Senior Photography: Break the Mold


Lesson Info


Let's, move forward and talk about something that I know a lot of people struggle with there is no doubt and that is quite simply posing posing is one of those things that our fear of posing again keeps us from advancing because we know you can have a great image great lighting, great subject matter, but you can completely wreck it with a terrible pose right in. Terrible. You could just pick from, you know, tearing up a zoo. Matter of fact let's take. She was our lovely model for an example here. This guy over here, out of the way, little bit let's open things up where we can see what's going on here. Uh, again, we appreciate you guys bearing with us here and most importantly, appreciate our lovely model bearing with us too. She's like man, who is this guy like? Are you sure he's done this before? Because so far I'm not really impressed. Stand up for me, sweetie. Let's talk through posing now I'm gonna screw this up a little bit now, look, I'm gonna put you I'm gonna make an example ou...

t of you, young lady. All right? What? I want you, I want you to stand behind this chair now I want you to give me like, a really edgy pose. You see what just happened right she's like okay it really got uncomfortable and I don't like this at all why would we do that to our clients while we do that our subject say okay sweetie discover they're just give me something really cool and she goes over and she's like like I don't want to do so don't ever do that to your clients know what you want so you can instruct them on what you want so lead lead lead by example look at this guy right here do you think I'm afraid to show somebody how I want to pose no I'm not afraid to put myself out there because by me showing and leading by example I get what I want every single time where do you come up with posing where do you find poses that you like the blair where do you come over these poses I looked for inspiration I look around for high school seniors this is going to sound really really weird but trust me I've got a victoria secret look through their catalogs of my wife kids now I understand they're in lingerie or whatever but they have regular outfits too for all you people that are like oh my gosh that's weird look at there look at the way they move their body the way they stand the way they put their hands pay attention to all those things they don't do that by accident they do that because there are model and they've been trained for years and years and years, and I look at h and m look at american eagle to stay in touch with the young people see what's going on look at express these images right here, like those were fun to me. Those are edgy. I love that love these types of images. I mean, the one of her sitting down, I probably saw that somewhere, and I was like, you know what? I'm going to take that, but I'm going to change everything about it and make it my own. So I get you a base of poses to start with, and then you can start making your own and creating off of those. So going back to her like that was very offered for her. I pretend as though I am a young female, and I say, I want something edgy and all I have to work with us, his chair with this also blanket right here, by the way, I'll tell you what if you're having to cover up with that buddy, you are gonna itch like crazy tonight, but I can say, stand here, do something edgy, or I can put myself here and pretend as though I'm a girl, and I say what I want to do and I say all right, this is what I want to do, sweetie, I want you to stand here and put your hands right here and let this hip go bam just like that like really just swam get that out I call it knocking it out of gear instead of here it's here so I say here here knocked outta gear look where my feet are just like this right here, okay? And see where my feet are put your feet right here on my own or you're gonna take my spot, okay? So go right there and there there and then I even come up one more time and demonstrated while she's doing so hands on the side and then really get that I want you to really like get that hip out there and watch my arm here it's close to my hip like that right there and then I know when I turn around I'm getting I'm getting somewhere and I'm not afraid to put my hands on my client's and when I say that I'm meeting in a very delicate way I'm not afraid to go up and fix her hair I'm not afraid to physically grab her face it's my style I want to say grab her face what do you think is easier okay, turn your face a little bit to the right the other right your left they go chin down to slip it now tilt your head a little bit that way turn out a little bit more no the other way the opposite the way I was just that's crazy or you could just say look what I want you to do sweetie turn your face this way right here in malibu right there fix your hair a little bit just like this right here it's a little bit more now hold still hold still don't move don't move don't move don't move don't move don't move I was right here bam! So don't be afraid to touch your clients not in that way we reiterate here but don't be afraid to tweak it like her arm right here I could tweak this little bit to say you're double jointed just a little bit then your arm as very common in high school girls it's very, very common um what? You can stand back up so giving her a personality into I was talking about earlier