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Shoot: Maternity Couple Poses

Lesson 32 from: Posing 101

Lindsay Adler

Shoot: Maternity Couple Poses

Lesson 32 from: Posing 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

32. Shoot: Maternity Couple Poses

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

Lesson Info

Shoot: Maternity Couple Poses

So now we're going to do maternity, adding in the father. Now don't you see how much easier it is before they come out? (audience laughing) So much more easy, oh my god. Alright, so here are a couple of things. Photographing when you add the father in. The first thing is proportions. Dad is still important, too. He should not just be hidden behind the mother. The reason, is, well two fold. Visually it's just jarring, cause it's like his head poppin' out of the side of her shoulder. But also, it will obviously make her look larger. And, if you go into psychology as well, if you want him to look like a paternal, protective person, he should actually look equal or a little bit larger in the frame. So instead of standing behind her, he might stand a little big further over to the side. Or even start coming around to the front instead of hiding behind her. And of course, also, any of his appendages, if he's right behind her, just look like they're coming from nowhere. So watch out for your ...

proportions. Dad should look equal, or even a little bit larger in the frame. Next is to try supportive male poses, which means holding one hand beneath her stomach. One hand below. Getting on his knees and wrapping one arm below, his hand above. So try things like that, that's if you wanna get more artistic. He's actually supporting and embracing. That doesn't need to be a full-length shot, but it could be. So we'll do a couple poses like that. I personally like that a lot on location, back lit. You know, very romantic feeling. And I've also seen it done black and white, heavily side lit from the side, so it's all about curve and it's about drama and the future, and you know, that stuff. Okay, number three is to vary the eye contact. Definitely for me, this is about a moment that they're having together. Straight onto the camera, smiling, I don't know, it doesn't work. You have to still get that shot, but if he's holding her, and them closing their eyes and tilting their heads towards each other, that's what that moment actually is about. Them being together. So you need to get both. So, if you're just doing straight on towards the camera cause you've been hired to do a portrait, and you think portrait means looking at the camera, you're missing out on the best shots, I think. Number four is, avoid all hands stacked together. Oh my gosh, okay. I see this all the time, where she'll have her hands on top of her stomach, he'll be behind with his hands on top of her. And it's hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, and like it's just a big mass of hands and that's what you're looking at. It's not elegant, and what you want, is you want curve and line. It's the same reason why you don't want symmetry as well. Or when you have a couple you don't want them mirrored, like both hands on each other's hips. Everything just kind of merges together and lines up and stacks and it doesn't look nice. So just watch that for the hands. If he's gonna have his hand below, then she puts her hand above. If he wants to put another hand... You can have a little bit of overlap, but not everything all in one place. Makes it more dynamic, and softer and smoother. Number five would be choosing or considering unusual crops. If you wanna get more creative, cause as I said, we're going to do at the end a couple creative poses. But for the most part, there really are kind of the essentials that you go to and you get every time. But one way to make those more interesting is varying your perspective, and varying your crop. So considering shooting at a higher angle so that you have just their faces together in focus, and then the curve out of focus, and the bottom part of the frame. Or, having his head and arm here, and just cropping on that. Or maybe you have her head turned, and you just see from the top of her eyes to the bottom of his arm. Just try different crops than full-length, here we are standing here. It's more intimate than that, so you wanna have closer crop sometimes. Looser crops aren't communicating as much, it's not as romantic. So let's take a look at how that kinda plays out photographically. Thanks guys. Alright, so I'm gonna actually go through this before I take a picture. But for example, would you go hide behind her? Okay, good. Alright, now put your hands on the top of her stomach. And now put your hands on his, on his hands. Okay, this would be the most common mistake I see. So this is, I'm looking, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh right here. That's where my eye goes. And then, especially from my angle, where I was standing, I see nothing