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Posing for Body Types

Lesson 8 from: Posing 101

Lindsay Adler

Posing for Body Types

Lesson 8 from: Posing 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

8. Posing for Body Types

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

Lesson Info

Posing for Body Types

We're going to talk about body types. And I will tell you, this doesn't mean don't watch this section. But if you just take all of the concepts I already had and apply it to any person, it all still works. If there's a bigger part, push it away. If there's a smaller part, bring it forward. Like all those concepts still work but I'm gonna kinda spell it out. And I have found often my portrait clients will let me know right away, their problem areas or what they're concerned with. They will tell if they think they're hips are too wide or their butt's too big. Or they will tell me if they don't like their flabby arms. They talk about it. Okay? They bring attention to it. And they might not say it directly but for example, I know when I get my picture taken I tell people right away. I'm like this is what to watch out for. So anyway, what I'm gonna do is I am gonna address some body types and I am going to talk a little bit about clothing. And I don't have specific examples besides just des...

cribing it to you guys. So if there is any confusion please let me know. But things that help you. All right, so let's start off here. With my overall tips. Flattering any body type. All right, so these are the top kind of four tips just to keep in mind for any body type. So the very first one is emphasize the assets and reduce the "flaws". And this is where I tell you that it all depends on the person. For example, one of the body types we'll talk about is the inverted triangle. Okay. What that means. Okay, I'll show you this one. What that means, is the person's really big up top and really small down here. It could mean that they have broad shoulders or a very large chest. And they're very small. Now, by the standards that I would tell you. You know, you're trying to even things out and add some curve. Maybe you would reduce the appearance of the chest. Unless someone loves the size of their chest and wants to showcase that. And then you let them do that. (laughing) You know what I mean? So some of the things I'm going to say would be trying to attain more traditional forms of what we would say is good posing. But if somebody walks in and they say they're best asset is their chest and they're really small you don't wanna make it look really small. So just kinda keep these things in mind. So let me give you my overviews. Okay, so emphasize the assets, reduce the "flaws". And that is based on, you usually can tell about how somebody feels. Having a conversation with them. So we're already talked about this but these are for people that didn't see before. Closer to the camera's larger. Further from the camera smaller. Use both posing and camera angles to achieve it. So flattering body types is a combination of posing and your camera angles. So we'll talk about those. And then number four is using clothing to compliment. So very first and foremost. For your portrait session, loose clothing is never good. Ever. Because as you're trying to pose loose clothing hides your posing. It's working directly against you because if you were trying to show negative space and they have a big loose flowy sleeve there's no negative space. Or if they have big flowy clothing. And so I find that a lot of heavier women in particular will wear clothes that are bigger. Cause they're trying to hide their form. They're basically just trying to hide behind their clothing. When you try to make them look more slender the clothing makes them look like a blob and it's so hard to work with. So something that you might actually wanna do and something I always do is I keep the little clamps. Like the A clamps. I'll keep them in my bag. And if the clothing is not fitting properly I will clamp it. So that I can see the form and that gives me something to pose with. I think one of the biggest flaws that people have is not in how they look. It's in how they dress. How they represent their body types. So, my recommendation is if you can if you really want good images and you wanna take it up a notch. Don't leave clothing up to chance. Don't just say, "Bring whatever you want." Because also what looks good on the street or what's in style right now, does not mean it photographs well. And it can be very quickly dated. In general, darker clothing and solid is better. Not always, but in general darker solids are going to be better. Things that are more traditional cuts are better unless you are going for a cool, funky fashion shoot and then totally do that. I'm not saying being boring and I don't mean everyone needs to match perfectly. But just keep that in mind. I would have a discussion. So that's something that I always did. And I also would send a link. So why I'm saying in the past tense I have a Wardrobe Stylist now. So, the Wardrobe Stylist makes sure the person. What she actually does is pretty cool. To any of my clients they send out a piece of paper. It's called a "style guide". And the "style sheet." And so the client has to fill out their body measurements. They actually have to measure their body. Not "I think I wear a size eight" cause a lot of times a girl who wears a size eight is actually size six or the other way. And so she