Essential Female Posing: Standing Poses
So we're going to photograph some women's poses here. Alright so I'm gonna give you my women's posing guidelines. These are a rehash of what we've already talked about, but this is if you are going to learn about posing a woman in less than an hour, half hour, we'll do half hour basically. Okay, so, the number one thing we're trying to achieve when photographing a woman is to emphasize assets and reduce her flaws. And the reason I say that is you can't pose always hips, back, and chest forward because that might not be the most flattering. Tends to be though, what is more flattering for most people. Number two, is typically when standing, never have your feet, ever, of the subject flat footed and even. Never, just don't do it. So, instead what you want to do is if your subject is standing, always have the weight on one of the legs and one of the feet uneven. So, what that translates for me, is if you're just kicking your weight to one side, turn a foot, so now my feet are uneven and th...
e weight's uneven. If, I'm going to kick my weight back, kick my weight back, pop up the front knee a little bit. So, have your weight uneven, not flat footed. Number three, is curves and negative space. Make sure you don't have mergers. Make sure that you can actually see the outline of your subject. And so everything is not bunched up in one place, but instead you are showing shape and line because of that negative space. And for hands, for posing women's hands, you want to make sure that hands are always soft. So if you need to wiggle their fingers, wiggle their fingers. If you need to tell them to trace their hands around the side of their face, maybe they can't actually pose nicely with their hands, maybe they'll try caress the side of their face, and there. Or instead of posing their hands in their hair, they're doing this. Maybe you say just trace your hand along the outside of your hair, okay now twirl your fingers in your hair, good. Whatever it requires so that it's a natural movement. Also make sure that hands aren't obscuring the face. I know I've seen a lot of little kids posed with both hands up, but when you do this for a woman, you can't see her jawline or her neck. If you can keep it in mind when photographing women, you want a long neck and defined jawline. You actually do want to see the jaw and the neck. So, this wouldn't work, but maybe this would. Or this would. Or this would. Something like that. So, watch the hands, not obscuring the face and the neck, and always keep them soft. And then the final tip, is what we have over and over again for women, chin out and down. It brings you more to their eyes. It defines the jawline. And then for older subjects, it makes sure the skin here is nice and tight. So, these would be my top five women's posing guidelines. Okay, well now that I've said that, there are bagillion ways to pose women (laughs). Endless, endless, endless ways and that's why I think that people get overwhelmed is because there's too many ways and there's so many ways, you don't need too many ways, but there is something I wanted to address. Different types of women's posing. Know that, what makes your pose good for a woman is that woman's body type, their flaws and assets, and then, of course, what you're trying to say with that shoot. It's not just like one great pose for everything, it really depends, so I'm going to give you poses that I really like and poses that I use over and over again, but it's going to depend. So, the differences here that I wanted to draw attention to is fashion is usually very confident. It can be about curves, but it tends to be more about, I would say power, strong posture, and a presence. Okay, well then I would say portrait is more just about flattering the person and it's much more about their expression and their personality. That's what you're trying to have shine through. So, the pose is great cause you want to flatter their body type, but the expression is like the first and the foremost most important thing. And then finally, for boudoir, it tends to be the body's a bit more important, the body's going to be the emphasis. You can have a great portrait that doesn't really have a good pose, but for boudoir, if you don't have that great pose, it's not going to be a great boudoir image. So, these are the things you would want to keep in mind a little bit different. So I would say the air about it for a fashion image, whereas for portrait it's that personality, it's that connection, and then boudoir would be all about the curves and all about their shape. So, those would be the essentials. I'm going to go ahead and show you some of my favorite women's poses. Nothing too extravagant, but ones that you can definitely master and then build from there. So... Hi!
How are you? I was gonna say hi, but I just saw you.
Yeah, that's true, hi again.
Alright, do you want to introduce yourself? Say hi to everybody?
Hi, I'm Tessa. (audience laughs)
Do you have a mic, or no?
Yeah, are you mic'd or no?
This is Tessa, she's one of our wonderful PA's here and is an actress and a wonderful actress at that.
I was not sure if--
As is Frederick by the way. Saw them both at a show recently.
And I was supposed to see it, and I passed out. I just fallen asleep.