but his head and the top of his shoulders. It's a little awkward. (laughs) And I'm sure she doesn't necessarily appreciate that photographically either. So what I would do, is I would move him out to one side or the other. So would you just scoot that way just a little bit? And instead of all hands all in one place, would you put your hand underneath, underneath your stomach. And then you put your hand on top. Now you can put one hand together. So they could have two hands together, that's okay, that's fine. So I'm actually gonna grab a shot of that, okay? So we will need to switch over to Lightroom for me. Perfect. I'm gonna have you both rotate just a tiny bit to your right. Yeah, perfect, thank you. And I'm watching, you see little pointy fingers? Can you just hide it behind... He doesn't know this rule, it's okay, it's not his fault. Yeah, oh, he hid 'em, okay, he doesn't know. We've been talking about this rule. Will you hide it just a little bit more, put your hand back just a little? Perfect. And also, always making sure, soft hands. Just wiggle your fingers a little bit. Good, great, okay. Let's take a picture. And she's flat footed. Okay, pertinent... Oh, right. (audience laughs) This is so off topic, but I got several messages yesterday from aspiring models that watch my class. I was like, oh, I didn't even think about that. You know, that makes a lot of sense. So that's pretty cool. So aspiring maternity models could watch too. (laughing) Can you put your left foot a little bit further behind her? Just a little bit, good, perfect. And can you tilt your heads together? So the same rules apply. You want body language together. Perfect. Alright, now if you wanna get a little, maybe a little fancier. Or you wanna get a little bit more fashion. I'm gonna go more romantic. Can you bring your hand up to his face? Okay, and a little lower, go what's comfortable. Good, and now really pull your heads together. Perfect, okay. And just a little bit higher up. Okay, cause down further, you're seeing the back of his hand and it's a little distracting. Up a little higher, you see the pinky. Is what we're looking for, perfect. And now, looking at the camera for this little bit of intimate moment does not work, so you're gonna both close your eyes and look kinda cross ways. Yeah, like that, perfect. Then there's even closer. And can you put your hand all the way under this time? So what I was looking at here, and you'll see it in the crop, is she wasn't defined enough in my opinion. Cause she's not to the side, and so I wanna see that more. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna have her really cup her hand under, and then I can see a lot better. And can you turn just a little bit further to the right? Just a little bit, good, perfect. And you can drop your elbow in. Kay good, cause he was goin' like this. So it's a little bit more uncomfortable. Good. Now let's go here, and here. Good, okay. So I could do a pose like that. Those would be a couple essentials. So some super, super basic ones. Alright, let me grab something over here. Alright, great. So what I'm gonna have you do, is I'm gonna have you put your hand underneath. Good, same thing, your hand on top. Good, and one more. So you can vary to whatever they're comfortable with. This, to me, has like, I'm like doin' lots of curves and it's very nice. Good, and now you can put your hand over just a little bit more. Good, great, so now I can see curve. Perfect, looks great. You guys look cute. Have you had your photos done yet? Oh. (audience laughs) Oh, okay, so you know how to win me over, is what you're saying. Okay, great. Alright, so what I'm gonna have you do, is I'm gonna actually have you come around to the other side for just a second. And I would do this probably without a shirt on. But we're not going to, just, it's easier, okay? Alright, so what I'm gonna have you do, is I'm gonna have you put your hand here, perfect. You're going to put a hand on top there, actually through her arm underneath. And then will you cup underneath? Just like that. And I would get from like here, you know something a little bit closer. A really nice tight shot, but another shot that you could do is... Can you move that arm just up, just kinda move it out of the way you can, great. I'm gonna move your hands here. Good. I would get this for a tight shot, cause then I would kinda follow hands and curve. So that's like, I mean it's kind of a pose, but it's more of a shot than actual pose. Okay, so I'm going to show them a little bit more interesting of a pose. A little bit more creative. Kay. Would you, I'll just show you. Would you do me a favor, and we're gonna do this. Okay so I'm gonna have you on this side, down on one knee. Okay so these are my tight crops, unusual angle and his protective poses. Okay, and so what he's going to do, is he is going to bring one hand up around, and she is going to touch his hand as well. Perfect. And then you kinda tilt your