Skip to main content

Posing Masterclass

Lesson 17 of 36

Plus Sized Brides

Bambi Cantrell

Posing Masterclass

Bambi Cantrell

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

17. Plus Sized Brides

Lesson Info

Plus Sized Brides

photographing the plus size bride ok the thing to remember when you're photographing plus size girls and they want to look thinner and you want to work with him in a way is just remember first of all good posing goes very far you want to take one leg you want to push the hip one way or the other and bring this leg infront creating ex or here and bend that knee the biggest thing is you want to keep the weight shifted to the back hip only don't be pushing that hip forward because guess what you just brought it closer to the camera and you're making it twice as big as it is and you're putting pressure on it so you don't want to do that so push it away from the camera the second thing is is direction of light let's go forward a bit we can do we can do a variety of different things first of all with this young lady how large does she look in this picture she looks very narrow why because I found a way to camouflage her shape and make her appear smaller than she is you see if you cannot see ...

it it doesn't exist give me exact merely by so when I'm posing a bride I will use things like for instance herb ok her hang out come over your dad herb ok is covering a portion of her waist which you can't see which guess what means if you can't see it it doesn't exist and it makes her look appear more slender when I'm photographing her with her her her husband to be her husband turn your feet this way and I want you to do me that you're going you have a choice to go you can rock this way or you can rock this way I want you to rock this way I want him to be bulky you're looking so now I can take her shape push her hip this way and now from that position here put your hand right on my waist right here see look oh don't go like this now how much of my shape can you actually see take your chin and drop it onto my head you see how now you're seeing very little of my shapes that's a great way to camouflage thank you don't darling so you can you can camouflage your parts of your subjects face and their body have them lean forward boy I'm telling you having two people lean forward I cannot even tell you how powerful this lesson is because if they lean forward you draw this chin forward it in long gates this area right here noticed with this beautiful bride and her bridesmaids amusing just a simple reflector that's all I used on this picture notice the separation nice and clean on their faces this I use the white side of the reflector just to give a little bit of just of freshness to the skin and noticed the background it's not dead it's not a dead background there's highlights in that background so I'm always looking for a background that's got a bit of depth to it I don't want it to be just like like I would not photograph on that wall just like right now because the wall is going to go dark I'm looking for some sort of all highlight and if we need to reduce the spotlight outside I'm looking for the sun and I want it filtering through those trees to give me just a bit of highlight I'll use a longer lens the seventy two two hundred millimeter lens is a great tool for me because if you don't see it it doesn't exist look how tiny this bride looks because we're not seeing all of her body I'm cropping a portion of her shape out having them lean forward really works with this young lee this is by the way I one of my very favorite brides I've ever worked with in my life the most fun woman I have ever met she's just a character and a half next to you of course are um but notice in this case she is turned away from the light source she's turned away from it but I'm photographing her on the shadow side of her face by leaning forward with her chest a little bit pulling that arm back pulling the shoulders back it gives her a bit of length and gives her length throughout her heard her neckline and such and it's a terrific way to make anyone look more slender this is just a simple window just a window like this so you don't have to have a lot of fancy lights you want a direction of light when you are photographing a plus sized girl so flatter light if you're doing a close of flat lights okay but flat light having them flat into the camera is not a good thing because I know that if you photograph me straight into the camera like this I know I look bigger than I do like this and then the other thing is so I notice you don't see her whole body you're not seeing both shoulders and this shoulder you're not photographing into the shoulder you want to watch that cause a lot of people tend to do this if they're doing side should put profile photographs of people they want to shoot right and to the arm will all this arm guess what is closer to the lens of the camera then your faces so and if you light it it's gonna look twice as big so it's you have to really be careful of that questions on this I know there's people gotta be asking questions about this folks are excited to see this coming up all right I'm just gonna say it how do you hide big breast how do you hide them trust me I've been doing that my whole life um well there's a couple of things you could do first of all if there if there have a low cut dress on I'm sorry but they don't have that's not a flaw for them and I'm not going to try to hide it in her case she has she has very large girls so what can I say but I want to show her shape this is a thank you for bring that question because so this is what you would not want to do with somebody who's got big girls you do not want to photograph with light straight into the bus line because all you're going to see is booth you're not san cielo face it all so by turning her body away from the light or moving yourself on the shadow side you could turn them toward the light source as long as you are on the shadow side someone with very large breasts you probably want to turn away from the light because then if it's not lit as much it's not going to appear quite as large because if you look at her bus line here it doesn't draw attention away from the face the face is still the number one focus does that make sense okay um same exact young woman but what I want you to notice the next thing that's