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Posing 101

Lesson 29 of 35

Shoot: Single Child Poses


Posing 101

Lesson 29 of 35

Shoot: Single Child Poses


Lesson Info

Shoot: Single Child Poses

I am going to photograph a very eager model who says she's meant to model, right? You're a little model, see, she's like uh-huh. Okay, so let's talk about children's poses with just one kid, okay, so the things that I'm thinking of. The first thing is pose to reflect personality. If they're a ham, let them be a ham. If they're quiet, do soft, quiet poses, like don't force anything, so if, for example, I have inspiration where I really want, like, a sassy kids photo and they're a quiet little kid, I'm not gonna do that. So try to read off of the kid's personality, and then the second thing is, this we don't really have anything to work with here, but I find with kids, if you can give them something to interact with, it makes things so much easier because I would say, go hang on to that fence and lean back at me, and I can get them laughing, or, you know, go sit on that bench or go lean against that tree, or something to interact with because it's just kind of standing in front of a stro...

be, like I mean if they're a class clown, they're just gonna go crazy. If they're shy, they're just gonna clam up, so if there's something to interact with, it's more believable, so believable actions tended to work out better for me. That's why personally, I try to do family photos on location, because I felt that kids were very, very aware of studio strobe, I'm getting my photo taken. So it is either flail you arms and be the over-the-top clown, or it's I really don't want a picture taken, I'm scared. It's a confined environment and a flashing strobe, so that's, if you've never tried photographing families before, I actually think you're better off starting out on location, for sure. Then of course I do recommend having an assistant, and when I say an assistant, it could be a friend of the family, it could be someone that just wants to learn photography, something like that, so that if you, for example, if you have your feet in place, you know that that's the angle, and you're gonna wanna cut and crop the head, if I need to go move this kid, and I've gotta move, and I might mess it up, but it's easier to just say can you help me out, and so it gives you an extra hand. Okay, so number three is it depends on the age, but I like to say okay, you know, go lean up against that wall and give me sass, because if you just say like, lean up against the wall, put your elbow back, that's too much. So I try to do what I do a lot for poses, is I say okay, give me this type of pose with this type of feel, and they kinda act it out, and then I can tweak it from there, versus giving too much direction, it'll just go kinda right over their head. So same thing, I'll say okay, lay in the ground and look really cute at me, and see what they do, and sometimes it's perfect. Like when I told, in the last section, when I had Zoe posing with her dad, so go stand around that side with dad, she put her arm up, grabbed his hand. Reach your hand over and grab his hand, like she already did it naturally, so if I can do that, awesome, because they're gonna do what's most comfortable, but what I thought was interesting, and I was actually talking to their dad, is that you see the varieties of personalities. One's more reserved, one's going to be more class clown, and one's just little, you know, and so it's the same chameleon thing. You gotta figure out what to give this kid and that kid, and that kid, and so when I'm on my sets for fashion shoots, I'm a chameleon, but not in the kids way, it's like okay, I know what makes this person happy and this person happy and that person happy. I realized long ago, I'm a little better doing that with adults, but it's really the same skill set, you're reading people, and I think success in photography is sincerely more about your ability to interact with people than it is with your photographic skills, but still watch this class and learn posing and all of that, but it's true, being able to read people. So follow their lead, feel free to involve them in the process, because then it's not like oh it's another adult telling me what to do, it's like okay, let's make this fun, I want you to go run over there and run back at me and flail your arms. Okay, and then it looks fun, it's probably a terrible photo, but then you can say okay, take a seat, and then take their picture. At least they felt like they got to get involved. I usually find sitting and laying poses are more natural. Standing poses, either they're uncomfortable or they start running around, and then I'm chasing in my frame, and this is something else to take a look at. Make sure when you're photographing kids that you pay attention to what your focus points are, and your shooting modes. That's not really what this class is about, but you might not, for example, want one shot set on your camera, and you might not want spot focus, because if they move, they miss it and it's out of focus so that's more of a technical thing to be aware of. Number five would be varying angle. One of my favorite shots of kids is when they're sitting on the ground looking straight up, because whatever's closest to the camera is largest, so some of