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Shoot: Beauty Poses

Lesson 35 from: Posing 101

Lindsay Adler

Shoot: Beauty Poses

Lesson 35 from: Posing 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

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.

Lesson Info

Shoot: Beauty Poses

Beauty photography, it's funny like I'm really really drawn to it. Just because I mean, how can you not, you have a gorgeous model with beautiful hair, makeup out in front of you, like I want those nice tight shots. But I don't want it just to be a picture of their face. How do you do something more than a picture of somebody's face. So here on my general five guidelines for beauty photography. Tip number one. Elongate the neck. And I say elongate the neck with shoulder control. Okay so it's two parts. So, let me stand out here so I'm in the light. So I'm not a model, so I don't have an endlessly long neck. I've had some models come in, I'm being totally serious, I had some models come in where their necks were so long that like it blew my mind. There's this, if you have my book, the Creative 52 one, there's a chapter where, there's this, I don't even know what I said oh it was for Style Issue on a Budget for under $ and this girl has this endlessly long, curvy neck and it's awesome. O...

kay, side note, but I love long necks. So anyway, so what I'm saying is when I'm posing for beauty photography, it's never relaxed. Maybe if it's a fashion shoot and I'm trying to make 'em look like sultry or something but for beauty it's always a long a neck as possible which is leaning and pulling shoulders down and kind of clavicles out. It's everything's elongating. The way that they turn their head is elongating, even if I have them raise their shoulder. I don't hunch. I pull back that back shoulder 'cause now I still have a long neck because you can see the clavicle or the tendons here. So even if I do something like that, it's always elongated. For people that are... For people that aren't, I'm just gonna move this so you can see, that aren't professional models, if you're trying to figure out how to elongate their neck, one tip that I've given people is if you can have them hold back the chair and lean way forward, it elongates their neck naturally. And then you kinda adjust your camera as necessary. Let me give you a couple other shoulder tips. A lot of times, if you have a model straight towards camera, it's kind of boxy 'cause this is gonna be broadest so it's so square, it's so boxy, you can't work with it much. If you turn the model sideways though, it's just like, it's a line, it's not dynamic. I don't know if you, I'll take a shot so you guys can see when she comes back. It's just, there's not as much angles to it. So sometimes that's whole model because I want some shape in their shoulders. I'll tell them to put their shoulder forward, their front shoulder forward. But if they don't have a lot of experience or if they don't know what I'm talking about, they kind of will do this. And it kind of crunches up their neck a little bit. Instead what I say, is your actually popping your shoulder in this direction. I'll demo for them so it's not this, it's a pop. And I, instead of having somebody put their hand here. When I say put your arm forward, I see a lot of people do this. The problem is, this is actually widening everything. This is actually creating a curve in my shoulder. So when I have a model that I have pop the shoulder up and then they do something like this. I say okay, put our elbow back, near the back of your body and then kind of just pop your shoulder forward and now they can have a longer neck but with shape instead of doing this when they pop sideways. So I'm like trying to manipulate their shoulders a little bit. No idea if that looks good on that camera so I will photographer her so that it looks good, I have no idea, I don't particularly. I do sometimes pose in front of a mirror but not my shoulders for beauty shots. So you're emphasizing tendons and clavicles. So whatever you can do, if the model is straight forward to make sure that these are popping out and if they're professional models, and they've had experience, they kind of already know how to pull, it's more or less like pulling down and they pop out. My make up artist, this is not posing exactly, my makeup artist will actually shade for that. She puts highlights on the top of the clavicles. Shadows under so they pop out. That's something that you want in beauty photography. And the same thing with tendons. Just if you can see the long tendons in the neck, that's good. Soft elegant hands, so everything we talked about in the beginning, hands often fluid motions. Pinky side towards camera. Never pressed up on the face. Never this side of the hand, I've seen where there's some instances or maybe it's, you see the back of the hand, never the palm, like ever. I never seen that in beauty photography done well. Head is usually neutral or tilted towards camera but it's not like, it's not back or not way forward. It's usually neutral or like tipped to elongate. This would be elongating beauty style 'cause see how long my neck gets. Versus this is more aggressive if I'm trying to like stare you down. Communicates different things. This is long and I'm snotty. This is I'm pissed at you. (audience laughing) I don't know, that's what I think. And then for over the shoulder, if you do shoot beauty over the shoulder, I would be very upset if your chin merges with your shoulder. 