important is camera angle camera angle camera angle higher camera angles on a close that picture is really really beneficial my step letter goes everywhere with me I take it on every single wedding every portrait session I do I have it with me in case I need it for from mature woman or for something that I want to just give them a jaw because first of all notice where the main lights coming from its coming from this direction over here look where the catch lights are that again it's important because I want that shadow on the jaw you see if that light is too low if you use that reflect your underneath here guess what you're screwing that client you're doing a horrible job because all you're doing is highlighting and going home to talk about sure may look at my big jaw you know xiao lt's right here and you're making it appear even bigger than it is so it's not a good thing so you want that light to come from a higher angle and then get on your step stool and have them drop the chin slightly and then you'll get that beautiful shadow under the jaw line don't photograph straight into the body turned the body just a little bit you're gonna create beautiful beautiful imagery I also want to point out one of the thing and that is shallow depth of field is a really wonderful tool use it as much as you can I am very comfortable photographing about two point eight that's generally where my aperture is that somewhere in that realm especially if I'm doing close up portrait's of people because I want to draw the eye the the viewer's eyes right to the eyes bigger right on those eyeballs I want to see that right there and then I want everything else to fall off naturally so that that becomes the center of my universe that's the center of my focus and because I'm photographing on the shadow side we could we see the cheekbones that's what pops out you get to see that beautiful cheekbone when you're photographing on the shadow side of the face okay this is another example I mean look at how adorable these little kids look so in her in this couple's case he brought us motorcycle I try to find out a lot about who I'm going to work with so that I can create images that have meaning to them and I've known this couple for a very long time and I said hey josh I want you to bring your motorcycle in with you so he brought his motorcycle in in my mind I'm thinking okay she was very conscious of her weight and her weight she carried a lot of her weight in her mid section so I thought okay well what do I got to do what's my recipe for success in making this client happy number one if you can't see that doesn't exist so I'm gonna hide her behind the bike she's actually about this far from the bike there's about this much room between her and the bike why because I need room for her to lean forward and stretch into it and then push that back side back see if you do that then you hide the bottom the area of our over ourself that is not are our best feature and then you're able to get a really beautiful picture guess darling struggled with this and being able to not let the person know that you're trying to hide them do you know what I mean so like or is it okay to let them know I feel self conscious being like putting them a little bit behind the man and making them feel like I'm trying I'm thinking that they're too large I know I understand that point of view does she look like she has any she comes he's even thinking about that no no and the reason is you you have to take it away from the analytical side and I think that's the problem is that you're thinking to literally to logically you're thinking about the logical end of it so I'm very enthusiastic so I go oh my gosh I've got a great shot okay well obviously this is his bike it's about him yeah so it's appropriate for her to be on the backside that bike it's appropriate and then I would say oh my goodness shell you're gonna love this I want you gettin real cozy I want you to lean forward with your chest oh this is gonna look amazing for you so that it's not about the poseidon it's about it's not about oh I'm going to hide your bottom you know I'm not saying that kind of thing I'm going oh my gosh this is great image here I've got in my head shell you're going to just stand back here what you arch your back just a little bit and lean towards your gorgeous honey on dh so I don't even think in that term of what I'm trying to hide in my mind I know where I'm going but that's not the kind of wording that I'm using to a client I'm just thinking hey I know that I got their back I'm gonna make them look the very best they've ever looked in their whole life and they obviously love each other and he loves her for her curves and she loves him for him so it works for both of them great question number okay so with this young couple you'll notice that I've added a bit of camera tilt to it this is just right outside of my studio I'm standing again on my ladder notice how he's got his face turned slightly torture because it creates intimacy this is really you know body language tells you a whole lot I think we might have gone through this yesterday but I don't know if I stand back with my shoulders back like this that tells you back off get out of my face but if I move forward if I lean forward that tells you I'm interested so if you want people to feel more cozy and more more cuddly get them cuddly and let me demonstrate that to you um come here brooke come here and brooke is my my baby daughter you know my baby girl she's going to be giving me lots of beautiful grandchildren oh love it darling okay hey brooke with your chest lean towards me right here and now I want you to give me a hug with this chick did you see what she did she gave me a hug with her cheek o love adore new so cute and now I'm gonna give you a hug with my chick you see it's not just a hug okay now brooke I want you to hug me like it's the last time you're ever gonna hug me oh and that's the best you can do I know I'm just getting with you so the moral of the story is I love using body parts and saying well I want you to give her a hug with your chin you know I think it's somebody a hug with the chin you drop it down and you get my hug with the chin or the cheek and that was one of the best ah piece of ice ever got I got I learned that technique from jerry jonas that fabulous photographer in his own right