that's where you could give her a personality to get into some of these other poses here these are a product of me sitting in a chair saying okay and I'm going to catch a lot of flak from this hope none of my friends are watching, but when I sit there I have to feel the pose I have to make it look candid. I can'tjust vision it in my mind and say all right, just do remember that thing that did you see something on tv I want to do that pose doesn't work that way, so I had to sit there and physically say alright feels good here but it's not like that. I'm fooling them as I'm going along. Even though I may not know what I'm doing, I'll say all right, I want you to sit right here all your way this here and then I may just get an idea and say, look, I want this arm all the way down over here and then tilt your head a little bit this way. I know that as a young woman, I feel edgy. So I go with it and I showed her exactly how to get there. Now, not only do they have to look candid, but a way that you can remember your poses is by naming them all right. When you put a name association with oppose, you can replicate it. So just say that during my average session, I want all for twenty different poses. Well, if I can remember that hand, if I could remember hand on hip that's one pose and that's just simply where she stands and do it with me here we're gonna put her hand on this hip and we're just gonna knock it out of gear and then we'll tilt your head a little bit this way that's hand on him now once I remember hand on him and that's my number one pose that I'm going to go to number one to hand on him I could do hand on hip looking straight hand on help looking this way I can bend down this way look up here, there's three or four that I could do off of the same pose so that I got that go to I can concentrate on being being very creative and not worry about posing anymore. As we mentioned earlier, we're gonna give the posing god teo anyone that that should want the one about the class we're going to give that and also these they are available, you know, should anybody want, um, we have a coupon code. If you want to go to that website and register going to give that away as well and moving forward, no one is going to do it as good as you want them to do it unless you leave by that example like I just said, if you're not leading by example, you're confusing the heck out of your client they're not going to enjoy it like this it would really be terrible if we got in that situation we were in a second and I said I just give me some really edgy if the whole session was that way that we very very awkward I wouldn't but by me showing you kind of want to do it starts to loosen it up a little bit I mean if all she has to concentrate on is one thing that's standing here with your hip out she can do that and then I can tweak it so one of the biggest things that ever ever ever helped me I was putting that name association with everything I mean I couldn't imagine going back and doing all my pose and saving all weddings you know I have posters that I do from our weddings that I know by name I don't do it by number but I put a name association with it it's the same way that I try to remember people's names is you know I'm trying to remember the name by putting a word with it that helps me associate with so at theirs maybe we go to the internet for a second and see if any of you guys have any questions own posing because that can be one of the most difficult things above lighting it can be one of the most difficult things depending upon your age you know your size your demographic whatever if you're comfortable being in front of people it really can hold you back well the internet is never short of questions for you there all right first one in on posing is from il lara and wondering if you do flow posing yeah flo posing you know that's basically my that's my rendition of flow posing you know I've got all of my poses named and I just kind of roll I just pick one out of my head depending upon the situation because you know a hand on him it may not work very well in this particular area so if I have flow posing like I do pose one two three, four, five six, seven, eight, nine, ten well number one it may not work in this area as well so that's why the name association thing that is my flo opposing so to speak so flow posing it's gonna allow you a base to build from it's going to allow you those core poses to go to that's gonna allow you to worry about being creative versus walking around like okay now let's sum see here let's go um let's see, uh that's not a good look so if you know where you're going to go you know poses you just concentrate on being consistent with now earlier you said on one cf cards you should have about sixty images that you shoot well, that was years ago when I just the one gig now I'm going to shoot two good cards on average session my goal is to deliver, you know, sixty images may shoot about eighty mission about eighty images, which is which is theoretically twenty too many right? Okay, cool and then from all those images about how many poses do you typically use for a senior shoot? Yeah, I would say if I'm delivering sixty images we're going teo probably pose I would say thirty different looks or so thirty different posing poses and we're going to eventually end up with an album that holds forty to fifty images, okay? And then you've been showing us poses for our