Shoot: Curvy Friends


Inside The Glamour Studio


Lesson Info

Shoot: Curvy Friends

Well I have these three beautiful women here. I'd like to introduce Angie, Cassie, and Tamara. And I find it very hard not to call you Tamra, 'cause I've been trained to say Tamra and now I have to say Tamara, so if I call you Tamra, I apologize. Tamara's a photographer from Portland. She's been a photographer for five years. And I put a shout-out on my blog for three curvy girls to come in, and it was quite a funny story, Cassie was just telling me at lunch, that Tamara nominated all three of them to me and wrote me this little email and said, "Me and my best friends would love to do this "more than anything in the world. "We're curvy, we're fabulous." And I said, "Oh, Tamara, you're perfect, "I would love to photograph you." And she didn't tell these two until it was, "Guess what? "We're going on a show with Sue Bryce." And the girls were like, "And what?" And she's like, "Yay!" So here they are. Today's lesson in curves is one thing that I wanna show you. I could show you how to sli...

m in camera until the cows come home. But what I wanna do today, is I wanna show you the power that this has. And so what I did was, I chose three girls that are not sisters, but have been best friends since high school, which is how long? 20 years. Bet you you've got some dirt on each other. Yeah we do. I'll tell you later. (all laughing) Well I'm gonna find that out... (all laughing) So the idea was that I started to talk to these girls about when you get older and you keep your friends and you support each other, all the rest of it, blah, blah, blah, and we're gonna talk about this a little bit after, but I wanna show them something that's really cool. And what I've asked them first, is if I can do the best thing that I can show them, is to take a bad photo of them first. Because I can take good photos of everybody, but what I wanna show them is what most people take, and then the difference between what most people take and what I take. So I asked for their permission to do that, they all went, "Yeah, okay." And then we're gonna delete the bad ones and keep the gorgeous ones, because we know that that's the truth. So who do I start with first? Well she dubbed you in, so I think we go with her. But what I wanna do is I want you to watch me. Now you've known her for 20 years. And I want you two to watch me photograph her. So you come with me, and you come in here. Yes, ma'am. Okay, you two come over here on this side. This is the infamous Sue Bryce monopod that everybody jokes about. The monopod that I bought has these little feet on here. I got a set of dolly wheels that go on a tripod not dissimilar to the dolly wheels that are in the corner. I stick my little feet on the dolly wheels and I gaffer tape it on. Then I have a monopod that goes around, up, down, all the way around, with wheels on it. I never travel with the wheels because they're too heavy. I call it Sue's Dollypod. Now when I worked in the big studio when I was growing up, first ten years on the Hasselblad camera, we had the big studio monopods with the massive feet that were really heavyweight, and they cost around three and a half thousand dollars. And there are not many products that are somewhere in between that. So when I opened my studio in my garage, I had no height on my ceiling. It was 2.4 high, so there was no way I could even afford that big monopod at $3,000, so I bought myself a $120 Manfrotto monopod, and this is the original Manfrotto monopod that I bought like nine years ago. So there's such great monopods, and it came with little feet. Those feet unscrew, go up and go up inside the monopod and then do up, so I can travel with it. But everyone keeps asking me about it and I haven't used it all day, so I thought I'd just be to show you. Okay, if you can bring a camera around, I wanna show you something, ladies. So Simmy, I just need you to come and sit on the floor with the half-reflector. So the smallest one will be fine, just to bounce me some light up here. Tamara, what I'm gonna do with you, is I want you to take a step towards me, stop. Now, the basis of my posing, like I've been showing you all day, starts with the pose that I've been showing you all day. How I start my clients out, is almost exactly the same pose for every single client, and I just switch it up for body types. Now, you might see this pose over and over again and go, "Yeah, yeah, she keeps pulling out the same pose." But like Simona says, she's watched me do it a thousand times, and she still struggles to get into this pose with her clients. 