Posing 101: Women

Lesson 13/13 - Female Beauty Posing


Posing 101: Women


Lesson Info

Female Beauty Posing

Beauty photography, it's funny like I'm really really drawn to it. Just because I mean, how can you not? You have a gorgeous model with beautiful hair, makeup on in front of you. Like I want those nice tight shots but I don't want it to just be a picture of their face. How do you do something more than a picture of somebody's face? So here are my general five guidelines for beauty photography. Tip number one. Elongate the neck. I say elongate the neck with shoulder control. Okay, so it's two parts. So let me stand out here. So I'm in the light. So I'm not a model so I don't have an endlessly long neck. I've had some models come in, I'm being totally serious, I had some models come in where their necks were so long that like it blew my mind. If you have my book, the Creative 52 one, the chapter where there's... Oh, it was for style a shoot on a budget for under $20. And this girl has an endlessly long curvy neck and it's awesome. Okay, side note but I love long necks. Okay, so anyway. S...

o what I'm saying is when I'm posing for beauty photography, it's never relaxed. Maybe it's a fashion shoot and I'm trying to make them look like sultry or something. But for beauty, it's always as long a neck as possible, which is leaning and pulling shoulders down and kind of clavicles out. It's everything elongating. The way that they turn their head is elongating. Even if I have them raise their shoulder. I don't hunch. I pull back that back shoulder 'cause now I still have a long neck because you can see the tendon here. So even if I do something like that, it's always elongated. For people that aren't... I'm just going to move this so you can see, that aren't professional models, if you're trying to figure out how to elongate their neck. One tip that I've given people is if you can have them hold the back of a chair and lean way forward, it elongates their neck naturally. And then you can kind of adjust your camera as necessary. Let me give you a couple other shoulder tips. A lot of times, if you have a model straight towards camera. It's kind of boxy 'cause this is going to be broadest. So it's so square, so boxy, can't work with it much. If you turn the model sideways though, it's just like a line. It's not dynamic, I don't if, I'll take a shot so you guys can see when she comes back. It's just, there's not as much angles to it. So sometimes I'll tell a model because I want some shape in their shoulders, I'll tell them to put their shoulder forward. Their front shoulder forward. But if they don't have a lot of experience or if they don't know what I'm talking about, they kind of will do this. And it kind of crunches up their neck a little bit. Instead what I say is you're actually popping your shoulder in this direction, I'll demo for them. So it's not this, it's a pop. And instead of having somebody put their hand here, when I say put your arm forward I see a lot of people do this. The problem is this is actually widening everything. This is actually creating a curve in my shoulder. So when I have a model that I have pop the shoulder over and they do something like this. I say okay, put your elbow back near the back of your body and then just kind of pop your shoulder forward. And now they can have a longer neck but with shape instead of doing this when they pop sideways. So I'm trying to manipulate their shoulders a little bit. No idea if that looks good on that camera so I will photograph her. I have no idea, I don't particularly. I do sometimes pose in front of a mirror but not my shoulders for beauty shots. So you're emphasizing tendons and clavicles. So whatever you can do if the model is straight forward to make sure that these are popping out. And if they're professional models, they have experience, they kind of already know how to pull. It's more or less like pulling down and they pop out. My makeup artist, this is not posing exactly, my makeup artist will actually shade for that. She puts highlights on the top of the clavicles, shadows under so they pop out. That's something that you want in beauty photography. Then the same thing with tendons. Just if you can see the long tendons in the neck, that's good. Soft elegant hands. So everything we talked about in the beginning. Hands often fluid motions. Pinky side towards camera. Never pressed up on the face. Never this side of the hand. I've seen where there's some instances where you see the back of the hand, never the palm. Like ever. I never see that in beauty photography done well. Head is usually neutral or tilted towards camera but it's not back or not way forward. It's usually neutral or tipped to elongate. This would be elongating beauty style because see how long my neck gets? Versus this would be more aggressive if I'm trying to like stare you down. Communicates different things. This is long and I'm snotty. This is I'm pissed at you. (audience laughs) I don't know, that's what I think. And then for over-the-shoulder. If you shoot beauty over-the-shoulder, I would be very upset if your chin merges with your shoulder 'cause then there's no neck, there's no negative space. So instead, if somebody is doing over-the-shoulder shots, have them tuck their elbow back, roll it forward, and lean out. So now it is a long neck versus looking over your shoulder like this. I've seen like Christy Turlington do this well. Chances are you are not photographing a super model like Christy Turlington so just long necks. Don't do this, doesn't really communicate our goals of beauty. So this is one of my dresses that you can rent and I got two of these so far of this particular dress. I have like 30 dresses. But this one I have a size