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Posing Parts: Men, Feet, Elbows and Nose

Lesson 6 from: Posing 101

Lindsay Adler

Posing Parts: Men, Feet, Elbows and Nose

Lesson 6 from: Posing 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

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.

Lesson Info

Posing Parts: Men, Feet, Elbows and Nose

All right, so. I remember being really offended. (laughter) I know, right? Okay, in fashion, you can get away with more, by the way. But I remember being really offended when I was like 16 and went to a photo class. And the guy kept talking about dominant and submissive poses, and that made me... I hate that. 'Cause he was saying "the woman in the submissive pose," and I'm like, okay no. (laughter) I don't like that wording, so I said "That's not gonna happen." So I don't use that. But here's an example, too. Here, you don't really want femininely posed hands for a guy. Usually. So it is usually going to be more of kinda in the fist area. Or I've seen some good ones where, you know, guys, the kind of punching look? Where they've got a kinda this going on, or hand off to the side, or arms crossed. But their hands aren't soft, the arms are crossed still making fists. But I don't mean clenched. Just hands together. I don't always follow all these guidelines exactly, but I definitely think...

it helps. So I don't really care for any of these. I don't care for the first two because they're too feminine for me, and I don't care for the last one 'cause it's awkward. I will say that, what I do is, okay, so, sometimes a hand posing shot, some people just don't like them. Some guys think they're corny. And what I'll do is I read their body language, and so when I have them pose, if they clearly think it's stupid, I'm like, you know what, I've got this GQ hand pose. I'll try one, and then move on, because some people just don't like them, but I always still try to get one. 'Cause it can look really cool. So here's a couple other versions for the guy. I would say this would be kinda my preferable. Like, a little bit off to the side, 'cause when you have it in the center of the face, it's too symmetrical, it's too heavy. When you're forcing symmetry on something, it's visually heavy. So off to the side actually gives you a little bit more of a dynamic pose than right in the front. Plus it looks like it's propping up their chin, versus, you know, they're like winking at you. Yeah, like that kinda look. By the way, true story. This guy was winking the whole shoot. At my assistant that I had there. 'Cause he could tell that she had a crush on him. (laughter) Not Iris. Not Iris over here. She was, like, this little girl, and he could tell, and so he kept winking at her, and she was dying, it was so funny. (laughter) It was awesome. So back to my number number number one tip for guys is to keep their hands occupied. If a guy has clothing that lends itself to be interacted with, do that. So if they have a jacket on, pose with the jacket. If they have cuffs, fix the cuffs. If they have a jacket to throw over the shoulder, throw it over the shoulder. Do something with their hands in some way. For guys, hands in the pockets work. Something. A prop. Which is why, often, for guys, if I'm doing portraits, I try to get them to bring some kind of props, like something significant to them. If it's they play the guitar, if they are an athlete. Because then it gives their hands something to do. As soon as you give guys something to do, they become comfortable. They become natural, versus I'm just gonna pose for you. So, definitely keep that in mind. But yeah, occupy the hands if you can. And notice, again, the hands aren't fists. They're not tense, but they're still masculine hands. Okay, next one is feet. So posing feet. I just have a couple tips on that, we covered most of it already. But the big one is avoiding flat, even feet. Your feet should not be even weight and even together. So, for example. Now, even if I just have my weight like this, even just doing this. Even just from straight on to the side gives you more a dynamic pose, I've got a little bit more of a curve. Like, even just that. Or the pose we talked about before is kicking the feet back and leaning back so they're not even. If you wanna go more dramatic, you put your foot up on something. So you know the photo that I showed you, in the very beginning, of me? My before/after pose with that dress on? The reason that I have the curve I do in that photo, which I have a belt on now, but I crossed this leg over and was on toe. Because now, if you look, okay, flat foot. When I cross this knee over, I cross it over, I give myself a butt curve, basically. I arch my back a little bit, and it's the fact that these feet aren't even which gave me curve. And then I leaned forward to reduce my waist. So it's actually the uneven feet that gave me most of that curve. Not even the typical weight back, lean forward. It was actually the cross your knee over, lean forward is what did it in that photo. So I just want you to take a look. The arrow in this instance is for you to watch. 