wonderful model and how about what poses would you use for a man? For man, men are a little different obviously we're a different animal were definitely different animal, you know, you can't do as many of this with a guy just not in my area when he was just not going to work out as well. So with a guy with a guy I tend to do mauris mohr about the scenery and with a guy I want to make sure that the guy feels really cool really tough so with a guy he's probably not going to get quite a cz many poses a girl just because it is tougher obviously but I was saying on average, they're probably going to get twenty different poses and a lot of opposing do with guys there, they're standing up, I do more fooling more three quarter, and I'll still always make sure that incorporate several of those, like, really tight, tight headshots, head and shoulders from different angles. But let me tell you the headshots, believe it or not, the ones where you come in really, really close, doesn't we saw a lot of the parents really, really loved a hang those on the wall, but the students and the seniors love the more scenic little people big sky, they love that so twenty, probably on average, but gaza, tougher guys are a lot tougher to photograph than the females and, you know, as a result of that, you know, I don't I'm not so glad that I'm probably not not so I don't have such a hard feeling that we photographed mainly girls because guys are tougher, so don't get frustrated with that. All right, now, how do you approach different body styles and different body types in the institute on location shoes? How do you do with posing in different manners? Complimentary? Let me tell you one of the things definitely not to do don't put yourself in an environment where it's uncomfortable I said it all day if you're unsure about it don't do it don't make the mistake of doing this thing people do this time and time again all right don't do that deal you got this right here and it's like wait a minute oh you're a big girl okay all right uh tell you what, sweetie, I want you to come right over here and I want you just to poke your head out like this right there you go that's gonna look good and then we'll get really creative on our next one I'm a poke your head out of this side of the wall that's going really good and then I might do one like this weed down here like it was a girl you have to embrace every situation for what it is you know, if you're working with a client you know she has a perfect body type and other people may be a little bit more heavy you know and it's not always something that we can control you know I was born ugly I can't fix that um but three year posing if you have someone that is a larger female or male don't call attention to it don't say well look, sweetie, I'm gonna try and make you look thin here because you know you've got some issues we gotta work on don't ever say anything like that that's the one way to kill it never subconsciously bring that up never tell her I'm gonna pose you this way to make you look better simple things you can do look at my hips here I'm a small frame god, my hips we're here if you simply turn your hips this way my has become smaller obviously so never photograph people looking straight at the camera with your body always turned them sir a certain way and then this back hip I hardly ever bring it towards the camera always tilting it back another thing that helps was someone of different body type meeting a little bit heavier is never looking straight into the camera. I will always turn the body as well as the face. So now you know, I just turn the face watch this right here I go from here to here so pretend as though let's just say I'm let's just say I'm a guy. I am a guy, a guy I'm working with a guy. He wants to look cool but he's a large frame guy I'm not gonna have him looked like this. I'm gonna turn him and then watch what I can do instead I'm looking straight at the camera watch how much cooler this image goes, it goes from here, so here so just let him relax, so biggest thing is turning the body away from the camera one way or another, shorten up the hips and don't shoot every single image like this even if they catch on to you and she'll eventually say, just cause I'm a big girl, you shooting every one of my pictures from the top of the ladder, so don't make them must think of every single image being lower case we look up here, I'm trying to think you had a little bit look right up here big people have feelings too. They can't always control it, you know? So try your best even though it puts you in a compromising situation, make them feel beautiful, whatever you have to do if it means you have to work thirty extra minutes, do it, they would do the same for you. We have great response, I just want to check in with the in studio audience to make sure you guys don't have any questions. Of course, when you have couples, we'll see how frank achieve editor or done girl, how would you? Yeah, well, less years she and offer as an example we just met recently, but we're best friends now throughout this whole thing, we've known each other for a long time, it's going to be really awkward all right, we're gonna we're gonna pose together I'm not I'm not on any kind of a list or anything like that I'm a nice guy. I promise this is not how I would pose a you know a friend I wouldn't do this right here and have her bring her hands up to my light