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Body Language Refresher

Lesson 34 from: Powerful Portraits using Body Language and Lighting

Stacy Pearsall

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Lesson Info

34. Body Language Refresher


Lesson Info

Body Language Refresher

We are going to do a little recap y'all. (Stacey chuckling) Yay. (audience laughing) This part, and you know, the thing is when we repeat then we're storing it a little bit better in our brains. And I know that I reiterate all of the body language and light over and over again. That's because when you walk out of here I want it to be a little bit more instinctual and a less of a struggle to recall. (heavy sighing) Are you all so ready? Fidgeting, what is fidgeting. We're gonna pass these microphones around. We're gonna like, just, let's go to town, let's do this together. Fidgeting. Nervousness, anxious. OK, scratching. Uncomfortable. OK, good. Self soothing, he's got nothing. Anxiety. Anxiety, what does soothing do? Helps relieve your anxiety. Good, good, so it helps reduce the blood pressure, gives you an occupation. How about rubbing? Nobody's answered on this side of the house. (audience laughing) Calming. It's calming, good, it's another manifestation of anxiet...

y, perhaps. OK, rubbing can also be something on a more positive note. Anticipation, thank you. Preening. Way in the back. Preening could be a form of courtship. Courtship, thank you, preening is also a method of self soothing. All right you slouchers, don't think I forgot. Slouching may be indicative of comfortability. Is that a word? Yeah, it's my word. Slouching can also be indicative of. Slightly hiding. Slightly hiding, maybe feeling a little timid, maybe a little shy. How about erect? Power. Power. Confidence. Confidence. How about control? How about, maybe, standing one's ground a little bit? Opened up, how about direct and square? (audience member speaking off-mic) Aggressive OK. Authority. Authority. As they're here. Confidence. Confidence, again that word confidence comes forward. And confidence because why? Open? You're open, but what are you exposing? Your vitals. Your vitals, exactly. So you have to be pretty darn confident to want to show that to the world and to allow people to be have access to some of the most important parts of your body. How about slightly turned? I think approachable. Approachable, open, welcoming, inviting. How about angled away? Sad. Sad? Closed off, protective. Avoiding the situation. Avoiding, yeah, anybody else? Run for your lives, there's a threat in the room. OK, you guys are knocking this out, I'm telling you amazing group of people. What about foot forward? Ready to run. You said ready to run? (audience laughing) Who else, foot forward. Approachable. Approachable. Yeah, same thing. Same thing, OK. You're shortening the distance between yourself and whomever you're engaging so that means you're interested and you're inviting them into your space and vice versa. If the foot is back, remember, it's kind of a disinterested thing. Remember we talked about body space and comfort. And comfort and moving away and coming forward all of these are very telling. Crossed at the knees? Closed off, no access. closed off, no access that might be actually a little bit more for the crossed ankles. Comfortable. Comfort, yeah. Depending on, how one crosses one's knees is really where the most telling part is. So if somebody is back here like this, that's not comfort, this, my friends, is a sign of aggression. Remember when we talked about the catapult. This is just a modified version of the catapult and I would argue, this is very aggressive and dominant. I'm spreading my feathers showing my plumage. I am creating a physical barrier between myself and everybody else. I am basically putting tension all the way back in my body like a slingshot. I am pulling pulling, pulling, pulling and soon I'm just gonna let loose and let fly. Gives a very, it's very deceiving. I digress, when somebody is sitting like this and they're forward and they're resting and they're engaging in your space, knees, are we crossed at the knees? Pretty relaxed, right, engaged and personable. So you have to analyze the other aspects of body language when looking at somebody who crosses their knees. Cross at the ankles is a little bit more, either something that was taught to you, a learned trait by etiquette, customs and courtesies that are dictated through us as we grow. Mama always said when I wear a skirt, I gotta cross at the ankles. But, when we cross at the ankles for no apparent reason other than when we're wearing pants, we're saying don't call on me, don't talk to me, I'd rather not engage, OK. Parallel stance. Strong. Strong. Confident. Confident. Aggressive. Aggressive? (audience member speaking off-mic) Standing ones ground, OK. (audience member speaking off-mic) OK, so I wouldn't say it's aggressive. I would say that it's more of a rigidity, dominant maybe, confident as well. This, however, standing open is getting toward that aggressive stance. That's also like, I'm ready for anything stance. I'm in a position where if somebody tries to push me down, I will have a good platform and I won't fall over. That I'm a boxer and I'm going to take on my boxing stance and my feet are spread apart and I'm ready for anything. That's a, I've got my plumage spread out, I'm standing akimbo with my legs and I'm holding my ground. This is my space, don't you come in my space or I'm gonna come right head-on to you, OK. Speaking of akimbo, plumage. Confident. Confident, you guys love that word. (audience laughing) What are some other traits about that particular arm gesture? Open. Open, yeah, I think he seems open like, here, I'm big and I've taken a lot of space, but I'm open for you to come, cool, I like that. But it's not necessarily aggressive, no. This is a ready for action body posture. How about arms crossed? Reserved. Reserved. Comfortable. Comfortable. Comfortable and confident those are your two go to words. (audience laughing) (audience member speaking off-mic) It could be aggressive. How can you tell? You can see by the legs and also just by the way they're into their body and you could see by the legs, by the way they're standing, by their shoulders, also by the neck, like if they're exposing it to you, right. Like you're aggressive right now. (audience laughing) And now you're not. Good. Now you're inviting, yeah. I love that you brought in the other elements. Because it's important for us not to just look at that one body posture element. We have to look and read the whole conversation of that nonverbal, especially with something like legs crossed at the knees and arms crossed. So, very good observation. Arms open. Open book. I'm an open book. ♪ The