Posing 101

 

Lesson Info

Shoot: Male High School Senior Poses

High school senior male guidelines. Alright, so, here would be my tips, if you've never photographed a high school senior guy before, the guidelines to getting a great shot. So my tip number one would be remember that the shoulders control their broadness. So, when the guy walks in the studio, high school senior guys wanna look tough and they wanna look big, usually. But it's going to depend on their body type. So if a guy walks into the space and he is very narrow and less than muscular, which tends to happen for high school guys, you don't want to have him pose to the side because now I've reduced. All you see is the elbow. The foreshortening makes him look really narrow. Instead, in this case, you would have the guy broader to the camera and leaning towards the camera. It makes everything here look bigger. If you happened to have a guy that maybe was a little bit broader or perhaps a little bit heavier and you want to reduce that, then you would back that off a little bit and turn h...

im to the side. So just remember, shoulders are an important part for high school guys. The next thing, girls, their main goal in their photos is to look pretty. Guys, for high school senior photos, their main goal is to look cool. And if they're doing a pose they don't perceive is cool, you will see it in their face and every part of their body, their hands, I mean, they can barely not roll their eyes in the photo. So you want them to feel cool which is why I try to have them participate, me personally, in the posing process, which is why I say, "OK, take a seat, pretend like you are watching a TV show." And then I tweak it. Or, "Go lean up on the wall." I'll be like, "Go, give me a GQ look." And they might think that I'm nerdy and that's fine 'cause then I can get funnier expressions but I let them participate. I let them be comfortable and then I tweak. I don't try to do anything extravagant with guys because usually they think it's over the top, but this kind of works in here. The difference between high school seniors and mature men, like posing, the difference between the two is, generally, for high school seniors, if you want to lay them on the ground or involve more movement, that would be much more common. I don't usually have an adult guy laying on the ground or sprawled out, but I would definitely do that for a high school senior guy, which is actually what we're gonna do with the basketball. For a high school senior guy, I have found, so you can look at the crazy ones, you know, you can tell the ones that are performers. They're out to look good and if you can involve movement, a lot of times they love it. So if you read that off of a personality, I have guys jump, I have them, whatever it may be to add a little bit of movement. I'll actually have them walk towards the camera. Whatever prop they may have, if they can interact with it, I'll actually have them move with that piece. I don't do that with mature men. It doesn't exactly line up. Which brings me to number three. For high school senior guys, to get that cool factor and also to have them be comfortable, if you can indeed get a prop, do it. Get a prop because they have something to hold onto. The part that's most stressful is what do I do with my hands? If they play lacrosse, they can hold the lacrosse stick. Whatever it may be. If it's basketball, they can sit with it. So find something to interact with. Which is what brings you to number four. Which is occupy their hands and arms. That's a big one. 'Cause they don't quite know, you know, basically, the go to pose for guys, because they're unsure, is just cross their arms. Which, honestly, I always get a crossed arm shot. Especially since, for the smaller guys, it bulks them up a little bit. If a guy is really small, I do the crossed arm shot almost instantly, 'cause everything looks bigger. I have them lean towards the camera. But that's kinda boring, so if I can occupy their hands with those props or have them put their hand in their pocket, it makes them look cool and more confident versus I just kind of let my hands fall 'cause I didn't know where they went. And number five is much more commonly, would be sitting or laying or leaning versus a lot of times with mature men I will do sitting, but it's not as dramatic. High school senior guys are dramatic. This guy's dramatic. I like it, though. Good dramatic. See, he's... (laughter) You missed it, he just was like... See, posing's going to be easy. I don't want you to think... I specifically told Creative Live that I wanted people that don't know how to pose, no experience, and then I get these... He's sitting over there posing for me already. (laughter) Awesome. So, those are the tips that I would keep in mind. And the biggest difference with high school senior guys is that I can involve more movement and have them laying out on the floor, that kind of thing. I wouldn't do that with someone who's a bit older. So, let's photograph you, OK? Perfect. Right now, yeah? Yeah, sure. Yeah, we can start with that. Awesome. I'm gonna push this aside. See, he's like, into it. I mean, if you do a lot of high school senior photos, you know that's not generally the case. Specifically the guys. Sometimes girls get into it 'cause they want really hot Facebook