Essential Female Posing: Sitting Poses


Posing 101: Women


Lesson Info

Essential Female Posing: Sitting Poses

Alright, so let's take a look at sitting on the floor. You cool with that? Yeah. Alright, let's do it. Alright, so the very first thing she does, she takes a seat, looks comfortable, but it's all foreshortening. Everything is straight at the camera, and everything is blobbed together. We have to work with that. And so I definitely will have somebody just sit down and be comfortable, but then I tweak it. What I'm gonna have you do is I'm gonna have you turn your legs this way. Okay, just be comfortable perfect, and do you wanna maybe put down your front leg a little bit, lower it a little bit. and pop that back knee, okay. I'm like, alright. When the legs were together, it was one line. There was no separation. I had her bring her back knee up and her front leg lower. Okay, good, alright well now she's like, okay, what do I do with my hands? Alright, well, I can do a lot. Why don't you put one arm on that hand, or arm on that knee, that's what I was looking for. And by default, she'...

s like, oh, this looks comfortable though. That was nice, that's one thing you can do. She looks confused for that right arm. Okay, so there's a couple things I could do for that right arm. If she reaches back, it opens up the pose, but if you want it to look, if you want it like a tighter crop maybe. I would put her hand on her thigh. What I can do there, the other side, will you just cross it over? Yeah, yeah, that's perfect. And just cross a little bit more, good. I wouldn't photograph that full length because that to me is asymmetrical and unbalanced. Because everything is on one side and then the legs jut out. It's not nice and curvy, my eye doesn't exactly know where to go. If I were photographing this, I would just photograph part of it. So in my checklist of things to watch out for, one of the things I'm noticing right now is what's bad. No offense. There's kind of two things, but one of them is definitely her posture, and she fixed it. I said to be comfortable, and she's leaning. There's a difference between leaning and slouching, and she was slouching. I will get someone there and I'll say okay. And usually it's one of the last things I do. I say okay, now let's give me some good posture. As far as negative space, that's like the next thing. Remember my whole checklist, and checking, going off that checklist here. The next thing that I don't like is for her hand, it's not that I need a ton of negative space, but depending on how I shoot it. It lines up perfectly with the back of her body so I can't see where her body actually ends. What I could do is I could actually, can you bring this hand up right underneath your elbow? So if I bring it up there, and depending on how I shoot, at least now I can see the back of her body. And if I have her sit up straight, arch your back just a little, and soft hands, good. At least now I can see the back of her body. Can you lean towards me just a little bit? We could do that, that could be one take on it. Another take is you can push your arm back, sorry, your right arm back, good. And so by default, every girl, when they put their arm back, they lean on it. So you see how insanely skinny she is, but look proportionately how big her upper forearm looks. I mean it looks three times as wide as the rest of her arm. So if somebody is posing, she's like, aw crap, okay. You suck. So if somebody is doing that, and they're putting a ton of weight on it. I'll say, okay, that's great, but just don't lean on it, just place it real soft there, Just real soft, good. And it really makes a difference versus actually leaning. Let me just grab a quick shot of that, good, good posture. Good. Cute, perfect. And as she did that, what did she do? Could you see? Open her palm. Yeah, so she opened her palm towards me, and she's wearing all black. And so the lightest things would be her face and then her palm so I wanna make sure that she either shows me the pinky side. Like that, that's fine, that would be totally fine, or hide it behind her neck. That's totally fine, anything like that. So this is what I'm looking for. Alright, so that's great. And lean towards me a little bit, okay good. I can come right here. And little bit better posture, just a little bit, good. And then bring that hand out one more time and put it on your thigh. cross it behind a little bit so I see less. Yeah good, perfect. What I noticed for this particular shot, what we just did, is she's wearing all black. Will you put your hand back? Yeah, bring it on this side of your, yeah, perfect. Right now, she's wearing all black. When she has her hand on that side of her leg, all I see is her hand because it's the lightest thing against that black. When I tucked it behind, now I get rid of where my eye is going. So just as a heads up for people that have or maybe more beginner photography. Okay here's the places where your eye goes in a photo. Your eye goes to the biggest thing in the frame, okay. Your eye goes to the most saturated, brightest color. Your eye goes to the area of highest contrast as well, and the sharpest. Okay so if I run through that, everything's equally sharp, so I don't have that tool. Maybe if I was out on location, I can use that for posing to help me out. Okay, the next part that I have in there is what's largest. Okay, well there's nothing particularly largest if I shot from up here. Maybe I can make it be her face in this case. Otherwise it's all about the same. But then looking and going to the area of highest contrast, her hand against that skin, or her hand against her pants, is definitely the area of highest contrast, and I'll go right there. And that last part about saturation, your eye goes to the area with most color. When I was talking about clothing before, that's why I was saying okay, the pair, who's larger on the bottom. You could go with a brighter colored shirt, because your eye would go there a little bit more if you're really trying to reduce your waist but she's smaller up top. So you have all of these little tools based on the basis of photography that you already have. You look very cute. I'm gonna have you put your arm back up, and cross that arm way over. So I'm looking at this, and if I photograph this full length, it's too hunchy. It's too bottled up. So in the very beginning, I said okay, you know this is just posing essentials, but you've got lens choice and depth of field and cropping. So this might be a terrible pose full length, but might be an awesome pose close up. So that's why it's know what you're going for. And I could shoot this completely close up. Can you do soft hand on your face again? Perfect. (camera shutter clicks) Okay, so I need to move the light a little bit 'cause she's losing detail here. Hold on, 'cause see how it's all blobbed? If I just lighten this up just a little bit, you'd be able to see it better. So same exact pose for me. We'll try that again, perfect. Same exact thing, except a little straighter, tilt your head just a little more, and bring your elbows out just a bit just a little bit more. (camera shutter clicks) Okay, so you can't quite see it because of the black, but I would say normally, oh that was better. I opened up exposure a little bit. In this case, you guys can see it. She's got negative space. I can still see good features. I've got nice triangles. This pose could work. Full length, it totally doesn't. So knowing that whole cropping thing as well, as long as she's got her negative space here, I can lower her leg. I could have her sit up straighter to pull out and elongate there, that's how I tweak. Those would be my essential standing. My essential sitting would basically see how they sit comfortably, and just pose them around that. Create triangles, make them comfortable. If she naturally leaned out on her elbow, awesome. If she naturally leaned out this way, work with that. Would you lean out on your elbow? Just actually lean out on your elbow that way. Okay so when she does that. I'm looking at it, and that looks cute. But I want even more curve and more shape. So I could for example, tuck her knee over, and give myself a little more curve. These are things that we do in boudoir photography so I take that essential, and I'm like, okay more curve, more negative space. How do I draw attention to where I want? Okay maybe I need to shoot more. Right now, her legs are what's at me, so that would be