four and a size eight so far. So I'm gonna try to do, you know, some for different body types. We'll see. Okay, so the reason I wanted to pose in a dress is because clothing and posing actually makes a difference in fashion. Like you pose for the clothing. So here, she can't kick her leg up. She can't move that much but there's a little bit I can do and I'll have you be my dress floofer as well. So what I can do is if I want a little more shape, I can have her pop her leg over a little bit. See that curve it introduces right there? This was straight on, she popped that leg over, and now it's a little bit of curve. Can you arch your back just a little bit. Like butt up basically, yeah. Perfect. Let's take a look. Great. And then I can communicate what I want with hands. If I want powerful I can do that. If I want sultry, I can have her drag her hands up her thighs, that's something I direct people to do. So this would be powerful. Maybe this would be kind of more elegant. This is sophisticated. Like you know, just try to pose to express that. So I'm gonna do just a couple different poses. I do have her clipped in the back. That is an essential for fashion shoots because the clothes have to fit perfectly and your camera only sees what you show it so often if I want to do a picture over the shoulder, we clip in the front. You just move the clips around. So let me just take a couple pictures of this and then we'll move on. Good, just like that. Hand around front just a little more on that side right there, good. Look what she did with her clavicle, see you saw it, perfect. Look at her clavicles popping out, that's what I'm looking for versus arms are down, it's not as defined. She knows how to do it. One thing I will note though. Hands. Yeah, they were kind of crunched, she knew. But that's things that I'm looking for. Perfect, so that's great. Okay, take a look. So notice there's a lean, there's curves, soft hands. Okay now, hand up soft this way on that side, exactly. Good, yeah, right there. So see how long her neck got because she tilted her head up that way? Most of the time for people that are not fashion models, when you do this, it's like cutesy. For fashion models, it gives you endlessly long neck. And she doesn't tilt her head, she pulls up. Like everything elongates because that's what you're aiming for. So let's do that again, perfect. And can you give me a little more curve, pop out your hip a little more, yeah good. And long with that neck and hands soft and a little more bit more in front, right there, good. And I would move my clips but I'll leave them for now. Good, okay I'm going to have you face me straight on and I'm going to have you tuck one leg over again. Whatever one, whatever you're comfortable with, and just do real soft. Good, okay so now this is going to be more like this is a vulnerable look. Good, could you put your hand all the way up here and then cross your body, yeah. So now I'm using her arms to give me a little bit of shape but that would be much more vulnerable. Can you lower your right hand a little bit lower. Your right hand just put it lower. Right there, good and your left hand higher. Perfect, so see how I kind of got a little bit of that curve going on. Cross your leg over even more. And wiggle your fingers real soft, good. Perfect and then chin look hard to your right and up. Good. Good, okay, so anyway, you guys get the idea. So I'm going to photograph her now doing beauty photography and the reason I had her change in the dress is because now I can have bare shoulders. And most beauty photography, yeah you could have shirts on but you don't see the long neck and the clavicles when you have high shirts on. So can we get her a stool and we have any questions to finish up fashion? No, the black stool or no, this one. This one's fine. I think we are okay for the moment unless we have anything in the room. We do have one from August, yes. I don't know if this is posing or lighting, maybe it's a combination of both but talk about catch lights a little bit. Sure. So catch lights in fashion photography, it depends on what you're trying to go for. So catch lights are going to be those little highlights in the eyes. If you are going for dark and mysterious, I've done pictures with no catch lights. Or I have the light so high up that you can't see catch lights in the top of the eyes but I have a reflector underneath and you see only catch lights in the bottom. That either does something really creepy orit makes it really sad because it almost looks like tears. You know how tears when they well up, you get little highlights there. So I would do something like that. In beauty photography and this kind of work, you can actually have as many as you want. I used to ask that question all the time. Like well, do Photoshop out your catch lights? No, you can have 25 different catch lights if you wanted like in Lord of the Rings, you know, how all the elves had all those catch lights. Yeah, anyway. So that's why I'm going to adjust my light appropriately. So I'm going to have you sit on that and let me know if you can't sit. You want me to, you're good? Okay, cool. So I will need silver on that. Perfect, so I also bring and these aren't all mine so do not show the camera that. But I also bring inspiration for beauty so you can see the different things I'm going for. So I'm going to set this right here. Here's those references again. All right so I'm going to play with the shoulders again so you guys can see. And I'm going to light appropriately. Let's just light here. Okay, good. So let's do... Make sure I'm not tangled. All right, actually can I get my 70 to 200? All right. so we're not talking about beauty photography but I would use longer lenses, we talked