photos. (laughter) You know what? I'm not gonna lie. The guys do too, now. And this is totally, this is a business aside, but marketing to that is OK. I would always say, "Oh, I love this shot. "Your friends are gonna love it on Facebook." I would totally say that because then they're like, "Oh, yeah, they are. "Alright, let's pose this up. "Let's look good." Alright, awesome. So, notice how he's, well, first of all he's already comfortable. But, he's already more comfortable because he has something to interact with. So, let's say that it's a basketball in this case. For posing a guy, I actually didn't usually bring out the prop as the first shot. It was maybe my second or third. My first shot is always just sitting. Super plain, super boring. You know, sitting, leaning towards camera, arms crossing. Nothing complicated. We're like, alright, this isn't too bad. But then, I would introduce a prop because then it's giving them something to hold onto and interact with. Anything that was more complicated I saved to the end. So, in this case... Oh, you're fine. OK. You're fine. So, in this case, you could actually have him holding the ball in front as long as his elbows are popped out to the side. More generally, you kinda tuck it under an arm. Just, like, hold it. Yeah, something like that. He's just tucking it under his arm. The reason I'm doing that is, here, even when he has his elbows popped out it's an up and down pose. Like there's no... Put it back in front for me. It's just up and down. Hold it to the side now. Now I've got a little bit of movement for my eye. So that's what I'm looking for. Symmetry is a little bit too static. So he puts the ball to the side. I'm gonna take a couple of photos 'cause it's good. It looks good. Alright. Perfect. Just like that. Let me test my light first. (camera clicking) Good. Easy peasy. OK. For angle, just real quick, can you turn to your right just a little bit? Good. This is OK, but notice when I photograph this, and let me know if the tether's looking OK, it's OK here because I can see his wrist but you start to get the hand coming out of nowhere thing so I do prefer when he comes back towards camera just a little bit so I can see where his arm is. Just a little bit. It's not a big deal. I wouldn't tell you the photo's terrible if I couldn't see his arm. I'm kind of on the shorter side, like five four maybe, like the same height as you, but normally, just like, the guys... What are you calling me? (laughter) I'm just kidding. I'm super short. But normally when you've heard about the gentlemen, you know, like guys, normally everyone is higher than me. Yes. And my solution is just, always, I'm like, if I'm doing them and I don't have my stepladder or something to step on, I normally sit down people but if you are comfortable shooting from your flat foot up to him. How do you deal with that? Yeah, that's perfect. That's a great question. So here's an important part of that. Let's say I'm taking his picture and he's, I mean, he's taller than me, but even taller. The most important part is that I back up and zoom in because that height is less emphasized versus if I'm shooting a little bit wider, closer I will be shooting up at him. So the further back I go, I can shoot with a longer lens and it kinda compresses it. It's not an up-the-nose shot. If, however, I really want a standing shot of him but he is really that much taller than me, my go-to is a step towards camera because this step, the height difference in this step. And it might be a little more exaggerated. So if you'll do that and just take a step towards camera and kinda lean a little bit. OK, so I'm gonna hold a hand here. OK, now stand up straight and put your feet together. Yeah. So it's maybe, what, three inches shorter? So, I mean, you can go more exaggerated than that but the step and lean makes them shorter. Thank you. Yeah, definitely. What do you think? Look good, right? Gorgeous. (laughter) Are you mic-ed? He's, like, "Gorgeous." Just so you guys know. I wasn't sure if he was mic-ed. Awesome. So while I have this prop, again, it makes him feel, I mean, he knows what to do with his hands and he naturally has a stance. But I also photograph, when anyone has a prop, also on the ground. So I'm just gonna have you naturally, why don't you just sit down and put the basketball in front of you. Let's see what he does. OK, so, for that right now everything is straight on. Doesn't work. So I'm going to have you tilt towards your left. Your whole body to your left. Yeah, rotate. Yeah, rotate. Perfect. Rotate. OK. So now, I'm like, OK. He naturally, actually poses. Is that where the basketball? That's actually fun how he did it there. I would just... It's fine. (laughter) This kid's awesome. So, he's actually fine there. The only thing I would maybe say is sit up a little straighter and then relax your shoulders and put your elbow back up. 