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Posing 101

Lesson 9 of 35

Posing and Shooting Flaws


Posing 101

Lesson 9 of 35

Posing and Shooting Flaws


Lesson Info

Posing and Shooting Flaws

Photographing and shooting flaws. And the biggest part of flaws is if that person perceives it as a flaw. For example, I'll just tell everybody like I think my nose is a little big. Everyone's always like no you're totally fine, but if it bothers me and you take a photo of me where it looks bigger than I want it to, I will not be happy with you, so I might as well just tell you. So I tell people that, and so I try to have a conversation with my clients, and I don't say like what don't you like about yourself? I usually say like, you know, so what's your favorite feature? I love your eyes. You know, just see what they say. Typically, like if they have a problem area they don't like, they'll be like it's not my nose, and I'm like oh why? You know? Or you can just tell for different people. So, I'm just gonna go through them, and I'll demo this on you later. (laughing) Whatever you need. I'm here for you Lindsay. Okay, a bald head or a large forehead. Okay, so here are my tips for reduc...

ing these flaws using posing and camera angle. So the first one, if you are photographing let's say a woman with a large forehead, okay? If she's sitting and leaning towards camera, and looking up at you, the closest thing to the camera is her large forehead. So typically, you want to shoot eye level or below with those individuals. And the same thing is obviously going to be true with a bald head. When you are having someone do chin out, make sure it's not chin out and way down. It's mostly chin out at that point. There's so many other things like lighting. Like you don't want a hair light if you're photographing someone who's bald, or you don't want to light too close cause it's gonna be brighter on the forehead, which draws attention. Like there's more things to it than this. So if if anybody is going to WPPI this year, I'm teaching a platform class on exactly this with like exact photos before and after so you can see everything. So if anyone comes to WPPI come say hi. Also, you wanna shoot a slightly longer lens. Because if you have even just a little bit wider it still will distort on the edges, and so if somebody's forehead is near the top of the frame it will make it look a little longer. So in this case like even an 85 at that point it might just look a little wider at top. So for someone with a really large forehead if I want to be able to shoot at a little higher angle maybe for the posing reason. Maybe I want to shoot at a higher angle because I want that person to be able to kick their hips back, but now when I get that higher angle I'm like oh crap, now they're, you know? So that's why posing it's all these little things, but in that case if I had to get up a little higher I'd use a longer lens 'cause then it doesn't stretch that feature at the edges. The 50 up close to that person, their forehead would double in size at the edges. So just keep those things in mind. Asymmetrical face. Okay, one of the things our eyes and our brains are trained to do is look for symmetry. We're looking for that. We like order, and we're always looking for that. We're trying to line things up. So when somebody has a very asymmetrical face, your job in posing is to not line it up. Because what happens is if this eye is lower, and you are straight onto camera this lower eye, you're comparing those eyes the whole time you're looking at that shot. But if I turn away and tilt my head now you don't see it anymore. So when anybody has an asymmetrical feature, or a smaller feature, find a way to make sure that their head is not straight onto that camera. So my two things are turn and tilt. And then it's so not symmetrical that you're mind isn't looking for those things. Yeah? Well would it be the same for a guy? I mean cause you don't really want a guy to have his head tilted back. So for a guy, no that's totally true. For a guy you can still tilt their head. You tilt their head away subtly instead of towards. Like girls you tilt head towards. For guys, it's like kind of that little stand-offish away. Just a little bit. But at minimum, at minimum if it's a guy do a little bit of a turn. It's kinda shoulder, head turn, eyes back, and so then you're not lining it up. And okay so looking at the features, if something is clearly smaller than the other. There are very few people where I'm like oh my god that eye's so tiny I need to put that closer to the camera, like it doesn't happen. I mean there are people but it's very seldom. The general rule is to even things out. That you put the smaller eye closer towards the camera. So what I was saying before about the good side and bad side. Alright, so people have a side of the face they prefer. We talked about this before. Generally people part their hair on the side of the face they prefer. The other way to tell is which way they take a selfie. People instinctually know their better side. So if you're friends with the person on Facebook and you can see which way they turn. I'm being totally serious. They know their better side. They do. Russ is like I know this is my side. (laughing) And notice how he's sitting