about that before for compression. I'm going to do really tight shots and I was saying if you get up really close to somebody with a wider lens, it distorts everything. As if you're looking in the very beginning of the class, somebody said that the further shot that the girl had she looked oldest because her features were more defined and more angular. So if I hired a model because her features are defined and angular, you achieve that better with a longer lens. So that's why I'm switching to a longer lens. Thank you, very much. All right, so face me to straight on. Okay. All right. So this would be just a plain old nothing shot. You'll see in a second. And so if I were going to have her face straight on, can you pull down your shoulders, pop out your clavicles just a little bit. Good, okay, did you see that she did that? Okay because what she does is she pulls down just a little bit and they pop out. That's kind of what I'm looking for. So okay, hide them or make them less noticeable. Yeah, so when she pulled her shoulders back, they kind of went away. When she pulled it forward, they pop out a little bit more. Back, it rolls them away. Forward, it pops them out. You just don't want to be, that's why you see those really bad poses where they do this because they're trying to pop out the clavicles but then you lose the neck. It's just it's a pull to make them pop out. Okay, so perfect. Take one more of those. So I would crop maybe something like this. If I were doing no particularly special poses but I did want to show you angle. Okay so a difference and I know this is posing but a difference here is with a portrait, I would get it at a higher angle and I want to just look straight at me for one, okay. Fortunately we get a higher angle often. So right here. Okay, so take a look at the length of her neck in the shot. This next one, it's about the same. Okay but really if you look at the actual length of the neck before the shoulders start, we saw her neck was endlessly long before. It doesn't look like that now, right? Because I'm shooting from what most people do for portrait, which is above eye-level. Foreshortening, neck gets shorter. So for beauty, I back up and get down, and that makes the neck look longer, and then I use a wider angle lens. So I'm going to probably be in your personal space. Okay, good, excellent. All right. Now let's take a look at neck this way. And it gets like twice as long. Okay, now, I mean she actually has a neck this way. So while I might not photograph people for portraits at this angle because it see how it's not as like, it's not as intimate. You're not like interacting with the person as much, the lines are much longer. Okay, so let's say that I want to make her neck even longer. Can you turn to your right, please. Okay. Can you see that neckline there? Check how long this neck got. Okay, and if I want to make her neck even longer, I'm going to turn her head back that way. So watch and a little less just a tiny bit less. Good, right there. So all I'm doing for beauty photography, I'm like okay what are this particular person's angles and how can I work them? All right so looking at that. Let's say I just made her neck super, super, super long but maybe I want to add, give me a soft hand, perfect, good. And can you hide your thumb and then put it like kind of so I can't see it. Yeah, exactly. And wiggle your pinky a little bit, right there. And head up. Good. And can you bring your shoulder in just a little bit with that? Just like tuck it into your body a little. Okay, same thing, just like that. Long, long, long, right there, good. And perfect. Okay so I'm giving like long lines, long neck. Okay but what I'm seeing, for me, if I look, I'm like okay. I like it but there's not much going on on this side of her body. So what can I do pose wise? So what I'm gonna have you do is either tuck that arm in front or pop that shoulder forward just a little bit. Yeah, do the one you did before. Yeah, roll that forward. So she actually already starts to do it. So instead of this she just popped it forward so now it's not like open to the camera, nothing happening. It's popped forward for a little more shape. See, you see the difference there? And I'll do the other arm, just relax it and open it back up. So and now pop it. So now there's just like, see now there's shape. Like it gives you more to work with. So soft hand again for me. Perfect. Yeah, right there. Great and right there, put your hand back down a little bit lower. Good. So watch how much better I think that shoulder looks in these shots versus when it's just open to the camera. It's flat, look how insanely long her neck looks. Of course I get rid of like, she has a couple neck wrinkles, in retouching I would maybe smooth out that just a little bit but it's like so minor and now she has the longest neck ever, all the curves look nice, so it's, like a lot of beauty photography doesn't have to be super profound hand movements. It's actually more in the shoulders and the neck and the way that you tilt your head. All right, perfect. So let's do, can you do something like that. And I do this, I always do this shot. I just kind of cup my hands together pinky sides towards camera. Something like that. That's a good go-to shot and it's good for tight. Good, just like that and bring your pinky in just a little, good. And I make sure, right there. I make sure that it's not just straight on because this to me, you kind of tilt towards it, right. She did it automatically because this has feel to it. I'm trying to move with those hands so your eyes are flowing. So take a look, just like that. Try one here. Good. All right, great. So going to have a beauty pose there. How about let's do something like this. Can you do