'Cause it's not an easy pose to get into. So listen to my language, and listen to what I'm saying in order to make it work. So the first thing I do is I'm gonna take a photo of Tamara. And I would like a beautiful big smile, please. There you go. Cool. Now she's gonna love that. You're not allowed to look. I'm not looking. You stay there. I'm right here. That's a great shot, right? Love it. It's lovely, Tamara. It's beautiful, she looks great, she's gonna be really happy. You can Facebook tag her. Immediately. Yeah, she'll be stoked, right? Okay, now what I'm gonna get you to do, is I'm gonna get you to turn your body this way, and I want you to point your foot towards me, okay? I want you to take this hand and put it up behind your bum. Not that far, just to the outside. I want this hand to go onto your thigh and slide up and back. And now I would like you to open your shoulder up to me, and then slide down the wall. Okay now this is where I come into here, I bend the elbow. Stay still. Just keep everything still. I'm gonna move you. I bend the elbow and I pull you forward. Now I want you to lean on this wall. That sounds like it's bad news, but I want you to push your booty away from me. That's it. And I want you to turn your hand to the outside of your hip. That's it. Now what I want you to do is roll forward towards me this way. Stop. Don't move. Not your hip. Keep that pushed back and lift up really tall through your neck and shoulders, and then just straighten your head up to me a little bit, and bring your chin forward. Right. Now when I'm in this position, stay there, I haven't tilted you at all. So I'm not gonna tilt you. I'm just gonna leave you right here, so you're just in a better hourglass position to me, and I'm gonna lift my camera to just above your eye line. Right here. I want you to bring your chin around to me this way. Can you get any more... No, into here, Simmy. Simmy, let go. Yeah, sit down, 'cause you're blocking your camera. That's it. Yeah. Right here? Yeah, yeah, yep. Perfect. Okay, so without any tilt, all I had to do was tip her into an hourglass here. And straight away, watch the body line start to come in really nicely. All of a sudden we see less arms, more boobs, right? That's starting to work. She's gonna be happy with that tag. I crucify my girlfriends when I... And some of my workshop attendees I'm like, "What part of the women wanna look gorgeous "and fabulous and slim and..." You know. Okay, from now, what I want you to do, is I want you to push your hips back and away from me even further that way. Out, not in. And this time, I'm gonna grab you here, and I'm gonna pull you down the wall. Now I call that the teapot. Because to me it's like, just a little tip forward, the elbow comes forward, you create that space, you create a triangle here, you make the boobs look fabulous, and all of a sudden that little tip makes all the difference. Then what I do, is I'm gonna lift up my mono and I'm just above the eye line. So it's not about making her fall. Then we straighten her head up and we bring her chin around this way. Now all I'm gonna do is focus on that eye line, right there, and bring the chin around even more, and give me a tiny little smile, Tamara. Beautiful. Good girl. Okay, already here, we're starting to tip her forward. Watch this. Stay there. Now, I'm gonna come up a little bit closer, like this. I'm gonna come slightly on the 45, which is about there. I'm gonna shoot back to that wall, I want you to turn your body back to me... Oh, away from me, sorry. Your body away from me. I want you to kick your booty back that way. Stop. I want you to bring your chin that way. Now I'm here. And I don't wanna be too high, because I don't like that look that looks like you're shooting down on people. So now I wanna be here and I wanna bring the chin this way. And I'm in there. And already... Stay there, don't move, 'cause you're doing really beautifully, your eyes are the same color as your top. Getting better. Every time I come around, right? So every time I come around I'm getting better and better. Now I wanna get into here. I wanna pin that arm back to there. Good girl. I wanna bring that chin around. I wanna connect here. And I'm gonna cut straight down that breast line here. Now I want a gorgeous little smile. We're just waiting for the tether. Okay, so now, watch this. I'm gonna go even further. So what I can keep doing, is the more I can get Tamara to recline, the more I can focus on the beautiful bits that I wanna photograph, the more I can pull back. So you're now gonna pull back onto this arm and sit on it. So you pull away from this arm and then you squish that arm in, but keep the bend. Keep that. That's a girl. I want you to really kick your weight back onto your back foot and take it that way. I want you to drop your shoulder down in the front. Because as soon as you drop your shoulder down in the front, you open up this line to me through the neck. And when I open up this line, I just see this beautiful open chin around this way. Keep coming. Stop. Wow. Okay, now soon as I bring the chin around here, I'm into this side, and, I'm right there. I'm gonna keep going. 