Posing 101: Women

Lesson 2/13 - Essential Female Posing: Standing Poses


Posing 101: Women


Lesson Info

Essential Female Posing: Standing Poses

So, the number one thing you are trying to achieve when photographing a woman is to emphasize her assets and reduce her flaws. And, the reason I say that is you can't pose always hips back and chest forward, 'cause that might not be the most flattering. Tends to be, though, what is more flattering for most people. Number two is typically, when standing, never have your feet, ever, of the subject flat-footed and even. Never, just don't do it. So instead, what you wanna do is if your subject is standing, always have the weight on one of the legs and one of the feet uneven. So, what that translates for me is if you're just kicking your weight to one side, turn a foot. So, now my feet are uneven, and the weight's uneven. If I'm going to kick my weight back, kick my weight back, pop up the front knee a little bit. So, have your weight uneven, not flat-footed. Number three is curves and negative space. Make sure you don't have mergers. Make sure that you can actually see the outline of your ...

subject. And, so everything is not bunched up in one place. But, instead, you are showing shape and line because of that negative space. And, for hands, for posing women's hands, you want to make sure the hands are always soft. So, if you need to wiggle their fingers, wiggle their fingers. If you need to tell them to trace their hands around the side of their face, maybe they can't actually pose nicely with their hands. Maybe you'll try, caress the side of your face and there. Or, instead of posing their hands in their hair, they're doing this. Maybe you say, "Just trace your hand along the outside "of your hair. "Okay, now twirl your fingers in your hair, good." Whatever it requires, so that it's a natural movement. Also, make sure that the hands aren't obscuring the face. I know I've seen a lot of little kids posed. You know, they're posed with both hands up. But, when you do this for a woman, you can't see her jawline or her neck. If you can keep it in mind when photographing a woman, you want a long neck and a defined jawline. You actually do want to see the jaw and the neck. So, this wouldn't work. But, maybe this would. Or, this would. Or, this would. Something like that. So, watch the hands, not obscuring the face and the neck, and always keep them soft. And then, the final tip is what we have over and over again for women, chin out and down. It brings you more to their eyes. It defines the jawline. And then, for older subjects, it makes sure the skin, here, is nice and tight. So, these would be my top five women's posing guidelines. Okay, well now that I've said that, there are a bajillion ways to pose women, (chuckles) (audience laughs) like, endless, endless, endless ways. And, I think that's why people get overwhelmed is 'cause there's too many ways. And, there are so many ways. You don't need too many ways. But, there is something I wanted to address, different types of women's posing. Know that what makes your pose good for a woman is that woman's body type, their flaws and assets, and then, of course, what you're trying to say with that shoot. It's not just, like, one great pose for everything. It really depends. So, I'm going to give you poses that I really like and poses that I use over and over again. But, it's going to depend. So, the differences, here, that I wanted to draw attention to is fashion is usually very confident. It can be about curves, but it tends to be more about, I would say, power, strong posture, and a presence. Okay, well then, I would say portrait is more just about flattering the person. It's much more about their expression and their personality. That's what you're trying to have shine through. So, the pose is great 'cause you wanna flatter their body type. But, the expression is like the first and the foremost, the most important thing. And then finally, for boudoir, it tends to be the body's a bit more important. The body is going to be the emphasis. You can have a great portrait that doesn't really have a good pose. But for boudoir, if you don't have that great pose, it's not going to be a great boudoir image. So, these are the things you would want to keep in mind, a little bit different. So, I would say the air about it for a fashion image. Whereas as for portrait, it's that personality, that connection. And then, boudoir would be all about the curves and all about their shape. So, those would be the essentials. I'm going to go ahead and show you some of my favorite women's poses, nothing too extravagant, but ones that you can definitely master and then build from there. So, hi. Hi. How are you? Okay. I was gonna say hi, but I just saw you. Yeah. (chuckles) Try again. All right. You wanna say, you want to introduce yourself, say hi to everybody? Hi, I'm Tessa. (audience laughs) Do have a mic, or no? Are you mic-ed, or no? This