largest. I'm like, okay, well maybe I would tilt her, or rotate her a little bit. And maybe that would be better because now, I've got that nice curve in the background, but I can shoot with her head in the foreground. So now that will look larger and more pronounced. I take all of those little basics that I knew; curves, and negative space, what's closest to the camera looks bigger, what are the assets, what are the flaws, and then I try to build like that. You look like, oh (mumbles) She looks like a princess. I just thought I would say. No? Not a princess, okay? Okay you can stand up if you'd like. Okay so the next thing that I would say, it's okay to bring inspiration on a shoot. I would say, about the length of time I just shot, this is a made up number, but I just shot a little bit to show that I knew what I was doing, I interacted with them. Once you've covered those bases, then go ahead and bring out inspiration. I've already established I know how to pose you. We've done some nice poses okay, and I'll be like, you know what? I have some great ideas for some other poses. I'm actually gonna grab those and let's see what we can do with those. Okay, alright you wanna look? What do you think? Do you wanna do something like that? That looks great, okay perfect. You wanna lay down and I do something like that? It's not like I don't know how to pose, let's look for inspiration. It's like hey, let's do something else fun together. So that would be my recommendation for you guys. Okay so, do you wanna actually, feel free to try that one? I'm gonna have you lay right on the ground. Okay, so the reason I like to show this pose is because I see it all the time. Alright, when you have a girl lie on her stomach, and this, I personally don't like this as much in a studio as I do on like location. 'cause then you can play with narrow depths of films. The things that I want you to watch out for when you have a girl lying on her stomach are two major things. Major thing number one is hunched shoulders. When a girl is on her stomach, her shoulders hunch up towards her neck. You still need her to push up and elongate. Or, lean out to their hand, but it should never be no neck. It's either elongate or push up. So watch out for that issue exactly. Like she looks comfortable there, but it really hunches her shoulders, and she really doesn't have much of a neck in that case. But I might have her instead of pushing up so wide on her hands, can you just spread out your arms just a little bit? See how she doesn't need to, like when her arms are really tight together. Let me see if I can grab this. When her arms were really tight together, she had to push up really, really tall versus if her arms were a little further, she could still elongate her neck without having to push up like this. So even like a little bit wider base. Could you put one hand up to your face for me? I'm going for nice and comfortable, okay. So the problem that I see when people photograph this, could you kick your feet up? When you photograph it, this is foreshortening. I will see feet out of the back of her head. And I've seen it a million times out of the back of her head, so let me just take a quick photo. And so I'm gonna have you slouch first, and then push up, and put one hand real soft, okay. She just doesn't have too much of a neck there. I had her push up, elongate a little bit, but she still has those feet coming out of the back of her head. If I have her turn totally, totally sideways, I'll have you do that for a second, and do the hand thing up again. If I photograph full length, to me, I think it's too balanced, and you will see. It's very posey and there's not much I don't think there's much dynamicism to it. So I would perhaps, can you flip your hair off the front side of your neck? Remember that tip we said before, you'll see she's gonna have a much longer neck. I would photograph part of her, maybe just right there. And turn towards me just a little bit. rotate your body towards me just a little bit. Up with your head, your shoulders, yeah keep coming just a little bit. Great, right there. Good and one more. (camera shutter clicks) Perfect. And now, if I wanna do full length, I still think it looks a little bit too separated so just rotate your head towards me just a little bit more. I would go for right there. If you are going to do this and you wanna see her feet, kick your feet up. And right now when I'm looking at her feet, I'm thinking alright, mergers. There's too many mergers, if you look at her feet, it's just a blob in the back. I'm gonna have kick these separated. Lemme see em, yeah, like this, as much as possible. Good, crossed, perfect. A little less, just like that, good. So if you are gonna do the feet kicked up in the background, I would pick something at that angle, so she doesn't look foreshortened. She doesn't look totally flat, but she doesn't look totally linear, side by side, and I definitely like the close up shot. I would definitely do this close up shot for a boudoir, because then it's definitely emphasizing the assets for it. It's gonna have her face and her chest forward, and then everything else is a curve in the background. So you will see a bunch of varieties of this when we do boudoir. I'm gonna do a couple sitting shots with you, and then we'll move on to the last part of the day. Can I have that chair? You can have whatever you want, Lindsay. I appreciate that. (laughing) Thank you. Now Lindsay just a quick question, a general, I don't know that we need to demonstrate anything, but W.R Gould says would you do things differently when posing an older woman than a younger woman? Well we're gonna do that tomorrow. Well there you go. Okay, so body straight towards camera. No, that doesn't work, okay. So let's do, could you turn your chair that way? Yeah, keep going, good, okay, perfect. Now, I'm gonna have you put your arm up, and I'm gonna see how high that is, good. That was pretty easy, so what I was thinking is like, okay, I don't want her straight towards camera. If I turn her to the side then she's just sitting at the side. Usually for women totally to the side, it's not necessarily good 'cause any of this curve becomes apparent. That's why you usually wanna hide it at like 3/ versus straight to the side, You see every little bump. So for her, I'm thinking alright. Let's turn this chair so she's sitting backwards, but I need her to look back. I need her to turn that body 3/4 more. I need her to look back towards that light. When I put her arm up, it creates negative space. It creates a nice curve throughout her body. This would be another great one, and you can for this arm, you can put it up to her hand. You can put it back down there, you can put it back up to her face. You can then take the chair and have her straddle it, Put her hand like this, put her hands like this. I'm just gonna start with that one, and then I'll end with my little couples posing here. Good, and relax your shoulder just a little bit. Perfect, so I'm gonna have you do the one with your shoulder up real quick. So her shoulder is a little bit too raised, and now relax it, and pull your hair off the front side, perfect. So I always do that so I can see her neck, perfect. (camera shutter clicks) Great, and one more. Good, okay cool. Did you blink? You looked cute. It's fine, doesn't matter. Blink or no blink, so to give a little bit of summary then. If you have never photographed, this is your first portrait of a woman, and you need to do something curvy or beautiful, here's what you do. You show up, you try to figure out what their assets are, and maybe what you like best about them. You make them feel comfortable. You have a conversation with them. We talked about that earlier so make sure you catch the expression part, and then figure out where you wanna start. You have sitting, standing, leaning. You have all those different things so pick which one you want and then work with it. What I do is I go for comfort. I elongate, I watch for negative space, and I try to emphasize curves. It's like my order, I'm kinda watching from it. And I start by posing with the feet all the way up, knowing that sometimes the tight crop is a lot better, than for example, will you do that one more time, with the arm up again, is much better than say maybe the full length isn't quite as strong. So knowing that cropping is part of this whole equation. That looks cute, whereas that's just really boxy. So watch out for that.

