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Posing for Curvy Women

Lesson 5 of 11

Tip 4: Define the Waist

Lindsay Adler

Posing for Curvy Women

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

5. Tip 4: Define the Waist

Lesson Info

Tip 4: Define the Waist

Number four is to define a waist and I actually mentioned this already, is we don't care if someone's a size two, 22, like whatever it may be, but we like some definition at the waist and it doesn't mean they need to be perfect hourglass, just something and it's kinda wired into us. Might be with the design, it might be with a hand, whatever, so I'm just gonna talk about defining a waist with a pose. So one thing that you already saw in this example is you could do something where you actually put the arms in front, and it gives you the idea that there is a waist, especially for someone that doesn't maybe have more definition, and you'll see an example in a second of what that looks like. The other example is if I put my subject's hands on the hips, basically you're saying look at the hands cause we can't help it, we always look at the hands, and then we're saying measure from hand to hand. So you're measuring my full width at my widest part. If you say put the hands on the waist, you ...

have more definition to the waist but the problem is it's like the fingers are so far apart that it looks like my waist must be really wide. So, what you do is you just fake it, like you put the hands in front a little bit more than they would actually be, cause then it's like oh look how narrow I am, I can almost touch my fingers together or whatever - like it's an illusion. But it gives the waist for someone who doesn't necessarily have one, and it doesn't mean everyone needs to do this, I'm just saying this is one technique you can use. So let's take a look at that in this example. When she has her hands further out which was her natural inclination, she kinda just did this, it makes her a little wider with less definition to the waist. Moving her hands in, puts a waist there, and what you'll actually see is in this next example, you can see in these red lines kinda what you are reading as her waist visually. Side by side I mean that's like almost half. (stutters) You perceive her waist to be almost half as narrow when you move those hands in. So it might be a tool that you would use. Let's revisit, remember in the beginning the girl with all of the stripe, the stripe dress? I could add a belt - that would really help. Like adding a belt or something to separate all of that line, and then maybe with that belt also a vertical necklace. But in this example, the way that we posed by putting her hands on her waist actually works really well cause it breaks up the line. Like she looks so much better shaped on the right. Now granted, I needed to relax her shoulders, like there's some things that I would improve. I'd get at a higher angle and have her lean forward, but the hands created the waist there instead of an accessory, or a belt, or something like that. Here's another example here. This is Kristin. So Kristen, the way she's sitting, a little bit, a little bit too straight-on to camera I think, you know personally, and it's fine. Like I like the form-fittedness of that outfit. Like, notice that I have dresses, this is fine too, like this is a good form-fitted top. It's not too tight but I can actually work with it, and the pants, like all of that I can pose well. But what I did I had her move her hand up to the other hand, cause it gives you kind of the idea of something going on in the waist. But to revisit what we just talked about, watch her knees. Her knees and her legs are side by side there, so it makes her, the bottom part of her body look wider. I had her shift a little bit and line up her knees so everything narrowed, and watch in the next shot, the lower part of her body. It's less wide, it's more I created a narrowing point, and I cropped at the narrowing point. So I use that over and over again. So we're gonna put this altogether what we just talked about; full perspective and waist, and camera angle, all of that. So for Kimberly again. Alright Kimberly I told you, super bold, she's like let's do some lingerie shots, and I really loved this lingerie outfit. But my camera angle right now is kinda mid-section level, so I know I have to fix that. And then the other thing is like her thighs are side-by-side, no narrowing point, so that's not working for me, and just personally I don't, I find the interest in the top of the frame, right? Like for the shot I'm going for here everything here is real interesting, so I'm gonna crop. But when I cropped, I'm still running into a couple problems. Her hands are further apart, so as hands are further apart, you're reading it from side to side. So I'm just gonna, I'm gonna sneak the hands a little bit. The outfit she has on, for curvy subjects, I recommend you buy something like this if you are doing a lot of lingerie shots, because what it does is when she brings her hands in there, see how that top is starting to try to make a little bit of the hourglass shape? She can actually bring it in and then it creates the hourglass. So some of these lace tops covers some skin, it brings the attention to where it's supposed to be, and it can be slenderizing as you see here. Alright so, same thing, I cropped in, I narrowed her waist, but my like right now, my attention's still at her stomach. So I'm gonna have her lean forward and I get a little bit taller. And like that's a billion times better than that first photo, but notice the legs look narrower because of how the top falls, and it looks like an hourglass because of how the top falls and where the waist... So it all kinda works together. Quick tips, like other things to keep in mind that you will see and we'll put these all into action to our next section. So before I run through those, we did perspective, we did defining the waist, we also did narrowing points. Questions on that. When you're doing the fingers forward, are you always trying to hide the thumbs? It's such a funny question because I have like a thumb phobia. (audience chuckles) Like I just don't like thumbs and some people have really crazy looking thumbs. So the question was basically you know, do you always hide the thumbs when you put the... I do, but also it's more natural like than, it's more natural to kinda, so what I do is I say hook your thumb around your waist, and I say slide it in, perfect, wiggle your fingers, set it back down, and I have them bend the wrist instead of like, sometimes people you know whatever, just real soft. But yeah, I just don't like thumbs. This is not like a photo thing, I just don't like'em. I don't know, 'kay. Other questions. Right here, you guys pass her one. Something about light. Sure. Do you always using the same one? Or you prefer to use it, you know a bit of this for (inaudible) of bodies and this one for another? Awesome question, very quick answer is, the lighting set that I use most often actually is this large umbrella with the fusion when I'm doing like a curvy portrait, but then there's no rules and I light everybody different ways. So sometimes I use a beauty dish and sometimes I use other things. You'll see the key is how you use shadows so that's kinda the next thing, but the answer is this is most popular, what I use most often, and then I switch it up once I've got my like core shot. Almost every photo you see in this presentation, I would say 75% were shot with a large umbrella with a fusion. Would you say then that most of the tips that you're giving us would also work for on location, or natural light photography like outside, while as well as in the studio? Totally. Yeah, pretty like everything that I said posing, perspective, like all of that is completely relevant. And then that comes to the question of whoever was asking about backgrounds, excuse my memory, I thought it was you (chuckles), the background is yeah. Then I might, same thing. You know personally I'd go for a little bit darker background instead of everything going from behind but I also have shots where everything's going from behind so.

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.

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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!!!