with that arm forward 'cause he likes that side better. (laughing) I like that. So people have a better side, but often that side would not be the side with the smaller feature, right? Because a lot of times let's say if their eye's smaller, probably their better side is the eye that's larger. So it would actually work against you. So it's just if you can figure out what side is the better side just make sure it's not symmetrical. That's the really really big part of this. Okay, next one. Droopy eyes. I get this a lot when I photograph women where we do a glam session and by the end they had on fake eyelashes and their eyes are drooping. I don't know if you've ever had that experience, but it definitely happens. So my tip for you is shoot from a slightly higher angle, so they have to look up at you. I'm shooting, I'm the model, kay? And you're the photographer. If you're there I can kind of peer down at you, but if you're up there I have to look up at you, if you're at a higher angle in order to actually see you. So it forces my eyelids open. Okay I'm not like throwing people under the bus, but a lot of times when you photograph say, musicians. I don't know if anyone out there, anyone who photographs musicians a lot knows this. Sometimes they like to drink on set. (laughing) I'm being serious. They really do. And so by the end their a little . . . and you notice my angle gets higher. (laughing) So if I'm at a ladder by the end you'll know there's a lot of drinking. (laughing) But really, shooting at a higher angle definitely opens people's eyes a bit. So if you watch somebody who has just generally droopier eyes, shoot from a little bit higher angle. Alright, next one. Okay, the large nose one. I'm going to demo just a couple of these things when we come back just to make sure that everybody's on the same page. The large nose. Okay, first and foremost is use a longer lens. Okay, so one of the key things that we said before is that a wider lens emphasizes distance. So a wider lens would emphasize the distance from your face to the tip of your nose, making it look longer. And it definitely definitely does. It makes a huge difference. So instead I wouldn't shoot more in the 70 range, I'm talking full frame camera again, I wouldn't shoot in the 70 or the 85, I would be more towards the 100, 120, 150. Like I'd go longer in that case. The other thing that you wanna watch out for as well, is shooting too high or too low of an angle. Kay the big thing you wanna watch out for, the really really big thing, is let's say you want to shoot at a high angle, it's how you want to shoot your pose, if their chin is down, I don't know if you've ever seen this, sometimes the nose if it's long enough will actually line up and hit the lip. You don't want that with someone with a large nose. There needs to be space between the tip of the nose and their lip. So if you were going higher up, you need to make sure that you raise your chin so it's still kind of eye level. Otherwise, it draws attention and screams this person has a large nose, and that's the opposite of what you want. Similarly, from a low angle you'll be able to see the size of their nose from their nostrils. You don't want that. So I say in general eye level or a little bit above, with a longer lens. Those are like the two big things right away. The other one is basically photographing the person, I don't want to say completely straight on, but more straight on than you might normally. Because as soon as you move from not being straight on, as soon as you move from not being straight on is where you see the length or shape of the nose. Straight on is where it's minimized. You don't see it. It's actually for shortening working for you in a good way, which is why sometimes people like when you turn the face 'cause it adds depth, but you don't want depth. You want flat. Flat straight on towards the camera. So that's for somebody who has a longer nose, but the huge one is is if you do want to turn the person's head slightly to one side or the other, watch that cheek line thing I said. As soon as the cheek, and the nose peeks our over the cheek, it draws attention. You look right at the tip of their nose, and that's a huge no no. So I don't have my no no's for posing, but apparently this one I'm adamant about. No nose crossing the line, and use a longer lens. Okay, and I only have just a couple more. Oh just one more, good. Alright, double chin. Okay, so for a double chin, the number one thing is never sit back or lean back. Like if you're having a guy pose up against a wall, and guys tend to pose perhaps a little more like this. They will have a double chin. You always need to lean them. Whatever it may be. No leaning back. Always leaning forward. If they're posing, one of the guy poses is they walk towards you, make it look like they walk towards you. You know? Pull that chin out. If they're sitting down, whatever they're doing, chin out. But the problem that a lot of people with double chins have, they pose themselves, or they try to pose themselves 'cause they're aware of it. So what they do, is they try to pull up and out, 'cause they're trying to stretch that skin as much as possible. When they put their chin up, this is what you can see. So you're actually seeing the double chin