is Tessa. She is one of our wonderful P.A.'s here, and is just, and is an actress and a wonderful actress at that. I was not sure if As is Frederick by the way. Saw them both in a show, recently. I'm like, I passed out. I was supposed to see it, and I passed out. I'd just fallen asleep. That's okay. It looked; it sounded amazing. Okay, cool, so. (soft metallic scraping) For women's poses, I, okay, so I can already tell, like, she is too performer. So, she already kinda knows. I can tell you kinda know how to hold your body, so I'm just gonna say. Don't, look back. (audience laughs) Okay, yeah, yeah, okay, okay. Because I very specifically requested not professional models, so you would all know that you can mold and pose people, regardless of their posing experience. Okay, so, perfect, right there's great. Okay, so this is going to be a plain, regular standing shot, flat-footed and everything. Excellent. (camera clicks) You look like a, like a robot lady. Yeah, I like that, okay. All right, so, she is one of those lovely, lucky people that she has negative space with her arms by her side. Really. (audience laughs) Yeah, that's so much better, yes, okay. (chuckles) And yet, you still look cute that way. (camera clicks) What, what is this? Okay, no really, I'm just teasing you. (chuckles) Um, so, with your arms at your side, she already has some (mumbles), but let's take a look at maybe something like that. It's not bad. She already is very slender, but it's a very static pose. So, as I said, everything kinda leads you straight up and down. So, let's talk about the essentials of women's posing. All right, the first thing that I said before is that you wanna pose from ground up because if I tell her to do one thing and then pose her legs later, it doesn't quite work. It's a little bit uncomfortable. So, I can decide how I wanna pose. So, there a couple ones that I really love. The first one I'm gonna do isn't going to be full length. I want you to cross your knee over, yeah, perfect. And, cross it over even more, like even more, right there. Okay, what I want you to see is see how this point is really narrow, now? If I crop right there, the end of my photo goes poof. And, it ends right there, which is great, okay, 'cause it's a very narrowing point. And, what that emphasizes, when you're looking at the photo, is curve. Your eye starts looking for curve. So, I'm gonna have you do that and just do like, yeah, whatever's comfortable. However you need to shift your weight, okay. All right, let's take a look, there, perfect. Already looks great. So, I did that first step. From ground up, I decided how I want the feet. Notice, her feet aren't flatfoot, okay. It's not even weight. She's got one kicked up. 'K, the next thing we're gonna have you do is make sure that you kinda kick that back hip, just back a little bit, good, perfect. And, I'm gonna have you lean out towards everybody. Okay. So, this gets smaller. That came to a point. This gets bigger. Looks good, okay, great. And, so now, she's already doing this, which is pretty good. And, she's giving herself negative space. She is, you know, by default, a lot of people have their hands on their side. Now, what I'm noticing for her is she puts her hands back, like that, too far. When you do this, it decreases the negative space, and it also is foreshortening. So, what I see, so do that again. Do, yeah, okay. So, I don't see arms. (camera clicks) 'K, so let's take a look. Notice the bottom, you'll see the very bottom of her body, tapers out nicely. Okay, so I have that nice, little curve at the bottom. The hands, it's not terrible with the hands, but it is a little bit of shorter arm and little fingers. So, I'm gonna have you, just real soft on the waist. So she's, she's posing hands all nicely. (audience laughs) So I don't have too much work to do, there. Real soft on the waist. Good, and so like, you could do two hands. 'K, you can do it like this. We'll start off like this, perfect. Good, and I'm gonna have you tilt your head just a little bit towards me, great. (camera clicks) So, very nice, you know, straightforward women's pose. But, if I wanted to make it look a little bit more interesting, I have different thing. I already started at the feet. I set the feet, okay. I already set her hips because I want them to be fun, all right. So, I set feet, knees, hips. So, what I have to work with are shoulders, hands and arms, and her chin. 