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Posing for Curvy Women

Lesson 10 of 11

Before and After Retouching Examples

Lindsay Adler

Posing for Curvy Women

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

10. Before and After Retouching Examples

Lesson Info

Before and After Retouching Examples

Tip number five is the retouching part because I do everything humanly possible to get it right in camera, and there's a couple reasons. One, if I get it right in camera, obviously it saves time, but sometimes if you don't get it right in camera, you can't fix it. Like, if the angle is wrong, the angle's wrong. You gonna reconstruct their body? It's not what you want to do. The other thing is, I love to be able to say to somebody, they're like, "Oh my God, I look incredible," I'm like, "That's what it looked like," not, "I Photoshopped you." It's definitely not the vibe that I want to give off. So we're going to take a look at retouching, the tip number five for retouching subtly and in this, I'm actually going to run you through so you can see what part is the retouching part, what gets us there. So try to get it right in camera, change it subtly in post, and these are the things I'm usually doing in post processing. These are my checklist of besides normal stuff like, you know, cloni...

ng out dirty floors, besides the usual stuff. I often define the waist a little bit. I don't shrink their size, but I just tuck it in at the waist a tiny bit. The next thing that I'll do is I smooth edges. If you can see a wrinkle in the clothing, a wrinkle in the skin, an indentation from underwear, whatever it is, smooth that out. I always get rid of that. Next thing I do is I will do subtle liquify or warp, like subtle, if there's anything that I think is distracting or not representative of how they actually looked. If I'm like, "Oh, man, I forgot, "I leaned their arm on the wall "and it looks a little bit squished." I should've gotten it right, that's not them, so I'll move it a little bit. That's how I think of it, not like, oh, their arm's big, I need to make it smaller. Totally different. What could I do that I perhaps didn't catch? I should've improved. From there, of course remove any skin distractions. The big one that makes all the differences in the world is getting rid of cellulite or textures in the skin because a lot of curvy subjects, they want to be all covered up cause they're worried about it. Man, when I have a photograph with a beautiful curvy woman with lots of skin, it looks gorgeous, I just try to get rid of those distractions. So I try to smooth things that take us away from the main point of the photo. And then the last one is my favorite one, which is contouring, which I'll introduce you to, but it's like the concept we did with the lighting where we used lighting to make something look smaller or more slender. Well, I can use lighting in post, so kind of fake lighting to make something look more slender. And so it's liquify, warp, contour, frequency separation. These are the tools that I'm using and I'll take you through all of these. You know, it's the liquify that's to go ahead and smooth up lines, define the waist, do subtle tucking where necessary. And it's the contouring the paint the lighting so that things look firmer, smoother, smaller. So we're gonna take a look and compare several different examples. Now, early on, I mentioned that I had a book on posing coming out and most all of these next examples will be in that book, so if you get the book, you will kind of take it step by step in the posing side of it. But in this presentation, I go a step further and show you what I would in fact retouch. Alright, so let's train the eye. I'm gonna take you through these images, tell you what I'm thinking, you'll be able to see what was done in camera versus post. Alright, so in this first photo, I don't like that I see a lot of curves photos where they're just kind of doing one pose or one thing. I like to switch it up. So I wanted to do a pose where she'd jump or move or walk or something, but this doesn't work. And the reason that it doesn't work is because when I had her take the step, she led with her stomach, so she kind of did this. So she's pushing her stomach and her hips closer to camera, means they look larger. So the problems I see is she's got no separation, so her arm extends the width of her body on the right hand side. I can't see her neck, we think necks are nice and she's kind of, neck is hidden. And then of course, her stomach and her hips are closest towards camera. So my critique or my fix was I said, "Okay, do the same thing, but next time, "what I want you to do is lead with your chest. "And when you do it, put your hand in your pocket "so that you have some negative space, "so that arm has something to do." So in the fixed one, I said, "Alright, lead with your chest, hand in the pocket." And we did it a lot, okay, so this is not like first shot, we certainly didn't get it first shot or even tenth shot. So this was the improved shot. I mean, it's totally different. Notice the blowing hair. Blowing hair, bringing attention back up to her face. But you'll see, we talked about the shadowing of her leg, that's the shadowing I achieved in camera. So the next retouching thing I did was contouring. And I'm gonna demo this, but it's painting, highlight, and shadow. Painting, highlight, and shadow will make her leg look narrower and everything look tighter. So here, ready, one, two, three. Watch her chest look fuller, her leg look narrower and tighter, muscles more defined. That's not from anything that I did to liquify or warp or change the shape, I'm just modifying the light a little bit and it makes a big difference. It's kind of you're first training your eye. Let's look at the second example. So this is Kristen. And Kristen, I actually posted this image on my Instagram, it's @lindsayadler_photo, and I update quite regularly and I posted this photo with a quote and a story from Kristen. And so she wanted to get into modeling, and so she went to a curves agency and so she was represented, and basically, the agent said, "You're too big," but not as nice. "You're too big to model lingerie, "no one wants to see you in that." And she was obviously upset and she basically said, "Screw you," and she got a new agency. And so I took pictures of her for that new agency in lingerie and underwear, but I mean, even models, people are getting it from everywhere. So in this example, I said, "Yeah, let's do it." But let's take a look at the problems I have. So in this shot, first thing I see is taking a look here, this is really boring and not elongated, right? It's real boxy, so I know I want something, something to give me more interest, maybe a leg out, a leg up. Also putting a lot of tension on the arm, and