'Cause I really had never really seen this, so I did a test. Okay, so she's standing flat foot and even. Puts her one foot back. Even that gives her a little bit of definition, but she's not leaning back on that foot, she just put it back. And then she leans back. See how much skinnier her waist is? How much more shape? That gave you hourglass. And I did not have her lean forward, I did not have her kick her hip out. All she did was. That's it. No chest or anything. So, I mean, I gave her a lot more shape just doing that. So posing feet uneven makes a big difference. And so this is what we talked about before. So we saw that big difference there. Okay. So notice those two on the left, remember I said the whole don'ts, except for I do that in fashion? The flat foot? Because it's the creepy or whatever. But notice, just the little turn over is that much more dramatic. And in fashion, a lot of times I'm gonna be dramatic. But I'll have the girls, like, jump. And have one foot off the ground, that makes it that much more dynamic, 'cause one foot's on the ground, one foot is much higher, and now I have much more dynamics shapes to work with. So I'll do that a lot, as well. Okay, so. All right, so. The two photos that I have here. Let's talk about her feet. In both of these photos, her feet are flat and even. At least on the one on the right, I've given her a little bit of negative space and a little bit of shape by putting her hands on her hips. But it is... Static. Like, can you feel that it is up and down? Your eyes do not move in that photo. Your eyes go straight down. What you want is your eye to wander. You want your eye to go through. And so that's why they talk about the C curve, S curve. I never found that it was super useful for me to do C curve S curve. Just for women, I'm like, I wanna do this in their pose. So in this pose, now I do this. Can you see my hand? I'm literally doing this. So if you look, all I had her do was stick her foot out and her hip out. And it was that foot out that made the difference. Getting her feet uneven. So you can kinda see that there. This is a nit-picky thing. Not that nit-picky, but I find it gives me more, makes somebody look taller. Oh, two things. This is not really the posing, but if you have some girl that's really short and wants to look really tall, you back up, get down, and zoom in, right? The low angle. And have her wear nude shoes. Nude-colored shoes. Because it looks like the nude shoes are an extension of her leg. It makes her legs look longer. So that's why that fad came in a couple years ago, 'cause it makes everybody look longer. But, similarly, when her foot comes straight towards the camera, (stomps foot) it's towards the camera, it stops. When she turns it to the side, it's a continuation of her leg. Her leg looks longer, and the pose looks smoother, when her foot is turned to the side. So even if I have a girl who has her hip out, her foot's not facing the camera, because it's not continuing that flow. It's to the side, and it gives me even more to kind of flow out through that pose. So it's something to watch out for. So if you're directing somebody and you're having them put your foot out to the side and kick your hip, and make sure you say, "Turn your foot out in a way. You know, "Turn your foot to the right." Or whatever it may be. So that's why that pose has a little bit more dynamic to it. And we talked about that. Okay, so, dynamic poses. This was asking for the funky poses, the different poses. In fashion, there's usually two, there's more than that, but really two main ways you go. You either go sexy, or you go for powerful, high-energy. And, you know, like, I sometimes do creepy. Those ones. Okay, but beyond that. And the way that you do sexy is curves. The way that you do dynamic and powerful is triangles. Triangles and negative space. Lots of triangles. So when you see a girl in fashion doing something like this, or like this, it's always triangles. Triangles created by the arms. Triangles created by the legs. Triangles created by everything. That's what gives you dynamic poses. Versus, maybe for boudoir more, it would be curvy. Fashion, it would be triangles. So it's just a little bit different in what you're trying to achieve. Curve versus really dynamic shapes. So you're going to see that in some of my fashion work. I'll show you, like, a contact sheet. But just keep that in mind when you're doing fashion. I often get asked to critique fashion portfolios, and they're usually not fashion. They're usually pretty women looking sexy, which is more glamor, which is fine. But I can tell that a lot by the pose and what I'm supposed to be looking at. If I'm supposed to be looking here or here, it's usually more in the glamor realm. Versus if I'm supposed to look at a powerful, dynamic composition, that usually tends to be more in the fashion realm. It all depends on the photo. Yeah? You talk about triangles versus... Curves, or whatnot. But it seems that they're almost, I guess, the same? I mean, it kinda seemed like it was. As opposed to-- Okay, so, Jen? Okay, so. Let me just do a little example here. Let's move this aside. I'm not gonna shoot it, but you tell me if you can tell from this. Can I have you stand out there? Okay, what I'm gonna have you do is I'm gonna have you put your left leg and tuck your knee over, and I'm gonna have you put your hand real soft up to the side, and then your right hand real soft on your neck. Okay? All right, so these, if you're looking, this is kinda gonna be curve, it's soft. Like this, to me, would be more sensual, or boudoir. I'm gonna have you arch your butt and back just a little bit, so now I have more curve. Okay, for fashion, and I'm talking, like, editorial fashion. There's still fashion that's sexy, don't get me wrong. There's still sexy fashion. But I'm talking about, like, the editorial stuff. Okay, now what I want you to do is I'm going to have lean forward on one knee, and bend that knee. Gonna put one hand behind your head, and one hand on your hip. This would be more fashion, where they have, like, cool, funky clothing. So if you're looking. Put your hand behind