It looked, it sounded amazing. Okay, cool. So, for women's poses, I can already tell, like she's a performer, so she already kinda knows, I can tell you kinda know how to hold your body, so I'm just gonna say, don't, look bad. (audience laughs) Okay, yeah, yeah. Okay, okay. Because I very specifically requested not professional model so you would all know that you can mold and pose people, regardless of their posing experience. Okay, so, perfect, right there is great. Okay, so this is going to be a plain, regular standing shot, flat footed and everything. Excellent (camera clicks). You look like a robot lady. Yeah, I like that, okay. Alright, so, she is one of those lovely lucky people that she has negative space with her arms by her side. Really? (audience laughs) Okay, yeah, that's so much better. Yes, okay (laughs). And yet, you still look cute that way (camera clicks). Wait, what is this? I'm just teasing you. So, with your arms at your side, she already has some shape, but let's take a look at something like that. It's not bad, she already is very slender, but it's a very static pose. So, they said everything kinda leads you straight up and down. So, let's talk about the essentials of women's posing. The first thing that I've already said before, is that you want to pose from ground up. Because if I tell her to do one thing and then pose her legs later, it doesn't quite work. It's a little bit uncomfortable. So, I can decide how I wanna pose. So I have a couple ones that I really love. The first one I'm gonna do isn't going to be full length. I want you to cross your knee over and yeah perfect. And cross them even more, like even more. Right there. Okay, so what I want you to see is see how this point is really narrow now. If I crop right there, the end of my photo goes poof, and it ends right there, which is great. Cause it's a very narrowing point. And what that emphasizes, when you're looking at the photo is curve, your eyes start looking for curve. So, I'm gonna have you do that and just do like whatever's comfortable, however you need to shift your weight, okay. Alright, let's take a look at there, perfect. Already looks great. So, I did that first step, from ground up, I decided how I want the feet. Notice, her feet aren't flat foot, okay. It's not even weight, she's got one kicked up. Okay, the next thing I'm gonna have you do is make sure that you kinda kick that back a little bit, good. Perfect. And I'm going to have you lean out towards everybody. So, this gets smaller, that came to a point, this gets bigger. Looks good, okay great. And so now, she's already doing this, which is pretty good. And she's giving herself negative space. By default a lot of people have their hands on their sides. Now what I'm noticing for her, is she puts her hands back like that, too far. When you do this, it decreases the negative space and also, it's foreshortening. So, what I see, do that again. So, I don't see arms. (camera clicks) Okay, let's take a look. Notice the bottom, the very bottom of her body, tapers out nicely, okay so I have that nice little curve at the bottom. It's not terrible with the hands, but it is a little bit of shorter arm and little fingers. So, I'm gonna have you, just real soft on the waist. So she's, she's posing hands all nicely (laughs). So, we don't have much work to do there. Real soft on the waist, good. So, what you could do, two hands, okay? You can do it like this. We'll start off like this, perfect. Good, I'm gonna have you tilt your head just a little bit towards me, great. (camera clicks) So, very nice, straightforward women's pose. But if I wanted to make it look a little bit more interesting, I have different, I already started the feet. I set the feet, okay. I already set her hips because I want them to be slender. So I set feet, knees, hips. So what I have to work with are shoulders, hands and arms, and her chin. Cause I kinda set the foundation. So she can bring her hand up. So would you mind, put that hand on your hip. The right hand on your hip and the other hand soft to your neck. Don't tilt your head so much, a little bit too much looks like kind of like, oh my neck hurts, you want it to be like soft, I think that looks great. Notice, do it again, see how it's obscuring her jawline, and we want to see jawline, so we'll have you set it just real soft around your neck. Great, good? So what I see, are triangles, triangles, nice curve, and it ends at the bottom. Nice, beautiful. Good (camera clicks) and I like just