actually has to fill that out. Talk about body type. Everything. And so when my stylist picks up the clothes, it fits. And it fits that body type. But what I used to do , is I used to direct people to a website to help them determine what body type they were and actually pay attention to the type of clothing that is more flattering. And encourage them to dress and wear those clothing. So we are going to talk about that a little bit. So these are the main body types that we have. Inverted triangle means broad shoulders or large chest. And small bottom. So again, this could be somebody. It doesn't have anything to do with size. Like it could be someone who is larger but they're just extremely large up top and very small in the bottom. It just kind of proportions. The column and the rectangle are just somebody who just doesn't particularly have shape. They're just straight lines. I would say that Jen's kind of in that direction. She has a bit more curve than that but she's pretty straight up and down. The apple would be fuller on top and fuller on bottom. It doesn't mean that the person is just like round. Which I always thought that, that's saying. And these aren't my names. These are the traditional, the term name. But it means that they're large top and bottom. Pear means large bottom. And then hourglass is like Beyonce. That's what I say. (students laughing) Okay? Everybody knows what she looks like. All right, so let's talk about both posing and clothing and what you can do. So the first part I'm going to talk about is clothing. So, you can honestly basically ignore all this. I will say it. But think draw attention to opposite of what's big. Like that's what you do for clothing. Whatever's bigger, emphasize whatever's smaller. You just kind of emphasize the opposite of it. So for example, the person with the broad shoulders or large chest. We're going to talk really about large chest to be honest in this example. So what you don't wanna do, is have a bright pink shirt with ruffles around the scoop neck. Because that is just saying, "Look here!" And then everything else is smaller. So what is usually better off is a solid color shirt. Darker. And then a flared skirt. Because it evens out their proportions a little bit. They'll still look skinny. They'll still look proportioned if that's what they were going for. Because it'll taper. And then flare back out. So most of what we're aiming here for posing and this is saying don't judge me. I'm just saying by how posing usually is. Is more traditional forms of beauty meaning we're usually going for the hourglass shape. So that's what most of this posing is. So imagine. Flared skirt gives you kind of that shape. So things you wanna avoid if somebody is larger up top. Is to avoid spaghetti straps or really, really low cut. Cause it's gonna draw in more attention. And that would be about it. So that's what you wanna think of for clothing this person. What do I do opposite? Draw attention here. Okay. So, if we then think about posing the person and shooting the person. I want you guys to kind of think if you don't mind. In your heads, "Okay, what would you do?" What would be kind of the opposite? So the whole what's closer to the camera. That kind of thing. So what would I would do. Or some things to think about for posing. Would be avoiding leaning too far forward towards the camera. If you're putting the weight back you don't need to lean too far forward. My example where I was leaning against the wall? The girl could lean kind of against the wall or slightly forward instead of an intense lean. Because that's going to be a little different. But, if you don't mind. One of the things that is beneficial is if I'm leaning against the wall I don't wanna lean forward. But if I bring my knee up, kinda balanced it out. There's attention here. And attention here. So I'm like, "All right, what can I do to pose to even things out." So maybe for example, for somebody from this particular example, they're larger up top. I add motion. Or pose on the bottom. Right? So I'm balancing out. I'm giving more visual weight here. For someone like this, you don't want to pose with their hands up. Like let's say you have a girl and you just have her posing straight like this and hands are up. All of the action and movement is here. So you might wanna have more in the hips. Or more movement here as well to kind of balance out. All this is up to interpretation for what you want to do. If for example you were doing a Playboy shoot like my friend Lou Freeman does. Then you might just wanna do this, okay? (laughing) So. Hey Lindsey, a quick question from the internet. The photog wanted to know how does this stuff relate to guys and then people were sort of chiming in about children as well. Okay for children, less so. For sure. For children you're just fundamentally trying to get a decent pose and good expression. We'll talk about it but body type doesn't really pay that much of a difference. The clothing could help. It all depends on how extreme and how important that is. I mean, put it this way. It could apply but I don't know if I would do clothing consultations specifically for a child but if you wanted to shoot an entire family and advise them as a whole what would work best for them that's a good way to help out with that. For guys, it actually does apply. But it depends on how stylish a guy is. Is if he's going to go out of his way to, for example. If he's really broad shoulders to wear lighter colors on the bottom. Darker color on the top to even it out. Like it all still applies. Just with women it's much more extreme. Great. Thank you. Oh, and for the inverted triangle you wanna shoot eye level. You don't wanna shoot too high up. And so that's something you might wanna be careful of. Especially if someone has a really large chest you shoot too high up, that's all you see. So just about eye level. Maybe a little bit lower. 