your head for me. If you're looking, this is a triangle, and this is a triangle, and that's a triangle. Versus, go back to the other one for me. And that's more curvy and soft. So one's soft, and one's more dynamic. (laughter) And both are right. Both are right. It just depends on what you're doing. Okay, so. Elbows. We talked about elbows a little bit. So I already said how I felt about elbows. This is the one example that I wanted to say. Okay, this girl. I mean this 100% sincerely. I was telling her what I was doing here. I was saying, "Okay, I'm shooting. "I wanna show that armpits are ugly." She goes, "Oh, I actually just did a deodorant ad last week, "so my armpits are really nice right now." She actually shot an armpit ad. I'm like, okay. Okay. So you're not my ugly armpit model I was looking for. I've never met someone who shot armpit ad. So my recommendation to you is, like I said, you don't want elbow towards camera, you want it away or down. But, if you're going to do a close up shot, where you have it away, ideally, you have it either in shadow, you have it covered by clothing, or it's a really nice armpit. (laughter) Like hers. I was talking, like, most people's armpits. But our average portrait client does not have those armpits. Just saying. Okay. Next one. I might have to shoot this. I'll show you guys this later, to illustrate what I mean. But for posing noses, posing noses, the one thing that I would watch out for is when the nose crosses the cheek line. What I mean by that, and I'll show you, you'll actually see this, is when somebody turns to the side, and you're photographing them, at some point, the edge of their cheek, the nose peeks out over the top of it. Either do or don't. Just like I said, like, for cropping. Either have them in profile, so it is, the rule is, for profile, you usually wanna see just their eyelashes of the back eye, and see their profile. Or have the nose completely within the cheek line. It's when it peeks out just a little bit that you notice it more. And this is, like, the big no-no for people with big noses. That's the huge no-no for people with big noses. Because it's saying, look how long their nose is across their cheek line. And then you notice it. It's true. So. I always have myself photographed mostly straight on. (laughter) Okay. So, good or bad poses, I'm just gonna talk about a couple things to be aware of. I am going to demonstrate on her, and I'm just gonna have her go ahead and act this out a little bit, of things you do and don't wanna do. So this is mostly summarizing what we've talked about before we move on. What we're going to be doing later is gonna be more about analyzing body types and faces and things like that. So here's some dos or don'ts. Just keep this in mind, try to train your eye. All right, so. You can act these out if you want, and I'll just tell you what it is and see if you guys can tell. So that camera can see her okay. All right, so, you never wanna lean back in a chair. You always want your subject to lean forward. Same thing with standing. You never want them to lean back. You always want them to be neutral or forward. That's an always. That's summarizing what we've talked about before. Okay, next one, would you stand up for me? All right. You never, I'm saying my nevers, you know. Always nevers. You never want the arms tight to the side. You never really want the arms lined up with the side of the body, even if you're, like, sitting, when it's lined up completely. Because, okay, my two and a half inches on either side is now five, I'm five inches wider. You always want some negative space. So can you just give me a little bit of negative space? Hand on your hip, arm up. Something so that you can see the sides of their body. Always. Okay? That's a big one that I see, when people are sitting, lot of times for sitting shots. Will you take a seat real quick? Will you cross your legs? Will you put your elbow on your legs? Yeah, just like that. Depending on how you shoot it, if you shoot this wider, her arms, I can't see the sides of her body. I mean, she's pretty narrow, so it's not a big deal, but depending on how she's posed, it'll make her look wider. You can't actually see her shape. For me, if I were going to do that, I would either shoot tight, 'cause maybe it's a cute shot there, or I would find a way to have a posing stool or a table or a bench or something off to the side. So she's turned to the side, so I can see her curve, or she can lean out, versus straight on. Because now, I mean, I'm covering everything, I look wider, versus I'm curved to the side. Just like that, that's perfect. She's good. All right. So that's an always never thing. Women over the shoulder. Can you turn around and look over your shoulder at everybody? Okay, and now raise your shoulder up. Okay, you don't have to go that extreme. (laughter) Turn that way a little bit more. Okay, keep going a little bit more to the back, good, and now look over. And shoulder up a little bit. So make sure, if you're shooting it, right now, from my camera angle, her shoulder and her chin merge together from this angle. So watch your angles so that you actually see a neck. When I shoot over the shoulder, I try to shoot from a higher angle, so I see more neck. Lower angle gets rid of neck. So that's kind of a always never one. Oh, we talked about this one. Don't put appendages towards the camera, put them to the side. This also applies to feet. So this is a good one, if the cameras can watch this too. Can you put your feet out like this towards the camera? Okay, all right. And then lean out towards the camera. Okay, like