then here, it's just very slouched. Like, I need elongation. Pulling up to the top of the head, maybe it's pulling a leg up. So elongation is one of my tips. So let's take a look at kind of the improved pose. So my improved pose is, this looks so much longer, right? Much longer lines, everything looks good. This kind of hides a problem area, not that it was bad, but I thought there was a lot of attention in the previous shot to right here and my eye gets stuck on the midsection. So this breaks up the midsection of it. Okay, so this is what was achieved in camera. The things that I see that I would fix, I know that I would fix this. I'm not changing what she looks like, but I know that that extra skin, she wouldn't like. But think of it this way. If you've got a really skinny girl, she's got a tight top on where she sits and she gets a roll on her skin, she doesn't like it, either. Like, it's something we would get rid of. So it's not about her being bigger, it's a distraction that takes away from the purpose of the photo. So I'd get rid of that. These curves are fine. I might pull that one in a bit, this top one. I mean, this is the shape of her body, that I just squish in a little bit. And I would smooth out the texture of her leg. Maybe a teeny bit of a lift here cause that's from the pressure of the chair she's in. But that's pretty much it. So this is probably one of the more drastically retouched, but it's still fundamentally what she looks like, like it's still her body. But watch this, this is the big area. Oops. It's this. So smoothing that out, but if you look, tiny bit there, and then here, it's mostly in that area. So that one is more retouching than usual. Cleaning up skin texture. See this highlight? That's contouring. See how the leg looks really tight now? It's painting a highlight. So just to give you an idea, that's kind of before-after of something where I've done a little more work than usual. So I'm gonna keep going, taking a look here. So she's sitting straight on towards camera. This looks real boxy, like everything looks real boxy and no negative space, I can't see the curves of her body. And then this girl is a size 14, but she's a little bit taller, so she looks a little more slender. Alright, so I turn her to the side and turning her to the side, I created a narrowing point that I can crop at, cause here, your eyes just go here and here. So I've turned her to the side, but also, when I turn her to the side, this is how I see the curve of her back, the curves in the front. So here's what's retouched. A lot of it's the face, so ignore that, not that her face is bad, but I switched the light. But pay attention to how much I smooth on either side, so it's not actually making her skinnier, it's smoothing the line, but she mentioned she'd like a little more lift, so I said okay. So that's actually liquify just to pull up the bust a little bit. Did you see what I did with the hair? I made it a little bit fuller, cause then it pulls more attention up that way. That's just done in liquify, I'm moving the curves in it. Alright, so let's look at another example. Okay, so this was the girl that assisted my wardrobe stylist and she has a very unusual body shape. You know, and it's great, because this is the person that I was able to give her the images she really liked. She's very small up top and much thicker on the bottom half. By the way, these are bruises from paintball that she decided to say, "I forgot that this would happen "and I played paintball two days ago." And I was like, "Oh, no, okay." But anyway, so, problems I see here. Her hands, perhaps, could be cinched in a little bit to show a waist, like a little bit more definition to a waist. But the big problem I have is it's not a narrowing point. I've cropped her near her widest, so in your brain, you picture her being this wide, and there's not a curve at the end, you end at the wider part. So if i back out and cross her legs in front, I'm not making her look tiny, that's not my goal, but now it's a much more pleasing line and look how her hand is cinched in the waist. Now you kind of see a waist there because of where her hands have been, she's kind of squeezed it in a bit. So I've got beautiful curve. Alright, so my retouching. One of the things that I do to people all the time, this doesn't matter if they're slender, curvy, whatever, is I lower people's shoulders, because when people have raised shoulders, they look stressed and they also look heavier. We like long necks. So I, almost on every portrait, except for a lot of professional models have outrageously long necks, so excluding them, but the average person, I lower the shoulders with liquify. So that's one of the things I do with her for sure. I may, see how this kind of indents here? I might smooth that out, but it's not really bothering me. And, of course, the bruises. So see that line? I didn't make her skinnier. I just smoothed out the line on the left and I thought I fixed the forehead, I don't know. I just felt compelled to. You can see kind of the before and after. So not really changing her shape. Oh, and I lifted the chest a little. Ladies appreciate it. Okay. Alright, so next example. Alright, so we saw this shot before. I don't have a narrowing point, I'm not creating any shape, there isn't a waist, I'm shooting too low, everything's wrong with this. So the improved shot was I got at a higher angle, I had her lean her chest forward, I had her create a narrowing point, and I put her hands around her waist. So checklist of kind of everything we were talking about. Example, also, she doesn't have the sharp, plunging neckline, but she does have a nice scoop there and if you were doing accessories, you could also take some kind of necklace that was longer. So when I see this, I know I'm gonna clean up the skin, smooth that out, probably get rid of that right there. I will likely pull in right here just a little bit. I don't need to do a lot, I'm not trying to make her skinnier, just pull it in. And I know for sure I'm gonna lower her shoulders, like absolutely gonna lower her shoulders, I do that every time. So these are kind of the things I was thinking and I figured I could give her a little push to the chest cause if I bump up the chest a little bit, it makes the waist look a little smaller, they kind of work together, so here's the retouching change. I added contrast to this so it looks like it gets brighter, it's kind of like a finishing effect I did, but pay more attention to the retouching. So shoulders go down, that little line tucks in, and I smoothed out her leg a lot, added the contouring, and the bust was like a tiny bit, like super, super subtle. But if you're comparing it from the first shot, what we were working with, I mean, it's drastic change. It's all those things come together.