okay my very favorite picture I've ever taken in my entire life I've done what I did with this picture is I've over exposed it on purpose because I want to you to focus on this and not this I mean we we see the big girls out in all of their glory but I will tell you this is absolutely my favorite picture mothers that a little safety pin in her mouth it's very reminiscent of norman rockwell to me but hi camera angle really was helpful and cropping it at an appropriate spot would be very appropriate as well because otherwise I was going to see maybe just a little bit too much of too much information that would just be you know maybe not just such a good thing s o crop it if you want to try to crop it in the camera I do on my cropping in the camera I tried I won't say all of it but I tried to crop is most much as I can in the camera because it means less work for later on and it also means you don't have to slain stuff to clients that's important to me not to have to explain things to go well you know it's going to look like this when I'm done and you know I'll do this and this and its clients never going to see a picture of mine until unless that's the way I want it to be seen that's to me the name of the game with this young lady her best feature her absolutely best feature was her amazing expressions this scale had fabulous faces so yes I'm going to do full like beautiful pictures of her but I am really focusing in on those beautiful faces I mean does it get any better than that and again notice where my camera position is I'm standing on a ladder for the first dance because she's a tall girl this girl's like six feet tall if I was on the floor when she's doing her first dance what do you think I'm going to see the only thing I'm going to see is this arm right here and up her jaw line right in here do you see how we always have choices you see kids if we don't have a perfect universe but it's how you use it we may have that throw of the dice but it's how you use each of those days and those moments you have a choice on where you stand and where you are in relation to the light source and where you position yourself so even if you're not manipulating a subject in this case this is p j I didn't I didn't manipulate this and didn't ask them to turn towards me or anything but I knew that if I want to get a flattering picture of my subject in real time in pj mode which means I'm not going to prompt her that I need to get my butt up on a ladder and used that as the background also when I'm five foot one if I'm on the floor like this I'm almost always seeing the ceiling and it's really unattractive so I prefer to get up on a ladder and then I can use a longer lenses I shot this with the seventy two two hundred millimeter lens just in natural light on dso it affords me to give me the best bang for my buck and especially for photo journalism I think it's really important for photographers to get away for from just being happy snapshot hers you know just breathing and hope you get the right shot pull yourself back from keeping your finger on the trigger in my opinion I think it's real important tto learn what the decisive moment looks like and then get it and not have to say well you know go through twenty five pictures to get one because I'm sorry you could hand a camera to a monkey and they could do that I mean that takes no skill and it means hey I got a good camera right so the moral of the story is is we always have a choice on where we are standing in relation to that light source something amazing is going on then move yourself around to say well where is the magic happening and am I high enough to get it properly or do I need a lower myself to get a more interesting story and then the more that you practice that and by the way to practice that you do not have to have a camera in your hand learned to take neural chrome's with your brain which your pictures that you take on a daily basis everybody doesn't you know just in real time and if you learn what that decisive moment looks like in real time then you don't have to then you're not when it happens on a real wedding day or in a portrait session it becomes spontaneous for you know what it looks like so learn to do that and rehearse and your mind rehearsed I do that every day of my life no matter where I'm at or what I'm doing I am rehearsing and rehearsing in my head and I have taken a brazilian noura crimes with my brain and these are amazing pictures because it rehearses me for the time when I'm going to have real experiences so that I'm not staying there going ah that would have been a great shot if I'd been over here or my cameras down at my side when something completely remarkable was happening because uh my camera to my face so when I met a wedding or doing a portrait session my camera stays up at my eye all the time because guess what it's not a piece of jewelry don't wear it like one there's another quote for the day so um okay so at any rate this is what we're going to stop our morning segment and we're going to take like a fifteen minute break so I'm gonna turn it back over to the queens of creative live and you can tell him what's the store it's really exciting man ask one quick question there's so many people wondering about the ladder you use okay is it terrible is that small is that portable how it's a very very portable ladder it's just a little ladder that I bought you know at the like home depot but it's not it's just a nice simple very lightweight aluminum ladder you khun probably by a really pretty ladder at the photography studio glaciers or one of those beautiful fans love photography stores I just have a nice one that came from uh you know just from home depot I fight a mined silver but if I had a choice I'd get a black one and I probably will at some point investing a black because I think it's it's nice if it can get kind of hide away but I'll tell you what your ladder is your best friend I love having a stepladder not a huge tall letter it's about it's got like three steps because it really is interesting to change your perspective and shoot you know to photograph down on a subject when they're out on the dance floor or little children in my studio or family groupings I have an eight foot letter in my studio we lay people on the couch all the time and I have them laying and lounging and get pictures that way too

