Shoot: Different Women, Same Pose (Couch)
This incredible woman is 60 years old.
I know, and when I saw her photograph, I thought, clearly she's photoshopped it (laughs). Now I know she hasn't. And I was like, hopefully she's not that hot in real life, so I can make her look that hot, but she is. Um, 60 is, wow. Can I just say, yeah, my god, you're beautiful, and 60 is such a beautiful age group to photograph. Here are my rules with sort of, 50 plus. Something starts to happen with the 50 plus where we start to seize up a little wee bit. Not everybody, very small percentage of women can still have a good range of movement through their shoulder, spine. Okay, a lot of women over 50 get what I call that little hump there, okay? And that little hump is a posture hump, and it comes from the abdominals. Whenever I get a fit woman in my studio that has a good flexibility through her back, which is where posing comes from, through posture, I always look at them and I saw, walking, Pilates or yoga?
d they always say that, okay? So whenever I know that I've got that movement, and anybody over 50, I say, walking, yoga, or Pilates? And they always say both, which is what Velma just said, she said both. She also suffers from Dutch genes, yeah, so, you know, Dutch people, yeah, tall and fabulous. Dutch genes over here, too. I've got lots of fabulous Dutch friends that all have wonderful, wonderful, long, long bodies. So I look at flexibility and I look at a lot of things that they can't do. I also like, the teenage girls don't open their body language up to the, look at my body, body language, or even these ones here. For me, this is about capturing a really elegant portrait of a gorgeous woman. So what I would really love to do, is I would like the boys to bring me that white couch, please. Adam, may you bring me the white couch so I can take a beautiful shot of Velma on that white couch? And we get Adam in 'cause he's got big muscles, and, when Adam picks things up all the girls go crazy. Obviously there's lots of girls in the studio this week so Adam's had a great time moving furniture all week.
He does not need more ego boosting. (Sue laughs)
So, quick question for you, how much does your lens, from AA, how much does your lens choice play into the lengthening aspect of the images.
Well, I do--
For the different body types.
I do have a slight, I do have a slight distortion on the 35 mil and the 50, thank you, and what I do have is I have, the 35 mil, when I shoot on the 24105, I look at my metadata, I said this yesterday or the day before, I'm shooting mostly between 35 and 50. So I realized, then, if I was gonna go for a prime, maybe I would go more toward a 35 than a 50. Now, the 35 is wider than the 50, but that seemed to be the choice of range that I was shooting in, and if you look at the 24105, that's actually the best part of that lens. Because that's the best part of that glass, where the curvature of that glass is. So at 35 on the fixed lens, which is what I'm on today, I shot on the 24105 yesterday, 'cause I wanted to show you the range in my zoom when I was flow posing. 'Cause I wanna be able to go in and out my composition without moving. So I'm in a short space, and the 24105 is absolutely perfect when you're in a short shooting space. So here I am with my 35 mil lens, which has a slight curve on it, and this is where I have to be very careful with lean bodies, 'cause I bobble head lean bodies very fast, and it works really well with curves, so there's a very, but remember, when I've got a lean body I should be shooting lower anyway. Now, I didn't bobble head any of the girls this morning. I didn't bobble head Alex or Kate until that last, that face shot, and I didn't come down low, I was up high, and I said, please take this face shot of Kate. And I went, boom, and I was like, oh, sorry about that. 'Cause I saw, as soon as I looked in the lens, that I was too high for Kate's slim upper body, and I made Kate's head look quite big quite quickly, so I just dropped it straight back down. So I use that lens to my advantage with body shaping. I just, I do, and it works. And whenever I post an image on Facebook and I say I shot it on a 35 mil, people are always surprised, they're always going, really? That was shot on the 35? But if was on the 24105, I would be between 35 and 50 anyway. I also have a 50, I have 1.0. Yes, so, something I do with the elegant portraits, and I love this whole white couch thing, for me the white couch is, I love it for two reasons. I said to you yesterday, anything with a recline. So, I wanna get Velma in here, and I want to get her sitting on this foot, if she can, okay? I want to create two things here. One of them is space through here. Don't let your client sit up on the couch here, okay? I need to create some body line, so I need some space. Just like I pull their bum away from the wall. When I put them on the wall, I push their bum away. Then I pull their arm away from their body, right? Then I turn their shoulders 45. So if she sits on this foot, then she can control her sitting position, she won't sink down into here, okay? Some people can't sit on their foot, and if they can't, you just lift them straight out and you put them on their bum. But if they're sitting on their bum, they'll sink down into the couch. Her elbow comes to the very outside corner of the couch and then it comes in as a triangle, okay? 'Cause we don't show the back of the hand to the camera. So we turn it in here, we have this beautiful line here. Now I have the opportunity to work my shoulder and create body language and I have the opportunity to hourglass my waist from the front. So this is the elegant position that I want her sitting in. And then I can work the pose from there at 45. Right, you heard me, so you just do it. (laughs)
I'll try, I'll try.
