Maternity Posing


Posing 101: Women


Lesson Info

Maternity Posing

This is a segment where I talk about maternity. And I'm going to give you my tops tips, but I will let you know that for maternity poses there really are just a few essentials. It is really pretty basic. And I think a lot of what makes different maternity shots would be lighting and styling, for a couple of reasons. Really there are certain poses that are definitely more flattering to the female form, but then also there aren't many poses that are comfortable and you want the individual to be comfortable. So you would be making more poses out of maybe your lense choice, and your lighting, and your styling, and things like that. So really there are just a few poses to have narrowed down here. So not too complicated. So let me give you the absolute essentials. And I will just actually borrow you while I say these and I'm not photographing yet. Okay. This is our lovely mother. (audience applauding) Thank you for modeling Yeah. For me today. Alright so the first thing. I'll have you mi...

rror me. It is okay to photograph your subject straight on, but you won't notice the stomach as much. So what you have to do in that case is actually use the hands to define. So I'm going to have you cup your left hand underneath and your right hand over. Okay you would actually need to do that because straight on you can't quite tell, the form isn't defined. But something else to keep in mind, is if her hands are straight next to her side we still want to keep in mind all of those fundamentals of posing for women. Which is you want negative space. So I would have her pop her elbows out just a little bit, not uncomfortably so, but so that you can see the sides of her body and her form. Okay but in general, even though that's acceptable, the 3/4 view would emphasize and be more typical. So I will just have you turn 3/4 and do the same thing. So either way is completely fine just know that straight on you definitely need help defining. My second tip, really important, and I'm going to photograph these all so you can see. Is when she is standing here flat-footed, 'member flat foot, okay flat-footed is not the most flattering. Usually you think "okay for women you don't want to stand "flat-footed because you are reducing hips and form." Well okay, I mean that's not the point here. The reason for not wanting to shoot flat-footed is 'cause you can add a little curve. So what I'm gonna have you do is put your left foot forward and then put up on its toe. If you do that and I'm gonna do this more dramatically so you can see with an apple box. What it does is it will give you a line to follow, another line. You wouldn't want the back leg because then you're opening up towards the camera but instead the front leg so you're looking at a curve here and a curve here. So then the pose becomes all about curve, which is what we're trying to do. And again it's feminine and it's soft and it's beautiful. So we're going to photograph her like that as well. So tip number three, I already said this is maintaining negative space, but that's with everything. So a big one that I'll see often a woman's holding underneath her stomach here and she has her arm back. Do you mind, if you don't mind ill grab just right here. And put your hand underneath your stomach again, right here. So from this angle her arm hides the small of her back. It is just like if I were facing straight on to the camera with my hands straight to my side. I add that much width to myself. So if you are going to photograph somebody from the side like that, you want the hand even further forward so you can see the small of her back, which is perfect, or much farther back. Keep going, keep going. So that you actually have negative space. So watch for those things. Maternity poses are all about the curves and the beautiful lines, so you can't hide them. Alright and that's in any of the poses that we have here. Number four is hands communicate the mood. So I have definitely seen some kind of sexier maternity shots where it's both hands up and I've seen hand on the small of the back, a softer more maternal cupping underneath, giving more curve and shape here. So just know that hands become an important part because it's all communicating something different about what you're trying to achieve in the pose. Like I said there's not really too much that you do so it's kind of in the hands what you're trying to say with that photograph. And of course then it's the lighting and all that other stuff. And then number five is to vary the eye contact and the head angle. I would do looking down, head to shoulder, at camera, it gives you different poses but sometimes I don't know I almost think if it's meant to be a quiet kind of intimate moment where she's appreciating her state. (laughing) Okay, looking at the camera I still get that photograph but honestly since it is about curve and about something beautiful I think that often not looking at the camera probably achieves more of what you're goals are as a photographer. So these would be my top five things. Remember the differences between the angles, don't stand flat-footed, definitely maintain negative space, watch the hands, and vary the eye contact. So I'm going to show you a few variations of the pose. There really aren't too many. You can go ahead and get a little bit more creative and I'm going to do one little more creative