the things that we love in kids are big, innocent eyes, just big, glowing, innocent eyes, so if you go ahead and have a kid sit on the ground and look up at you, then in that case, it really emphasizes those eyes, that's what the attention is drawn to. Otherwise, my opinion is shoot really, really high, or really, really low. If you shoot at a really low angle, then you're at their perspective, and you can kinda see and feel what it's like to be them, and you're connecting, versus this is just the overhead adorable view. We have a willing model, Iris, will you help me get the light out here? Okay, go for it, are you ready for your modeling, yeah? Okay cool, you wanna come over here? Alright so I like to let them lead first, just so that they feel like they have a say in everything. Okay, move this way, this way, keep going. Okay, I can tell you're ready. Alright, so what is your, I mean you're a professional model, I've been told this, so what is your favorite modeling pose, do you have a favorite pose, no? Wanna put your hand on your hip for me. Okay, cross your legs, yeah, good I like it. Just like this, good, and let me see a giggle. Good. (laughter) Good, perfect, and now I'm gonna have you take a seat on the floor, okay, perfect, so I'm gonna have you just do whatever I do, okay? Alright so I'm gonna have you do this. Perfect, but I'm gonna have you move way up, scoot scoot scoot, toward me, right there, perfect, and go this way, scoot scoot scoot scoot, keep going, like this, like this, perfect, okay good. Perfect, just like that, okay. Alright, good, that is perfect, alright let me get a cute picture. Alright let me hear a giggle, let me see a big giggle. Good, let's take a look, oh you look so cute, look watch, it's gonna pop up in a second. Okay, what do you wanna change? You like it, how's that one, that's a good laugh, right? Yeah, I like that one, okay cool. Alright look back at me again right there, good, alright. Okay, I'm gonna have you flip your hair around okay, and now look at me and a laugh, let me hear a giggle, good. Okay, now I'm gonna have you be super super cute and girly, so I'm gonna have you lay on your stomach okay? There you go see, show your nose, and with a fist, go like this, good, perfect, okay. Looks good and look your head at me a little more, good, perfect. That looks pretty cute. Now let me see you smile, there okay. Now I'm gonna have you put this hand over here, put it down here, so it's just like this, perfect. Perfect, look right at me, alright let me see a real smile. Where's my monster, I asked for a monster, do we have a monster, okay we're getting a monster then, good. Will you come flip my hair or something, I want to see. She's gonna come, okay you need to protect me from her, will you tell me if she's gonna do something mean, okay. Ah! (laughter) Good, that's a perfect smile. (laughter) Goodness, that's cute, oh adorable, that was a nice one, that's a really good one. Let's see, oh that one, you like that one, yeah you look like a professional, good I like it. Okay ready, next one, I'm gonna have you go like this. Put your hand on your knee, whoa, whoa, that was good, that was really good, okay and then put that arm here, let me see, alright, okay so this is easier than normal, that's pretty good, that's really good, you are awesome. Okay, you gotta protect me from her though, okay? (laughter) Good, and now put, yeah right there, put it in your hair, good, and now bring your other hand up, alright. I will totally take this, okay, I will totally take this, you look professional. I can hear that, ow oh my god, I didn't know you actually had scissors. (laughter) That's awesome, that was awesome. Good, you look really cute I think. (laughter) Awesome, okay, so now I want you to lay on your back, good, and then I'm gonna have you rotate this way, put your head over here, keep going, good, good, good, okay and now push. Come at me, yep there you go, good, perfect. That was good, excellent, alright. See I knew she'd be good at that. Okay here we go, I am going to stand above you. I'm gonna fluff out your hair okay? We're gonna give you big, fluffy hair. Okay relax your shoulders, you look really stressed, go like this, okay perfect, ready? Let me see a giggle. (laughter) Will you cross your arms, good. Am I in the way of my light, let me see, nope you're good. Good and okay so that's not a real smile, that's a fake one. There we go, that's good, good. Okay now ready for your next one? I'm gonna stand you up, let's get model-y, really model-y, yeah and now lean this way, good, perfect. Okay we're gonna go really model-y, okay cool, super, duper model-y. Everyone thinks you look great Zoe. That is perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, here we go, great. Good, okay now be serious, be a serious model, oh that was really serious, and now huge laugh, good. (laughter) Good, perfect, good, okay can I have that little bench, the little stool for me, yeah that one, perfect, okay. Perfect, can you put that out in front, and you're gonna sit behind it, just on the ground okay, and let's see what she does naturally, that's really cute. Iris will you be my hair-fixer for her since she has such beautiful hair, I want it to be perfect. Good, perfect, I like your hair, it's really pretty. Do you know what I did when I was little? I cut