'Cause, I kinda set the foundation. So, she can bring her hand up. So, would you bring, put that hand on your hip, the right hand on your hip and bring the other one up, soft, to your neck. Okay, and so, and don't tilt your head so much. A little bit too much looks like, kinda like, oh my neck hurts. You know, like that kinda. (audience chuckles) You want it to be, like, soft. I think that looks great. And notice, do it again. See how it's obscuring her jawline? And, we wanna see jawline. So, I'm gonna have you set it just, real soft, somewhere on your neck. Great, good. So, what I see are triangles, triangles, nice curves, and it ends at the bottom. So, I'll take, nice, beautiful. (camera clicks) Good. And, I like just that little bit of head tilt, good. (camera clicks) 'K, so that would be a nice, flattering women's pose. If you wanted to go with a little bit different example, maybe you wanted to switch up the hands a little bit. You could, for example, do that whole same thing, all over again. But, you could have her hand across her clavicle. Or, you could have her put her hand in front of her mouth in, kind of like, a playful way. Or, you could put your hand back on her hip. Or, she could bring this hand over to the other side. So, I'm just, kinda setting things that I like and then moving, you know, the last piece in question. So, I think of it, kind of like, kinda like building blocks. I build them, and then I have this whole variable to work with. Okay, I like that. Then, I have this variable to work with. And then, I, you know, so, I build and then fix the last variable. So, one other good standing pose is, if you don't want to do legs kicked, hips kicked back and everything. I'm gonna have you kick one foot over, okay? And so, notice, what I'm gonna have her do, and she already does it, is kick up on her toe. If it's flatfoot, there's not enough curve. It's like, kinda just wide. There's not actually a lot of shape. When she kicks it out on her toe, now there's more of a line, there. So, what I can have her do is, okay, I set the feet. I like that. Her legs look long that way, okay. That looks good. How about you kick up your hip a little bit more? I'm like, all right, see that? See that huge difference? I'm gonna grab a shot of that, so we have it. So, unkick out your weight. Perfect. (camera clicks) And, now kick out your weight. (camera clicks) And, that adds a ton of shape. So, if everybody, if you want to put that out there, for me. Okay. So now, there's like a lot of curves, there. I like that. I think it's very pretty. Thank you. (chuckles) So then, what you can do, is that I like that curve. I wanna see, I wanna emphasize it. So, I'm gonna have you put your hand, soft, right on the hip, a little bit lower, even. So, when I'm doing this, is I'm saying, like, "Look right here. "Look at all this curve. "Look at this little waist, okay, good." And, so this last hand, I kinda wanted to emphasize her hips. So, this last hand, that's my last variable. Okay, I could put it here. I could put it here. I could put it here. (audience chuckles) Like, I can kinda figure out what I wanna do with it. But, I just want to make sure there's not mergers. So, maybe try, just there. Hips kicked out and lean your chest forward just a little. So, I'm making sure I'm emphasizing, reducing, adding curve, working with that last variable. So, yeah. Lindsey, in that middle picture, Jamie in Texas says she kind of looks like she's missing an arm. Do you think a lighter shirt would help with that? Yeah, absolutely. If I were shooting this, actually, I'd pick maybe, not actually solid black. Or, if she's wearing a black dress, that would be perfect because then it would be. Let's say she's wearing a black dress with no sleeves. And then, that would be perfect 'cause all about curve. Which, so when they wear all black, posing couples is, like, get this, the one exception for, like, wearing solid dark colors 'cause then, they like, become blobs. So, I like them to like, be a little bit in contrast. Right. Yeah, so yeah. Definitely, you could definitely do that. All right, so let's take that last photo, good. And, she just has nice, supersoft hands. (camera clicks) Good. All right, and then we'll check how that tether's doing. So, if it were boudoir, instead of going out, I could always, like, maybe could you tuck that in a little bit more? Put your hand on your thigh and kinda lean. I mean, there's, notice, I'm just like, little tweaks. For boudoir, I want it to be more sensual, more curvy. So, yeah, I'm gonna have you do that. And this time, I'm gonna have you kinda put your hand on your thigh, right here. Yeah, and then arm up. So, if it were boudoir, I wanna little more curve, so I'm gonna turn you just a little bit that way. And, arch your back. So now, I'm looking at curve, nice soft hand. And, it makes my eye do this, all the way up. Versus before, it's angular. It's cute; you know, that's fun. But this, when she goes ahead, brings that leg in, now I'm following curves. So, let me get one more. Perfect, perfect. (camera clicks) Great. So, I was gonna say, "Imagine this is a boudoir shot." So, I'm basically saying, "Everyone imagine her "in underwear." (audience laughs) (laughs) Thank you. (claps hands) Thanks for that. Okay, so, those would be like the super basic go-to is I usually do something with the leg kicked out. She can cross her arms. She can put, so it set those variables.

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.