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Posing for Curvy Women

Lesson 7 of 11

Introduction to Posing and Using Shadow

Lindsay Adler

Posing for Curvy Women

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

7. Introduction to Posing and Using Shadow

Lesson Info

Introduction to Posing and Using Shadow

So, I know that we had a question online. So I'm going to start with that question and then, lovely audience, think of things that you had, and then what we're going to be doing is we're going to jump over and demonstrate some of these things. So, sorry to just have you standing there. Alright, so let's see the question. Lisa: What would you suggest for photographing younger women or women who are uncomfortable with deep necklines and cleavage? Okay. So, there's easy solutions. First of all, you can do a scoop neck that's a little bit more scooped, or have some kind of outfit that has more vertical pattern or line to it. But the easy answer is have a scoop neck with a long necklace. Just something that creates the visual line. And that's completely fine. I mean, cleavage is great. But not necessary in all photos. Okay, awesome, so, does anyone here have something? Yeah! So, if you have someone that you're photographing that does not is not as flexible, and has like, shorter necks, or...

bigger shorter arms or shorter legs and they can't really do some of these things that you're asking, then what do we do? Yeah no, great question. So there's a couple of subjects that I've photographed that I've absolutely run into that. So what you're saying is some people just simply aren't as flexible, or because of their size they can't quite place the body there. So basically what I'm just trying to do is I'm going to say okay, where can I place the arms that don't add to width, right? So can I at least bring them in a little bit, or can I just pop the arm out a tiny bit, or if I can bring it in, another good solution. Let me grab this chair real quick. Another solution can be something too where if they're sitting behind, where they're kind of a lean-forward, that kind of thing. Because then this is creating a little bit of a vertical line. You can sit them up a little bit, but the waist is back, the face is forward, chest is forward, you can do something like that. The wall-lean thing that I did is kind of my go-to for someone who's much fuller, because then all you really need to do is lean down and just try to clean up the lines a little bit. But yeah. I totally know what you're talking about. Thanks, John. Yeah! So you talked a little bit about focal length and lens choice, but do other things like aperture and shutter speed come into play? Or is that sort of different because you're using the strobes? Good question, okay. Well in this case, we're using a strobe, right? So right now, I'm shooting at I believe F11, and so everything's going to be in focus. However, you can absolutely use aperture to help you out in a couple ways. The way I've used it is in Curve Your Boudoir, and so if there's something that I want just to be not quite as in focus, like you still want to see their form, but I don't need to see all of the detail. Then I'll just shoot with a little bit wider aperture. And so it's still there, but it's more of a suggestion. So I've done that. The other thing that just you made me think of is focal length. I mentioned how you're not supposed to I was told, you're not supposed to use a wide angle lens for a portrait. The reason why- there's two reasons. If you use a wider angle lens for something really tight, like right here, you get a little bit of a distortion to the face. So it makes the nose and the center of the face look closer, or it might look like a longer chin. And what's interesting is when you're using a wider angle lens close up, every little bit of head movement completely changes what the face looks like. So you can, you could do a wide angle portrait shot here, and bring their chin down so their eyes look huge. It can be done, but it can also go really not good. It can really distort the face. So it's really being careful and also keeping your subject more centered in the center of the lens. Because as you get to the edges of the lens, you start to get some of the distortion. So the reason I wanted to mention this is one of the things I'm careful of as well is if I'm shooting a curvier subject with a slightly wider angle lens, I'm watching for how the edges are affecting the body. Like if the arm is near the edge of a wider lens, it might extend it out a bit. So either try to crop in or give them a little bit more space. Just give them a little bit of space to work with. Related to- we were talking about mergers. Same thing. I don't always pose my curvy subjects, I have a lot of shots where I've got like the strong, but I had a lot of strong women that wanted the strong shot. Sometimes if you pose a fuller figure subject like this, it actually just makes them look wider. Because I'm actually expanding the frame side to side. So this negative space, when you have triangles, triangles are strong. And triangles are sturdy and powerful. But if you want something that's a little more subtle, or not extending the frame out to the side, then you can also just. A little bit of negative space, put something soft on the hip. Or you can, instead of having the arm out to the side, you can pull it back just a little bit. Have a little bit of negative space. It doesn't always have to be like this. I have it in a lot of shots because I like it. I like my ladies looking strong. But there are other solutions. I'm gonna cover a couple of the things that we talked about in the last segment. So I've got my little checklist here, and I'm gonna pop through and make sure I cover them all. So let's talk about narrowing points first. So I just wanted to describe to you what