more. So it really is chin out and then down a little bit. When they pull it out it defines their jaw line, it stretches that skin, and then down kind of hides it, and draws attention to their eyes. It's the chin back or down that you don't want to do. Shoot eye level or above. When you shoot lower that's where you're going to see the area of skin, and there's a lot more to it than this. There's lighting. You know you don't want to put a reflector underneath their chin 'cause then it's lit, and so you'll see that. You'd rather have shadow. Shoot from a little higher, chin out to stretch it out, down to hide it a little bit, and if it is serious, like serious serious and you want to hide it, and lighting didn't work, and posing didn't work. . . use their hand. (laughing) And I'm like half joking. I've photographed some rather large rappers. You know? And it blocked it. [Woman in audience] This is the reason for this pose. Yes! This is the reason for this pose we've decided. But you know, something like that. You know, have you seen them do kind of like this look? It's hiding double chin. So keep these things in mind. These would be my go to double chin fixers. Okay, so now we finish up with questions for the rest of the time. Fantastic, did you want to do demonstrations or do you want to do questions? It's up to you. We can finish up with questions and I'll do it after. Perfect. 'Cause then I'll bring out the set. Okay so a couple questions. One of the things that Susan E. just asked is when it comes to double chins how do you work with parents that are looking down at their babies or their childs, you know, their looking down at the kids in the family photo? I've had this happen to me. Oh definitely. So that is going to be for example if you have a child sitting on your lap, the kid shouldn't be here, they need to be like here, and it's more of a lean in look if you want the parent to look at the kid versus a like looking at the kid. Anything you can do so it's more they have to lean to look at their child versus just looking down like that. So I think leaning. Cool. Fantastic. Divegirl9 and Noreen. Divegirl9, what to do with people with crossed eyes, and then someone with lazy eyes, or otherwise, you know, off balance? I definitely think that that's an asymmetry thing. I would definitely not try any straight on looking towards camera intensive ones. If you can do ones with a little bit of a tilting head where you're not trying to line things up that's really all that you have available to you if you want a looking at camera shot. It's just make it as asymmetrical as possible. Anything you can do so it's not a pose straight towards that camera. Cool, and let's stick on eyes. From the owlcologist says for people who have squinty eyes and you can't really see, do you have any tricks to help them open up again? I get it at a higher angle, and it definitely does work. Higher angle, sometimes, I know this is gonna sound silly, sometimes a little closer, 'cause people when you're in their personal space a little bit they do actually open up their eyes. (laughing) I'm being totally serious. Versus if you're far away sometimes people are like a little, but yeah. But higher angle, like above angle, like maybe camera level here versus eye level. And mememe, not me, but mememe, wants to know how you trick a blinker so that you can get their eyes open? I mean that's a little bit more to do with lighting, but what do you think? It's less to do with lighting, and more to switching up. What they do is they actually detect your shooting pattern, so they know how often you take a pose or when you're going to. So it's more just trying to break your own habit, so they can't anticipate it. Or back button focus is another one because a lot of times what people will see on your camera is most photographers have front button focus, a lot of photographers do. So you push halfway to focus, all the way to take a picture. So they see . . . and then click. So they know when you're gonna take that picture and they blink. They do that all the time. So what back button focus allows you to do is to actually focus on, well it depends on how you have it set, but there's a button on the back of your camera. My 5D Mark III had it set by default when I received it. So you focus there and you click here, so they don't have that little second to see you focus. You just focus and click. So try something to kinda throw them off, and definitely try back button focus. I think that would help a lot. Cool, thank You. So this one is from heartmommympa, and she says how 'bout someone that might have a prominent surgical scar? My daughter is a CHD survivor and has a scar on her chest from heart surgery, and might be a little bit embarrassed about it. How would you treat something like that? For me, I just have a conversation, like I wouldn't pose any different, I wouldn't draw any attention. I mean if they are willing to talk about it right up front and just show interest in them as a person, and hear their story. A lot of times that concern melts away because they're not wondering if you're wondering what it is. Like if they're willing to open up about it right away just get it out of the way and it's no concern.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.