bring your hands up come on, that looks like boyfriend girlfriend you know, but what I might do as I might have the guy I might have him, you know, do something here he's kind of tough looking and then you come right almost on facing me and then you come and just put your put your left hand up on my show our right hand upon your show on my shoulder put your left hand on your hip and let your hip kind of go that way just kind of knock it out of gear a little bit like that and then here and then always keep their bodies kind of close together somewhat, you know? So rules of tom don't make him look like a couple then another thing is keeping their bodies really close together. So said, having a division there so hey split her in half, which is going to make her look even more thin, which we don't need because you're perfect and then lean lean their torsos together a little bit keeping their heads together you know another one that we could do uh is she were let's do this right on and this is where don't get comfortable and don't say I we got enough force yourself like I just move the chair goes I'm gonna lay her on the ground I'm no clue what I'm gonna do but I want to make myself get into a situation was like okay you've got to produce something that's going to look good and I have no clue but what I'm gonna do with her is I'm going to say all right well I want you to do step right over here you're gonna lay right here all right you're gonna lean back put your feet up in the chair and disallowing straight back and you got it from there just like that and she's like why you know what do what it's not a good pose of the apple interests now yep hair lift your head back down turn your face to the right so we'll do something like this right in here and then that being said you know I might do something where she'll put this up onto a pawn to me here eileen way in there with her looking here we might look up in the air I'm getting him close or I could even have him turn your face even more that way I could have him down in here and like a sniper position his arms were here, their heads together. I don't know it's just playing around with it until you get enough in your image bag that she feels like you know what did a good job here so there's no right or wrong way when I would encourage you to do if you struggle it posing is follow someone that's got a good core, pose a good core group opposing take one through ten and then create ten of your own as a spin off of ten of theirs by copying but create ten of your own is a spin off from there, so I'll help you up. What else do we have? Any other questions from way have all been in the situation where, you know our client comes in and mom is tagging along or even best friend is having a long and spirits are high there totally into it and maybe mama's like no, no, don't don't don't hold yourself like that, you know they're trying to direct the posing. How do you steer that back and gain control of this inertial see if this microphone fall off, I do another one of those kicks now the way that you handle that is you keep mom involved, but you keep mom involved from a distance, what you do, what I do, the very first pose that I do even her her hair is perfect there's no need to touch her hair at all but what I will do to insure mom that's sitting over there that every shot she's not gonna jump up like wait let me fix this let me fix that this is what I do I say okay, I see you touching down this way just a little bit of the hair is absolutely perfect just shouldn't even mess with it but I'm gonna put my camera down say hold on just one second mom listen I'm a stickler for hair look at the hair has to be right there shirt messed I gotta fix everything so I'm a stickler so look this one you got the right guy here you could just kind of sit back, relax and chill out and just let me handle this because listen, quite frankly she's going to do a lot better with me fixing her hair and mia justin it then she will with you so just I got you promise just sit over there and calm down just chill out and then I'll fix her hair. You know however I see that it's fit don't be afraid to say that to a mom say look she's gonna she's gonna work a lot better with me and she will with you you know what? I'm science I just sit down over there and just check him out no, but stayed in a nice way you say no but she wrapped it up with a little bow on it so you have to get your point across but then you have to say I was getting but no for real so there's ways to do that I have no problems with mom's not never well and I also like when you said earlier when we were going over your videos you actually throw them the video camera yeah and like hate giving the job you can also give them what's called a mother buffer mother buffer alright mother buffer and that is just simply a four foot by six foot reflector that stands up and you can say right now if it gets really bad and she's not listening to anything you're saying and she is really making your senior madden the point which was like mom shops for getting my nerves I hate you that can happen you can get him on the mother buffer and say mom look what I need you to do is hold this just like this now holder right here turn it just turning just a little bit here, hold that for me she she's a mom right now holding up where can they go hold it just like that, sweetie perfect hi, sweetie, can I just turn