'Cause then there's no neck, there's no negative space so instead, if somebody is doing over the shoulder shots, have them tuck their elbow back, roll it forward and lean out. So now it is a long neck versus looking over your shoulder like this. I've seen like Christy Turlington do this well. Chances are you're not photographing a super model like Christy Turlington so, just long necks. You know, don't do this. It doesn't really communicate our goals of beauty. So this is one of my dresses that you can rent and I got two of these so far of this particular dress. I have like 30 dresses. But this one, I have a size four and a size eight so far. So I'm gonna try to do, you know, some for different body types and we'll see. Okay, so. This, the reason I wanted to pose in a dress is because clothing and posing actually makes a difference in fashion, like you pose for the clothing. So here, she can't kick her leg up. She can't move that much but there is a little bit I can do and I'll have you in my dress fluffer as well. So what I can do, is if I want a little more shape, I can have her pop her leg over a little bit. See that curve it introduces right there. This was straight on. She pops that leg over and now it's a little bit of curve. Can you arch your back just a little bit. Like butt up basically, yeah! Perfect, let's take a look, great! And then I can communicate what I want with hands. If I want powerful, I can do that. If I want sultry, I can have her drag her hands up her thighs. That's something that I direct people to do. So this would be powerful. Maybe this would be kind of more elegant. This is sophisticated, like you know, I'm just trying to pose express that. So I'm gonna just do a couple different poses. I do have her clipped in the back. That is an essential for fashion shoots 'cause the clothes have to fit perfectly and your camera only sees what you show it. So often, if I wanna do a picture over the shoulder, we clip in the front. You just move the clips around. So let me just take a couple pictures of this and then we'll move on. Okay. Good just like that. Hand around front just a little bit more on that side. Right there. Good, great! Look what she did with her clavicle. See you saw it, perfect. Look at her clavicles popping out. That's what I'm looking for versus when arms are down, it's not as defined. She knows how to do it. One thing I will note though. Hands. Yeah, they're kind of crunchy. She knew. But that's things that I'm looking for. Perfect so that's great. (camera clicks) Okay, take a look. So notice, there's a lean. There's curves, soft hands. Okay now (camera clicks) hand up soft this way on that side, exactly! Good yeah, right there. So see how long her neck got because she tilted her head up that way. Most of the time for people that's not fashion models, when you do this, it's like cutesy. For fashion models, it gives you endlessly long neck. And she doesn't tilt her head. She pulls up like everything elongates 'cause that's what you're aiming for. So let's do that again. Perfect. And can you give me a little more curve, pop out your hip a little more. Yeah good! And long with that neck and hands soft and a little bit more in front. Right there, good. (camera clicks) and I would move my clips but I'll leave them for now. (camera clicks) Good, okay now I'm gonna have you face me straight on. And I'm gonna have you tuck one leg over again. Whatever one, whatever you're comfortable with and just do real soft. Real soft, good. Okay so now this is gonna be more like this is a vulnerable look. Good. (camera clicks) Can you put your hand all the way up here. And then cross your bottom, yeah. So now, I'm using her arms to give me a little bit of shape. But that would be much more vulnerable. Can you lower your right hand a little bit lower. Your right hand just put it lower. Right there, good. And your left hand higher. Perfect. So see how I'm kind of got little bit of that curve going on. Cross your leg over even more. And wiggle your fingers real soft. Good. (camera clicks) Perfect. (camera clicks) And then chin look hard to your right and up. Good. (camera clicks) Good, okay so anyway, you guys get the idea. So I'm going to photograph her now doing beauty photography and the reason I had her change in the dress 'cause now I can have bare shoulders. And most beauty photography, yeah you could have shirts on but you don't see the long neck and the clavicles when you have high