Posing 101: Women

Lesson 4/13 - Posing Female High School Seniors: Standing & Stool Poses


Posing 101: Women


Lesson Info

Posing Female High School Seniors: Standing & Stool Poses

So we're going to talk about high school senior girls. Alright so I do know I'm talking to different people around the world, this is not always prevalent where you live. Like in different countries, they don't do high school senior photos. However, when I first started my business, high school senior photos, was what I made my living on. And, so, I've done a lot of this type of shooting, and I really like it. The reason I like it so much, is high school senior girls in particular, let you get creative and they let you have fun. So if anything out of pretty much anything that I'll be teaching besides boudoir, besides that one, this is where you can get most creative and have most poses. For everything else I do, I have just some simple, go-to poses. I have a ton, but we're just gonna do five. Okay, we're gonna focus on five and then you build from there. So, let's go to my top fivw high school senior girl posing guidelines. Alright, so you can get more creative, but in the end, if you'...

re getting really creative and you have the girl posed in a funky way, and her expression's gone because she's uncomfortable, then it was a failed shot. When you do a fashion shoot, a lot of times the expression's less important. High school senior photo, it's all about what she looks like. All about that expression. So that would be number one, don't your let your desire to get creative to get in the way of the expression, but definitely, what I recommend doing is go safe, then go crazy, then get creative. For my portrait sessions for high school seniors, what I always, always, always did, was a basic hands on chair shot or hands on a posing table, girl leaning toward the camera smile. I get those, those are the pictures that I know. Matched up with what Grandma had on the wall and everything, so everybody had that shot that they wanted, and then she's lying on the ground, and then she's handing out of a tree, like whatever it may be. That's why I like these the best. The get really creative. Okay, my tip number two is asymmetry. You want to be asymmetrical in your poses, so let me explain what that means. Whenever you have two things, don't mirror them, usually if you want it to be really interesting. For example, two arms up, it's static and it's really kinda of a rigid pose. You can kind of work that a little bit, if you really want both arms up, just make 'em a little bit uneven, then you could still do that, but in general, just plain old, hands on the hip for example, it's a little bit static. Maybe raise one up and lower the other. Try to get things a little more asymmetrical. Same thing is if you go ahead and are having somebody pose in a symmetrical way, at least maybe add some movement to it, so that is what gives it energy, okay? Otherwise, symmetry is so straight up and down. Okay, next one, is if the girl is standing, make sure she's not flat-footed. Oh, and a note for the entire day, there are a lot of things that you'll hear repeated that we talked about yesterday, and there's a couple of poses that overlap, because these are the essentials. Of course overlap, they should overlap. So one of them is definitely with high school senior girls, make sure they're not flat-footed. Have them put their weight off on one hip or if they're facing towards camera, put their weight on their back foot. Make sure that their weight distribution is uneven. My tip number four is that of any subjects that I pose, high school kids, men and women, I use hands a lot more than a lot of the other subjects I pose, 'cuz you can get more creative. For girls, I think that you can make some really great images with their arms and their hands. Frame their face an frame their body. So this would be a great opportunity, if you want to get better with posing hands. Master it with high school senior girls and then bring into other areas of your photography. All the rules of hands apply as before, so make sure that you check back. In day one, we talked about not seeing the palm, always seeing the side of the hand, things like that. Okay and number five. How I try to remember and not run out of poses for these particular subjects, high school seniors, is I think, the standing shot's obvious, but you've got sitting, leaning, and laying. The standing, sitting, leaning, and laying. So, that's why I'm trying to think, okay so, alright, so I did her standing shot, okay well, I can sit her I a chair. Standing and sitting. I can lean her against the wall. I can lay her on the ground, towards the camera, to the side, so that I an think of new poses without having them memorized, 'cuz I take everything that I already know from my fundamentals, and I say, "Take a seat," and then I tweak. "Why don't you lay down?" And then I tweak. So that would be my tips for coming up with good poses and then also flattering a high school senior girl. So, Hi! Hi! I already met her, she's awesome. She's super cute. So she's not actually a high school senior, and so, here's the thing. We're bonding before because she says that she wants to get taller and I'm like, I stopped growing when I was in eighth grade, and she was very disappointed to hear that. (audience laughs) But, I'm sure you'll get much taller. I hope so. (Laughs) She said, "She hopes so." So, for those of you who don't photograph high school seniors, think of this as teen girl, okay? If you don't have high school seniors in your part of the world, photographing a teen girl. So, what we're gonna do is we're going to bring out this light and did those lights go off for a reason? They're back. Oh we're good? Awesome, okay, and I'm gonna grab my camera. And I'm gonna shoot tethered for this. So, as I said I kind of have those base essentials up there of the things that I want to keep in mind. So, I'm gonna go ahead and give you my favorite poses, and then after those base five, we'll do a couple more, more creative. If you have a chaise in your studio, you could have a girl recline on it. But, let's just