Okay, good girl, that's exactly right. So I want your elbow to the end, and perfect, she happens to be wearing a gorgeous bracelet. I want your elbow to come, sorry, your hand to go onto your thigh. I want you to slide it back, I want you to be just sitting up nice and tall. Stay where you are, I'm going to push you to this wall. Now, see how Velma is wearing a very loose top? And the first thing I'm gonna do is get a clip. And I'm gonna clip it up under her arm at the back, or I will just tuck it into her bra strap. The more space that I can create through here, the slimmer she's gonna look. Now, when a slim body comes into me with big clothes, I pin it back all the time. When curvy girls come in with loose clothing, they're just gonna look too big if I don't shape their body. So I always tell the girls, fitted clothes are best when you are photographed. You can also wear something too short, that you would never wear in public, but be photographed in it, and you can wear something see through that you would never wear in public, but it looks incredible photographed. Now, when people come in with white shirts, you know, you get the classic white shirt, and everyone goes, ah, I bought jeans and a white shirt, like a men's shirt, I never photograph white shirts, you will never find a white shirt anywhere on my website. They are hideous. They have no shape, they have no breast line, they have no neckline, no arm shape, and the first thing I look at it is, it's just a white block. So a lot of girls think, a really sexy look, is the white men's shirt with lingerie underneath. And it doesn't work, I've tried it for years and years and years. It only works if you do it up and lie down in it with that little bit showing there. Okay, that little sort of look at the short skirt, look at my gorgeous legs. It just doesn't work, because it's just a big, blocky, does nothing for the body. Okay, so straight away, the first thing I do, is that. Now, I don't want Velma to look like an amputee, and I've just cut her knee off. So I have to connect these knees together, like that. Can you see that? Roll forward, so as soon as they roll forward, she gets her foot back. And right now I need her to recline, so I get her out here, and that gives her that beautiful shape in her body. I don't want her hands to dominate. Tall women have big hands, right? That's how it works, tall women have big hands and big feet. You got big feet?
Oh, you don't have?
Just the hands.
You have little feet?
Neither of us (mumbles).
Ah, yeah, you don't, you have, tall women, short little feet. You wear the same size, yeah, that's right. Okay, and then, lifting up through your neck and shoulders, and chin this way. So, one thing I'm very conscious of, is even though Velma is incredibly fit, she still has less of a range in her chin and shoulder movement, because that just happens, we just get less range. It's not a lot different, but it's enough for me to significantly notice, and she's in really good, flexible shape, so often I will say to women over 55, bring your chin around, and they'll go like that, and they have a hump, as well. So we gotta make sure our girls stay nice and flexible, through the torso, doing your Pilates and exercises through your core, keep your core strength to keep your posture. Make sure you're keeping that long posture and flexibility. Girls, I'm always saying, my mother does Pilates, and she informed me, I'm gonna say this live on the internet, I hope you're watching, Kathleen, that she does Pilates in bed before she gets out of bed in the morning. And I said, is that what you kids are calling it these days? So she does her Pilates, and it does make sure you're staying nice and flexible through your core. Okay, from there, what I'm gonna do now is I'm gonna lift up through the back of your neck and bring your chin down this way, good girl. I just need a good reflector in there. I kind of am gonna shoot above Velma, I'm gonna get your lips together Velma, in just a nice little relaxed smile in your eyes, good girl, and I'm just gonna snap that there. Alright, so from here, what I do, is when I get into these poses, and I call them elegant portraits because I just think, in terms of age appropriate, sorry, I shot that a little overexposed, let me just bring that down. Long chin towards me, Velma, bring your chin around. That's it, don't move. I'm just gonna drop that to there, little wee smile. Cool, now we start getting to this time of day, and we start getting really dark light, because I would have been finished shooting soon. Okay, now what I think about is often these women come in with their sister, mother, best friend. This is where you can pose them with somebody behind them on this armchair, where I would sit on here and she would put her arm up onto my knee, and I could have a beautiful shot with my mom sitting behind her. This is where I can move her around. But before I move out, if I'm just taking a little range here, what I will do is I'll take this elbow back to here and I will bring this arm across. So you need to twist your torso around. Now, I want you to bring this knee to me, no, this one, and bring this knee together to meet it. Nice, up on your toes. Let's sit, 'cause I need you to bring your body this way. And I turn the body, but you need to pull your body away from the couch. That's it, 'cause I want space.