shirts on. So can we get her a stool. And do we have any questions to finish up fashion? No the black stool or no, this one. This one's fine. I think we are okay for the moment unless we have anything in the room? We do have one from August, yes. Hi. (male in distant) yes. I don't know if this is posing or lighting maybe it's a combination of both but, talk about catch lights a little bit. Sure. So catch lights in fashion photography, it depends on what you're trying to go for so catch lights are going to be those little highlights in the eyes. If you are going for dark and mysterious, I've done pictures with no catch lights. Or I have the light so high up that you can't see catch lights in the top of the eyes. But I have a reflector underneath and you see only catch lights on the bottom. That either does something really creepy or it makes it really sad 'cause it almost looks like tears. You know how tears, they well up, you get highlights there. So like we do something like that. In beauty photography, in this kind of work, you can actually have as many as you want. I used to get asked that question all the time. It like, do you Photoshop out your catch lights. No you can have 25 different catch lights if you wanted. Like in Lord of the Rings, you know, how the elves had all these catch lights. Yeah, it's awesome. Anyway, so that's why I going to adjust my light appropriately. So I'm gonna have you sit on that. And let me know if you can't sit. Do you want me to, you're good? Okay cool. So I, and I will need silver on that. Perfect, so I also bring and these aren't online. So you're not showing the camera that. But I also bring inspiration for beauty so you can see the different things I'm going for. So I'm going to just set this right here. Here's those references again. Alright so I'm gonna play with the shoulders again so you guys can see. And I'm going to light appropriately. Let's just light here. Okay good, so. Let's do, make sure we're not tangled, alright actually, can I get my 72 to 200. Alright so, we're not talking about beauty photography but I would use longer lenses we talked about that before for compression. I'm gonna do really tight shots and I was saying if you get up really close to somebody with a wider lens, it distorts everything. If you're looking in the very beginning of the class, somebody said that the furthest shot that the girl had, she looked oldest because her features were more defined and more angular. So if I hired a model because her features are defined and angular, you achieve that better with a longer lens so that's why I switching to a longer lens. Thank you very much. Alright so face me just straight on, okay. (camera clicks) Alright so this would be just a plain old nothing shot. We'll see in a second. And so if I were going to have her face straight on, can you pull down your shoulders, pop out your clavicles just a little bit? Good, okay did you see that she did that? Okay 'cause what she does is she gonna pulls down just a little bit and they pop out. That's kind of what I'm looking for so okay hide them or make them less noticeable. Yeah so when she pulled her shoulders back, they kind of went away. When she pulled it forward, they pop out a little bit more. Back it rolls them away, forward it pops them out. You just don't want to be, that's when you see those really bad poses where they do this. 'cause they're trying to pop out the clavicles but you lose the neck and it just, it's a pull to make 'em pop out. Okay so perfect. Take one more of those. So I would crop maybe something like this. (camera clicks) If I were doing no particularly special poses, but I did want to show you angle. Okay, so a difference. I know this is posing but a difference here, is with a portrait, I would get it a higher angle. And you could just look at me straight at me for one, okay? And portrait get it at a higher angle often. (camera clicks) okay so take a look at the length of her neck in this shot, okay. In this next one, it's about the same. Okay but really if you look at the actual length the neck before the shoulder start. We saw her neck was endlessly long before. It doesn't look like that now, right? Because I'm shooting from what most people do for portrait, which is above eye level. For shortening, neck gets shorter. So for beauty, I jank up and get down and that makes the neck look longer and then I use a wider angle lens. So I'm gonna probably be in your personal space. Okay, good, excellent. And... (camera clicks) Alright now let's take a look at the neck this way. And it gets like, twice as long. Okay now, I mean she actually has a neck this way. So while I might not photograph people for portraits at this angle 'cause you see how it's not like it's not as intimate, you're not like interacting with the person as much, the lines are much longer. Okay so let's say that I want to make her neck even longer. Can you turn to your right please. Okay, look can you see that neckline