how to pose. But then why I chose the images that I did out of that selection. And it doesn't mean they're perfect. I don't look at pose and go oh, it's perfect, that's the one. It's what's the least not good. You know, which one is the strongest. So we'll take a look at a couple of them. I'm going to start off with one that's beauty. Then we're gonna do some fashion ones. And so, if you guys have any questions on that? Let me know if you think I'm wrong. If you disagree, because you definitely could. All right, so. Let's take a look at this one, for example. These poses were, when I instructed her, I asked her to put both her hands near her face. Something like this. This is what I instructed. And then this i...

s kind of what I got. Because I wasn't being specific. And she was just trying to move with the camera. All right, so how I feel, the very first image I find it's so heavy right here. This is where my eye goes. So the pose, and this can translate to your work as well, is you can have a pose be too visually heavy to one side. I mean if you have a leg out and an arm out on one side, This side has nothing going on. And this side has everything going on. So, it's, visually unbalanced and it plays a role here as well. For this next photo over, I don't know, the hands were just awkward to me. And remember how I was saying, people really do that with their fingers? They do. Like she's, she's doing that. This last one, too much palm. You know, maybe if she was trying to do something a little more graphic and the palm was hidden. This one, the general rule for photography is you don't want to photograph up somebody's nose. That's a general photo rule. In fashion we break the rules and sometimes that looks like the model's being snotty and saying I'm better than you all. So it's okay. I don't know, we make up rules in fashion photography. So this is the least not bad for me. And so I kind of, I picked that one. Because I saw pinkies. Pinkies. Leading line, and it was kind of a, kind of a C-curve thing going up her face. And, more or less soft hands. So, that would be my pick out of those. Let's take a look at another one. All right, so I know this is a little small guys. But you can kind of see body type. All right, so obviously, and these are all poses she did. I didn't direct her to do bad poses. These are poses as I was trying to direct her to do a good one. First pose, obviously. So when you look at that, remember? Where is your eye going? If it is going up and down or straight across, your eye doesn't explore it. So it's not like eye candy. You're not appreciating it. So sometimes when you look at a photo and the reason you love a pose is 'cause your eyes just wander around it. Here, it goes voop, and straight out. This one I liked. Because she's wearing a big, baggy outfit, it's okay in this case to have negative space, or to not have negative space. 'Cause to really get the negative space, I'd have to have her like, I mean it doesn't even work with that piece of clothing. So if you look, I have some triangles here. Kind of a triangle there. It's pretty good. My eye kind of leads up through the photo. So I was okay with that one. I felt that between these two, I liked this one better. Because this made her look wider. It's actually kind of cupping the outside of her thigh there, so it makes her look a little bit wider. Instead, this is a nicer curve. And your eye follows it a little bit better. This one's also fine. Nice negative space. Decent C-curve there. The last one, bad posture. I'd told her to kind of lean towards the camera, and she hunched towards the camera instead of leaned. So that's why the ones that I would be okay with would be these three. And this was, I was shooting a clothing catalog ad. So I wanted it to be, not too edgy in fashion, but also not too commercial. Okay, how about these? So, picture number one is like my favorite fashion pose, which is what I told you. 'Cause it actually can work in fashion. The kind of flat foot, and that's why I didn't say it's bad. It's not great. But there's time when it's appropriate. This next one, I felt that there's a little, this looks a little weird. Can you actually see? Her hand's like, claw hand. Because I wasn't having her to an easy pose. So you can tell that in the shot. This one, same thing, everything's down. There's not that much movement. This one is just, it's boxy. I feel like I'm stuck in a rectangle there. This one, I'm kind of following up this way. So this one, if the hand wasn't messed up, would be okay with me. This one is the most dynamic, and the other reason I like it is, the foot. See the difference? I think it makes a huge difference. That one foot is at the camera. There's no continued movement. This one to the side, really adds a lot for me there. So that's what I would pick out of that particular shoot. Like I said, there's not really any definite answers. Okay and then here's another one. So, this is an example of where I was saying that foreshortening with the elbows going back? It's not that it's terrible. But doesn't she look like she has really little arms? I don't know, they look a little, and they're foreshortened, because she has her elbows back. So it looks like she has shorter forearms and biceps there. So, it doesn't personally work for me. This first one is just, blah. Looking at this, this worked for me 'cause I can kind of follow the line of the leg up and over. This, I have kind of a nice curve throughout, my eye explores it, that works for me. And then this one, it's too symmetrical. So I felt like I got stuck. Everything is too symmetrical. So that brings me to a good point. Is if you want to have dynamic poses, asymmetry is better. So something that you will hear me say over and over again, as we proceed in upcoming dates, is balance, but asymmetry. When you're trying to do a pose, you want it to feel balanced. Like I said, you don't want all the action necessarily on one side. But, it's asymmetrical and therefore balanced. Versus here. Everything's happening on one side. So that's the thing I think about when I'm photographing groups. When I'm photographing a group, I don't need everybody to be, exact matching hands 'cause the problem is when you try to match them perfectly, you don't. They don't match perfectly, so your eye sees that it wasn't matched perfectly. So that's why. So balance, but asymmetrical. That's something that I work for as well. So I would say these two would be the strongest. One point that I wanted to mention. Remember before, I was saying okay, put your weight on your back foot, lean forward. One of the things that naturally