Yup, I want more recline. Whether you recline forward or whether you recline backwards, if I can get that shape in there, then I have this beautiful, elegant, line. Long neck this way, and there it is there, okay? So I just come around straight away, and long chin towards me. Drop the reflector Tiff, drop the reflector. Okay, bring your chin this way, bring your shoulder with it. Good girl. And then I shoot it there. Now, even though Velma has a lean body, I'm still shooting her just slightly up, because then I don't have to drop her shoulder, I can lift up and lengthen her body by just shooting above her eye line very so slightly. Now, I don't think twice about taking somebody, I gauge people's flexibility, and then I would say to her, I want to actually, wait there, first, I would get you to bring your elbow up, elbow in, sorry, elbow to here, and I just want your fingertips here, just on the back of your head, so just your fingertips.
That's it, no, there, just lean on to your hand. That's a girl, stay there. Bring your chin around this way, that's the one. And I would just have a quick change up here. I just want you to get the reflector just up under there. That's it, stay there, Tiff, perfect. Okay, Velma, eyes to me, bring your chin around to me, bring your shoulder with it, lift your chin out to me. Beautiful big smile, go. Chin down a little wee bit, stay there. Good girl. Okay, from here, wow. Seriously. She's 60.
I want you to lie down on your tummy. Because she can do this, okay? I wouldn't do this for a lot of women over 50, I'd wait and see how fit they are. But you know what, here I am saying, women over 50, women over 50, I'm 40, so I know how much I can move, and I know how many women I get in that can and can't move. And trust me, I get 50 year old women that run 10 marathons a year. I'm not saying women over 50 can't move. So for all the women who are messaging me on Facebook right now going, seriously, Sue, you always tell people to photograph women over 50, and you're making me feel old, all I'm talking about is the difference in body line and flexibility. And the ability here with this pose, is when the flexibility goes through the back is the ability to lift up nice and tall through the neck and shoulders. Now, that is an unusual flexibility, okay? So Velma has a lot of movement, so I can push her to poses that I probably wouldn't do with a lot of women in their 60s, because she has that ability to move. Okay, so I need you to bring your chin to the front, good girl, and I need you to lift up nice and tall, and put this up that way, that's it. And then I need you to, that's it, okay, stay there. Just open up that side of the face. Now, I've got a gap in the backdrop where the cameraman is, so I'm just gonna shoot it anyway for the pose. Chin down, Velma, stay there, good girl, don't move. Push your feet back so I can't see them, and put your knees together, didn't your mother tell you that? (laughter) Keep your knees together. Chin this way, chin this way, okay, finger, elbow out, fingertips behind so you lean down. When you lean down, the hair opens up, and then bring your chin towards me and down, stop, don't move. And bring your chin towards your shoulder, shoulder, that's it, stop, beautiful big smile there. Go, did I get a blink? There you go.
[Brunette Moderator] Velma, your daughter Shanti?
Shante is in the chatroom saying, that's my mom, looking beautiful.
Your mom is beautiful Shante, like, wow.