all my hair off with scissors, for real. I was five years old, how old are you? Eight. Okay, I was five. I took scissors and I just cut all my hair off. Yeah, yeah that was not funny, it's totally true, so bad. Can you put one hand up, good and sit up a little straighter, and be serious. Alright what I want you to do is go (sigh). Good, and turn your head this way a little, I lied, the other way, go the other way, and now real smile, and let me hear a giggle, go he he. Good, good, perfect. Cute very cute, oh you look really cute, okay can you do one more? One more like this, just like that, perfect, just like that, yeah, cute, and now be serious, and now huge laugh, I want to hear like really loud, there you go, good. Okay, now would you pretend you're sleeping? Uh oh, can you put your hand here? Good, oh wow, alright, professional model here. Oh my god, good. I don't actually know what you're doing, oh that's cute. It's a baby. Yeah. Put your hand right here again, good, back a little further, right there, perfect. (laughter) Good, okay now here's what I want you to do. Okay so first of all I just want to say, does anyone have any questions? Okay so I'll just tell you how my mind works when I photograph one kid, and she's good, I'm not worried about her getting bored, which is why I was actually just trying to shoot a lot right away to make sure I got everything so she didn't get bored. Alright, so what I usually do is I have my order of I usually try a shot standing, but they're usually uncomfortable right away, like they're gonna be all clammed up so that never works for me. So I have them sit first, and my order goes sitting down, laying down, leaning against a stool and then standing up, and then if there's a wall I lean them on that, but I usually do whatever's most comfortable first, which is sitting and laying, and them something with hands, because at first they're stressed out so you can see it in their hands, so I don't pose with hands at first. I'll have them put their arm on their knee or lean out so they're not worried about hands, because you can see it. Yeah, so that's kind of the order that I would do it in, and now I'm gonna try serious shots. You can tell from a kid right away if some of them just, it's hard to get them to smile, and others it's hard to get them to be serious, so I start off with whatever they're comfortable with first, and then after they're used to me I switch it up, so I'm gonna try, now with her that I've photographed all those things, some serious shots, and we'll see how that goes, okay. I'm gonna have you look like a sleeping angel. Okay that's a sleeping angel, that's her sleeping angel. Except for all this hair, oh dear, you have a lot of hair. Ready, tell me if I'm pulling it. Okay good, and can you do me a favor, can you put your cheek out here? She's squishing, hiding her face, there you go, perfect, and Iris can you move the light this way, that's good. Okay sleeping angel, okay will you open your eyes and look at me, sleeping angel? There you go, perfect, can you lower the light a little bit? Good, turn your head that way a little. Sleeping angel again, sleeping angel. Do your mom and dad say you're an angel, or do they say you're a devil, they think you're an angel? I though so, I was pretty sure, okay. Okay, eyes at me, look right at me. Good, and go back to sleeping, and now you're gonna wake up and laugh at me, ready, go. (laughter) Good, perfect. (laughter) Put your hand back down. (laughter) Good, alright I'm gonna have you go like this, put your hands together like you're clapping, put it over here, and now close your eyes, go to sleep, okay but don't fall all the way down, go like this and sleep. Perfect, let me just fix little sleeping angel, oh dear, sleepy angel, okay right there, good. Now look at me, perfect, so I'm shooting at a higher angle to make her eyes look bigger. Turn your chin towards me just a little. Chin this way, chin to your left, right there, good. Good, okay so now, if you compare from the beginning, could you tell how her serious shots were? She was really stressed in her lips, so I waited, and now she has kind of very natural looking serious shots, but I mean, she's definitely a smiley kid for sure, so those would be the shots I want, but sometimes parents like both, like to have both shots. Alright, so besides that I would just get one or two more standing shots, and then I would go ahead and add a sibling. So do we have a sibling that is perhaps interested in posing right now? While we're looking for that sibling, Cosmo B has a question, says the poses with the single girl looked like adult poses, are there specific poses that you use for kids but not adults? Yeah, so if she were even younger, because I mean she's got a lot of attitude that she can give me. If she were younger, some of the bigger ones are definitely I don't do two hands on the face for adults. I wouldn't probably do like a completely laying out with hands like this. I don't lay adults heads on their arms, that doesn't work for me, and this doesn't work for me, but it is cute for kids, and then also I'm gonna do, I'm gonna try one later, where they're telling each other secrets, and so that would be kinda leaning over, I wouldn't do that stuff, so I'm gonna try to get those now.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.