talk about what we all have which is a ground, a wall, standing, like basic stuff. How are you doing? I'm doing great. Have you modeled before? No No? You look pretty confident. Well, I hope so! See, uh huh? (audience laughs) She's has done before, she's super confident. So, I already went and had a chat with her. If you can do that, especially for, well, I mean really any subject, but for high school seniors or for teens, just to let 'em know that you're not awkward and weird, unless you are, and then hide that. (audient laughs) Actually, this is so bad but that was actually one of my marketing ploys when I first started my business, as I was 15 when I started photographing high school seniors. And so, it's not a proper technique, I wouldn't recommend it now, but I would say to all my fellow classmates, "Oh that photographer is like super weird, "you should just hire me." (audience laughs) Now, I wouldn't do that, but that you know, as a 15 year old, I thought it was a really good idea. Okay, so, basics of starting of out is if I do want her for a standing pose here. I'm going to talk about the differences between general photographing a female, a high school senior, and then a more mature woman. So, one thing you don't want to do for high school senior, is emphasize body and curves too much. And so that is something that I would be aware of is, so let's put it this way, for high school seniors, sometimes girls matured a little faster. And so as they're posing, what they naturally think is a good pose, is emphasizing way too much on body parts, and that's not what parents want for you. That's not what you're being hired for. So just keep an eye out on that. I definitely have specific examples where you tell a girl, I want you to pose up on the wall, and kind of pose with their hand, and all the sudden it's all about leaning, so just watch out for that. So, we're going to do a standing pose here. Really basic, I'm gonna have you do, and this lights on, okay? Test it, perfect, thank you. Oh, the lights came on, good, great. So, what I'm gonna have you do, is put your hand really soft on your hip, okay? And, I'm gonna have you take your right foot there and tuck your knee over like this, okay? And then I'm gonna have you turn just a little bit to your left, good. And I'm gonna have you stick your butt back. Okay, perfect. And now take the hand, what I'm looking at, so I'm gonna tell ya, we're doing that base standing pose, okay? So I say, "Tuck your knee over, hand on your hip". I turned her to the side because by default, she still had her hips kind of straight towards camera. Straightest towards camera is when someone looks widest. She's super skinny, so it doesn't matter, but I wanna little bit more shape. But then I see her hand, so what I'm looking at in my brain, I'm like okay, what can I do to improve this? This hand has nothing to do and it's tight against her body. I guess that's she's super skinny, so it's like, it doesn't matter, but it makes her that much wider, especially since it's the same color outfit. If she was wearing a dress, you might be able to get away with that. For example, if she was wearing a dress, I'd have her maybe pull the dress to the side, use her hand like this for a little bit of movement. And so now that hand is where I can get creative. I can have her, can you put your hand right next to your neck for me? Perfect, I like the little head tilt, that was cute. And then, okay now, ready, get dramatic, elbow up, good. Okay, so if wanna do more like a fun fashion session, I start really basic. Can you put your hand on your hip again? Okay, so if I have a hand on hip, I don't want it to be totally symmetrical, 'cuz it doesn't have that same movement. So what I'm gonna have you do is I'm gonna have you raise that hand up a little bit. Good, and I'm gonna have you lean just a little bit back. Good, so see how now I have movement versus before it was static, straight up and down. I had her make her hands uneven and then give me a little bit of a lean. Now it looks like maybe she was like "Hey", like cute. I kind of want personality to show through versus, I want cute! For every single thing that I teach, know that I don't do the same poses for everybody. If I can read from their personality, if a girl's not a flip your dress kind of twirl girl, then I'm not going to have her flip and twirl. So it all depends on the person. But she's super cute and seems super comfortable with that. So, I'm gonna take a couple photos. So, I'm gonna have you stick your butt back even more. Perfect, just like that, I'm gonna test the light. For her, her hair looks fine straight on, with it being on either side. If I had her turn a little bit further to your left, turn to your left, in that case, I would pull the hair off of the front shoulder. So come back at me again. Just like that, very cute little lean again. Let me test my light. Perfect. And it's cute 'cuz her hand are like nicely posed. See, it looks super cute. Now put your hand up next to your neck. Super cute, awesome. And then one more right here, Great. So, I start off with that base pose and I just say, "Okay, hand on your hip. "Make it a little uneven. "Lean back and tilt your head. "Hand up" and I just basically use this hand to make different poses. So, that's like my base standing pose for a high school senior girl. Okay, so the next that I would do, well, actually in order, honestly, I would start with them sitting 'cuz it's least pressure. You don't have to feel confident at that point, you're just sitting. Not too much high pressure. So, I think that's what I'm going to do next. Let's do, can I have that little stool? Any stool is fine. Actually that ones fine, you can bring that to me, yeah. Thank you. Our high school senior boy's offering to help. It's so sweet, he's super nice. (Audience laughs) Okay, I do have to say, this is like ideal what you want, when I told him I was taking his picture, he's like "Yeah!" Okay that doesn't usually happen for me (audience laughs) for a high school senior guy photo. It doesn't usually happen. Okay, perfect, so when she's sitting there, right now, she's very static, straight