  • Use camera angle, lens choice, and cropping to improve your poses

  • Hide unflattering problem areas

  • Address different body types through posing and wardrobe

  • Go for simple poses rather than extravagant ones

  • Pose couples, individuals, and groups to ensure everyone looks good

  • Understand the differences between posing women and men


Posing is one of the fundamentals of great photography. It’s also the thing that photographers have the least control over. We can choose our lenses, set up, lighting, and retouch with Adobe® Photoshop®. But when it comes to photography poses, we need to pay attention and work closely with our subjects to find the perfect pose and best way to capture the most flattering image.

Fashion and portrait photographer Lindsay Adler will break down the fundamentals of perfect posing, giving you the basic rules you should follow to make your subjects and your photos look their best. Through live photo shoots and slides, Lindsay demonstrates the do’s and don’ts for every category of subject, including men, women, older people, couples, brides and grooms, groups, and more.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Connect with your subjects through sincere compliments, repeating their name and discovering their passions.

  • Avoid using negative terms that will make subjects feel ill at ease.

  • Master the rules of posing, then know when to break them.

  • Be confident when posing couples at a wedding whether it's a bride and groom, mature couple or same sex couple.

This course is perfect for novice photographers just getting their feet wet in the world of portrait photography, but it also offers useful advice and techniques for even the most skilled professionals. By the end, you’ll be able to discover the beauty in every one of your subjects, and bring it out for the world to see.


  • All levels of photographers who want to set themselves apart and up their posing game.

  • Professional photographers who want to learn new ways of posing women, men, children, couples, and groups so they can impress current  clients and attract new ones.

  • Hobbyist photographers who want to learn to pose their family and friends.


  1. Introduction to Posing

    Lindsay goes over what she'll cover in this posing for beginners course, including the do's and don'ts of posing, how the course will be broken up, and some basic posing tips and guidelines to keep in mind.

  2. Expression and Interaction Posing Tips

    Getting your subject to do what you want them to do can be tricky. Lindsay offers some helpful tips on how to get the right facial expressions for portraits, allow special moments to happen, and capture posed candid shots.

  3. Posing Guidelines

    Get the lowdown on some key posing techniques every photographer should know, from how to make your subject look slimmer to how to accentuate their best features.

  4. Basic Posing Demo

    Lindsay puts her advice into action using a model for a live posing demo that will teach your some beginner photography poses.

  5. Posing Parts: Shoulders, Chin, Eyes & Hands

    Lindsay delves into the specifics of how to do head and shoulders portrait posing to make your subjects look their best and get the right look.

  6. Posing Parts: Men, Feet, Elbows and Nose

    Learn specific male photography poses to make men look more masculine. Lindsay also goes over how to position elbows and noses for good poses.

  7. Posing Guide Contact Sheet Examples

    Look at various contact sheets and learn about model poses for fashion photography.

  8. Posing for Body Types

    Learn about posing for different body types so you can make anyone look flattering.

  9. Posing and Shooting Flaws

    Every subject will have a flaw or two, but there are lots of things you can do to hide or minimize those flaws in your photos. Lindsay also shows you some common photography posing mistakes to avoid.

  10. Male Posing Guidelines

    Lindsay gives you essential guidelines for how to pose for male photos to make men look their best and compensate for their flaws.

  11. Essential Male Poses

    Get more advice on male portrait photography poses to make men look attractive and masculine.

  12. Essential Female Posing: Standing Poses

    Lindsay summarizes the essential guidelines for women standing poses so women can look their best.

  13. Couples Posing Guidelines

    When posing a couple, you want to make sure they actually look like a couple. Here are some guidelines for photography poses for couples so that both people look great.

  14. Shoot: Female High School Senior Poses

    Lindsay goes over what to keep in mind when doing senior portrait female poses, including how to make the experience fun and how to ensure the photos are both flattering and appropriate.

  15. Shoot: Male High School Senior Poses

    When doing senior portrait poses for guys, you'll want to make them look big, tough, and cool.

  16. Shoot: Mature Male Poses

    Lindsay shows you how to pose older men to make them look good and age appropriate.

  17. Shoot: Mature Female Poses

    Lindsay shows you how to photograph an older woman, including getting good posture, keeping the chin out, and hiding her hands.

  18. Shoot: Boudoir Poses

    A great boudoir shoot depends on making sure your subject is relaxed and comfortable. Lindsay shows you how to minimize flaws, get natural boudoir poses, and use shape and movement to your advantage.