  • Use camera angle, lens choice, and cropping to improve your poses

  • Hide unflattering problem areas

  • Address different body types through posing and wardrobe

  • Go for simple poses rather than extravagant ones

  • Pose couples, individuals, and groups to ensure everyone looks good

  • Understand the differences between posing women and men


Posing is one of the fundamentals of great photography. It’s also the thing that photographers have the least control over. We can choose our lenses, set up, lighting, and retouch with Adobe® Photoshop®. But when it comes to photography poses, we need to pay attention and work closely with our subjects to find the perfect pose and best way to capture the most flattering image.

Fashion and portrait photographer Lindsay Adler will break down the fundamentals of perfect posing, giving you the basic rules you should follow to make your subjects and your photos look their best. Through live photo shoots and slides, Lindsay demonstrates the do’s and don’ts for every category of subject, including men, women, older people, couples, brides and grooms, groups, and more.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Connect with your subjects through sincere compliments, repeating their name and discovering their passions.

  • Avoid using negative terms that will make subjects feel ill at ease.

  • Master the rules of posing, then know when to break them.

  • Be confident when posing couples at a wedding whether it's a bride and groom, mature couple or same sex couple.

This course is perfect for novice photographers just getting their feet wet in the world of portrait photography, but it also offers useful advice and techniques for even the most skilled professionals. By the end, you’ll be able to discover the beauty in every one of your subjects, and bring it out for the world to see.


  • All levels of photographers who want to set themselves apart and up their posing game.

  • Professional photographers who want to learn new ways of posing women, men, children, couples, and groups so they can impress current  clients and attract new ones.

  • Hobbyist photographers who want to learn to pose their family and friends.


  1. Introduction to Posing

    Lindsay goes over what she'll cover in this posing for beginners course, including the do's and don'ts of posing, how the course will be broken up, and some basic posing tips and guidelines to keep in mind.

  2. Expression and Interaction Posing Tips

    Getting your subject to do what you want them to do can be tricky. Lindsay offers some helpful tips on how to get the right facial expressions for portraits, allow special moments to happen, and capture posed candid shots.

  3. Posing Guidelines

    Get the lowdown on some key posing techniques every photographer should know, from how to make your subject look slimmer to how to accentuate their best features.

  4. Basic Posing Demo

    Lindsay puts her advice into action using a model for a live posing demo that will teach your some beginner photography poses.

  5. Posing Parts: Shoulders, Chin, Eyes & Hands

    Lindsay delves into the specifics of how to do head and shoulders portrait posing to make your subjects look their best and get the right look.

  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.

  7. Posing Guide Contact Sheet Examples

    Look at various contact sheets and learn about model poses for fashion photography.

  8. Posing for Body Types

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

  9. Posing and Shooting Flaws

    Every subject will have a flaw or two, but there are lots of things you can do to hide or minimize those flaws in your photos. Lindsay also shows you some common photography posing mistakes to avoid.