Class Description

Posing women can seem daunting and overwhelming, especially when you consider the seemingly endless looks, styles and situations you can find yourself in as a photographer. In Posing 101: Women, fashion photographer and CreativeLive instructor Lindsay Adler will show you how to pose women comfortably and with style in a variety of scenarios.

Lindsay will lay down a foundation to posing and show you the essential poses for women you need to get started. Using live photo shoots and a 5 guideline approach, you’ll learn how to pose high school seniors and mature women. You’ll see boudoir poses that are graceful and comfortable for the subject yet impactful. Lindsay will teach you specific poses for plus size, bridal and maternity clients. Additionally, you’ll learn how to wow and inspire awe with stylized fashion and beauty poses.

Regardless of your style and experience, this course offers a step-by-step approach to posing women easily and quickly. Regardless if it’s a wedding, portrait or intimate boudoir shoot, you’ll be able to pose with confidence and ease.


Hassan Hussein

This class was a pleasure to watch. Lindsay Adler as always studies the subject to a great extent and then provides it in a very clear and entertaining way to her audience. This class includes all the essentials about posing women. It contains very useful information, tips, and tricks to improve one's photography of women. It further contains great instructions on how to add artistic twists to every pose that could flatter the subject being photographed. I highly recommend this class to serious photographers who want to improve their skills of photographing female subjects.

Christine Yun

Such a great class. I learned so many posing tips and feel so much more confident when getting photographed. Lindsay teaches you the basics and breaks down the essentials to ensure you look your best in pictures.

Chris van der Colff

Lindsay does a great job at taking you through many poses. She not only shows you the poses, but explains why she chooses each for the particular model.