Class Description

Do you have problems diverse groups of clients? Are you unsure if your lighting and posing are on point? Join award-winning and Nikon Ambassador Bambi Cantrell in this comprehensive class covering all aspects of posing, lighting and developing a successful portrait studio.

In this class, Bambi will:

  • Show you the best lighting for different scenarios
  • Camera angles that flatter
  • How to add creativity to your portrait shoots

You will learn ​Bambi​'s​ secrets of how she continues to innovate in her photography and business​.​


a Creativelive Student

I almost didn't bought this course due to low rating and what other reviewers were saying about her, but because it was on sale at incredibly low price that i decided to bite the bullet. And I am so glad I did. First of, for those reviewer that find her offensive, because she talks loud or make some jokes to her models or her audience, i don't think that it is offensive at all and neither did her audience or everyone in the studio. As a matter of fact, they were enjoying it. And I did too, was laughing while watching them laugh and having a good time. There was nothing wrong with the audio. I heard her just fine. I found her class to be the best class ever because she only not answers questions by theory, she demonstrate them live with the participation of her audience and the creative live crew and that's what made her class very interesting and not boring. She also uses real people and not models with perfect sizes or figures and it really helped me a lot because i have a challenge when it comes to posing plus sized people. I love her sense of bluntness, humor and at the same time, all the wonderful nuggets of wisdom she shared to her audience. I had purchased tons of creative class about photography and to tell you honestly, i haven even watched the full content on some of these classes because i get sleepy and bored but with Bambi's class, i watched her class in just 2 days without even feeling bored. I don't write reviews and in fact this is my first time to write a review here on creative live because i just feel the need to say that it's very unfair for her to be criticized liked that. I love you Bambi, I love your personality, I love your style and the information you taught were very invaluable. Thank you.

Melissa Baker Griffin

Loved the invaluable lessons! I can't wait to go through them all again. They are jam packed with valuable and tactical information that creatives on every level can take from. Her energy and personal style creates a great experience! I can only imagine how cool it would be to take a class from her in person! She is such a treat and so inspiring! I LOVE how enthusiastic Bambi is about the questions she receives and encourages phototgraphers to continue to grow, learn, and think out of the box. Thank you creative live! I feel like there should've been something like fire works at the end because she did outstanding!

Anne Dougherty

I’ll be honest. Ms Cantrell moves very fast, but her experience, humor and confidence are infectious. I thought I would check out a lesson or two and ended up watching and listening to her entire program. She is clear about her process and why it works so well. Her portraits are beautiful, whether individual or group situations. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentations, and I am a landscape and pet photographer. But I feel like I learned a lot about seeing, and was reminded of approaches to running your own creative business that are valuable for anyone. I have been very impressed by the professional instructors in every one of the CreativeLive courses I’ve watched or bought. It’s not every professional who can teach! I know. I am one who could not handle classroom situations. So happy I was able to join in on these classes. Thank you, Bambi, for all of your energy, and for sharing your knowledge with all of us. This was quite a ride!