that looks like and what I'm talking about. So face me straight on. Alright, legs apart, just a little bit. So when she does this, I'm gonna have you put your hand put one on your waist for now, and just tuck the other arm behind a little bit. Okay, so when she does this, as I follow her body, she's got beautiful curves but you don't see any of them. You don't look at any of them. It looks real boxy. So let me just take a quick shot. And I'm gonna do a full length shot first. And one more. Alright, so. Taking a look at this, if you look, I'm not following any curves. There's nothing. It's just boxy. But she's not. You look at her, she's not boxy at all. In full length shot, I can still use narrowing points. I'm not saying a narrowing point always has to be cropped. So what can we do? A couple things we can do. The first thing that I'm gonna have her do is I'm gonna have her take one knee and cross it in front of the other. But you don't want it to be just tucked in like this, like it's gotta actually go over the other knee. So it feels awkward. But when it crops, it looks good. Alright so can you do that for me? Can you cross one knee over? Perfect. Just like that. Great. So what I'm looking for is, as I'm looking for this, I'm looking for when she's on her toe and it overlaps with her knee. Also, is that comfortable? No. Okay. My point is, keep that in mind. Sometimes, if you need to, you can give somebody an apple box so they don't have to be balanced on toe as much. Unfortunately, most of the time in heels, it's still awkward. So, I'm sorry you're gonna be uncomfortable for a little bit. It's just, you know. It's just how it is. So same thing, hand on waist. Great. So now, if you take a look, I've narrowed that bottom part. Now look at the curve on the left-hand side, how much nicer that is. So that looks really nice. So we'll do the same thing again, and we're gonna- let's keep doing curves. Let's keep creating curves. So, great. So now, same pose, same everything. Turn just a teeny bit to your left. What I see is I'm like, okay, this curve is looking really beautiful, but I could add a little bit of curve in her lower back. Everyone's different. Some people, that curve will not be there. It's fine, I'm just analyzing what curve she has. So I see that, so I'm gonna turn her to the side so I can see it a little more. Great. Now I'm gonna have her arch her lower back. So when she arches her lower back, it's just gonna accentuate it a little bit. But how I'm seeing her? Is I'm not seeing that curve anymore, because her arm's in the way. So maybe put your hand on your side here, and then just pull it up just a little bit. Little bit more. Right there. Beautiful. And tuck your thumb in. And then pop out that elbow. Great. So take a look at this one. So now, it's the same idea. I'm just going for- look how it's curved at the bottom of her body. And now I'm seeing that little curve in her lower back. We're gonna talk about retouching later. I wouldn't make- I don't make people skinnier. What I do is I clean up lines. So I would take that little curve and I'd bring it in minute. Just instead of it curving out, I'm just gonna make it a straight line. Or slightly, like tiny. I don't need to do it, just this line right here. So, looking good. But I know I can use perspective. And I can exaggerate it even more. I mean I think she looks great as-is, but can you do that same uncomfortable pose for me? Great. Same thing, hand on your lower thigh. Perfect. Now. Lean your chest forward towards me. Perfect. Alright, I haven't changed my perspective. Great, and that elbow out just a little more. Great. So watch her face just get a little bit fuller. A little bit. But I'm gonna exaggerate it more. I'm getting up higher. Same thing. Great. Same thing, little higher there. Arch your lower back. Lean your chest forward. Perfect, bring that elbow back out. And now I'm gonna exaggerate the crap out of it. Lean way forward. Like obnoxious. Yeah! Exactly. Bring that hand back up. Cross that knee over a little more. Perfect. And chin down a little bit. Alright, so let's take a look at these. Taking a look. I feel like all of a sudden like, narrowing point, and curve in the lower back, and the chest looks fuller. I mean, there's a lot more attention to the chest than the face. And it's much narrower at the lower part of the body. However, looking at this, this hand, that arm, makes you look wider. Not making her look wider, but it's pulling my eye out. So I can use it as an arrow. So I'm gonna have you put it real soft to your chest, we'll do the same thing. Okay, and great. Same thing, arch, lean forward, super uncomfortable everything. Beautiful. Chin down a little bit. I'm gonna use a wider angle lens. Good. Arch your lower back a little more. Great, and put your hand just a little bit more- Right there! Great. Perfect. Let's bring that up. So, I see curve, narrowing point, soft hand, like it's all of those things working together. If you are shooting and you're shooting with a narrow aperture, you can have the bottom of the body just kind of fade away. And you can really focus on the face especially if you don't want attention to the midsection. So that all looks great, be comfortable for a second. Alright, so, related to arm placement, since we were talking about that, instead of having to do the knees up can you just cross one leg in front of the other? Okay. Even more. Okay, so if your subject can do this, that creates a narrowing point as well. It's just like, I wouldn't really shoot that, and it feels awkward. But it does create a narrowing point in the body at the bottom part of the body. Okay, let's talk about arms. So cross that for me, but right there. Perfect, so put both hands on your hips, on your waist there, and slink them in just a little bit. Okay now, to show you some good and bad. So taking a look