'Cause before he was just slouching a little bit but, it's true, if you notice, this is something I had in my slides yesterday. When you tell someone to stand up straight, or to sit up straight, they do this and their shoulders get tense. Tense shoulders does not look comfortable which is one of the key things we're aiming for for high school guys. So then I told him to relax. So that's kinda what I'll do. I'll say, "OK, pull up from the top of your head, "straighten up your spine. "OK, now relax." And it just improves the posture there. So, I could photograph him like that. Or maybe with the ball, actually, lean out on your elbow. Just lean, actually, on the ground on your elbow. That would be really hard to do on the ball. He was gonna... Isn't that how they do... Don't they have workouts like that? Like you balance on balls? Yeah, exactly. OK, perfect. So what I'm gonna have you do is I'm gonna have you put your other arm in front and you're just gonna lean comfortably and just do something like that. Like, I can just kind of surround the ball with his hands. That's a pretty good natural pose. I'm gonna take a shot. Alright. Great. Perfect. I'll tell you one flaw I see, which is not in him. Don't worry. You're perfect. We said, you know, gorgeous. That's what you said. OK. "That's the one," is what he said. One thing that I would change. It did a little foreshortening in the elbow. So, can you pop your elbow out to the side? Yeah, just something like that. Just a little bit more. And right now he's leaning back a little. Can you lean towards me? Like, lean your chest towards me? Good. (camera clicking) Good. (camera clicking) Perfect, OK. So we pick a pose like this last one and actually cropped out his leg 'cause you don't really need that shot. But this is a traditional high school senior guy. I would do one standing, one sitting like that. OK? So that would be my, bring a prop. If it's a, you know, it could be a guitar. It could be another sports thing. He said, what did you say? You do cross country? Yeah. He's like, "I didn't want to wear shorts "and just, like, model my shoes." I was like, "Yeah, that's probably, "that probably wouldn't go over so well." OK, so you wanna stand back up? Sure. So this is where I would maybe say, OK, so I got those poses. Let's do the cool, GQ sitting poses for him. So, you can pass that off. (laughter) That was good. Can I have one of the chairs with, well, I guess I can start with that one. Yeah, we can start with that one. Alright. Alright. So keep in mind we're going for GQ. What have you got for me? I would kinda do something like that. Let's see how. Alright. See, he's giving me a little GQ here. Alright. So this is how I would actually interact with people. I would kind of see what they can give me and then tweak it. OK, so that's pretty good. But the problem is, he's slouching a little much. Can you put, your foot goes up a little high. Like, there's one more, like, thing. Can it go up on that? Are you gonna fall? No. OK, good. OK, do that again now. Alright. So see how nice? He's not as slouched. OK, so what you're gonna do is just pose like that. Do you mind if I just kind of move? I'm just gonna do this. OK? And what I'm looking for is, like, alright, I wanted some negative space. Everything was coming at camera. And lean out on that arm even more. A little less. And then bring this hand up. OK, just be comfortable. Like, lean on it real comfortable. Alright, so I'm looking and I'm like, OK. That stool, I'm a little worried that he might fall. It's a little... Yeah, well, I'll wait for that. OK, so I could try something like this. See, and I'm like, alright. Personally I'm thinking, it doesn't do anything for me. I think it's 'cause of the stool is a little bit off. So what I'm gonna do is, I'm actually gonna switch stools if you don't mind. Can I have one that doesn't... Yeah, can you just give me the chair? I don't want him... This is not a posing stool. This is a spinny stool. OK, perfect. We're just gonna use the chair. Thanks. Perfect. Alright. Let me move this forward just a little bit. And by default, if you place the chair forward... Just take a seat. Guys, by default, will pose forward. So when you set the chair down, don't set it forward. So, stand up one more time for me. And can you rotate it just towards the light there. OK, now take a seat. Just face forward? Yeah, and now lean out on your legs. OK, so this is actually totally fine for high school senior guys. He's leaned out, he's comfortable. Just make sure his shoulders aren't hunched over. So just kinda pull your shoulders down just a little bit. Good. And I'm gonna have you pop this elbow out a little bit more. So what I'm doing is I'm actually making him look broader. Like this, when he just kinda leans like this, everything's compacted. I want his muscles to show. I want him to look broader. So I pop his elbow out and it gives me nicer negative space. OK, so we're gonna tweak this in a second. But I would start with something like that. So it looks good. (camera clicking) Perfect. OK, but if I wanted a little more dynamic, one of the things that I said for getting more dynamic poses is to have whatever's in twos on different levels. OK? So that's, like I said, if you have your hands on your hips that's not as dynamic as one hand higher, one hand lower. Well that doesn't work for a guy. I'm not gonna make you do that. But, he could totally do it. I believe it. But I have an apple box. So this is something, I don't have a lot of props in my studio. Actually, I have almost none. But I do have one of these, because now I can make his legs uneven. So will you put your back leg up on that. Good. Alright, and now lean out. OK, so now it's a little bit more dynamic and he can lean out