[Blonde Moderator] And the internet is saying you're very hot. (laughing)
Yay! Okay, thank you, you can go sit down. Have a look as you walk past at that hot woman there. Alright, so now, what I'm gonna do, is I just want to show, Abigail, come here, while we're in this position, lie on your tummy, okay, so exactly the same, exactly the same pose, okay, 13 years old. So, obviously Abigail's really long, too. So I want you to push back into your knees, toward the other girl, and with a 13 year old, I cross her ankles and I bring her feet down to her bum. Okay, so to me, a young girl has her feet up like that. Because that's young. Elbows come in, okay, 'cause nobody has their elbows out. And your hands stay forward, 'cause I don't want to see the back of your hands to the camera, Abigail, that's perfect. And I want you to bring your chin this way and point those toes for me, okay? So from here, something that I look at is, I need you to lift up nice and tall. Good girl. I need you to work the shoulder towards me. So, I can bring the shoulder here and chin to the shoulder. But I actually think Abigail looks better, let me take the shot, 'cause I don't like this. I want to show you the other way. I want you to swap shoulders. That's it. Now, it's unusual that you can switch the body language to the opposite direction for a young girl. And I want you to bring this elbow out. And what I'm doing is I'm taking all of the femininity out of the upper body pose, I'm opening her shoulders up, and bringing her wider, and bringing her hands in, and yet this suits her more. Lift up nice and tall through your neck, Abigail, and chin down, and give me a little smirk. Good girl. And yet I can open her upper body up and get that line there, which actually works better. So, I kinda look at it as, the young girls go opposite. Okay, we don't sort of sex up that chin and shoulder, we open that body up, now what the older women don't suit that the younger girls do, is put this elbow in, and put it up under your chin. Now, older women do not look good in this position. This is a young girl's position. And now take the weight off your chin, okay. Now, we've been doing a lot of face cupping, but there's a difference between face cupping and leaning on your hand. Okay, so now, put this, that's it, just slide it across, good girl, you're doing so good. You're 13, and you're just absolutely perfect, so just stay there, just give me a slight tip this way. That's the one. Uncurl your fingers, Abigail, that's the one. Now, sit your chin down to your hand now. And to me, that looks, oh, sorry, that looks 13. Now I want you to give me a smile, a beautiful big smile. Bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, good girl. Oh, did I get a blink? Oh no, I got you. Okay, so to me, that is way more Abigail's age, okay, then anything else, and she can do it, she can shut down her body language. Stop, look what she's doing now. So she did that while I start talking she instantly does that herself. Chin forward and down. Give me a little smirk. Now, anybody's natural body language is better than any pose you could do for them. So if they are doing something naturally that makes you go, wow, then straight away, anything that they do is gonna look better. I don't mind coming around here and shooting this this way and bringing her chin around with me, because that's fine, that works for me, but I just want to keep that posing young, keep it gorgeous. Okay, jump out, Tatiana, come in. And I want you to lie on your tummy. Right, okay. So, what I can do is this. If you sit up nice and tall and I want you to, I want you to take your right hand across that, right? No, the opposite way, you're gonna go elbows in and you're gonna go out, that's it, now put your left hand across, good girl, slide elbow across, no, this one, that's it, that gives me a beautiful shoulder line. Okay, now what I want you to do is lift up nice and tall through your neck and shoulders and then bring your chin around this way, alright. So from here I now want you to work your shoulder forward. That's it, forward, now lift up nice and tall. Open that up around her cheek on this side to me, or open it up off her shoulder, yeah, that's it, off her shoulder's good, 'cause I want to show this body line. On her back, though, 'cause I want to see it. And just spray that a bit in the front, yeah, perfect. Okay, we'll just open this up. There you go. Don't squish it up, Tiff, yeah. Perfect, okay, so there we are there. And lifting up nice and tall, and working this shoulder forward. Now, that's a girl. Now give me a slight tip this way, no, there, and then work the shoulder forward. Alright, when we get into this position here, the difference is, is when I photograph this position, all I have to do is move Tatiana's elbow back this way a little bit more and I can see her entire decolletage. Okay, so at this stage here, she's got her feet crossed, it looks really beautiful, you can see the shape of her body, but you cannot see her breast line. Okay, and that's where I look at the breast line, when I'm doing, I could do this shot, if I did this shot in underwear, I would pull your elbow back, I would put your elbow back towards your boobs, because that lifts your boobs up off, do it, go back, that's it, that lifts your boobs up off there, then I would lift your hip off there, and bring this knee forward towards me. Yeah, do it, so then, look what I do here. So straight away, I show off her boobs, I show off her breast line, I show off her shoulder, her hip instantly comes up and she's got booty. Okay, so roll flat again. I can still do a beauty shot here, but I'm looking at where that hand is placed in the front. Now, if you bring your chin all the way around to me, I can still take the most beautiful shot of you, relax your mouth, just a bit more light, Tiff, and chin up to me, and work your shoulder forward. I can still take the most incredible shot of her without showing off any of those lines, 'cause I just don't need to. Okay, so it's beauty without being that sexy, added to it, 16 years old, she's exquisite. We don't need to be looking at her boobs. Okay? She's got the rest of her life for that. (laughter) Okay, come on down.