happens and that you should watch for, is the front knee bends. For most situations, where you're doing that, where you're pushing the weight back, you usually want that front knee to bend. It bends naturally. Basically, if it doesn't bend, it looks awkward and tense. There's a natural bend when someone puts their weight back. And that's also when I'm doing the curves where I have the knee pop over, and hit back it's already bent. So this is movement. It's always really important. As we're talking about that, make sure that the knee is bent. Just comfortable, not like awkward. So yeah, those two would be my favorite from this. And I have one more. Okay, this is the girl from the beginning again. So this the type of thing where I shot, because it was movement, I had her go, up, and up, and up, over and over again. And that's something I'll talk about in the fashion segment. And also in boudoir, I have people repeat actions. Instead of trying to hold it, because if someone is trying to hold a pose, the expression just fizzles out of their face. So I'd rather get them tired from going over and over again. And then at that same time too a lot of times as they get tired, they relax. So it actually becomes more candid. I would rather have them do that repeatedly. And so for this particular sequence, I shot, I think I shot like 40 frames. 40 different times 'cause it wasn't quite right. So my point to you is, I don't get it right, right away. Even with a professional, awesome model? Doesn't happen, doesn't work like that. So, what I see that I don't like, head way too far back. Little random pokey fingers from nowhere. That's a good hand comment. When you're posing hands. With couples and otherwise, if the hand looks like it's coming out of nowhere, remember I said from the top. That's kind of weird. The same thing is like if you have a crop and the girl has her hand behind her neck and it's coming out like anything like that. But the same thing here. You just see a couple fingers and it looks weird. And also no negative space. So I'd love to be able to see some negative space there. This one, that's like least objectionable to me out of them. I think she has a lot of tension in her hands here. I would love to see negative space here, but it's not terrible, it's okay. Looking at this one, one of the things I try to avoid is awkward poses and this is a little awkward to me. Maybe if the whole shoot was all about symmetry, graphic shapes, graphic patterns, and I was trying to do that, then that would work. But she's, I mean this is kind of regular, ready to wear clothes, so it doesn't make sense to me. This is the one that I liked best. Pinky side of her hand. Soft hand on her hip, negative space here. Triangles, so see what I'm talking about with the triangles? Versus like, this wouldn't be really, portrait or boudoir. It's way too crisp. You can do it for portrait, if you were trying to get a fashion looking portrait. Which, so the very, the second class that I taught here on CreativeLive, was Fashion Techniques for Portraits. So while I set up like this is fashion, this is portrait, I totally cross the lines all the time. Just kind of understanding what the differences are makes, kind of helps. This one, too up and down. Notice, you know I can't see the side of her feet. Both of them are straight. And then this one is like, just not good. There's no negative space, it's straight up and down, I can't see her other arm. One of the things that I've heard people say about posing, is that they want to be able to see all the appendages. The arms and legs. I don't think that's always true. I don't think that our brains think like, oh she has no arm, if you can't see it. So an example, where some people are really concerned, would be something like this. Okay? See how you can't see her left arm here? By traditional posing standards, ideally, you would see the arm, in some way. Maybe you have it so the arm is to her neck. To the front. To her leg. Something like that. I'm not as concerned about it unless it's just really awkward, where several appendages are missing? I don't know. I'm not exactly sure. It doesn't bother me too much, but just so you know that actually is a traditional posing rule. That you shouldn't have things missing. You know, you want to see the whole person unless it's about a crop, where it's clearly cropped out. Quick question we have from shutterhog, who wonders how much pattern in the clothing influences posing with negative space? And then also, Carlos Estradamix wants to know what you mean by negative space. Oh, sure, absolutely. So I'm gonna start with that one first. What I mean by negative space is literally when you have a person, all their appendages, their arms, their legs, everything. When everything merges together, you are a blob. Or a stick, depending on your body type. Could be either. And that's the opposite. What we're trying to do with posing, is to define the form in a flattering way. So the empty space that you put between you and your arms. Or you and the legs. Or wherever it may be, that empty space, is what helps flatter the form. So that's what I'm always looking for. When she was standing there posing and her arms were all in, everything is clumped together, and was very blob like. And that definitely does not encourage your eye to explore, 'cause everything is compacted. And that also if somebody's all, crunched up here, your eye sticks here and doesn't explore throughout the frame. So the negative space encourages our eye to explore the frame and then also flatters the subject. The other question about clothing. The things that I'm watching out for in clothing, which is super important in my job. I spend way more time than I would like paying attention to how the creases look like in the clothing. So, couple things that I'm paying attention to is the movement of the clothing. Like if I'm trying to show movement in the fabric. Anything kind of like that. Also, paying attention to if there is a pattern. And it clumps up because of how somebody poses. You notice it ten times more. Versus if it was black. If it's a solid black shirt, you don't notice if somebody kind of does whatever pose it may be and it folds, soon as there's a pattern, your eye goes straight there. I'm just trying to make sure that my eye isn't drawn to those patterns more than they probably already are. Which is one of the reasons that I have all the people that I have modeling for me, have the more solid colors. Because if I'm teaching you guys, and there is a striped shirt, that's where your eye will go. Your eye will go straight towards the striped shirt.