shot, just so that you have one. But don't start there, start nice and easy and simple. Okay Iris I would love light. And I'm going to show you and we're going to watch all different poses. I'm going to have you face straight towards camera, flat-footed, hands on your side. Okay, perfect. Thank you. Great. And just a little taller, little bit more, right there, perfect, thank you. Great, alright check my tether. And hands flat to your side. Okay, perfect. Okay so what you will notice is that you can't really tell too much that she's pregnant, because the clothes aren't super form fitting. Okay now she is not heavy but if someone were a little heavier and were leaning back it would actually kind of stretch shirt similarly. So we need to define. So what I'm gonna have you do is put one hand above, one hand below, and arms tight to your side. Okay so now we've defined but there is no negative space and we still want a little bit of curve here. So that's what we're going to add next. So I'm going to have you pop your elbows out just a little bit, there your go just like that's perfect. Okay so now gonna see a little bit more feminine shape. But there is something that I taught everybody in photographing women that's missing. And I actually just said it a second ago. What's one of those things that you don't want? Flat foot, she's flat-footed. So it's still like. So what I'm going to have you do is, would you tuck one of your knees over a little bit, good. Even just a tiny bit more. So what I can do now is since this pose is all about curve, if I crop right here now it's a nice leading out point at the end of that photograph. So perfect. Lindsay, can you actually Yeah. clairify for Christina Yes. what you do mean by flat-footed? To her it would mean bottoms of the feet touching the ground. Is that just what you mean by flat footed? Okay so that's true. Yes, flat-footed bottoms of the feet on the ground, but also even weight distribution. You're just flat foot even weight. So what I'm doing is I'm taking one foot. When she actually kicks her foot over, the camera can't see it, her feet do come off the ground. She's actually up on one toe, it's not like super balanced. But she has to go up on one toe to kind of kick that over. So it makes shape in that pose. So if you look there, I don't know if they can do kind of some before after shots, but it just tapered out the bottom even more. And depending on the person's balance if you wanted it to be more extreme I do have people cross their legs but just wouldn't have them do it for too long. So you'll be able to see the very first one is going to be least flattering and then the last one. You notice her shape less straight on so let's change that. Could you just turn sideways for me and hands flat at your side. Alright so let's take a look at this. Perfect. Alright and so there's not really much going on but what do you do with her hands? So thee go to the one that you always see is one hand cupped beneath and one hand over or both hands beneath. I personally think, this is my taste, I like one hand over and one hand below. I don't know I think it's, just has a little more curve to it 'cause now I'm exploring the curves versus this this is kind of holding a weight to me, but there's nothing wrong with this. I see it all the time and it's not something I look at and go "that is a bad pose." (laughing) It's nothing like that. Just like that. And what I think is kind of even though straight off to the side is when I would see the shape of her stomach most the hand kind of disappears so I might not go completely profile. Come back to me just a little bit, perfect. So watch this difference, just a little bit here. Alright so then the quote unquote problem that we run into. The curve. The curve. You lost the curve because right now her arm is extending beyond that small of her back and so it's going to make her look wider but not even wider it's just curves are feminine we're losing them. So I'm going to have you put your arm forward just a little bit more. And bring it back, I'll tell you when. Bring it back, bring it back, bring it back, alright good. And bring your elbow in, good. Okay the reason I had her elbow in, is she was doing this. Whatever is closest to the camera will look largest, so it's gonna make her arm look large if she does that. So what I was doing was I had her pull her arm forward and I had her pull it back just until I could still see the curve of her back but her arm wasn't out. So that looks good. Perfect. So I can see the curve of her back, I can see all the curves looks good. Just so you know another direction that you could take it. Is can you bring your arm all the way back? Keep going, keep going, keep going, right there, perfect. And so you could actually go so that there is negative space like this. So this is another way that would be totally acceptable for seeing curve and space. And you could go more extreme if you're going for a little bit like okay, if you look at thee-- I've looked at some of the maternity shots that were in Vogue and they're like ahh. (laughing) So you can do hands on the hips like that. It was actually like Giselle I think it was very dramatic, it was beautiful, flowing fabric. Maybe it was Vanity Fair, it was really pretty. So you could do that but this would be more traditional. What's the problem that we're running into is? She's still flat foot, still flat foot. So I'm going to