[Brunette Moderator] The internet wants both of you two to be in our upcoming Yoanna House modeling class with Matthew Jordan Smith.
Her lips are perfect in every picture, like no matter what she does.
No, because she has a relaxed mouth. Yeah, and remember, people carry all of their tension in their mouth, so if you can get someone to relax their mouth, regardless of the shape of their mouth, everybody's relaxed mouth position is the most beautiful for their face. Right, can I take some questions?
Yes you can.
I noticed on the younger girls you're not going big with the hair. It seems like long, straight, loose, that sort of thing? The younger look?
But remember in our first few days we had Hannah, and Hannah was 17? And Hannah had, who did Hannah's hair and makeup? I think it was Sarah. And Hannah had big curls, right? And they were gorgeous because they suited that volume. But big hair, and like I said, even, not long hair, but like, Kenna's hair is shorter, but she could still get volume with curl around the face, and it would be absolutely beautiful and big, sexy, hair. So, yeah, it definitely is an age appropriate thing to have big, gorgeous, hair, and most girls at that age have that sort of half length, a lot of them have the long hair, and it's quite long, and a lot of them have quite straight hair or that little half curl that comes down. So it's more like a little rock star wave, we would do more for that age, wouldn't we? We tend to do that, we part in the middle often, or the side, they have the side, fashion type fringe. And then we kind of flip out the hair from the ears down so it looks a little bit more that sort of funky style for that age group, and yeah, but we don't ever give volume or teasing to hair. But you know what? I have photographed a 14 year old girl that looked 25. She had it all going on and her mom was totally okay with it. They were all the same. You know, you look at your client. I mean, I'm not going to look at a girl that's allowed to wear a full face of makeup and a pushup bra and say, I'm going to make you look like a little girl. I want to make her look like who she is. So I want to try and make her look like the best version of who she is at her age that's gonna please her parents who are buying the shots. But still give her beautiful portraits so as she ages and gets older, she looks back at that time in her life and goes, wow, you know, 'cause it's such a neat age for them. And you know, I find that age group from pretty much from teen to, that sort of teen, tween, teenage market, they are not hard on themselves. I have a brand that attracts teenage girls. My brand has always attracted teenage girls. So I did a target group last year in Sydney, and I asked them why. Why does my brand attract you guys so much? I have teenage girls ringing me up, saying Mum, we have to do this, look at this website, look at this website. And she said, because everybody looks like models. And I just went, well, if that's what people want to look like, then you know, that's what the teenagers identify with my brand, then I love that, yeah, that's really cool.
It looks like she's been put into Photoshop already, and she hasn't at all, I mean, really, just--
(laughs) Yeah, it's like, what are you, Photoshopped?
Yeah, it's awesome. (laughter)
It's awesome, real nice.
Question from the internet. This is actually one that's come up quite a few times over the last couple of days from LL. Is it okay to cut off the hands in the crop? So that's Laura from Idaho, Ohio, excuse me.
I get asked that all the time, all the time. What do you think?
[Blonde Moderator] I think it's absolutely fine to cut off the hands. But it goes against certain rules in photography.