Class Description

Posing doesn’t have to be complicated. In Posing 101: The Essentials, fashion photographer and CreativeLive instructor Lindsay Adler gives you an introduction to essential posing techniques you need to start building the posing repertoire every photographer needs.

In this class, Lindsay will lay a foundation of posing basics to get you started on mastering posing. You’ll learn tips on interacting with your subject and how to coach expressions. Lindsay will show you how your lens and camera angle work with different poses. Additionally, she covers best practices for posing each body part, what to look for in posture and how to pose and shoot through flaws.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or have some posing experience under your belt, this course will build a solid foundation that will allow you to expand your posing knowledge and start getting creative.

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Stephen Lee

Amazing course, Lindsay presents a ton of great content in a relatively short amount of time. She's got a great lively personality and keeps it fun and interesting. Great job fielding all kinds of questions on the spot - she really knows her stuff!

Aaron Russell

Lindsay is amazing - so much good info in this course! She is knowledgable and inspiring, and a great teacher. However, the two moderator (?) guys who keep interrupting her to repeat her points are so annoying and add absolutely no value. She handles them very graciously as they mansplain everything she says back to her with creepy smiles and fake cheer. They have very Caesar Flickerman from the Hunger Games vibes. I would be so much more excited about Creative Live if they weren't there distracting the great presenters. Anyway, can't wait to watch more of Lindsay's stuff!


First off, I absolutely love the way Lindsay teaches. She shares a LOT of useful information and brings it in a light and cheerful way. There are plenty of examples and photos along with her descriptions. It's a pleasure to watch! This was my first course on posing and I learned a lot. Would definitely recommend this course!