'Cause now I can bring it to here. I don't need to be too high, because I don't wanna cut her off. Bring your chin all the way around. Good girl. And then I come in a do a nice, close shot up here. And I really love that. As soon as I come up, I cut into that back breast line, and I bring the chin all the way around, and all I'm doing now is focusing on that gorgeous portrait line that cuts down through the wall from the face, through that outer breast line, and her front arm looks fabulous. Correct? Okay. Come out, Tamara. So, Sue, are you just showing us the progression to see how it gets better each time, or is that actually all the pictures you would take of it? And also, I wanna show the girls that. So it was important that I show the girls, we all see that photo that we absolutely hate of ourselves. And we can just do something so simple like that to improve it. And it is stages, you do it in stages. Come in, Cassie, and let me show you. Just jump in there. Okay, so what I... The first thing I do is, back in the '90s and sort of, what we used to do was we used to just photograph down on anybody curvy. You just photograph down on them. And all of a sudden you had all these photos of people looking up walls. And now we realize that you don't actually have to photograph down on people. You just have to turn them slightly 45 like this, and then you just have to drop them down to open this space here. It's about opening up that space there and focusing on what's amazing. You extend the arm away in the front so that the arm looks really, really beautiful. It is a significant shot. And it takes the body away from the camera, and brings forward what is really gorgeous. And then the more you focus on a beautiful face, the better your shot is, and the better the body looks. And also, the better the front arm looks. And it looks good on everybody. Alright. Simmy, out. Okay so what I wanna do, Cassie, is come forward, 'cause I'm just gonna put you there. And just stand there. You look terrified. (both laughing) Really you look terrified. Okay what I want you to do... Oh you guys are just so gonna take me out in Portland, now I get it. I'm making you take horrible photos of you. Okay, I want you to turn your body this way. Yeah. And what I want you to do, 45. Now there's a distinct difference between front-on, side-on, and 45 degrees. 45 degrees is how I take that arm out of the shot. So you're gonna take all your weight on your back foot, and you're gonna bring this one up, right up onto its toe. So you're gonna balance with your... Like lean against the wall. That's a girl. Perfect. Right, now what I want you to do, is I want you to put this hand here so it's just away from your body. Put this hand here onto your hip. And now I want you to scooch your hip out that way. So you can literally step your foot out like that. And this is when you get on that awkward lean that we've been talking about all weekend. That awkward lean that kind of feels really uncomfortable. And just touch down here. Yep, that's right. Sorry, I've kind of just balanced it up against the wall. Now pull your bum off the wall. Okay the more you pull your bum off the wall, the easier it is for me to move you. And now just touch there. That's perfect. What I don't want you to do is push your boobs out. That's it. So leave them in. And just touch down onto your jeans. Slide up, elbow back. Lift up nice and tall, and bring your chin forward and down. Okay, more, more. That's a girl. Don't move. So as soon as I see the chin come forward and down, I have to constantly remind, lift up, my clients to lift up through your neck and shoulders. Now, what I do in the front is, when people lean on the wall, a lot of people lean with their arm, forward on the wall like that, which does nobody any favors. The idea is you squish your arm forward on the wall. So I will actually walk up to my clients and pull them forward. And people will look at me and go, "Did you just tuck my arm in?" And I always say, "No." And they laugh because, you know, I tuck everybody's arm in. Everybody wants their arm tucked in. Trust me on that one. Everybody wants their arm tucked in. So once I tuck the arm in, I then do this one thing. Now Cassie's short, compared to these two. She's the shorty in the family. And so the first thing I'm gonna do is I've gotta make Cassie's neck longer. 'Cause she doesn't have the length that the girls have. So I'm gonna push you straight down like that. See how her shoulder drops? When her shoulder drops, her neck gets really long and gorgeous. And then I bring the chin around. Not so far, 'cause I don't wanna squash your beautiful hair. And bring your chin forward and down. Stop. That's it. Down a little bit more. Don't move. Okay, the idea here is I wanna stay above Cassie's eye. And I want to bring the chin around. So I wanna bring your chin around this way. Good girl. And I don't wanna be too high. So chin forward and down a little bit more. Not your neck, Cassie, lift up tall. Just this bit here. So just, that's it, chin forward and down. Good girl. And chin down a bit more. Bit more, bit more. Stop. I need a reflector up under. So... No, no. Just there. Yeah. Okay, cool. And chin forward and down a little bit more. Down, down, down, down. I know it feels weird, but it looks so fantastic. Good girl. And