without hunching and he can do whatever's comfortable. Usually, I will do hands together, maybe one kind of resting on his thigh. So this is going to be a more dynamic pose. Perfect. (camera clicking) Good. And now I'm going to have you GQ for me. OK, good. And put that hand, (laughter) and put that hand up on your thigh, or your, yeah right there. And put it in a fist behind your elbow. OK, perfect. Just like that. (camera clicking) So the whole time, what I'm looking for, the little things I'm tweaking are, OK, he's flat-footed and leaning forward. How do I make him not lean forward? I have him so that he can actually lean less on his leg, so I add an apple box. But that also gives me a more dynamic pose because now his two legs are not completely even. I had him GQ. When he put his hand out in front... Would you move your hand out in front? My eye goes there because it's a light-colored fist against his pants. So I had him hide it. And I also had him not have a loose hand. 'Cause if you spread your fingers out. Right here? Yeah. Alright in front, or in back, I mean. I would be able, depending on where I was shooting from, I would be able to see his fingers and it's that fingers from nowhere effect, so I just have him put it in a ball there, and then whatever's comfortable. And he looks comfortable. It looks good. I would try the other leg, as well. But that would be kind of my... You can do it if you want. He's like, "I'm not gonna pose." So that would be like my GQ-ish look. Hey Lindsay, just for our folks in other countries, could you define GQ? Oh. It's a fashion men's magazine and the men all look hot and debonaire. So, when you say it to a guy, when you say they look GQ they're like, "Oh yeah, alright." Thank you. Definitely. I was like, is there another big men's magazine internationally? I don't know. Other ones I can think of are like Esquire. Yeah, you could Esquire, if you know that one. So it's basically, if I had to describe it in a few words, it would be manly, confident, and calm. Cool and confident. That's how they wanna feel. Alright. So after I'd shot some things where he's doing a basic pose with his hand, I would do a basic shot. Can you just cross your arms? Perfect. And lean back in the chair. OK, so guys, as soon as you give guys a chair with a back, a lot of times they'll slouch and they'll lean back. Especially high school guys. So what you wanna do is have them lean forward towards the camera. Actually let's say that you have a guy, see he's fine, but let's say you had a guy that's really small and you want him to look a bit older and more mature. If you lean him forward it really will broaden out his chest. But you just don't want him to lean forward like falling. So let me take a look right here. Hunch up your shoulders just a little. Good, and relax your shoulders just a little bit. (camera clicking) Good. (camera clicking) So I would get that shot. Notice I had him lean forward. But while I have a chair, I'm gonna have you flip the chair around and straddle it for me. Yes, ma'am. Yeah. He's like, agreeing with everything. The same? To the right? See, and he's already paying attention, posing. OK, good. I always... No, It's perfect. I always do this because guys already feel like they know how to pose on the back of a chair. They cross their arms. They put their hand up. Something like that. I don't want to make it too complicated so that's great. Also, a super manly pose. We're gonna do this for the next one. Can you pretend you're like... Oh, he did it. What the heck? (laughter) OK, so, super manly pose. And now lean forwards towards it just a little bit. So this you don't see as much except for if it's supposed to be kind of tough and manly. If you wanna know what to do with the hands and have them in a shot, actually almost that punching and posing next to it will give you that same effect versus having to have your hand on the face. So some guys, especially high school seniors, where I've said pose like this, they're like, "I don't do hand on face poses." No, really. Like I've heard guys say that to me. So I'm like, "OK." So my alternative would be something like that. Perfect. Just like that looks great. (camera clicking) Good. Let's check my light. Perfect. I'm gonna try one more from right here. And tilt your head back just a little bit to your right. Good. (camera clicking) OK. And do one more with your arms, just cross them on the chair. OK? Just like that. Super calm, super comfortable. (camera clicking) Basic guys' portrait. (camera clicking) Alright. So, how's it going so far? Great. Good? Yeah. Easy. So the last thing that I would do for guys is, I have him sitting and I would do some with and without his prop or his basketball lying on the ground. Yesterday we did one with hand or elbow up on his knee. The last thing I would do would pose up against a wall. So, I am going to pose you up on the wall. So just go be comfortable. Awesome. Pose on the wall. OK. I'm gonna try not to be hooked. Perfect. Great. OK, so I just wanna show you a couple of different effects. And can you bring it even around more towards the TV? Just so we can, yeah, perfect. OK, let's give this a try. I'm actually gonna let you stand with your back on the wall. So, a lot of guys will stand with their back on the wall but notice how narrow it makes him