hills are alive ♪ (audience laughing) I won't bother you with that. Barrier arms. Reserved. Reserved, maybe hiding something, protecting one's goods. Creating a sort of socially acceptable barrier. We don't necessarily find that aggressive. It's not anything that says, OK, they're out to get me. But it does mean, like, you might be out to get me I'm gonna guard my loins, so to speak. How about arms relaxed at side? How about self assured? (audience member speaking off-mic) OK, somebody who has their arms relaxed at their side doesn't mean that they necessarily need to express with their hands, they also feel that they are confident enough to expose the most critical parts of their body including their solar plexus and their abdominal region, their heart their neck. There's nothing protective about having arms down and relaxed. Also, if they're just down and relaxed and hanging there's no tension, these are like jello, like buttah, they're good to go, OK. Steepling? Wise. Wise, oh thank you for using a different word, confident. (Stacey and audience laughing) Anybody else? Deep in thought. Deep in thought, OK. Self-assured. Self-assured. So we think about this particular hand gesture as being one that's used a lot by, maybe, business leaders, public speakers, politicians, law enforcement, law enforcement people in the military who are sort of like in a power position, right. How about supporting? Engaged. Engaged. Engaged, we're in it, listening. Especially if they're heads tilted a little bit, I love his gesture. How about open hands? Happy. Happy, OK. Defensive? ♪ Stop in a name of love ♪ (audience member speaking off-mic) OK, you brought out the fingers, air high-fives. (audience member laughing) Fingers are so important, because remember, if the fingers are spread apart it's a lot more relaxed, a little less tension, it might be almost like, oh my gosh stop, stop it, stop, I can't handle it. But once there's that stop. The fingers, there's tension, they're closer together it's literally creating more of a barrier. So, this is half-hearted, I don't really mean it, being a little bit more satirical. Closed hands? (audience member speaking off-mic) The secret, yeah, when, how about hiding the thumb what's happening? (audience member speaking off-mic) Tense, tension. So depending on how the hand is closed can be really revealing. If it's just gently closed, there might be a secret one's trying to hide, thank you for bringing that up. If there's tension, what's happening? Fear, anxiety, cautious, nervous. How about hiding one's hands? Rick. (audience chuckling) ♪ Notorious ♪ So, hiding one's hands, anybody? Reserved. Reserved. Shy. Shy. Maybe a little uncomfortable. What if they're hiding their hands, but they're leaving the thumbs popped out. (audience member speaking off-mic) Confidence, waving their flag, so to speak, OK. Lounging? Comfortable. Comfortable, non-aggressive, inviting. How about straddling? (audience member speaking off-mic) Protective, guarded, what is that object doing? Hiding. Hiding the vitals, protecting, maybe it's like a physical shield. The catapult. (audience laughing) Let's have some words for catapult. Aggressive, predatory maybe. Confident. Confident, no, no and actually, for me catapult signals a little insecurity. So try and do something. Yeah, the appearance of, whereas the starter is a much more confident body position, engaged and ready for anything. And then you've got the nice relaxed cowboy who wants you to know all about their masculinity because the thumb. OK, the head-tilt. Listening. Engaged. Listening, engaged. How about the nod? Engaged. Engaged and acknowledging and in the moments. Chin down. Thinking. Thinking, hiding. Emotional. Emotional. Sad. Sad and reserved. Also it's a sign of submission, so we bow to the Queen for instance. How about chin up? (audience members speaking off-mic) OK, whoa you guys are so awesome. I caught like, none, what was that again? Optimistic. Optimistic. Hopeful. Hopeful. Confident? (everyone laughing) Self-assured. OK, how about the head throw? Having a good time. A good time. Joyous. Joyous. In the moment, very relaxed, obviously, having a lot of trust in whomever is around them. OK, eye contact, direct eye contact. Engaged. Engaged. Confident. (chuckling) I like, she's like confident, but just kidding. Direct eye contact between two people can be very powerful. It's almost like this invisible laser beam that's between the two of us is saying, I'm talking to you, I'm not talking to this person over here. We know that if I switch here, then you know I'm changing my direction, my attention's on you, I'm not talking over here. Now, if I'm like, scatterbrained like, or if I have a wall-eye, I'm looking at you both. It could be challenging as well though. Sorry? It could be challenging as well. So you said direct eye contact, can mean challenging. Why do you feel that way, Mr. Reservation? I think it's the expression in his eyes is kind of saying, OK, you know, give me your best shot, almost. You find it to be aggressive. Not aggressive, no, just kind of, bring it on a little. (chuckling) OK, so almost like, come at me bro.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Gear List

Bonus Materials with Purchase

The Foundations of Light (PDF)
The Accents of Light (PDF)

Ratings and Reviews

Julie V

I had the chance to sit in the audience and absolutely loved this class! First of all, Stacy is very funny and is really good at explaining and showing examples of the body language. I loved learning about how to read people faces and body to know more about them. And recommended the class to my husband who is a therapist for this reason. The other part of the class was so awakening, I never really thought about how having the wrong lighting for someone's personality would bring something off on the picture. Once again, Stacy was amazing at explaining why this lighting would work with one person and not another by showing us examples. If you want to bring your subject personality into life on photos, I highly recommend this class!

a Creativelive Student

This class is amazing! Stacy is an awesome person and listening to her teach and review the class concepts was so easy and fun and entertaining! It is jam packed with information on how to connect with talent and clients. Plus you get to see Stacy in action with subjects in the Demo and Shoot videos. I highly recommend this class! I learned so much and feel so much more comfortable and confident working with a variety of people now.

Jovi Jhash

wow, what an amazing class to learn from. you covered all from body language to storytelling and to reveal almost the true souls of the subjects through portraits. Amazing work and thank you so much, Stacy and creative live team. Stay blessed

Student Work