  10. Male Posing Guidelines

    Lindsay gives you essential guidelines for how to pose for male photos to make men look their best and compensate for their flaws.

  11. Essential Male Poses

    Get more advice on male portrait photography poses to make men look attractive and masculine.

  12. Essential Female Posing: Standing Poses

    Lindsay summarizes the essential guidelines for women standing poses so women can look their best.

  13. Couples Posing Guidelines

    When posing a couple, you want to make sure they actually look like a couple. Here are some guidelines for photography poses for couples so that both people look great.

  14. Shoot: Female High School Senior Poses

    Lindsay goes over what to keep in mind when doing senior portrait female poses, including how to make the experience fun and how to ensure the photos are both flattering and appropriate.

  15. Shoot: Male High School Senior Poses

    When doing senior portrait poses for guys, you'll want to make them look big, tough, and cool.

  16. Shoot: Mature Male Poses

    Lindsay shows you how to pose older men to make them look good and age appropriate.

  17. Shoot: Mature Female Poses

    Lindsay shows you how to photograph an older woman, including getting good posture, keeping the chin out, and hiding her hands.

  18. Shoot: Boudoir Poses

    A great boudoir shoot depends on making sure your subject is relaxed and comfortable. Lindsay shows you how to minimize flaws, get natural boudoir poses, and use shape and movement to your advantage.

  19. Shoot: Plus Size Poses

    Go over some tips and tricks for plus size photoshoot poses so you can make plus size subjects look slimmer.

  20. Shoot: Wedding Photography Bridal Poses

    Lindsay shows you how to do bridal portrait poses that are both natural and dramatic, and how to pose your bride so she looks beautiful and elegant.

  21. Shoot: Mature Couple Poses

    Photographing older couples depends on reading their dynamic and choosing the most flattering poses for both subjects.

  22. Shoot: Uneven Height Couple Poses

    Posing couples of different heights can be a challenge. Learn how to make the shot look natural, avoid strain, and even out the overall image.

  23. Shoot: Bridal Couple Poses

    Lindsay demonstrates how to do wedding poses for couples, including unusual cropping, using props, and making sure both the bride and groom look their best.

  24. Shoot: Group Poses

    The key to a great group pose is to have good balance, without being perfectly symmetrical. Lindsay offers a variety of tips on how to pose groups, including avoiding multiple arms around shoulders and having physical contact between people.

  25. Shoot: Bridal Party Poses

    When working with bridal parties, it's important to know the family politics, so bring notes! Lindsay gives you some great wedding party posing ideas, including that traditional bridal party group shot that tends to be symmetrical.

  26. Shoot: Family Poses

    When shooting a family portrait photo, don’t forget about making sure the parents look good, too! Here are some family photo posing ideas, such as paying attention to body language and avoiding lining up people’s heads.

  27. Shoot: Mother with Children Poses

    Lindsay gives you tips on mother and child poses, including how to make the mom look good and how to pose children of varying ages.

  28. Shoot: Father with Children Poses

    Get some specific advice on posing a father with kids, including whom to pose first and where to place the youngest child.

  29. Shoot: Single Child Poses

    Get posing ideas for one child, including allowing the pose to reflect the child’s personality, letting the child interact with their environment, and being sure to follow their lead.

  30. Shoot: Multiple Children Poses

    Get posing ideas for siblings so you can capture their relationship as well as their individual personalities.

  31. Shoot: Maternity Poses

    When doing maternity poses, you want your subject to look good and be comfortable. Lindsay gives you very specific advice on how to accentuate a pregnant woman's best features.

  32. Shoot: Maternity Couple Poses

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

  33. Shoot: Same Sex Couple Poses

    Lindsay gives you tips for posing same sex couples. The key is to follow their lead when it comes to being romantic and touchy feely.

  34. Shoot: Fashion Female Poses

    In fashion photography, the regular posing rules don’t apply. You can get away with almost anything as long as it looks good and is done with intent. Lindsay talks about professional model poses for females, such as using elegant hands and elongated necks to communicate the mood.

  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.



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!