have you stay flat foot for one sec. I'm going to take a further back shot so you can actually see the difference. For a close shot like that it's not a big deal, but-- I'm going to have you grab a small apple box if there's-- Oh yeah there's a small one over there, perfect. So flat foot just like you are is great. Good. Perfect, but what you're going to see is you're going see that definitely now you had all that curve and then it's a line. Like it doesn't fit with the curve of that photo. So would you take your left foot forward, perfect. Just like that, great. And arch your back a tiny bit. Okay so arch of the back will give 'em more curve. Perfect, just like that. Great, one more. So I've got a little more curve and a little more shape. And you could go even more dramatic if you wanted. And will you put that apple box out there for her to put her foot on. Especially since it's more comfortable. Great. Perfect. So now watch. Great. And I'm going to crop right here, perfect. Good. And one more shot. Will you put your hand in front? So if I really want to watch this curve, then I probably don't want-- If I'm looking for the back curve I probably don't want her hand out probably want in 'cause that's what I'll be looking at. Perfect. Alright so just a couple more things that I would do. Is I would vary eye contact. I mean I don't know it's not bad to look at the camera I mean a lot of times people want themselves looking at the camera. Will you just look down? And when you do that make sure it's not literally looking down at their stomach. (laughing) No. People will say "okay now look down at your stomach." And they go like this. They will not be happy with you. So will you stick your chin out and down? Okay so it's gonna kind of stretch out underneath the chin and then just her eyes down, you get the point. Great, now do you mind if I just pull your hair back just a little bit? Yeah. Gonna see you just a tiny bit. Oh my hands are cold, sorry. It's okay. Okay cool. And when you do that just to make sure the hair doesn't fall in front of the face, obviously. And can you lean your chest forward just a little bit? Good, just right there. Alright so what I'm doing there, just want to elongate a little bit, it was like minute. But sometimes people will lean back just a little bit 'cause they're trying to balance weight. And then again it's kind of weighed back. So sometimes just weight forward just a little bit actually pulls everything up and out. That was a really minute difference 'cause she was fine. Alright so those are like super essentials and then of course you can put your hands underneath again and turn towards me just a little bit. Okay and then pull your left hand back a little. Yeah, right there, perfect. One thing that I did want to do and if you look at my angle I still had some negative space on the side of her body and then it tapers at the bottom of the frame. One thing I did want to show is. Can you put your right leg up? Okay just to show the difference. It's not going with the curves because it's curve and then line versus an extension of the curve. It's not that same smooth shape. So that would be something to watch out for. I am going to actually sit you on the ground sideways. And then yeah would you guys, I was asking Heather and Kathy, could I have just the top of that bed? In a second, like in a second. I mean you can go for it but. Okay good, perfect. Same rules apply as before. Having her sitting here I want a tuck your hand underneath kay good, making sure I have negative space. But what is the gigantic problem? The arm. The arm, okay so if you look at her arm a lot of tension, not only is it locked out but her fingers are like freaked out there, okay. Can you go a little softer on your hand? Perfect. Great. Oh I want to lower my light real quick. Perfect. And just kinda wiggle your fingers soft on there, good. Good. And I'm going to do one more. Great. So that would be another pose, kind of sitting like that. This entire time as we have done with everything we've photographed I would try different angles and different lenses. So takes one pose and changes it so of course I could photograph from here down. If I did that I probably wouldn't photograph at F8 or F11, everything would be too much in focus. But if I photograph here her eyes will be in focus and then you can see her form but it's not like distracting. Okay guys you can bring that over whenever you want or no. So what I'm gonna do, is those were my essentials. I can help you up if you like. There you go. So those were my essentials so my kind of recap there was straight on you kind of have to make sure you can see the shape, make sure you have negative space not arms tight to the side. When you turn to the side make sure you can actually see curve, hands can go above or below, and use leg the front one the one that's closest to the camera to give you extra shape. So you can fit this way. Alright my last one is going to be a laying one. But I have not yet had this experience but I had feeling just laying on a hard floor wouldn't be a good idea. (laughing) I had them grab that for me. Lindsay, a quick question Yeah. about one of the standing poses. Yeah. Do you always prefer the closest arm to the camera to be below the stomach in a profile shot or can it be above the stomach for some side shots? Oh no it can definitely be above, absolutely. I actually find that it depends on how far along they are. 