there. Check how long it's like that. (camera clicks) Okay and if I wanna make her neck even longer. I'm gonna turn her head back that way. So watch, and a little less, just a tiny bit less. Good right there. (camera clicks) Okay. So all I'm doing is I'm, for beauty photography I'm like okay, what are this particular person's angles. And how can I work them. Alright so looking at that. Let's say I just made her neck super super super long. But maybe I wanna add, give me a soft hand. Perfect, good and can you hide your thumb. And then put it kinda so I can't see it. Yeah exactly. And give me, wiggle your pinky a little bit right there. And head up, good. (camera clicks) And can you bring your shoulder in just a little bit with that. Just like tuck it into your body a little. Okay same thing, just like that long long long, right there, good. (camera clicks) And perfect. Okay so I'm giving like long lines, long neck. Okay but what I'm seeing for me, if I look is like okay, I like it but there's not much going on on this side of her body. So what can I do pose wise. So I'm gonna have you do is either tuck that arm in front or pop that shoulder forward just a little bit. Yeah, do the one you did before. Yeah, roll that forward. So she actually already starts to do it. So instead of this, she just popped it forward. so now it's not like open to the camera, nothing happening. It's popped forward for a little more shape. See, do you see the difference there? And now do it the other way, just relax it and open it back up. So and now pop it. So now there's just like, see now there's shape. Like it gives you more to work with so, soft hand again for me. Perfect, yeah great right there. (camera clicks) Great and right there, put your hand back down a little bit lower, good. So watch how much better I think that shoulder looks in these shots versus when it just open to the camera. It's flat, look how insanely long her neck looks. Of course, I'd get rid of like she has a couple neck wrinkles. In retouching, I would maybe smooth out that just a little bit. But it's like so minor and now she has the longest neck ever. All the curves look nice so it's, like a lot of beauty photography doesn't have to be super profound hand movements. It's actually more in the shoulders and the neck and the way that you tilt your head. Alright perfect, so let's do... Can you do something like that? And I do this, I always do this shot. I just, like i just kind of cup my hands together pinky sides towards camera. Something like that, that's a good go to shot and it's good for tight. Good, just like that and bring your pinky in just a little. Good. And then make sure, right there. I make sure that it's not just straight on. 'Cause this to me, you kind of tilt towards it, right? She did it automatically. 'Cause this is, I mean its, it has feel to it. I'm trying to move with those hands so your eyes are flowing so, let's take a look. Just like that. Try one here. (camera clicks) Good, alright great. So kind of have a beauty pose there. How about let's do, let's do something like this. Can you do something like this? Perfect, great right there! Okay, perfect. And no, you can just do it like that. You could do something like this. Just that, that's great. (camera clicks) Oh you can't really, and put your hand against your face, good, right there. I can't really think of a time (camera clicks) when I like armpits. Except if I can get away with it here. Let me do it one more time. I'm gonna get real close. Good, and relax your fingers just a little bit more. Good and tilt with your head. (camera clicks) So, I can break a couple rules 'cause I really don't like armpits but model's armpits tend to be nicer. Alright so I'm just gonna do a couple more beauty shots. Let's do the shoulder raised. Okay so, good that was good. That was, yeah so notice, can you face me straight on? Okay and I'm gonna have you just turn your head to your right. Okay great so, from this particular angle actually I'm gonna do a progression. Look straight at me first. (camera clicks) Okay now look to your right. (camera clicks) Okay, first of all, I love her tendon. Do you see what I'm talking about, that pops out when she turns her head. Maybe that's what I wanted to do, maybe I really want to have some tendon to pop out, okay? Alright but look how short her neck got. Alright it's even shorter for example, will you go ahead and raise that shoulder. The ah, yeah, the raised, this one good. And turn your head that way, towards your left. Okay so now if you raise her shoulder 'cause you wanna see that tendon. She's like no neck, you'll see in a second. That gets me, when people do it, don't do it, or at least don't ask me to critic it if you did it 'cause then I can't be nice. I'm not mean but I can't deal wit it. So if you do want shoulder raised so that she can go ahead and turn her head and have that long. Turn towards, ah rotate your body this way. Good keep going, good and now do it. Perfect. Okay