bring your chin down now. Okay hang on. I've got no wheels and I'm gripping on the carpet. Alright, Cassie, bring your chin down now this way. Stop. Okay, lips together. Give me a tiny, little, wee smirk in your mouth. Good girl. Nicely done. Beautiful big smile, go. Gotcha. Fabulous. And I can come in as close as I want here. Now bring that chin all the way down. That's it, stay there. And when I get her to drop her shoulder... Oh, sorry, I got a blink. Right there. Relax your eyes. That's a girl, that was beautiful. Okay, just waiting for an expression. So as soon as I come into this line, what I did was, I waited for that blink, and then I got it there. I cut straight into the outer breast line. You just don't need it. It's quite funny. I use the wall as the other frame in the shot. And I cut down the body line because you just don't need to see it. You don't need to see the outside of the breast line. And you tend to follow the breast line down if it's in the shot. So when I go up nice and close, I go further to the left, further into the wall cut. Straight away. Absolutely straight away. Perfect that you've got a one-armed top, because you're leaning on this side. So come in here. Swap out. Sorry, Ange, don't trip on my cord. Alright Angie, I want you to turn around this way, and exactly the same thing again. I want you just to take a step out. Nope, that way. Maybe that way with your... Nope, other foot. Maybe over... Just stand like, mirror me. That's it. Perfect. Mirror me always works. If you're ever stuck, mirror me works. Don't go left foot right foot, because people... Often you'll go, "Left foot," with your right hand. And people go... Or you'll go "Left foot," and people don't, they... It's easier to say, "Mirror me." I want you to take all of your weight on your back foot, like that, so kick it out that way. I want you to go back onto this arm here. That's it. Now, stay there, lean on the wall. And I just want you to lift this foot up here. That's it. Good girl. So bring this toe right up to this foot. That's the one. You can just lean... I know it doesn't feel very secure, but you won't break or fall through the wall, I hope. Okay from here, I want you to put your hand on your hip, and now I want you to turn your hips away from me. That's the one. Now, everybody does the same thing, right? You turn the hips, you turn the head as well. So I want you to bring your chin back. There you go. Perfect. Now you were made to wear red, my friend. Amazing color on you. Absolutely gorgeous. Alright. What I'm gonna do here now, is I'm going to get you to kick your bum back that way. Stop. Now engage your chin. And this way. Stop, don't move. Might just bring more curl in there. Simona, we're running out of late afternoon light now, so I'm just gonna hold that up there. Sorry if that cuts into any camera angle, just for a quick shot. And I wanna bring this up, just below her eye line. I want your elbow to go back, Angie, and slide down with your hand. Good girl. That's relaxed. Lift up nice and tall with your neck and shoulders, and push your chin forward and down. That's the one, stop right there. Tiny, little smile in your eyes. You've got it. Now what I want you to do is very gently, I want you to roll away from me. So take your hips, okay, and pull your hip away from your arm. That's it. Now bring your arm forward, and don't push your boobs towards me. Remember? The boobs stay down. So the biggest, I think, thing when you're posing anybody... Now chin around this way, and forward and down. Is when I tell people to turn their hips away from me, ultimately what happens is everybody lifts up through the chest line. 'Cause they're turning their hips away, but they start to push forward with their upper body. And that doesn't do anything for the neck, the boobs, the shoulders. So you've gotta focus on getting hip movement that isn't upper body movement. So you can see it when they start to do it. Elbow goes back down, okay. And now you're upright like this to me, Angie, but what I want you to be is like this, towards me. That's it. As soon as I see that line come in, I know that her face is closer to me than her lower half. And then bring your chin around this way. Stop. Don't move. Okay, and now I'm just in here. So I need a little, wee, tiny smirk. That's a girl. Beautiful. Okay, without even being above her eye line, I've kicked her whole hip and weight that way and straight away I can start going straight into my frame there. What's happened is I've made her front arm too skinny. Because I've pinned it too much under her body line, and I don't wanna distort that, so, although I've never heard a woman say, "My arms look too skinny." I've never heard any woman ever say that, ever. Stay there, stay there. So what I'm gonna do is, I'll bring her arm out a little bit more, so that way. I'm gonna push your hip out. Remember, the more shape I can get through here, the better I can make my shot look. So if I can just... If I have a frill or a loose top, I will go up and tuck it up