'Kay, the pear. So somebody fuller on the bottom. Okay, let's talk clothing. What do you do to go opposite? Right, what would you do for clothing? I mean, so what you would do is you would draw less attention here. More attention here. Which means you'd probably wear darker form fitting bottoms. And then maybe a brighter color top or maybe like a little bit lower cut to draw more attention. So for pose? Okay? (students laughing) And what about posing? Maybe hands up would be making sense in this situation. Cause you've got a lot going on around down here. It'll draw a lot less attention if you have your hands up. So there's your couple things. So let's take a look. So for clothing the pear, brighter colors and details up top. Basically. If we're gonna have detail in a shirt. Maybe lace even. Cause your eye's attracted to patterns and textures so you would look there. Darker, plainer colors on the bottom. More form fitted. It's okay to have bare arms. I mean in portraits for women, I usually stay away from too bare of arms cause most women don't really like their arms. Well, I'm saying older women don't like their arms. So if they do have bare arms and make sure they don't put weight on their arms. And they're not closer to the camera. So I don't know. I found a lot of people like a little bit of cap sleeve. Or just not spaghetti strap. Doesn't usually work. If you're going for sexy then go for tube top and look sexy and try to go for it but it's like the in between that doesn't usually work. So pear. And also avoid. Hands in pockets. Like the kind of hands in pocket shots make you look right here cause that's where your eye is leading to. So you wanna avoid that. So let's go more to posing again. We already talked about this. It made sense. Right? You guys already know. Leaning chest forward, hips back. Trying hands higher up on the body. And also consider shooting from a slightly higher angle. If the pose is not kicking hips back. Then if you can get a little bit higher angle that's actually going to be better for that person. Okay, so next one. Column and rectangle. Basically people that just have minimal shape. Just straight up and down. So what we wanna do is try to introduce shape. So for clothing, introducing shape with clothing. Really, if you fake a waist. That's all you need. You need something just to cinch at the middle. Have a dress with something like this works great. You know, in the middle. A belt, something like that. So you'll often see, like you've seen really skinny girls that have the little belt in the middle because they're just trying to give some kind of visual weight in the middle to make it look like they have shape. Then, when they kick a hip out to the side and they have that cinch. Now it looks like they have shape. So for both of these people. Shirts with belts or waist defining elements. Patterns are okay with these people. I don't usually like to photograph patterns in general. But non-solid is actually okay in this example. And then fabric. If you have fabric that can move and have shape. You know, you might not have curve but at least you can have a flowy dress shape. And you'll see that with like a lot of preteen girls. They'll have dresses in movement. You know, so that adds movement to the photo. Cause you don't really wanna add shape to a preteen girl. But they add movement so it's more interesting. For posing. So you're faking a curve. So here's a couple tips for this person. All right, so in one instance for somebody that doesn't have shape, yeah. You can do the like back, that helps. You can also just do hip off really, really far to one side. I mean, you can really emphasize that. But another one is we wanna fake the waist, right? So we can have a cinch. Instead of having somebody pose with their hands on their hips you'd have them pose with their hands on their waist. Cause you can fake a waist and your hands become that cinch. My recommendation though is if you look. If I have my hands here. You see this? It actually makes me look wider cause I look like I'm struggling to wrap around myself. If I rotate my hands forward a little it makes it look like wow! She wrapped her hands all the way around her waist. She's so skinny. (class laughing) You know? So I would do something like that. You know, kind of the lean back. And you're faking a waist. And I'm gonna use this technique for another body type as well. So if you're trying to work some curve with someone doesn't have one, that's really a good one. Also consider uneven hands. So if I want a girl with no shape to have shape. Let's say that I have this arm up and now I put this arm on the hip. Now it's kinda looking like, ooh. This arm's higher. There's more hip here. And this is lower. Like there's more curve. You're faking it by where you're putting your hands. So there's a couple of tips for those people. 