  19. Shoot: Plus Size Poses

    Go over some tips and tricks for plus size photoshoot poses so you can make plus size subjects look slimmer.

  20. Shoot: Wedding Photography Bridal Poses

    Lindsay shows you how to do bridal portrait poses that are both natural and dramatic, and how to pose your bride so she looks beautiful and elegant.

  21. Shoot: Mature Couple Poses

    Photographing older couples depends on reading their dynamic and choosing the most flattering poses for both subjects.

  22. Shoot: Uneven Height Couple Poses

    Posing couples of different heights can be a challenge. Learn how to make the shot look natural, avoid strain, and even out the overall image.

  23. Shoot: Bridal Couple Poses

    Lindsay demonstrates how to do wedding poses for couples, including unusual cropping, using props, and making sure both the bride and groom look their best.

  24. Shoot: Group Poses

    The key to a great group pose is to have good balance, without being perfectly symmetrical. Lindsay offers a variety of tips on how to pose groups, including avoiding multiple arms around shoulders and having physical contact between people.

  25. Shoot: Bridal Party Poses

    When working with bridal parties, it's important to know the family politics, so bring notes! Lindsay gives you some great wedding party posing ideas, including that traditional bridal party group shot that tends to be symmetrical.

  26. Shoot: Family Poses

    When shooting a family portrait photo, don’t forget about making sure the parents look good, too! Here are some family photo posing ideas, such as paying attention to body language and avoiding lining up people’s heads.

  27. Shoot: Mother with Children Poses

    Lindsay gives you tips on mother and child poses, including how to make the mom look good and how to pose children of varying ages.

  28. Shoot: Father with Children Poses

    Get some specific advice on posing a father with kids, including whom to pose first and where to place the youngest child.

  29. Shoot: Single Child Poses

    Get posing ideas for one child, including allowing the pose to reflect the child’s personality, letting the child interact with their environment, and being sure to follow their lead.

  30. Shoot: Multiple Children Poses

    Get posing ideas for siblings so you can capture their relationship as well as their individual personalities.

  31. Shoot: Maternity Poses

    When doing maternity poses, you want your subject to look good and be comfortable. Lindsay gives you very specific advice on how to accentuate a pregnant woman's best features.

  32. Shoot: Maternity Couple Poses

    Doing maternity poses with husband means you’ll want to make the man look equally important, strong, and supportive.

  33. Shoot: Same Sex Couple Poses

    Lindsay gives you tips for posing same sex couples. The key is to follow their lead when it comes to being romantic and touchy feely.

  34. Shoot: Fashion Female Poses

    In fashion photography, the regular posing rules don’t apply. You can get away with almost anything as long as it looks good and is done with intent. Lindsay talks about professional model poses for females, such as using elegant hands and elongated necks to communicate the mood.

  35. Shoot: Beauty Poses

    Lindsay shows you her modeling poses for beginners, including emphasizing tendons and clavicles, tilting the head toward the camera or keeping it neutral, and using over-the-shoulder watch angles.



I would highly recommend this class! I have been shooting for some time now and I've been pretty satisfied with my pictures from each session. A few weeks ago, I happened upon this class and thought it would be nice to get some new ideas. I then took the ideas from this class and applied them to a maternity shoot. I must say it took my pictures from good to amazing!!!! My clients bought them all😊 Thank you Creative Live for offering such amazing classes to help any level of photographer learn and grow!

Ruth Ganev

Lindsay is such a great teacher. She doesn't overcomplicate things - so that you can really learn. She also reviews things again and again - only in different contexts - that make total sense. I have learned so much from watching this course of lessons. I went to a natural lighting portrait workshop a couple of weekends ago - and was able to put into action what I have learned. The models loved my photos, too. She keeps things moving, is clear and to the point. I highly recommend this class to anyone wanting to become better at posing. It is so rewarding to look back at my previous photos and understand what doesn't work and why, and also to see things improving. She is a natural teacher - the course is not boring - you will learn tons!

Maya Tleubergen

I really love it! Thank you, thank you, Lindsay! Beautiful girl with a huge talent to teach! I absolutely love it! Worth every penny!