a little bit of head tilt, good. (camera clicks) Okay, so that would be a nice, flattering women's pose. If you wanted to go with a little bit different example, Maybe you wanted to switch up the hands a little bit, you could for example, do that whole same thing all over again. You could have her hand across her clavicle. Or you could have her put her hand in front of her mouth in kind of like a playful way. Or you could put her hand back on her hip. Or she could bring this hand over to the other side. So, I'm kinda setting things that I like and then moving the last piece in question. So I think of it kinda like building blocks. I build them and then I have this whole variable to work with. Okay, I like that, then I have this variable to work with. And then I, so I build and then fix the last variable. So, one other good standing pose is if you don't want to do the legs kicked back and everything, I'm gonna have you kick one foot over, okay? And so notice, what I'm gonna have her do, and she already does it, is kick up on her toe. If it's flat foot, there's not enough curve, it's like kinda just wide there's not actually a lot of shape. When she kicks it out on her toe, now there's more of a line there. So what I can never do is, okay, I set the feet, I like that. Her legs look long that way, okay. That looks good. How bout you kick out your hip a little bit more? I'm like alright, see that, huge difference. I'm gonna grab a shot of that so we have it. So, unkick out your weight, okay perfect (camera clicks). And now kick out your weight (camera clicks). It adds a ton of shape. So if everybody, if you want to put that up there for me. Okay, so now there's like a lot of curve there. I like that, it looks very pretty. So then what you can do is I like that curve, I want to emphasize it, so I'm gonna have you put your hand soft right on the hip, a little bit lower even. So, when I'm doing this, I'm saying look right here. Look at all this curve. Look at this little waist, okay good. And so this last hand, I kinda want to emphasize that her hips and this last hand, that's my last variable. Okay, I could put it here. I could put it here, I could put it here, like I can kind of figure out what I want to do with it, but I just want to make sure there's no mergers. Maybe try just there, hips kicked out and lean your chest forward just a little. So, I'm making sure I'm emphasizing, reducing, adding curve, working with that last variable. So.
Lindsey, in that middle picture, Jamie Ann Texas says she kind of looks like she's missing an arm, do you think that a lighter shirt would help with that?
Yeah, absolutely. If I were shooting this, actually I'd pick maybe, not actually solid black. Or if she's wearing a black dress that would be perfect because then it would be, let's say she was wearing a black dress with no sleeves, and then that would be perfect cause it's all about curve. So, when they wear all black within couples, is like, that's my one exception for wearing solid dark colors cause then they like become lobs, so I like them to like be a little bit in contrast. Yeah, so yeah, definitely. You can definitely do that. Alright so let's take that last photo, good. And she just has nice, super soft hands (camera clicks). Good. Alright, and I'll check how that tether's doing. So if it were boudoir, instead of going out, I could always like, maybe can you tuck that leg in a little bit more? Put your hand on your thigh and kinda lean, I mean there's notice, I'm just like little tweaks. For boudoir, I want it to be more sensual and more curvy. So yeah, I'm gonna have you do that. This time, I'm gonna have you kinda put your hand on your thigh right here. Yeah, and then arm up. So if it were boudoir, I want a little more curve, so I'm gonna turn you just a little bit more that way and arch your back. So now, I'm looking at curve. Nice soft hands and it makes my eye do this, all the way up. Versus before, it's angular, it's cute, you know, that's fun. But this, when she brings that leg in, now, I'm following curves, let me get one more, perfect. Perfect (camera clicks). Great. So, I was gonna say imagine this is a boudoir shot, so I'm basically saying everyone imagine her in underwear (laughs). Oh wow, thank you. Thanks for that. Okay, so, those would be like the super basic go to is I do something with the leg kicked out. She can cross her arms. She can put, so it's set those variables. Alright, so let's take a look at sitting on the floor. You cool with that?