'Kay. The apple. So, large up top, large on the bottom. All right, so for clothing. These people tend to wear loose clothing when they absolutely should not. Definitely should wear formfitting clothing so that is a big one. Also, they will have a waist but the more the waist you can introduce the more curvy they'll look. So if it can be cinched. Or if it's kind of you know, gathered in the middle like this in the clothing, that will help. But also avoid high necklines. Like a really high neckline. Cause what happens is if you have a high neckline it makes everything look rounder. Versus if you have a lower neckline it kind of breaks up that shape. So it's not just round. It's broken up. So if you can do that, that helps. And also feel free for all this information. I mean, you can send it to your client and just say, "Whatever body type you feel you are." "Here's some tips." (class laughing) Although people that have actual studios that are geared towards clothing. They'll have a wide range of clothing available that they'll pull from. And I know when I had my portrait studio I had every size regular black shirt available for men and women. I got them from like. I don't know, probably Walmart. (laughing) But if someone showed up with a loud awful colored shirt with words on it, then I could switch them out and it would be much more flattering. Or if a woman was just wearing really flowy clothing and she shouldn't be, I could grab that. Just a plain black flattering shirt. And it usually worked out pretty well. For posing. So a couple things for the apple. This is another example where you'd try to put the hands on the waist. If you can. You can make the person look a little narrower than they actually are. By faking with the hands in the front. And somebody that I've seen. If anybody wants to watch, I know that Sue Bryce has done a couple tutorials where she talks about posing curvy girls. And that's something that you'll see her do all the time. It's kind of faking that as well. So yeah, definitely check hers out. All right, I actually think she's done it a couple of times. Notice. I said, "Turn knee in to introduce curve." Did you see how I kept doing that? The reason that I am saying to turn the knee in is because they might be. Okay, large and large. And this at least gives another element. To curve this way versus just curve out. Kind of curve to the side. And one other thing you might consider. Is if you are sitting the person on a chaise. When they're straight up and down. That's what gives you round, look. And you wanna try to break that up and give it more curve. So let's say that there's a chaise couch. If you can have them lean, it's taking things off center so you're not looking at circular body type. Instead, you're looking at the line of their body. Even if it's not a slender line, it's still a line. So we have a couch over there and that would be something that I might do for an apple body type. Is have them lean out on one arm of the couch and extend a leg, and then your eye would follow that curve. Even if it's not following this curve. For hourglass. Wear fitted clothing. Kind of the easy one. Wear fitted clothing. I still don't really like patterns but they can get away with them. Distribute the weight. Don't stand even on flat foot. And curve. And that's the easy body type that already kind of looks like what you want it to look like. All right, so let's talk about photographing and shooting "flaws". And I would love questions on this. Cause this something I love to just answer people's questions. We had to do a lot of casting. If we brought in every "flaw". But I'm happy to answer these and I'm gonna talk about a couple of key ones. Did you have a question off the bat? Lindsey, when would you just like to define a waist for an apple body in this kind of type? Yeah. I love to shoot curvy women. The problem that I faced when shooting, you know like. When they're just like, they try to grab themselves here. It doesn't really work because just like you know. The larger chest, everything is going for. When you just try to bring in they just feel more awkward. And you kind of have to position half of their body. Yes. That's really true. And try to point their thumbs out? Or how to do that, you know? So yeah, no totally. That's completely true. Cause if anyone tries this at home this doesn't feel normal. And especially if you're wider it just looks like you're putting your hands on your stomach which like it feels like maybe putting your hands on your stomach. What I do, is I usually do like these kinda hands. Put it on this side. And then just kinda shift it in. And I try to pop out a hip. And that's really what I do. I go, "No, trust me." "It looks great, it looks great." "Oh, I love that." You know, just that's what I usually try to do. Does it work? Another thing is like, and after that I just had a pose process I had a problem with cropping it. How do you crop? Because I had a model that just like her thumbs. And you can see there is more of her there. Sure. But like, the thumb was just like in the middle of her. It felt kind of awkward. It looked good from my perspective, you know? It gave her all of that beautiful shape. But how to corp it? It depends on. You can in that case if you need to crop in as well. You can crop into the elbows just don't crop the tips of it. And I would even maybe crop like a little tighter than you normally would in that case. Because then you can't quite see everything. But you can see the hands. I would crop tighter than you might be doing instinctually. And I will say, for somebody that's really plus size. It won't work. Cause I mean, it would be. Their