so she can turn her head both ways really. Good, roll your head back that way. Little less, good. (camera clicks) This is okay with me for raised shoulder. Or bring it way up and tuck your chin in. Okay so I'm gonna show two ways. This I don't like. You can do it again, you're good. This I don't like as much. As if I come over to this way. And I'll kind of show (camera clicks) you why. You'll see in a second. Okay so when one, her shoulder's raised. But I can't see neck. All we did is move a little bit to the left. Do you see how I can see that tendon, so now it's okay. So it's a combination of pose and perspective for me. And then I can go ahead and can you do that same pose and just introduce a hand some place over here, good. And do this shoulder up again, good just like that. Good and actually, in front, yeah right there, perfect, good. (camera clicks) and now tilt your head the other way, good. (camera clicks) So I'm just kind of just working angles. And it's a matter of kind of left and right, up and down, soft hands for her and where I place shoulders. So I'd say shoulders is most important thing. Always looking for tendons, clavicles, elongated neck, soft hands, not awkward and trying to express whatever I'm trying to achieve with that image. Let's do question. Now if I wanted, this shot is like four frames ago when her chin actually merged with her shoulder, do you purposely break that rule when you're doing beauty as opposed to fashion and if something else? Yeah, so yeah I'll break the rules a lot. If I do go ahead and have the chin merged, I just shoot from an angle enough where I can still see this part of her neck. I won't shoot from that angle where I can't see neck. Okay. Because if I'm shooting from this angle and she has no neck, that's not beauty to me. It's not like elongated and elegant. But if she just rotates, now you can see her neck and then that's okay. So it's actually just a little bit of perspective so opposing changes that and I'll do poses with both hands up. We do pose with here and just the whole time just moving her head to see which angles works best. There's no set good pose 'cause it depends on the model's jaw line and their features too and how they're catching the light and all of that. So... okay. How are you feeling? Good this is my stuff, this is what I do (laughing) so it's just like, it's my thing. Yeah, it notice, it's easy but it's like you're watching minute details at that point. It's not big scheme, it's tiny little things and something as much as like the pinky here to here ruins the photo. If I had a girl with her hand here and her pinky was here, wouldn't use it. But if it's down and soft then I could. So you become much more attuned to those little things which is great, when I take it back to portraiture 'cause I can go ahead, I can pose them overall, and then I zoom into the hands or zoom is that foot turn so I can elongate it instead of coming at me so I do the overall pose and then I look at those minute things which is what I get from fashion. And for those folks out there who are interested as always in the lighting that Lindsay is using, you can definitely check out, she's done a couple workshops here on lighting. She did Conquering Crappy Light, which is a three day on lighting and a one day, Queen of Studio Lighting during lighting week. Yeah are you good? Are you happy? Yeah. I'm perfectly happy. Okay 'cause we are happy. Did you guys have any remain Any questions, she does right there. Perfect Yeah, well it's not well I guess we'll, in terms of like doing fashion for plus size models though, would you do differently 'cause obviously you have more curves to be concerned about but you still wanna emphasize the curves but like as far as the shooting up, shooting at a lower angle to make them look longer but again you have to contend because they're obviously thicker in the neck and the shape. Sure. So I would make a little bit changes, just a little bit. I would maybe have them stick their jaw out a little bit. I would probably back up further than normal. Instead of being close to make them look tall. But typically, I'm still trying to emphasize curve just as much. If I'm photographing a plus size model, I'm not going for graphic. I might still do a dramatic pose but I'm making sure it always comes back to curve and then I can make some graphic shapes but its always gotta come back to curve. Where as if their stick thin, you already have those lines to make graphics. So I think what I'm emphasizing is just a little different. Yeah 'cause I guess, a lot of times with plus size modeling you see, it is more to make them look voluptuous. And it's more soft It always is, yeah. And stuff and I don't know if there's a way to possibly change that 'cause I think that would be a good thing for the plus size, obviously, that's not your job to do but No. Just if there was a way to move over to that for plus size modeling, like what would you suggest as far posing goes