Alright, let's do it. Okay, so the very first thing she does, she takes a seat, looks comfortable, but it's all foreshortening. So, everything is straight at the camera and everything is blobbed together. So, we have to work with that. And so, I definitely will have somebody just sit down and be comfortable, but then I tweak it. So, what I'm gonna have you do is I'm gonna have you turn your legs this way. Okay, just be comfortable, perfect. And, do you want to maybe put down your front leg a little bit, like lower it a little bit and pop up that back knee? Okay, so I'm like alright, when her legs were together, it was one line. There was no separation. So, I had her bring her back knee up and her front legs lowered, okay good. Alright, well now she's like, okay what do I do with my hands? Alright, well I can do a lot. Why don't you put one arm on that hand? That's what I was looking for, and by default she's like oh this looks comfortable, that was nice, it's one thing you can do. She looks confused for that right arm. Okay, so there's a couple things I can do for that right arm. If she reaches back, it kinda opens up the pose, but if you want it to look, if you want it like a tighter crop maybe, I would put her hand on her thigh. So, what I can do there, the other thigh, we just cross it over, yeah perfect. And just cross a little bit more, good. So, I wouldn't photograph that full length because that to me is asymmetrical and unbalanced. Because everything's kinda on one side and the legs jut out, like it's not nice and curvy, my eye doesn't exactly know where to go. So, if I were photographing this, I would just photograph part of it. In my checklist of things to watch out for, one of the things I'm noticing right now is, what's bad? No offense. Well there's kinda two things. One of them is definitely her posture. She fixed it. They said to be comfortable and she's leaning. There's a difference between leaning and slouching and she was slouching. So, I will kind of get someone there and I'll say okay, and usually that's one of the last things I do. I'll say okay, now give me some good posture. As far as negative space, that's like the next thing, remember my whole checklist, I'm going off that checklist here. The next thing that I don't like is for her hand, it's not that I need a ton of negative space, but depending on how I shoot it, it lines up perfectly with the back of her body. So, I can't see where here body actually ends. So, what I could do is, I could actually, can you bring this hand up right underneath your elbow? So if I bring it up there, and depending on how I shoot, at least now, I can see the back of her body. And if sit up straight, arch your back just a little, and soft hand, good. At least now I can see the back of her body. Can you lean towards me just a little bit. We could do that. That could be one take on it. Another take, is you can put your arm back. Sorry, your right arm back, good. So, by default, every girl, when they put their arm back, they lean on it. So, you see how insanely skinny she is. But, look proportionally how big her upper forearm looks. I mean it looks three times as wide as the rest of her arm. So if somebody is posing, she's like oh crap, okay, you suck (laughs). So, if somebody's doing that, they're putting a ton of weight on it, I'll say okay, that's great, but just don't lean on it, just place it real soft there. Just real soft, good. And it really makes a difference versus actually leaning. So, let me just grab a quick shot of that. Good, good posture. (camera clicks) Cute, perfect. And as she did that, what'd she do, could you see?
Opened her palm?
Yeah, so she opened her palm towards me and she's wearing all black, and so the whitest thing would be her face and then her palm. So I want to make sure that she either shows me the pinky side, like that, that's fine. That would be totally fine, or hide it behind her neck. That's totally fine. Anything like that. So this is what I'm looking for. Okay, so that's great. And lean towards me a little bit. Okay good (camera clicks). And a little bit more better posture, just a little bit. Good (camera clicks). And then bring that hand out one more time and put it on your thigh. Cross it back a little bit, so I see less of it. Yeah good, perfect. So what I noticed (camera clicks) for this particular shot that we just did (camera clicks) is okay, she's wearing all black. Will you put your hand back on the, yeah bring it on this side of your, yeah perfect. Right now, she's wearing all black. When she has her hand on that side of her leg, all I see is her hand because it's the lightest thing against that black. So, when I tucked it behind, now I get rid of where my eye is going. So, just as a heads up for people that have, or maybe more beginner photography, okay here are the places that your eye goes in a photo. Your eye goes to the biggest thing in the frame, okay? Your eye goes to the most saturated, brightest color. Your eye goes to the area of highest contrast, as well. And the sharpest, okay so if I run through that, everything's equally sharp. So, I don't have that tool. Maybe if I was out on location. You know, I can use that for posing to help me out. Okay, the next part that I have in here is what's largest. Okay, there's nothing particularly largest if I shot from up here, maybe I could make it be her face in this case. Otherwise, it's all about the same. But then, looking and going to the area of highest contrast, her hand against that skin, or her hands against her pants is definitely the area of highest contrast. And so my eye will go right there. And that last part about saturation, or your eye goes to brightest, or the area of most color. When I