under her bra strap. Because the more I can see through here, the more gap I can see, the better it looks. So, lift up nice and tall Angie, through your neck and shoulders, and bring your chin forward and down. That's exactly right. And more light, Simona, up and under, 'cause it's looking down. Can you go to her, not me? So... Okay. Chin up a little. That's a girl. And I'm just gonna go a little bit higher. Chin up to me a little bit more. That's the one. Perfect. I want a little bit more of a smile, my love. That's the one. And a beautiful big smile, go. Hang on, I'm shooting. Sorry, sorry, hang on. Lips together, turn your body this way. Bring your chin back to me. Chin forward and down just a touch. Stop there. Don't move. Gimme a tiny, little smile. Okay, chin this way a little bit more. Chin down. That's it. Oh I like those eyes. Beautiful. Good girl. Okay now what we're gonna do is I'm gonna quickly just talk a little bit about curves. I want you to go and put your black tops on 'cause I wanna do a group shot of you together so you have a gorgeous shot of you together. There's a dressing room just there. Your black tops should be behind there. Tiffany's sorted that out. So come this way, girls. This way, this way. Come this way. Where are they? Now you need to go in there. See that little bee? Yeah, our tops are--? Yep, so throw them on. Alright, so the idea here is what I try to do with curves, is everyone'll say now, this is what happens next, everyone goes, "But what about when they're sitting? "But what about when they're lying down? "But what about when they're standing? "But what about...?" And there's so many what about, what about, what abouts. So let's just go back to the key note. I just wanna show you something. I took a series of images of eight women. And they range in body weight from a size two to a size 20. And every single one of these girls, I laid them down and I did a lying down pose. And when you look at these shots, I look at them, and I think to myself, it doesn't matter the size of your client, because none of these women are tall and really lean like models. They're all just average, normal woman, whether they're smaller or larger, it makes no difference to the impact of how I photograph them, because the same rules apply. And those rules are: lengthen the body, lift it up as high as you can, pull the arms away from the body. Create space between the chin and the shoulder, but work the chin towards the shoulder so that you have that body language. Do you understand? Then we make sure that when we do anything, we tilt forward. That's all we have to do, is tilt forward. So as long as the weight goes back, everything looks fantastic, and then take the weight of your arm against your body. Now, I already taught curves the first time. But I just can't tell you how many people email me and say, "I need to see more. "I need to see more, I need to see more." Yes, I have photographed all sizes of people, and I photographed some very, very large people. And you just got to keep working the body line. The body line is just that bit where you can create that space between the neck and the shoulder. So if you can recline on a wall or on a seat or on a chair, you can create a really beautiful, flattering image. Now, regardless, when you look at these shots, regardless of the size of each of these girls, they all have the same rules. Their arm is pulled slightly away from their body. They're lifted up, nice and long. Their chin is towards their shoulder. Any questions before I take this last shot? I think we can move forward. Okay. So I'm gonna get the girls to come in, just into this small cubby hole. So we've just got... I don't change up my set. I've got a really good example here to show you. So I'll put Tamara in the middle. And Cassie you can stay on this side, so Tamara you face her. And then you come in this way. Okay girls. Now what I want you to do, is I want you just to hold elbows. That's exactly right. So I want you to go into here, that's it. Perfect. Now, I want all of you to bring your chin out to the front. Exactly right. Now, I want you to take your back foot out of the shot. That's exactly right. As soon as you take your back foot... I know it's like, you're all like... Well trained. Okay, now, obviously I've got a problem because Cassie's short. So I've got two choices. I can get Tamara to come down like this. That's it. Straight legs. And put them apart. That's it. 