head that way. Alright so there's a bunch of different ways I could actually shoot this. I could, for example... Lemme just move my light. Kay, good. I could, for example... And close your eyes, cause it would look really weird to be looking like right here, right? Good. Good. Right here. This looks great. Oh, do one more. Perfect, and then can you stick your chin way out and look down at him? Good, and one more, close your eyes one more time. So this would be the kinda more intimate, protective poses. If she didn't have her hand on his hand... Again, on top, perfect. So now we could do a little bit more of a curve there. Okay, now, I have seen this, I wouldn't, I wouldn't shoot this as a normal pose, but if you had dramatic lighting... I'm gonna have you just lift your arms up all together so I can't see them. And you're gonna actually wrap your hand around, okay? Little less, little less. Okay, so I've seen where it's like really dramatic black and white, high contrast. And it actually will look really interesting. He just can't look like there. Maybe tilt your head that way, like something like that. It looks really nice. I just wouldn't do it lit normal, it's like a little too much. So I'm gonna to one more standing, okay? And I'm gonna have you do this. Can you step this way just a little bit. Can you put your hand under, on this side, yep perfect. And you're gonna come around, and you're gonna put your hand under here. And I'm gonna go for another intimate moment. You're gonna kinda kiss her neck a bit, okay? So put your head back there. So I would get kind of a moment more like that. This would be something I would shoot late in the day. Beautiful. And so can you make sure when you do this, if a guy goes in to kiss a woman's neck, here's the don'ts. No smushing, okay? We tend to like, smush. Also, depending on the height, if she's much shorter or much taller, it's like they're straining. So find a way, remember how we talked yesterday about uneven heights with stepping or feet apart to get shorter. Fine with that. And also, avoid tilting head too far either direction. But when you tilt head towards, all you see is forehead. So make sure if you tilt away, you're not tilting up and away, so it's nostrils. It's more, so I'm gonna have you tilt your head the other way, just like kinda right there. That's fine, I don't actually need him to kiss her neck, I don't need him to be smushing. And so now I can see his profile, and I can see the intimate moment, and this nice shape. So this would be a really good go-to pose for me. Just like that. And can you put your right foot behind her a little bit more? What I'm noticing, just body language wise, is there's negative space, and to us negative space communicates distance. So I'm gonna have 'em overlap, so that there isn't any distance there. It's all about unity, okay good. Alright, perfect. So these would be my essential go-to poses and photographs. I like that one. I say this last frame was the one that I really liked. So now I can get creative. I am going to photograph with her sitting on the ground, okay? But because I know that it's uncomfortable, either I need to know right away what I'm doing. I need to know exactly what pose I'm directing for, or I need to show them. Cause I don't wanna waste time with her being uncomfortable and sitting, it's not worth it. So I'm gonna actually show them. Alright guys. So I'm gonna have you do this one. I'm gonna have you sit, and support her with your leg, okay? Alright, great, and I'll definitely help you out. Kay, perfect, lemme lower my light while you do this. Alright. And so that she's not like laying... (laughs) You're like pulling her hair. Okay, so what he's doing is he's basically cradling her, which is remember, the supportive poses, right? You can do ones where they're like walking, and back to back. I mean, there are more poses than what I'm showing you, but these are the one that people really want and expect. And then this is a twist on that. So what I'm gonna have you do, is could you put your back arm on the top? Your front arm on the bottom, perfect. And can you guys just softly intertwine fingers? Just really soft, perfect. And now turn your head towards him and you look down at her. Okay, now this hand right here, just make sure it's not too grippy. Okay, good. Watching for body language, I don't want him to be too tense. So I'm gonna shoot that so they don't have to stay there forever, perfect. And I would shoot from a higher angle. Could I have an apple box real quick? I'm gonna take one more shot from a high angle, because then I get that connection. So I'm gonna just do... Well, I a higher angle, little higher. Okay, good, perfect. And can you tilt your head the other way. The reason I'm doing that... Just watch the before and after, turn your head the other way, back that way. Okay, watch. So right in this angle, what I'm seeing, if you look in this shot, when it pops up. Is you see straight down his