into you're right it's a little bit and then I'll make fun I'm like tio tilt it down just a little bit more little bit more day hold up a little bit that's perfect she's not even doing anything right now this adding value but it's keeping mom out of the way and after a few minutes, mom will slowly kind of get the point that you need to slow your roll on be quiet think about I love that our reflector just gained its additional use in our studios by becoming a mother buffer. Hilarious. All right, so I'm going to take it off line from posing and go back to lighting just because there's a lot of questions on leading we we didn't get a cover in this last segment, there's so much information coming through, but the grid lighting that was one piece of lighting that you didn't have an opportunity to talk about men and why it's so important? Yeah, and I got when I do all of my sports sports lighting always always always used the grids. What happens is, is anything you've got pointed back towards the camera. You're going to get this wicked light flare and you're not going to like it. So with these these air forty percent grids and that just allows the light to travel, and exactly so if I'm looking if I'm looking at a camera and the light is pointed straight towards the camera like at this point it straight towards the camera obviously I'm gonna light flare but if I've got a light this pointed just off camera but it has a degree a zit is going to keep the light going that way then I can get really close to the camera and never get a light flare in there so that's why I used the grids it takes the light from spreading this that this wide and it makes it go here very very directional so I'm a big big fan off the grids big found the grids and the grid system I don't even know what that is but I just thought it sounded cool the grid system anyways what about you guys? You guys have any questions up here three times higher is a tree stop higher what they mean by give me that let me give you this breaking in another analogy just say that our main light say from zero you have one quarter half three quarter full all right you would have one quarter coming from this light okay and you would set this from two three quarters the amount of power or even full so it's basically I would say it's close to a two and a half two and a half to three stop difference so if you have this one you know this light here might be said at f eleven you know this light here said that you know f eight seven seven point one it's there's a difference and stops there but ultimately this one has three times the amount of power as their main light so that means one and a half stops uh closer yeah probably closer tohave stops closer have stops I don't really measure like that because I don't I don't use a lightning so I use it based upon the equivalent of power that is coming from a light most of my life that you look at it zero to fool so I base it in increments of quarters and kind of headquarters yeah there's several different ways to do it I do it the most simplified way that you know that I've been able to find tio make work anything else from our live on its members up here like that we can always count on randy you're talking about letting earlier the for screen being four feet yes sir back before with the bag you're gonna have to have them obviously out of your life but I would say in general they're probably about eight feet let's just measure it this is this is probably about where it happened so let's just measure and see if I'm accurate one two three four five six seven, eight and that would fall right about a feat so about eight feet away that's a good good number eight feet so, again, I want to thank you so much for standing up here and feeling really awkward. You have done a great job of that, and I may have to fly back out to seattle at some point and just do you like a full on like, senior session somehow. So, yeah, and if we maybe if we can find time while I'm here, we're gonna have to. We'll see if we can work something out. So, again, we appreciate you. How about a hand for her? This?

Class Description

Are you ready to add a new, lucrative dimension to your photography business? Join award-winning photographer Blair Phillips for an introduction to everything you need to know about taking portraits for high school seniors.

In this three-day course, you’ll learn about how to market yourself to the high school audience, no matter where you live or who you know. Blair will discuss his signature techniques for effortless, versatile posing. You’ll also learn everything you need to know about both off-camera and natural lighting, including how to create foolproof lighting setups, even if you’re working without an assistant. Blair will also cover strategies for creating a productive workflow and working confidently in a wide variety of settings.

By the end of this course, you’ll have be equipped with the core marketing techniques and one-of-a-kind photography skills needed to connect with high school seniors, give them results they’ll love, and grow your business.


a Creativelive Student

Blair is great. This class is packed full of great info and is a genuine good hearted person.. Really like his approach with high school seniors. I recommend it.


Loved watching Blair Phillips. He has so much energy and is very entertaining to watch. He was extremely well prepared and did a fantastic job.