on towards camera, doesn't have any movement. So, I'm gonna have you rotate towards the light. Rotate to your right. Notice I say, "her right". If you can really practice that and try it makes it a lot easier than just saying "Turn that way," 'cuz sometimes it gets confusing or if you just say, "Turn right", they're trying to help and they don't know which way. And so that's perfect. I'm gonna have you flip your hair off your shoulder there. Just give it a little flip. Perfect, great. Alright, so now, head tilt. For girls, for high school senior girls, if you want them to be more mature, I will have them kind of just lean their shoulder, lean your shoulder towards me just a little bit. More mature would be leaning your head away from the camera just a tiny bit. Like she has there is a little bit more thoughtful. Cuter, more happy and cutesy, is towards the camera. Okay, so those are kind of the differences there. So a lot of times we're doing maybe a serious pose. I had a posing stool, hands like this. I might have them lean out and turn their head towards the camera, but if I'm going for cute, I do it that way, tilted this way. So it's two different things. So, this is perfect. All I wanna make sure is that I can see her neck, gonna have you lower your shoulder, good, and turn your head back this way, great. Perfect. And so a very super, super, super, duper basic portrait. So that isn't particularly a pose yet. It's kinda boring, it is. But it's the base of where you start. So, what I wanna do is talk about using hands. A high school senior girl, as I said, is a great place to use hands. So, let's just see, I'm going to test her. Would you put your left hand besides your face please? Okay, she's pretty good. Alright, so this is what I would say is that I would have them put their hand up, and you say, "What do you see?" In my opinion, what I see is that the hand covers her neck totally, and it's closest towards the camera. And so this is distracting to me. That would be how I perceive it. So, what I'm gonna have you do, I'm gonna have you switch. Put the other hand beside your neck. So that would be a lot less distracting to me. But let's say that maybe I think, maybe I think it's a little boring. Like that, I could have thought of that pose, right? I can put my hand there. So, what I'm gonna have you do, is just what you're doing, have you bring your other hand up and kind of go like this. Okay, I'm gonna flip your hair out just a little bit. Perfect, thank you. And instead of your hand behind your ear, I'm just gonna have you real soft next to your face, good. Alright so, I have like a little bit of movement there, and I'm gonna have you tilt into yoor hands a little bit. So I would do a nice tight shot, but if you look, see, I can see her palm, just a little bit too much, so, I'm gonna have you just flip your hand this way a little bit. And now, I wonder if you caressed your face real soft and then right there. (laughs) And now wiggle your fingers, good, perfect, good. Now the only other thing I would change, I told you that I have a pet peeve about the thumb. Can you hide your thumb, like tuck it back like, yeah, yeah! Perfect! And soft finger, just loose, good, okay, perfect. So I'm gonna take a shot like that, and so I just get their hands kind of comfortable, good. And now put your hand up even higher, good. And don't push it, just real soft, and lean towards me. Good. Perfect. Good. You look very cute. Ahhhh, she looks so cute! Awesome. You don't mind cute, right? Cute's good? No, cute's good. Oh good, see? (audience laughs) I like that, will you do your little shoulder back thing, good? Lean towards me, perfect, awesome. Alright, so basic hands. Another thing I could do, is with a posing table. Would you grab the posing table for me? Really, high school seniors and more kind of like head shots, are the only times I personally use posing tables. Usually. I don't know, it's a little bit more traditional, but I'm doing like close face shots, so it doesn't really matter, and this is, I will, I'm gonna just defend myself here. This isn't a real posing table. It's not like the pneumatic kind that go up and down so we'll see if it will even workish. It might need, we'll see. Okay, would you turn to your right real quick? Okay, awesome. So is that as high as it goes? I thought so. So, we're gonna try this. Can you put your hands like this? Let's see, okay. So this is another kind of go-to pose there, and I would bring it up a little bit more, but she's doing pretty good. What most people would do if the posing stand's too low, is they would hunch. What she's doing, she's leaning, straighten out your back, she's pretty good, and lean forward. You're great. Yeah, she's got it pretty good. This is exactly what I would do for hands because it frames her face. Will you drop that arm for me, just hide it? See how that's much less visually interesting? Your eye doesn't do a circle around her face, until you put the hand back up, and now, she knows how to pose. This is cheating. But now my eye actually kind of follows that circle of her face, so this would be a super traditional high school senior pose. Great. Good. Perfect Okay, it's still like a little fake smile. Good, good. Perfect. Awesome. So, that is where I would start. Before I did the standing pose, and before I did anything, I would just start there. A basic pose where all I'm trying to do is really trying to focus on expression. This is where I said that the personality chameleon thing becomes important. Do what you can to make her laugh, to tell a joke, even if she just thinks you're crazy, because I found for high school senior portraits, nine times out of 10, the parents would buy the closeup shot of the girl's face, whether it's out on location or in the studio. The girl picks the photo of her on the ground with here feet kicked up or her hand in her hair. That was my personal experience. Or if she's wearing a dress twirling, she picks that one. So, you don't really need to get too complicated for the ones that brings you the money usually, which is something basic like 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.