Posing, Styling and Lighting for Beauty Photography

Lesson 5/9 - Posing Dos and Don'ts


Posing, Styling and Lighting for Beauty Photography


Lesson Info

Posing Dos and Don'ts

So now, we're going to pop over to posing, posing do's and don'ts. So with beauty photography, you got this much to work with so if you mess up the posing of this stuff you messed up your shot, and so you're posing the angle of the face, you're also posing the shoulders, and you're posing the hands. Those are the things that I'm paying attention to, and when you're posing the face what I usually do when I start off with a model, is, oh, first of all I look at her portfolio and I try to analyze what angles seem to popping up often 'cause you can see in the portfolio. "Oh okay, she's not being photographed straight on, she's probably not symmetrical" or straight on she's gotta really broad jaw something like that, you can usually tell as you look at the portfolio, what their strengths are. So I'll do that, but also when they first come in, in that natural looking shot, that first shot of the day I shoot a whole bunch of different looks and so we will, I mean a whole bunch of different an...

gles, I keep the makeup the same but I will do the "nine angles of the face" which is, straight on, up and down, 'cause if she's got a big jaw up looks terrible but maybe if she's got a really pointy little jaw up looks better. And then left, up and down, right, up and down, I will try all of these things and that's how I can kinda feel out "okay, you know what, her better side" the side I prefer "is when she's turned to the left-hand side." And because of the shape of her face and the big jaw I actually like when she's turned to the left but her jaw down. It doesn't mean I need to do every shot like that but I'd start off in the beginning where I'm just moving around so I can start to see what I like and once they're getting their second look done, I can pop over to the computer and see what I'm likin' and then it helps me prepare for the other shots. So that's kinda how I approached it in the beginning. So we're gonna take a look at some posing do's and don'ts 'cause again if you mess it up that was all you had to work with. So, let's look at, so we're gonna do hands. I don't always include hands, I include hands if they're adding something and so the times that I include hands will be either if, there's nails or a ring. That adds something. And if it's a shot that has emotion, because that's what the hands often do. If the hands are pulling on the face that's gonna be more aggressive feel, or if they're soft to the side... that's why I add hands. Is usually to reinforce the emotion of the shoot. But if you add hands, first thing I do when someone comes in is I go, "let me see your hands." My hands I would not pose in a beauty shot, 'cause you gotta have clean nails and cuticles and not bite your nails, that kinda thing. So when it's a beauty shoot that I do for a client, when they come in for their casting, and this is a whole other discussion, but when they come in basically to see if I'm gonna hire them for the shoot I do take pictures of what they look like and then I ask to see their hands. Because I have to decide if it's a concept where we need to see the hands or the nails, gotta see what their hands look like. So, some do's and don'ts for hands. So one of the things we consider beautiful, the neck and the jawline, right? So, don't hide the neck and the jawline with the hand. Usually if you're gonna have the hand, and you want it on the jaw, you give it a little more space so you move it in front or lower on the neck, but not here. So you can kinda see the gist of that. Next one, is not always, but if you're gonna use the hand just be careful of having it closer to the camera 'cause it looks big. If it's on the side close to the camera, it doesn't mean you can't do that just maybe it needs to be lower, turned away. The next, really big one and this one is it's a like... I would say 49 out of 50 times rule, there's exceptions but most of the time is you want the pinky towards camera. Most of the time you want the pinky towards camera not the back of the hand, and not the palm, and there's a couple reasons. First of all, for every skin tone your palm is the lightest part of the body, it doesn't hold pigment the same way and so if the hand is posed like this, it's super light and that's where you look. But also, it's big! Your palm is big and so if someone's posing like this, that's all your seeing it's a competing element and it adds nothing. Whereas the pinky is the narrowest and most elegant line. I've also learned, from many years of doing beauty photography that a lot of people have weird lookin' thumbs. (audience laughs) it's just a thing, just beautiful people and then "Oo.. the thumb." we're not, we're gonna hide your thumb. So you're not gonna see me often doing this kinda thing, with the hand across. The exceptions when you don't do the pinky, is if it's meant to be emotive, like, (gasps) right? You know the hand, the gasping for example. Or that kind of stuff then you can break the rule but it's gotta be for a reason. But I pose the hands like this all the time and there's a lot you can do, it's not like every shot's like this. Every shot, hand to the face it's hand across the chest, hand over the face, hand to the side of the face, hand to the mouth. There's a million things you can do but it's just keep the pinky side towards camera, 49 out of 50 times. So, you can see it's more elegant there. But also, watch for the people, they do, a lot of models or a lot of people they'll be really rigid with their hands so I tend to direct people, not place your hand here but trace your hand around the outside of your face. And then it'll be rigid, I'll go "'kay now wiggle it and set it back down," I'm looking for softer hands. People already posing like this is not believable, but this is even less, so you're just tryin' to make it seem a little bit more natural instead of forced. So, natural hands. Again, no back of the fist, no front of palms, pinky side, but again, a million different ways to pose with pinky side towards the camera so you're not actually limited. More pinky side towards camera... Pinky side towards camera. There's a ton of stuff. Alright, so now the shoulder thing, the last thing for the posing, here is shoulders. So I mentioned that it's basically, your expression, your jaw, your head movement your shoulders, and your hands. That's whatchu got to work with. But for your shoulders, watch out for attention not going to the beauty, and going to here. Because what happens, is a lot of times people will pose someone straight on and then turn the face away, and in this shot I'm lookin' at her shoulder, mostly, I get caught on the shoulder and then I get caught on this hair which, is not really doing anything. So, my general suggestion, not always but general, is if I turn the subject's head, I usually turn their shoulders to the line of where the head is pointing, so if their nose is pointin' over that way, I turn the shoulders that way. And what it does is it elongates the neck, but it also narrows the shoulders so they aren't so broad to camera. And then I get a lot I can do in here, but it usually helps so just watch her neck in this one and where the attention goes, ready... It just, it's a lot more attention to her face and the length of her neck, whereas here, she doesn't even have a neck. The shoulders draw a lot of attention. So I just talked about a bunch of things, like shoulders and necks and again I have a book on posing, that came out earlier this year, you can get it as a digital copy if you go to amazon or my website, you can also get it as physical print copy, but I talk about all those things in case you are new to posing and were like, "what is she talking about?"

Class Description

In this live shooting demonstration, fashion and beauty photographer Lindsay Adler will show you how to create three drastically different beauty shots with a few simple changes! She'll talk about considerations for styling choices, lighting setups, modifiers, camera angle, lens choice and poses.


Stefan Legacy

Good course for someone new to photography and looking to learn how to pose and light their subjects. Very clear teaching style and easy to follow along.