I don't hold to any of the traditional portrait rules. So, fashion crops out hands and arms, so I crop out hands and arms. The shot of Velma at the top, I would have left her arm in at the bottom if I was slowing down and shooting, you know, a little slower and more carefully. I wouldn't cut an arm, cut off right there, halfway up. But mostly I would have come down only a couple of inches. But yeah, I cut off hands, arms, limbs, the odd boob. Knees, hands, feet. I try to not make people look like they have limbs cut off, in terms of crossing, I actually think it's more of a crime to make you look like you're cut off at the knee with your knee in the frame then it is to cut you off at the knee out of frame. But I don't, and the only traditional portrait rules I adhere to is I try not to turn the hands to the camera, and if I do, I try not to do it like a club hand, like up there, you can see Abigail's on the side. I do try to get on the side as much as I can when I do the recline, I try and get that. But if I can, I do try and move it around as much as I can. That's a very beautiful collage, Nico, or Mike, whoever put that together, well done over there.
Awesome. Yeah, a question from pmanbest that is just a clarification. Did you say that anyone looks better with a relaxed mouth?
Mm-hm. Now, there's a relaxed mouth and then there's fish face.
[Brunette Moderator] Fish what?
Okay, 'cause sometimes you tell people to relax their mouth and they go like this. And that's not a relaxed mouth. That is when they drag their bottom lip down. Okay, so if I get that, and I do get that, so I say relax your mouth, and people go, now, how often did I say that to Alex this morning, 'cause Alex has a natural little, like this. Like, her natural mouth is to have a little bit of a smile. So I wanna start with that completely straight face. And that's why with Kate, I always said relax your face. Kate went into her supermodel face just like that. She just did it straight away, she relaxed her mouth, and instantly her eyes just went, gunk. Whereas Alex was here, 'cause she's 19, so she was doing that sweet, little smile. So I go, relax the mouth, relax the mouth, relax the mouth. But when people pull down their mouth, I go, lips together, tiny little smirk, and then they lift it. And that's usually enough to lift it up and through. The expression.
Largo and Metty from the internet have a similar question. One is, how does Sue lengthen short arms on a curvy girl? And another is how do you pose a short girl to make her look long, especially a short and curvy girl?
Okay, so the idea with lengthening, is we've been doing it for three days, okay? The first thing we do with everybody when it comes to length, is Keira, sit up? Rachel, sit up. Gabe, sit up. Izzie, sit up. Bonnie, sit up. Steven sit up. Okay, everybody grows a foot straight away when you sit people up. Now that movement there, that pinch, is my universal signal for straighten your spine. Tiffany sit up, Simona sit up, everybody instantly goes up into their position. Then, when the chin comes forward, don't let it get down here, lift it up. If you tip someone too far towards the camera, you shorten them. When arms are in front of the camera, and they're two dimensional, the upper arms look short. So you bring the arms down, and you bring the shoulders up and over. The only way to lengthen somebody in a camera is to bring their upper body forward up and over their lower body and lift it up and over, that's how you do it. So lifting up and over. And I've been saying it all week. Lifting up, bring your chin forward, lifting up, bring your chin forward, and yeah, same thing. Really works.
I noticed this time you're not shooting live view, you're actually looking through your viewfinder, why? What's the difference?
The 5D Mark III 3 has this amazing live view, but we couldn't tether on the 5D Mark II, so we tethered on the 5D Mark II. And when I was showing the live view, I was showing because I wasn't actually shooting, I just wanted to show you, go into the pose. But this week I'm actually doing proper shoots where I'm actually creating a result, whereas before the girls were just in the camera and I wasn't actually shooting them so I was showing the live view, watching them move, but now, I'm actually taking photographs, so, yeah, I've been taking photographs all week, for the girls, so that for you girls, so you've all got a beautiful shot from me, and that people could actually see the result. I've seen photographers teach by just shooting consistently and not breaking it down in any way into a teaching form, but just watch me shoot. And I don't get anything from it. Because, I might get how they react to a client or maybe the way they speak, or something like that, and you can pick up the odd tip, but I really wanted to break it down in a way that it's like, place them here, sit them here, lift up here, watch the difference between this shot and this shot. And the idea also is, instead of being on live view, we capture it as stills. So I wanted to capture Reagan's standing normal shot and then her reclined shot, so that when they load the PDF, because this is a training manual, when they load it, they can listen to my voice and watch the, this is standing straight, this is standing, and if I do live view, yeah, so, just easier to watch.