was talking about clothing before, that's why we're saying okay the pair, who's larger on the bottom, you could go with a brighter colored shirt because your eye would go there a little bit more if you're really trying to reduce your waist, but you're smaller up top. So, you have like all of these little tools based on the basis of photography that you already have. You look very cute. I'm gonna have you put your arm back up and cross that arm way over. Okay, so I'm looking at this and if I photograph this full length, it's too hunchy, it's too bottled up. So, in the very beginning, I said okay you know this is just posing essentials, but you've got length choice, depth and field, and cropping so this might be a terrible pose full length, but it might be an awesome pose close up. So, that's why it's like know what you're going for and I could shoot this completely close up. Can you do soft hand on your face again? Perfect. (camera clicks) And I think. Okay, so, I need to move the light a little bit cause she's losing detail here, hold on. Cause you see how it's all blobs. If I just lighten this up, just a little bit, you'll be able to see it better. So same exact pose for me. Try that again. Perfect, okay. Same exact thing, little straighter. Tilt your head that way a little more and bring your elbows out just a little bit more. Good (camera clicks). Okay, so you can't quite see it because of the black (camera clicks) but I would say normally, oh that was better. I opened up exposure a little bit. In this case, you guys can kinda see it. She's got negative space, I can still see good features. I've got nice triangles, like this pose could work. Full length, it totally doesn't. So, knowing that whole cropping thing as well, as long as she's got her negative space here, I could lower her leg, I could have her sit up straighter to pull out and elongate there. That's kind of how I tweak. So, those would be my central standing. My central sitting would basically see how they sit comfortably and just kind of pose them around that. Create triangles, make them comfortable, see how they, if she naturally leaned out on her elbow, awesome, if she naturally leaned out this way, work with that. Would you lean out your elbow, just actually lean out on your elbow that way. Okay, so when she does that, I'm looking at it and that looks cute, but I want even more curve and more shape. So I could for example, tuck her knee over and give myself a little more curve. I mean, these are the things we do in boudoir photography, so I pick that essential and I'm like okay, more curve, more negative space, how do I draw attention to where I want? Okay, maybe I need to shoot more. Like right now, her legs are what's out at me, so that would be largest. So, I'm like okay well then maybe I would tilt her or rotate her a little bit, maybe that would be better because now I've got the nice curve in the background, but I can shoot with her head in the foreground, so now that would look larger and more pronounced. So, I take all those little basics that I knew, curve and negative space that's closest to the camera looks bigger, what are the assets, what are the flaws? And I try to build like that. You look like (whispers). She looks like a princess. (audience laughs) I just thought I would say. No, not a princess?
I riped (laughs)
Okay, you can stand up if you'd like. Okay, so the next thing that I would say is it is okay, it's okay to bring inspiration on a shoot. I would say, about the length of time I just shot, I'm just, this is a made up number, but I just shot a little bit, to show that I knew what I was doing, I interacted with them. Once you've like kinda covered those bases, then go ahead and bring out inspiration. You know, I've already established, like I know how to pose you, we've done some nice poses, okay and I'll be like you know what? I have some great ideas for some other poses. I'm actually gonna grab those and let's see what we can do with those. Alright, what do you think? Did you want to do something like that? It looks great. Yeah I think it would look, okay great. Well you wanna lay down. And like I do some thing like that, it's not like, I don't know how to pose, let's look for inspiration, it's like, hey let's do something else fun together. So, that would be my recommendation for you guys. Okay, so do you wanna actually feel free to try that one, so we're gonna have yo lay right on the ground. Okay, so the reason I like to show this pose is because I see it all the time. Alright, when you have a girl lie on her stomach, and I personally don't like this as much in the studio as much as I do on location. Cause then you can play with narrow depth and field. The things that I want you to watch out for, when you have a girl lying on her stomach, our two major things. Major thing number one is hunched shoulders. When a girl is on her stomach, her shoulders hunch up towards her neck. You still need her to push up and elongate. Or, lean out to their hand, but it should never be no neck. It's either elongate or push up. So watch out for that. Exactly, she looks comfortable there, but it really hunches her shoulders and she doesn't have much of a neck in that case. But I might have her instead of pushing up so wide on her hands, can you spread out your arms just a little bit? See how she doesn't need to, like when her arms are really tight together, let me see if I can grab this. When her arms are really tight together, she had to push up really really tall versus if her arms are a little further she could still elongate her neck without having to push up like this. So even like a little bit wider based. Keep that one hand up to your face for me. So, I'm going for nice