something like this? Perfect, good, right there. Okay, perfect. And no, you can just it like that. You could do something like this, just like that is great. I can't really and put your hand like against your face, good. Right there. I can't really think of a time when I like armpits except I can get away with it here. Lemme do it one more time. I'm gonna get real close. Good and relax your fingers just a little bit more. Good and tilt with your head. So I can break a couple rules because I really don't like armpits but models armpits tend to be nicer. All right, so I'll just do a couple more beauty shots. Let's do the shoulder raised. Okay, so good, that was good. Yeah, okay so notice, can you face me straight on? Okay and I'm going to have you just turn your head to your right. Okay, great. So from this particular angle. Actually I'm going to do a progression. Look straight at me first. Okay now, look to your right. Okay. First of all I love her tendon. Do you see what I'm talking about that pops out when she turns her head. Maybe that's what I wanted to do, maybe I really want to have some tendon pop out. All right but look how look how short her neck got. All right it's even shorter for example, will you go ahead and raise that shoulder. The yeah, raise this one, good. And turn your head that way, towards your left. Okay so now if you raise her shoulder because you want to see that tendon, she's has like no neck. You'll see in a second. That gets me. When people do it, don't do it. Or at least don't ask me to critique it if you did it because then I can't be nice. I'm not mean but I can't deal with it. So if you do want shoulder raised so she can go ahead and turn her head and have that long. Turn towards, rotate your body this way. Good, keep going, good. And now do it, perfect. okay so she can turn her head both ways really. Good, roll your head back that way. A little less. Good. This is okay with me for raised shoulder or bring it way up and tuck your chin in. And okay, so I'm going to show two ways. This I don't like but you can do it again, you're good. This I don't like as much as if I come over to this way and I'll kind of show you why. You'll see in a second. Okay so in one her shoulders raised but I can't see neck. All I did was move a little bit to the left. Do you see how I can see that tendon so now it's okay. So it's a combination of pose and perspective for me. And then I could go ahead and can you do that same pose and just introduce a hand some place over here? Good and do that shoulder up again. Good, just like that. And actually in front, yeah right there, perfect. Good. Now tilt your head the other way. Good. So I'm just kind of working angles and it's a matter of kind of left and right, up and down, soft hands for her, and where I place shoulder. So I'd say shoulders is most important thing. Always looking for tendons, clavicles, elongated neck, soft hands, not awkward, and trying to express whatever I'm trying to achieve with that image. I see a question. Yeah for one of the shots, like four frames ago where her chin actually merged with her shoulder, do you purposely break that rule when you're doing beauty as opposed to fashion and something else? Yeah, so yeah, I'll break the rules a lot. If I do go ahead and have the chin merged, I just shoot from an angle enough where I can still see this part of her neck. I won't shoot from that angle where I can't see neck because if I'm shooting from this angle and she has no neck, that's not beauty to me. It's not like elongated and elegant but if she just rotates, now you can see her neck and then that's okay. So it's actually just a little bit of perspective. So posing changes that. And I'll do poses with both hands up, I'll do poses here, and just the whole time just moving her head to see what angle works best. There's no set good pose because it depends on the models jawline and their features too and how they're catching the light and all of that. Okay. How you feeling? Good, this is my stuff, this is what I do. This is like, it's my thing. Yeah, notice it's easy but it's like you're watching minute details at that point. It's not big scheme, it's tiny little things. And something as much as like the pinky here to here ruins a photo. If I had a girl with her hand here and her pinky was here, wouldn't use it but if it's down and soft then I could. So you become much more tuned to those little things, which is great want to take it back to portraiture because I can go ahead I can pose them overall and then I zoom into the hands. Or zoom in to that foot turn so I can elongate it instead of coming at me. So I do the overall pose and then I look at those minute things, which is what I get from fashion. And for those folks out there who are interested, as always, in the lighting that Lindsay is using, you can definitely check out, she's done a couple workshops here on lighting. She did conquering crappy light, which was a three day on lighting and a one day creative studio lighting during lighting week. Yeah, are you good, are you happy? I'm perfectly happy. Did you guys have any questions? She does, right there, perfect. In terms of like doing fashion for plus-size models though, would you do differently because obviously you have more curves to be concerned about but you still want to emphasize the curves. But like as far as the shooting up, shooting at a lower angle to make them look longer but again you have to contend because they're obviously thicker in the neck . So I would make a little bit, changes just a little bit. I would maybe have them stick their jaw out a little bit. I would probably back up further than normal instead of being close to make them look tall but typically I'm still trying to emphasize