nose, so you see eyebrows and nose. I think, if it'll show. If that didn't tether, let me know and I can shoot it again. The very last shot, see? That is not, that's not him, that's a top down view. So I had him tilt his head to the left. So now I can... A little further, a little bit further and then lean towards her just a tiny bit more. Great. Gonna do one more. Nope, hold on, one more again. Adjust that. So you guys, you can not lay on the poor ground again. Okay so notice in that pose, now I can actually see his profile. What I would do is I would shoot narrow depth of field. I'd have him lean in a little bit more, and I'd focus on her and not on him. So he's out of focus in the foreground, and then it's all about her curve and reclining and he's supporting her and all of that. So those would be my go-to posing for a maternity couple, and then I also, like I said, I would do all the close-ups of hands and everything like that. So I wanna see if I can field any questions specifically there. Absolutely, do we have any in the audience, here? Pretty straight forward? Pretty straight forward. People are loving, especially they loved the shot from earlier without the hands on the belly because it's so traditional to have the hands on the belly. It's something that's a little bit different. Now we don't have any child or children here already, but do you ever incorporate children into the maternity photo shoot, and how would you recommend that? I was gonna joke and be like, no. (everyone laughs) Nope, if they have kids, they gotta stay away. No, just kidding, totally kidding. And Lindsay, if I can just toss on to that question. We had a question from earlier about the side shot of the kissing of the belly and how you felt about that pose. Okay, so the side shot with kissing of the belly. If you don't mind, can you turn to the side and can you get... The other way, sorry. And then can you get down on your knee and kiss her stomach? Okay. (audience laughs) So, I'm not a fan, personally. I think it's a little kitschy, but it's not bad. If you have these photos, and your photographer shot these and you love them, that's totally fine. I guess it more depends on how comfortable the subject is. If that's a shot that they want, that is a shot that I've seen done a million times. So I will take a photo. Can you put your left arm around her a little bit further? Good. And then you're just gonna kiss her stomach, just real soft. Not as much pucker, a little less pucker. What I'm watching for in the way that I posed him here, is I was looking for this curve. This hand I have up top, because if it was below, then it would be too much, so I have kind of this and this. My eye kind of goes like that. I mean, it's fine. I would also not have her stand flat footed. Something like that. So kind of put your hand like more on her thigh. Perfect. And can you lean forward with your chin out just a little more? Good. I mean, yeah, it's fine. The same thing, I've seen a million shots too where they do the heart on the stomach. If that's something that the client wants, do it. I am fine showing clients like, okay here's a couple things that I've shot before, do you like any of these? That's fine. Depends on what they want. So there's a million other creative ones too. You can get off your knee if you'd like. Thank you. Thanks Lindsay, and Photo Me asks about, can you tell us a little bit about the backs of the hands showing? I know we talked about it in other sessions, it was kind of a no no. Will you pose their fingers like you did? Yeah, so there's not really any way around it in this particular case. Because especially if you wanna show shape, if you have multiple hands and it's just like stacked fingers. It's okay, just make sure that you wiggle them, and that they're soft, and ideally not on the very top. If you can get them so they're not totally flat, just have a little bit of curve, that's better. But yeah, for a lot of these poses, there's not that much way around it. Christina and Shelby Co. Photo and a couple others are kind of wondering about... Trying to figure out how to phrase this. Plus-size mothers who are pregnant, it's sometimes harder to tell because it's not as much of an obvious bump. Do you have any ideas on how to accentuate and how to make that more obvious? Yes, actually I have photographed a client just like that. It was actually partially about how to tighten the clothes. So I definitely used clips and I tightened at the bottom, and I tightened it right below the chest so that it is tighter at those areas. In that case, you have to do this. You have to communicate this is saying, "I'm holding onto something." Versus, if you're doing this, it's modeling your stomach. In that case you really do need to have more of the maternal poses with the hands. Great, and then one from Alana Sisk wondering if you ever shoot nudes when they're pregnant, and if you have any suggestions. Obviously we're not gonna do it now, but