to get into more angular things. I would probably say at that point, movement. Yeah. Because if you're moving, then you don't require quite, it's not static, you're not looking for lines or curve. When someone's standing there, you either want lines or curves, you want something. So if it's movement. Yeah. Then you can get away with it a little bit more. That would probably be what I would do and then of course beauty. Yeah. Awesome, thank you. Welcome. Fantastic, so Lindsay, as we're coming here to the end of this awesome, wonderful three days, let's talk a little bit about your final thoughts about the over arching, what is posing to you? Why is this so important and what are your key take aways? As posing, is something that is scary to a lot of us especially when you're not working with professional models so let's just take this particular example aside. Because for lighting, you can see it a lot of times and make that change, but for a pose, you've gotta go okay what do I do? Where could I put that, how can I angle people? So you're greatest tool for flattering somebody is the combination of everything you do. It's the posing. It's the lighting. It's going to be your camera angle, your compression. It's not one thing but if you take posing out of that, you are making your job so much harder as a photographer, you really have to have all those things. And so you know, as a photographers, we're problem solvers and we need all of those tools in our tool basket. What I think is awesome, is that if you watch the first day, which you guys did, the fundamentals are the same the whole time so even though I knew, as I was repeating each section, you would hear the same things over again. I was assuming, it wouldn't sound like I was being a broken record, it would go oh I see now what you're talking about elongate. I see what you're talking about weight back. I see what you're talking about negative space. Those fundamentals are the same. So it's just knowing okay, what are the little bits of differences between different subjects and then just go back to these fundamentals every time. So it's not as scary as you think it is and it's a practice makes perfect thing and so the more that you do it, the more experience yo have. You find your expertise so really those foundations if you feel confident with those foundations, you can pose anything. You can pose anyone, maybe not kids. (audience laughing) I just had to add that. Oh Lindsay, we adore you. (laughing) One more question, so people have all these things as you say, you need to go out there and do the work. You need to practice makes perfect. Now, I know that you have a little book that's all about practice. That's all about finding that daily inspiration. Tell us a little bit about Creative 52. Yup so this is my most recent book, it came out in October. And it is 52 so weekly challenges that you can do and it's intended to challenge yourself conceptually, technically and then also in Photoshop. So you kind of have all that to work with and you could do one a week. And the reason I wrote the book is, long story short, if you've heard me talk about this, I had somebody when I had been shooting for a while tell me that, basically my entire portfolio sucked and that I should start again. And so, I realized that the person at the time was actually right and I completely redid my portfolio. I became a new photographer in a year. But everything that I do is because I practice it. So I was joking but I mentioned, you know my boyfriend was laughing 'cause I was posing because I was practicing and trying to find ways, okay this doesn't look great on me but, for model how could I direct? And I'm practicing on people and in the break, you know sometimes I would take Iris and say okay, there's something I wanna try and I would pose her. So if you have someone that's willing to do that for you, practice when it's low pressure. See what all the different poses change for different body types and all of that. Practice before it's a client there, if you can so that you're not stressed out and then you can look for the minute details and you kind of have those go to poses. So what I recommend that you do is definitely in those little PDFs and those little printouts that you have, master five poses, even if it's not those, have five poses so that you automatically have those as go to and then you go back to the foundations and figure out how to tweak from there with each person that is different. So to bring that back to creativity for this book, you know you take the foundations you have and then you make good images instead of just practicing. You can take one of those assignments, assign yourself to challenge yourself creatively and then learn, take what you've learned from posing and say okay, I'm gonna do something creative and then make posing tell that creative story. 'Cause it is an element of the entire picture, definitely.

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