curve just as much. If I'm photographing a plus-size model, I'm not going for graphic. I might still do a dramatic pose but I'm making sure it always comes back to curve and then I can make some graphic shapes but it's always got to come back to curve. Whereas if they're stick thin, you already have those lines to make graphic. So I think what I'm emphasizing is just a little different. Yeah because I guess a lot of times with plus-size modeling, you see it is more like to make them look voluptuous and it's more soft and stuff. And I don't know if there's a way that to possibly change that because I think that would be a good thing for the plus. Obviously that's not here your job to do but just if there was a way to move over to that for plus-size modeling like what would you suggest as far as posing goes to get into more angular? I would probably say at that point movement. Because if you're moving, then you don't require... it's not static, you're not looking for lines or curves. When somebody's standing there, you either want lines or curves, you want something. So if it's movement then you can get away with it a little bit more. That would probably be what I would do and then of course beauty. Yeah, awesome, thank you. Welcome. Fantastic. So Lindsay as we're coming here to the end of this awesome, wonderful three days, let's talk a little bit about your final thoughts about the overarching, what is posing to you, why is this so important, and what are your key takeaways? Oh gosh, posing is something that is scary to a lot of us. Especially when you're not working with professional models. So let's just take this particular example aside because for lighting you can see it a lot of times and make that chain. But for a pose you've got to come with okay, what do I do? Like where could put that, how could I angle people? So your greatest tool for flattering somebody is the combination of everything you do. It's the posing, it's the lighting, it's going to be your camera angle, your compressions. Not one thing but if you take posing out of that, you're making your job so much harder as a photographer. You really have to have all those things and so you know, as photographers we're problem solvers and we need all of those tools in our tool basket. What I think is awesome is that if you watch the first day, which you guys did, the fundamentals are the same the whole time. So even though I knew, as I was repeating each section you would hear the same things over again. I was assuming it wouldn't sound like I was being a broken record, it would go oh, I see now when you're talking about elongate. I see what you're talking about weight back. I see what you're talking about negative space. Those fundamentals are the same so it's just knowing okay, what are the little bits of differences between different subjects and then just go back to those fundamentals every time. So it's not as scary as you think it is and it's a practice makes perfect thing and so the more that you do it, the more experience you have, you find your expertise. So really those foundations, if you feel confident with those foundations, you can pose anything, you can post anyone. Maybe not kids. (audience laughs) I should add that. It's a little bit more. Oh, Lindsay, we adore you. (laughs) One more question. So people have all these things, as you say you need to go out there and do the work. Practice makes perfect. Now, I know that you have a little book that's all about practice. That's all about finding that daily inspiration. Tell us a little bit about Creative 52. Yep, so this is my most recent book. It came out in October and it is 52. So weekly challenges that you can do and it's intended to challenge yourself conceptually, technically, and then also in Photoshop. So you kind of have all that to work with and you could do one a week and the reason I wrote the book is, a long story short if you've heard me talk about this, I had somebody when I had been shooting for a while tell me that basically my entire portfolio sucked and I should start again. And so I realized that the person at the time was actually right and I completely redid my portfolio. I became a new photographer in a year. But everything that I do is because I practice it. So I was joking but I mentioned, my boyfriend was laughing because I was posing. Because I was practicing and trying to find ways, okay I know this doesn't look great on me but for model how could I direct? And I'm practicing on people and in the break sometimes I would take Iris and say okay, you know there's something I want to try and I would pose her. So if you have someone that's willing to do that for you, practice when it's low pressure. See what all the different poses change for different body types and all of that. Practice before it's a client there, if you can, so you're not stressed out and then you can look for the minute details and you kind of have those go-to poses. So what I recommend that you do is definitely in those little PDFs and those little printouts that you have, have master five poses even if it's not those. Have five poses so that you automatically have those as go to and then you go back to the foundation and figure out how to tweak from there with each person that is different. So to bring that back to creativity for this book. You take the foundations you have and then you make good images instead of just practicing. You can take one of those assignments, assign yourself to challenge yourself creatively, and then take what you've learned from posing and say okay, I'm gonna do something creative and then make posing tell that creative story. Because it is an element of the entire picture. Definitely.

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.