Class Description

Photographers are hired to capture portraits that accentuate the best features of their subjects. Lindsay Adler will share techniques on how to photograph your full figured and curvier clients by accentuating their lines and creating beautiful silhouettes. She’ll show you how to highlight curves and use the right camera angles to flatter the shape of any woman. Lindsay will lay down a solid foundation of posing and styling so that you can make your clients feel comfortable in front of the camera. 
This class will cover: 

  • Styling suggestions for full figured women including a bridal session 
  • Camera angles and posing techniques for the most flattering images 
  • Photoshop techniques to help highlight your curvy subject
Whether your photography focus is a wedding, portrait or intimate boudoir, you’ll be able to represent your clients as the unique, beautiful women they are.

Class Materials

Free Bonus Material

Posing for Curvy Women - eBook Free Preview

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I’m only on Lesson 4 and I’ve already learned so much! Lindsay explains everything she’s doing and gives you the why’s and how’s of posing curvy women. This is a must-watch course for anyone who is faced with the challenge of making a curvy woman look her best. These women are so beautiful and they deserve to have the opportunity to work with a photographer who knows how to make them look their best! Thank you Lindsay for such a great course!

Peggy Nugent

This class is so amazing. Lindsay packs a ton of information in, clearly and efficiently. The best part is that she explains the reasons behind every concept, so now instead of setting up my clients in a few memorized poses, I can customize each look for the individual. As Lindsay dramatically demonstrates in this class, over and over, implementing her concepts makes a huge difference in how a woman looks, no matter what her size and shape. And Lindsay does it all with her usual charm and effervescence. This class is worth every penny, and much more.


Quite possibly Lindsay Adler's best class yet on Creative Live!! I own several of her classes - all are informative and helpful, but she is especially helpful in this one, providing LOTS of specific, non-fluff type of tips and quality instruction. The material is well-organized, and I really like that there is so much actionable information provided. Looking forward to putting the tips into practice!!!