that, fine. Okay. For everyone here, I mean, that's just really not good. And I can tell you why in many ways. There's no curve. I've shortened her hugely. I've basically collapsed her down. So from top to bottom, I mean, I've just made her so short, and we said our goal was to elongate. Okay, that didn't work. Her legs look short because they're at the camera. Her arms look okay this way, but they're covering her curve. So, instead of appendages, or posing at the camera, I'm gonna have you sit on the side and turn your body that way. So now kick out your left foot. Good. And I'm gonna have you lean out onto that arm. Okay. And so, if you're going to do something like that, I'm gonna have you move your bottom this way, and tuck this foot around the outside of the bench. And I'm gonna have you put this arm maybe on your hip. Okay, good. And you can put that, like, in your hair. Okay, at least something like that. Can you see triangles? Triangles and negative space? She's at least going to the side, so there's shape. If she took that exact same thing and pointed towards you, it's awful. (laughter) I mean, she has no shape. Even if she goes 3/4. So for an instance like this, I've done this plenty of times shooting on, like, a park bench, I'll have a girl pose, and I'll just change my angle. You know, whatever's comfortable for her, and whatever's natural. 'Cause sometimes there's only one way you can really sit on a seat or a bench, and I'll make sure I'll move. Which is why it's a little harder in a studio-lit environment for, example, to photograph couples. 'Cause usually I just move around them, see what I want. So avoid awkward angles. Some things you wanna avoid are, like, the hunch. Or, like, I don't know. Sometimes people try really hard and it's really uncomfortable. Just try to keep them comfortable. Next ones would be sitting. Just like we talked about there, avoid balling up. Elongate. You always wanna elongate your subject. Turn them away from the camera, that makes them look longer. If she was too bent over like that, instead of having her bend down, just put her hand up. Will you do it one more time? Instead of having her bend down like that, now just sit up straight and put your hand there. Something like that. If that's more comfortable. And soft. And that hand a little soft, put your hand right here. Good, and out a little further. And back. So what I'm looking for is not that right angle. You know, I could have her at least elongated, versus something like that. And... We talk about that later. Okay, perfect. Yeah, great. That was fantastic! Let's go with WonderfulIda. When you get guys to put their hands in their pockets, do you specify thumbs in, thumbs out, hooked by the thumbs? What's your hands-in-pockets rules? Okay, so my hands-in-pockets rules, for guys, I base it off of what happens in GQ. And in GQ, they do hands in, thumb out. That's why. In GQ, they look good. Although I will say, I have seen no problem where they're hooking their thumb. That's fine. I just wouldn't do too frilly hands, I would just kinda soften it a little bit so it shows confidence versus stress. But yeah, hand in with the thumb out. Cool, thank you. And Lindsay, we were talking earlier about posing eyes, and ProPhotographer asks, how do you adjust for people who have one eye larger than the other? Which way do you like to go with that? Cool. So that's somewhat in the next section, but I will tell you, usually it's whatever's smallest, you wanna put closer to the camera to look bigger, if you wanna even it out. Unless that's the bad side of their face. So it kinda depends. So we'll take a look at it, but it will just take a little bit more. And just to follow up on that, the bad side of the face, the good side of the face, how do you approach that? How do you determine? Okay, so, sometimes it's not obvious. And if it's not really obvious to you, then I don't make a big deal out of it. It's more if somebody has a significantly droopier eye. For example. I've definitely had plenty of portrait clients, especially when I did family portraits, where someone had a significantly droopier eye. Now, by definition, what you would usually think is, okay, it's a smaller eye, I wanna put it closer to the camera to make it larger. But then what you're showcasing is the droopier eye. And you don't really wanna do that. So it's things like an eye that's really slanted, or maybe some people have more of a crooked nose. It kinda depends. Rarely do I look at someone and I'm like, okay, I know which side of the face. (laughter) Like, it's not usually like that. Quite honestly, what I usually do, oh and this is an icebreaker, too. I think this is a good one to end on, too. A good icebreaker for me is I tell people, "If you don't mind, "I'm just gonna test my light. "You can sit there and text, you can just relax." And I'll click. "Okay, will you just turn your head that way? "Good, okay, good. "All right, just turn your head that way, "I'm just testing my light." And I just look at the back of the camera. Like, if you're really unsure, and you wanna see. You can tell pretty quickly something like that. And the other reason I find that's a good icebreaker, is if I'm just clicking and I'm just saying, "Don't worry about it, I'm just testing my light," those initial flashes that people are stressed out about, by that time, if I do this for three or four minutes, they're bored, and now bored equals relaxed. You know, so if they're just sitting there, and then I can just, "Oh that's good, let me just tweak that." You know, and it works good.

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!

Student Work