and comfortable. Okay, so the problem that I see when people photograph this. Could you kick your feet up? When you photograph it, this is foreshortening. I will see feet out of the back of her head. And I've seen it a million times out of the back of her head. So let me just take a quick photo. So, I'm gonna have you slouch first (camera clicks) and then push up and put one hand real soft (camera clicks). Okay, so she doesn't have too much of a neck there. I had her push up, elongate a little bit, but she still has those feet coming out of the back of her head. If I have her turn totally, totally sideways, I'll have you do that for a second. Okay, and do the hand thing up again. If I photograph full length, to me, I think it's too balanced. And you will see. It's very posy and there's not much dynamicism to it. So, I would perhaps. Can you flip the hair off the front side of your neck? Remember that's what we said before. You'll see, she's gonna have a much longer neck. I would photograph part of her, maybe just right there (camera clicks). And turn towards me just a little. Rotate your body towards me just a little bit. Top of your head, your shoulders, yeah, keep them just a little bit, great right there (camera clicks). Good one more (camera clicks). Perfect (camera clicks). And now if I want to do full length, I still think it looks a little bit too separated, so just rotate your head towards me a little bit more. I would go for like right there. If you are going to do this, and you want to see her feet, kick your feet up, and right now, when I'm looking at her feet, I'm thinking all right, mergers (camera clicks). There's too many mergers. If you look at her feet, it's just a blob in the back. So I'm gonna have you kick them separated. Let me see 'em, yeah, like this as much as possible, good. Cross, perfect, a little less, just like that. Good (camera clicks). So, if you are gonna do the feet kicked up in the background, I would pick something kind of at that angle. So, she doesn't look foreshortened, she doesn't look totally flat, but she doesn't look totally kinda linear, side by side, and I definitely like kind of the close up shot. I'd definitely do this close up shot for boudoir because it's definitely emphasizing assets forward. So, it's gonna have her face and her chest forward and then everything else is a curve in the background. So you will see a bunch of varieties of this when we do boudoir. I'm gonna do a couple sitting shots with you and then we'll move on to the last part of the day, okay? Can I have that chair?
You can have whatever you want Lindsey (laughs).
I appreciate that. Thank you.
Now Lindsey, just a quick question, a general,
I don't know that we need to demonstrate anything, but WRGhould says, would you do things differently when posing an older woman than a younger woman?
We're gonna do that tomorrow.
There you go (laughs).
So, body straight towards camera. No, that doesn't work, okay. So let's do, could you turn your chair that way? So, back yeah keep going. Okay, perfect. Now, I'm gonna have you put your arm up and I wanna see how high that is, good. That was pretty easy, so what I was thinking is like okay, I don't want her straight towards the camera. If I turn her to the side, then she's just sitting at the side. Usually for women, totally to the side, is not necessarily good, cause any of this curve becomes apparent. So you usually want to hide it at like a 3/ versus straight to the side. You see every little bump. So for her, I'm thinking alright, let's turn this chair, so she's sitting backwards, but I need her to look back, I need her to turn that body 3/4 more. I need her to look back towards that light. When I put her arm up, it creates negative space. It creates a nice curve throughout her body. So this would be another great one, and you can for this arm, you can put it up to her hand, you can put it back down there, you can put it back up to her face, you can then take the chair and have her straddle it, put her hand like this, put her hands like this, so I'm just gonna start with that one. And then I'll end with my little couples posing here. Good and relax your shoulders a little bit, perfect. So, I'm gonna have you do the one with the shoulder up real quick. So her shoulder's a little bit too raised (camera clicks) and now relax it and pull your hair off the front side. Perfect. So I always do that so I can see her neck. Perfect (camera clicks). (camera clicks) Great and one more (camera clicks). Good, okay cool. Did you blink? You looked cute, it's fine it didn't matter. Blink or no blink. To give a little bit of summary then, it you have never photographed, you know if this is your first portrait of a woman, you need to do something curvy or beautiful, here's what you do. You show up. Try to figure out what their assets are. Okay, maybe what you like best about them. You make them feel comfortable. You have a conversation with them. We talked about that earlier, so make sure you catch the expression part. And then figure out where you wanna start. You have sitting, standing, leaning, you have all these different things, so pick which one you want and then work with it. What I do is I go for comfort, I elongate, I watch for negative space, and I try to emphasize curves. It's kinda like my order, I'm kinda watching from it. And I start by posing with the feet, all the way up. Knowing that sometimes, the height crop is a lot better than for example, you do that one more time, arm up again, it's much better than say (camera clicks) maybe the full length isn't quite as strong. So, you know cropping is kinda part of this whole equation. That looks cute. Whereas that's just really boxy. So watch out for that.