'Cause if they're really far along sometimes this becomes an uncomfortable angle. Which is the only reason I was doing that. If they're really far along they're like this to put their hand, so sometimes it's smoother curve here. But if they're not I mean you can definitely just watch to make sure it's not uncomfortable and the arm's not tight to the side, or it's not kind of feels uncomfortable, just soft curves. Both are totally fine. So here is our unusual shot. Would you lay on the bed for me with your head this direction and your feet that direction? So like head here feet there. And you can just stay there for a second. I once had a women that I did a maternity session for and she said to me, "okay I want something "a little more unique." She said, "I maybe want something a little more sexier." She's like, "I feel beautiful. "I don't want to just feel motherly." She's like, "I want something that shows me as a woman "because I have all my curves." (laughing) And she wanted to take advantage of that time. A couple things to keep in mind with that is I could for example photograph from here with the focus on her eyes and then everything else out of focus. What I'm actually gonna do is I'm going to show her the pose, just to save her grief, that's a mix between what we covered in boudoir and maternity. Okay so if you feel comfortable, if you can lay on your back that way, and you're going to put your right arm up above your head, perfect. And your other hand soft on your stomach, perfect, just like that. And I'm going to have you kick your knees that way. Is that okay? Yep. Comfortable, alright, great. My light's not gonna be awesome, we've discussed this. I could move it but it'd be a little bit complicated. And so what I'm going to do is focus this here on her eyes. Things I want to watch out for is if she's looking back at me no wrinkles in the forehead and no strain. But it is going to be curve. So let me just take a shot and see if this is doable here. Great. And can you bring that elbow up just a little bit and you can put it under your head if it's more comfortable that way. Is there anything that's more comfortable? Doesn't really matter. So just pull your elbow out that way. Keep going, keep going. And the reason I'm doing that is it was a little bit too tight to her head. So keep going, right there, perfect. Try this again. And relax your forehead for me. I don't know if you'll be able to see, can you see it? And not that one. Good. One more. Now will you turn your legs the other way. Good. Keep 'em straight out, like flat out. So I was looking right then and I was just kinda in the way. Perfect. So you could do a combination of some of these. Again, I wouldn't be photographing at F8, so by the time you were getting to her feet it wouldn't be in focus, it would just be form. So it's like a combination between those. I can help you up now. Oh by the way, will you put your hand back one more time? Sorry. I would also shoot right above down. And I did that for that women, that was telling me how she felt. Turn your head that way. Keep going, keep going. And look towards the light. And I stood on a step ladder, but I had an assistant there to make sure I didn't fall on her. 'Cause that wouldn't be good. I mean seriously though. The step ladder I needed it for the angle but yeah you don't want to fall on a pregnant woman. That'd probably be a bad idea. Okay now I can help you up. Want a hand? Thank you so much. You okay? Yep. I'm going to bring you back on in a second. If you guys want to remove the bed And actually Lindsay I'll take some questions. We did have one quick Yeah. request before we lose our wonderful model here. Sure. Hoops photography was wondering if you could show a standing pose that doesn't have the arms at the belly like arms Yeah, absolutely. up somewhere else. Definitely. Raise this up. Let's do a fashion one and a soft one. Stand facing 3/4 about there. So there's a couple things you could do. One, put your left foot out again, great, can you put your hand on kind of the top of your butt, good. And now take your right hand and put it soft to your neck, on the other side though. So I could do something like that. Let's take a shot. Can I have the apple box please? I have a question about apple box. Yes. Where do you get them? I got mine, I was in New York City. (laughing) Where do you get them here? Glazer. Oh yeah, you guys have one right here. Yeah, Glazer's is right here. I mean camera stores, I know that Calimet, and B&H, and Adorama, and they all have them for sure. But theater supply as well, that would be the other one. Is if you don't have a big camera store in your area any theater production company would have them as well. Those are the two that I know of. Thank you You're welcome. Okay perfect, great. Good. Now turn your head and look down at your shoulder, good. That would be one. And then if you go like super fashion. Could you bring that arm up, here? And then the other one kind of to your neck and turn this way so you kind of lean. Okay so this is more of what I was seeing of the like the Giselle but then what they had here was they had fabric that was draped across and then foofing out this way. That would probably actually be more like how I might photograph it. If I were getting a little funky here. One more just like that, perfect. Great. Perfect.

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.