'Cause you can't see straight legs. That's it. Now I want you to go as close as you can to Tamara. So you need to boob squash. That's it. Now Tamara, I want you to come between the girls, dropping your shoulder down. That's it. Now open your body up to Angie this way. Don't move now. Okay, so as soon as I bring Tamara through here, and I drop her down... No, no, keep your hand still, I'm gonna just move there. Soon as I drop her in, I'm reclining her in the group. And then, I bring Cassie in this way as close as I can. And then Tamara you need to tip towards Cassie this way, but bring your chin out. Alright. Now at this stage, Angie I bring your chin out, and down. Forward and down. Okay, there I am right there. Now, straight away, I've already posed them with their back foot out. And the thing is, is all of these girls have boobs. So in order to get closer to each other, you gotta squish in nice and close. That's it. This is up close and personal with your best friends today. And your chin, Angie, goes this way. Stop. Now, when I'm in position like that, I'm really happy with that. I'm just gonna get my little soapbox, 'cause I'm short like Cassie. Without shoes on. I don't wanna go too high. I'm gonna go just on Tamara's eye line, 'cause she's the tallest. Tamara, you're gonna bring your chin back to Angie there. Then I'm gonna line you up like this. Now I'm just gonna get this background extended. I'm going to shoot the cameraman because he's just in my shot, but it doesn't matter, because I can crop him out. I'm just gonna... Whenever I shoot this shot I really like to shoot it horizontally, because I crop it square. And what I do now, is I crop it here. And I want you girls to come closer to each other, 'cause I know you can get in closer. Angie, you need to get in there a little bit more. That's the one. And now what I want you to do is even though I prepared you with your back foot forward, stay there, I'm just gonna drop the exposure, sorry. I prepared you with your back foot forward, now what I want you to do is I want you to go like this and tip towards me. Stop. Okay I only want it to be subtle. Angie, your chin goes that way. And then you come into Tamara. Tamara, you come forward with your chin. So Angie, pull back a little, wee bit, stop. And chin down. Okay, once I've got them all level, Cassie you just get in there, nice and close. That's exactly right. Then I shoot it here. And then I come down a little bit lower, because they'll tip towards me, so I can shoot them there and they look fantastic. Now if anything, what I'm dealing with would be Tamara's tan line. So that's easy to photo shop. And Angie's tan line. Actually Cassie, you're rocking the golden. Okay girls, I want you now... I'm at your eye line. I'm actually below Tamara's eye line. I'm right on Angie and Cassie's eye line. I want you to put your bum to the back and tip towards me and then squish towards each other even more. So the tighter and closer you get here, the better it looks. Now get in closer. And kick your bum back even more. And come forward. That's it. Big smiles, girls. I wanna see a gorgeous, big smile from all three of you. Angie, letting the team down. Tamara, chin towards Angie. That's exactly right. Huge, big smiles. Now, squeeze each other in, 20 years of friendship. How's that? Absolutely amazing. So the idea is, come out here, ladies. Is, when you have curvy girls, the hardest part about posing curves is... Who wants to cuddle me? Come here. We'll get some love. The hardest part about curvy girls is we've gotta get our faces together and the first thing that gets in the way is our boobs. So it's kinda like, "Hi, how are you?" But our boobs are like, "Yay." And so the idea is if we're here and we kick this back foot out, and we kick our bums out, then we can come forward and together this way. But never when we're projecting our lower halves forward. It just doesn't work. What happens is we need to get our bums out of the shot, and open up that space here and here. Because when we're together, then what I can do is I can crop that beautiful... Oh I can spin this around, can I? The idea here, is when I edit this image, I do a beautiful square, okay? Everybody looks fantastic, all I have to do is work that tan line, and if I want to do any post-editing, if I wanna do any post, I can just come in from the side, edit copy, edit paste. Free transform, right click warp. Nice and easily, warp responsibly. But, I make sure I hit that chin forward and down. I make sure I push that bum back. And on that last, really big smile, Cassie tucked in, but she didn't for the five before. So just get their bums out of the frame, boobs squished in together, arms together, work the expressions, get them together nice and close, and bring their faces together, 'cause that is absolutely beautiful. Alright, can we finish up just on the couch? I just wanna chat with you girls. Sorry? Oh. Oh of course. Fantastic, girls, that was awesome.

Class Description

Women want to feel as beautiful as Sue Bryce makes them look in her portraits. Join this award winning photographer as she teaches you the tools of the trade for modern glamour photography. Watch real shoots as Sue shows you step-by-step how to celebrate the timeless beauty of women.

this course will cover:

  • Posing for all body types
  • Marketing and sales
  • Photoshop® retouching

You might also be interested in Working with Hair and Makeup.

Sue will show you how she built a small photography business in her garage to $20k a week in sales. And more importantly, how you can use her techniques to grow your own photography business.