look. And that is a default. A lot of people will do that 'cause that's what's comfortable. What is less comfortable is kind of a three-quarter lean. So, if I'm thinking that I wanna make him look broader, I can have him do a three-quarter lean. That looks good. That's perfect. Perfect. And cross, exactly. So, when I had him lean on the wall when he was flat-foot, that's not stable and so I watch for stability in the legs. So I'd have him cross his leg over. Something that's a little more stable versus any time someone's trying to balance you see it everywhere in their face and they get uncomfortable. So, yeah, just lean up on the wall. Great. Perfect. And I'm gonna try to get that background cleaner. Sorry. (camera clicking) And now do the same thing with your arms crossed. Perfect. (camera clicking) Good. (camera clicking) And very last thing that I want you to do is lean on the wall, arms crossed and foot up. Yeah, perfect. OK? And so, if I did want him to lean on the wall, be comfortable, then I can't shoot here. Because it has minimized him too much. So I have to change my angle. So instead of doing this I would need to come around to a more front angle like this. That's good. I'm gonna scoot right here. Same thing. And just whatever's comfortable. And don't lean back as much. Lean your chest towards me just a little bit. Good. (camera clicking) Perfect. That was a really cute smile. It's very happy. Well, thank you. OK, now be serious. And don't lean as much. I was doing it again, yeah. No, you're fine. Great. (camera clicking) OK, perfect. Alright, I'm going to try to get untangled. Alright, so that's it. That was perfect. Thank you so much. Thank you. (applause) Alright, so let me see, do we have any high school senior guy questions before we just show a couple differences for photographing a mature male? Sure, I have one from Divatography. That's cute. I had a question about, like, our wonderful model here has a big personality. Which is great. They wanna know, how do you get those big movement personalities to stop when you get a pose, instead of moving beyond the position you want to capture? I deal with that with professional models all the time because one of the things that they're taught is you should never hold a pose more than three seconds. That's like a professional model thing. But what if I didn't get it and then they're on to the next one and I loved it. So, all I do is I say, "OK, that's great. "Don't move. "I gotta get this from a bunch of different angles." And I just let them know that they're doing a great job. And I think you can kinda tell also the way I interact with my subjects, no matter what I'm like, "Good, OK. "But let me try something different." Even if it's not working. But for getting them to hold still, "Oh, that's perfect! "Don't move, don't move. "Hold still, hold on, hold on." And then they're usually like, "OK." And then they laugh at me and I get good expressions. Cool, so Pro Photographer asks, how do you use motion or jumping poses with male seniors and what tips can you give for those types of poses? OK, absolutely. So for guys, for male seniors, it does depend on the guy. But I've found a lot of them like jumping. Just, like, jumping and kicking. Do you like to jump and kick? Do you know what I'm... Yeah. See, he likes jumping and kicking. (laughter) See, I knew it. I knew that he was a jump and kicker. But, the biggest thing is if they're jumping, I'll say, like, "I want you to jump off," and I'll have them jump off stairs at me or something. Or I'll just joke, I'm like, "OK, this one's not serious, "this is just for fun, but let's end off on "like a crazy ninja, Chuck Norris look." And jump off of whatever, or something that I can kind of reference. So, the big one is don't kick or jump or anything at the camera. All the movements should kind of be to the side. Otherwise you can't see it. If it's at the camera, it's not defined. And it totally depends on the guy. I think he would jump. I think he would be cool with jumping. But, a quiet, reserved guy would not. Wouldn't happen.

Ready to expand your posing skills? Join fashion photographer and CreativeLive instructor Lindsay Adler for a hands-on introduction to the fundamental posing techniques every photographer needs to know.

During live photo shoots, Lindsay will cover how to work with different body types, including how to tailor movement and body angles, using a wide variety of models as examples. You’ll learn how to delight your clients by ensuring flattering results, every time. You’ll also learn about how your camera and lens choices affect posing choices, and how to select the gear that meets your needs. Lindsay will also teach you strategies for posing in more challenging situations — including creatively posing brides and grooms, connecting with shy subjects, and working with subjects who aren’t classically “beautiful.”

Whether you’re a novice photographer beginning to move from candid shots to posed ones or an old pro looking for some new posing tricks, this course will give you the skills you need to make every shoot a success.

 
 
 
 

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  • 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!
  • 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!
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