at her here, you'll have a narrowing point at the bottom of the frame. See how narrow her body looks. It's cool. Her hands create a little bit of a waist, however it ends up being real shoulders up. So what I'm gonna do, same thing, perfect. Wiggle your fingers real soft, raise them up just a little more, and then relax your shoulders. Relax, relax, relax. And then pull your arms back just a little bit. Little bit more. So pulling her arms back is just gonna make it so it's not quite out as far. And lean your chest forward, lean, lean, lean, lean. Great. Chin down. Perfect, and now what I'm gonna have you do is bring the other arm across. Great. And real soft, your hand. Yeah, right there. Perfect. Lean forward, lean forward, lean forward. Chin down. Okay. So in this instance, maybe that creates a waist and you can bring the hand over. I would actually do it on the other side so it wouldn't- right now, this side's closer to the light, so it makes the arm look really bright. If I do it on the other side it'll be in shadow so it'll still create a waist, but the light won't be catching it quite as much. Alright, so, so far we've done a little bit of perspective and narrowing points. I am going to do a narrowing point while seated. Shown you a little bit of the waist. Let's take a look at some sitting poses here. I'm gonna move my light more centered. For this one. Perfect. I'm gonna have you move that for just a second. And then I'm gonna rotate your body to the right. Can I move the chair? There you go. Alright. So I'm gonna have you sit back and just be comfortable. So, chairs with backs can be your worst enemy. Especially with curvy subjects, cause they're gonna just sit back and they get comfortable, and when someone sits back they pull their chin in. So I never have, if there's a chair, I never have a subject that's curvier leaning back into the chair. I usually have them closer to the edge. So let me just take a quick picture. She looks fine because she looks great, but. Let me lower this light just a little. Do you mind just a little bit for me? Thank you. So let's take a look here. Alright now, I have her in a black dress. And part of the reason I say I have her in a black dress or darker clothing is because when you have issues with lighting, in a form fitted outfit, it hides some of the issues. So if the stomach's sticking out a little bit and puts a big shadow under it, you don't see the shadow. But it doesn't matter if they're not wearing form fitted, it doesn't change anymore. In this case, if I actually look at this dress, if it were a bright color, what you'll see is you can kinda see that everything gathers. That's what happens when you sit. Is all of that. So that's not what we want. And also try to pay attention to really what you're seeing, what's closest to camera, and that's really her thigh. So my intention is that you're looking right there, at the thigh. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna try to fix these things. So first of all, I'm gonna try to elongate. Right now, everything's all bunched up. So can you do me a favor and scoot your bottom towards the front of the chair. Great. Sit up real real tall. And I'm gonna have you stick out your back leg. So now, right, she's gonna be towards the edge so everything's gonna be straightened out a little bit more. Put that foot out. And I'm gonna straighten everything out even more. Can you put the arm back? Perfect. And you can turn and kinda rest your elbow if you need. Great. And now put your hand soft on your knee. Now sit up real real tall and lean towards me. Great. Put your knees together for me. So what I'm doing is I'm creating a narrowing point. And you can scoot the foot out, if it makes it easier. Whatever's more comfortable for your feet. Real tall, and put that hand real soft. Ignore my background cropping. Don't judge me. It'll be fine. You're gonna see background. But if you're kinda switching, okay. I like the lines getting much longer, but if you still don't like the shape, can you cross your arm over. So put that arm back up, put that over just like that. Beautiful. Now, it's going to- I mean, I don't think it looks like you're saying oh, I'm hiding anything. It just looks like that's where her arm is going. And the next thing, if you saw this whole time, the entire time, I've been low. If I get higher, it's gonna fix a lot of problems. So same thing, great. Put that arm across. Beautiful. So I can kind of crop to here. And lean your chest forward, even more. Chin down. Great. So, I can kinda crop at a narrowing point of her knees. And now there's much more attention to her eyes and all of that. I'm gonna do one more thing and then we're gonna switch to Sheri. One more thing is going to be in-body posing. She's wearing a dress, so this would be something that I would do with perhaps a longer dress, or if there's no camera obstruction. Can you just scoot this toward me a little? Just a tiny bit. Right there's good. What I'm gonna have you do is can you sit one arm out like this? Great, and the other arm over? Perfect. Cross that arm over even more. So what I'm looking for is I'm looking for her arms to make a V. Or even cross your arms in front completely. Great, just like that. So what I can do is that actually creates an hourglass because of where her arms are placed. So I wouldn't shoot this studio at F11, I would probably use a narrower depth of field, personally. Great. I can kinda crop in. And it makes long lines. Like the arms are making the lines. It kinda mimics the shape of her top, all of that. So I do a lot of the in-body posing where it's gonna be like arms over, or arms up, or something where it crosses in. But the thing I don't want is I don't want the arms to the side to make them look wider. Either someplace in or out.

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!!!