hands would be here. So you can clearly tell. [Brunette Student] It was just like I was stretching that point. Yes. Yeah, so if they're really plus size the it doesn't work. It's like in between. Yeah. [Brunette Student] Thank you so much. Absolutely. Let's start with. Let's start with Luna Star who wants to know about pregnant women with smaller chests. So it's kind of an extreme of the pear shape basically. That's okay cause they're pregnant in maturity so you don't need to correct it for any way. I mean, it doesn't particularly. No matter what you're doing, there's still going to have their stomach pronounced. So if you want to and need to, lean them forward a bit it's still going to be there. So my suggestion would be, if you want them to look a little heavier up top or a little fuller up top. Turn to the side. Because now you see their stomach. And do the lean. The stomach isn't going away. And then you can shoot from a little bit higher angle. It's all those things we were talking about. So a little bit higher angle makes the chest look closer. To the side make sure you can still see their belly. And I'm assuming that you want to show that they're pregnant. That was my assumption. Yeah, just the normal stuff. Cool. And from Aschison Image. How 'bout the men with the beer bellies. Because right there they're really thin up top. And they're legs are really then but they have that basketball. I have people in mind. And I have photographed that for sure. Some of that's clothing, for sure. I find that if you can have a suit jacket or something over, so that they're can be nice and full at top. And then the jacket will kind of cover that. And so it's less of a problem. There's not too much you can do for posing, really. I would have them lean their shoulders a little bit more. I was running out of pocket. But a little bit more aggressively towards camera. It will hide a little bit. None of the hip tucking. That's girls. Guys are, a little bit of a lean. Maybe a little bit of the head away. It's a serious look. (students laughing) I like it. We have Lupo Photo. How about what is the proper angle to shoot from for someone with a larger nose. That's coming up. Perfect. Okay, so this is more about bodily flaws than facial. Yes, and I just want everyone to know I'm not saying that there's one particular form of beauty. I have to make this comment. It's going to sound super snotty. I'm just gonna say it. Everyone, I hope you still love me. I photography like really, really, really tall, incredibly skinny women. And like, I don't think that that's a standard of beauty. A lot of them are aliens and it's awesome cause I get to photograph surrealy tall skinny women. But not by any means do I think everyone should look like that. And if you notice, we're actually trying to give everyone curve. And those women have no curves. So when we say flaws, we're helping people look like what they want to look like and so if they don't want to look like that, no problem. But this is traditionally what people are aiming for. Perfect. And actually perfectly right along those lines. Purple Thistle Images says, "So shoot from below for a short girl but what do you do for a very tall girl?" "I am six foot two and die in pictures because I always look like an amazon. Exactly like you said. Rock it. Six oh two is awesome. That's so cool. Yeah, this is side note. But I photograph professional women's athletes and some of them are six foot three and then we photograph them, it is actually better to photograph women in heels, in general. Cause they elongate more and it tightens everything. And so everything firms up and they by instinct have better posture because they have to be balanced. So she's six three and then three inch heels. (laughing) And now imagine, I photographed her the first time in eight and a half foot tall room. (sighing) Photoshop. (students laughing) No, I'm serious. I had Photoshop in the top of that. The answer for that really is apple boxes or small step stools. You don't need to be high up on it. Just even like chest or eye level would be great for that person. For sure. So basically raise the height of the camera. Raise the height of the camera. For this person who's like saying if she's in a group. We're actually going to talk about what to do to make yourself look shorter. Or to be more even in height without slunching or like when people look really awkward cause they're like, you know? You see that all the time but there are a couple of really good ways to actually make yourself look a little shorter. Cool and people wanting to know do you work with hair and makeup artists? And especially hair? Yes. Posing big hair. I don't do. Well, for me. No, this is all natural. (laughing) In other words, this is all it does. But, I don't do any shoots anymore with that don't have hair and makeup ever. But that's good cause that's where I was working to and so people look so much better sometimes with hair and makeup. And sometimes I don't even need to do anything on the photo side. They just look that much better. So yeah. Always hair and makeup.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Bridal Couples
Bridal Parties
Couples - Different Height.
Female Seniors
Folding - HowTo
Male Seniors
Mature Couples
Mature Men
Mature Women
Parents Children
Plus Size
Same Sex-Female
Same Sex-Male
Women Posing

Ratings and Reviews


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!

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