any suggestions on ways to approach that. Yeah, definitely. Actually I would much rather photograph maternity shots nude, because then it's all about curve and light and that's what it's about. It's about the human form at that time. I don't need anything else. So I've photographed many, and I always do it heavily back lit. I would blast the light on that background, turn this off and then just have a little bit of fill, and then light would just wrap around. And I'd overexpose. And the only difference is, if somebody's nude, always the front leg up. (everyone laughs) Always. And then it would always be, always this hand underneath, and this hand across the chest. When you do it the other way, the shoulder's too raised, and it doesn't look comfortable, but this is okay. So I would just say go look at the famous Demi Moore cover, like all those, just do that. You can get more creative than that, but that's what you need to know. This leg up, this arm over. Exactly, that's a great 101 intro to that. I love that. We had a suggestion from Beth Olson Creative who was wondering how you would incorporate the other parent into the more fashionable pose. Oh, definitely, sure. Would you step forward real quick? Oh, and can you remind me to answer the kids question? Yes, good point. I was jokingly going away from that, I didn't really mean that. We'll getcha after. Okay, can you do that fashion pose again with your arm up? Oh yeah, and you remembered it, all right, good. Could you do your hand on top this time? Good, and forward a little bit for me. Just your body, sorry, take a step forward. Good. And put that knee over, great. I would have him come in from this side, right hand underneath. And you're gonna kinda snuzzle her neck over this way. Maybe something like that, that would work. I could also do, I'm gonna do one more thing. So that would be one. I'll take a shot just so people have it. If you are straining to reach, just kinda put your legs apart a little bit, makes you a little shorter, good. And close your eyes and turn towards him. And pop your elbow back even further, great. Good. Okay. And one more would be if you were going ahead and let's do hand on your neck and let's do hand on the hip. So let's say kinda that more fashion one, he could actually come back maybe from over here, and kinda fit in some place that way. Okay, something like that? And so that's still a fashion pose. Good. And now both of you turn your heads towards each other and close your eyes. Good. One more, perfect. Great. Okay, so before I forget that kid shot. I almost forgot. There are a, I've seen a ton, a ton of cute ones. I actually really prefer the children kissing the stomach much more than the father. Like it said, there's nothing wrong with it, just personal taste. I saw this adorable photo where... You stand over here, facing this way. Stepped on my tether cord. And so the little kid was kissing her stomach, and then the dad was kissing the top of the little kid's head. It was really, really cute. Or, little kid standing here, with hand on stomach. I'm gonna be the little kid, okay? Would you stand from behind, and just wrap your arm around her that way? Good, and so the little kid fits here, so now it's a triangle, so you're building your triangle again. So that's how I would build it. Then you don't have to worry about holding the kid. It just fits perfectly. I think with that we are good to keep going. Okay, great. Oh, we have one question actually from here in the audience. The last pose, the one that they did. Would you have actually done that one with him shirtless so you don't lose the curve in her lower back or anything? Or would that actually matter? Well you could just do a different color shirt. For example a lighter color shirt or... No, I mean it doesn't bother me too much. No, I'm okay with that. You could also change the lighting. A little flatter to the front if you wanted, but I'm okay with it. Doesn't make her look particularly wider. There's enough separation. Yeah. Some kind of hate shirtless maternity photos. I, so when I see dudes with no shirt on, by default I gotta check him out, and then I gotta check her out, you know what I mean? I gotta look at what he looks like, and then look what her looks like, and it's really about her. So, since it's clearly about her state, I just let them not be a focus. So I just have them wear a solid shirt, even if she's wearing just fabric around her top and fabric for the bottom. I usually don't do topless unless it's like, unless it's really a fine art kind of fine art nude one. I mean, if that's what a couple wants, shoot it. I'll shoot whatever they ask for. And just be aware of those angles. (audience laughs) Cool, I think we're good to go, let's keep going. Okay, thank you guys. Thank you. Thank you, good luck with everything. (audience applause) Congratulations.

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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