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Posing Basics for Connection

Lesson 7 from: Family Photography: Capturing Connection

Julia Kelleher

Posing Basics for Connection

Lesson 7 from: Family Photography: Capturing Connection

Julia Kelleher

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Lesson Info

7. Posing Basics for Connection


Class Trailer

Day 1




Psychology of Parenthood


The Power of a Story


Composition and Color


Psychology of New Parent and Connecting


Pre-Session Questionnaire


Posing Basics for Connection


Lesson Info

Posing Basics for Connection

Posing basics the general rules let's get into this really quickly okay these air general and I say this very intently these air general rules rules are made to be broken and let me tell you when you have a difficult child or difficult baby the rules can go out the window just get the good image don't sacrifice connection for posing okay so just kind of six things to know about about posing ito understand lens choice compression camera angle for shortening focal plane and when I call the rule of offset heads it's not really a rule it's just kind of a thing it's all spent I think harlot the rule of triangles to or whatever but I'll demonstrate all of these affect the final image so belinda has was graciously enough to volunteer to help me demonstrate this but I want to show you what lens choice does okay this is pretty amazing a wide angle lens versus a normal fifty millimeter lands which everybody thinks is ok I should a lot without on the beanbag I mean it's on my camera lot but ever ...

since I switched to the eighty five millimeter for family and portrait by work improved tremendously because look at the difference can you see how much the compression helps with the eighty five millimeter versus the fifty okay just look at the shape of her body and what things air wider versus skinnier here her hips look look look better her shoulders look better she has not moved in a little bit she moved her hand slightly but that was it okay so lens choices incredibly important and everything's oh should I shoot you know baby with thirty five litre lens it's a lovely war they're going to get a lot of sourcing with that okay compression has to do with the distance you are from yourself we've got bigger nose looks the closer you are the subject with a wide angle lens things closer to your toe look larger sometimes that's good like with boudoir imagery I knew I think superstitious I'm only lends for some things doesn't she and it really makes the bosom look large and just accentuates things you wanna accentuate that posing is critical to that if you pose it wrong with the thirty five million once well ugly mama's not gonna like that okay so be careful um camera angle low mid high what a difference camera angle is the biggest mistake that I see most photographers make when it comes to flattering new mothers ok I am always up on a stool it drives my assistant lauren crazy because you are still a lot of time but that's still in america act I brought my stool it's got like tape on the bottom of it because it's it's the perfect height for me I love that little stool I will be very sad when it falls apart okay but low angle. Of course, the hips are lower to you. If you're shooting down low like this, the hips going closer so they're going to the thing that looks the largest. Anything closer to the camera looks larger. So when you shoot from above the face, the bosom of the breast looks larger, which is more feminine today, society and the hips look smaller. Ok, so for shortening the elbow, so when something comes towards you, it looks like you have nothing there. But the minute we put the elbow back all of a sudden we can see the line in in the subject. Okay, so be thinking about that I violate this rule lot. Okay, so posing does not have to be perfection. Okay, I think you all know what I mean by that posing has to elicit connection and it has to not be distracting. Okay? And if you can nail that, I don't care what your hands look like. Ok, this is sarah's gonna kill me. Oh, my god! I am on this green. Okay, I shoot it wide open apertures. Okay, I shoot families it like for a four point five, which isn't hugely wide, but with babies on the beanbag it's like one six, okay, it's wide with a family you have be extremely careful about your focal plane when you're shooting wide everybody's gotta be in the same plane so in this image belinda and sarah their noses are on the same plane like this she went back a foot at the most okay so break him up here so for example this is how how it looked and it's hard to tell in a two dimensional image but stare a and delinda were like this I can fix her the same focal plane yea okay then sarah went like this that's all and I took the same picture at the same stop stop was two point five thank you um and look what happened belinda is perfectly sharp and she's not a focus just slide but let me tell you blow that sucker up to four thirty by forty and it looks like okay so be very careful with focal plane my sister shoots all of her family's at one point eight with an eighty five millimeter lens I don't how she does it what did you do it just talk just talk radio everything shirt everybody is on the scene focal plane and she nailed her focus every single time I can't do it I've tried and I gave up a long time ago like that is just awesome and she learned it from modern willard I believe is in illinois very famous photographer out there and ever since she's just done that and that's how it is okay the rule of offset heads basically no head should intersect the line so her head this way and this way she's the only one who has a point here does that make sense so you want you don't want any head to be right on top of one another or right next to each other it's tio help you kind of see this another way think of it as triangles be able to make triangles with noses and you can make any kind of trial we want just as long as the line stoning sacked the noses two noses are not on the same line does that make sense and that rule alone will really help you create dynamic family portrait that have some composition to them okay now that's not to say that doing a side by side que tal family portrait is not wrong it's awesome, super cute and totally different but it's purposeful what is awkward is when you have one head below and everything else is is out of alignment then you're like a little during okay so keep that in mind there are seven body parts that you should really nail and pay attention to ok the chin the nose, the shoulders, the arms, the hands on hips in the feet who wants to be my next on here she was down you don't have to it's okay you want to go for him? Okay. It's. Michelle, right. Okay, so what I want you to do is stand right here, hips wide apart, just like this. Okay, she has to shoulder, so she has to elbows. She has two hands. She has two hips. She has two legs and two feet. None of them should be on the same plane. Now, if it's purposeful. Fine. Okay, put your weight on one foot. Really? Pop that hip out, baby. Ah ha! Now go to the way, which feels better. Keep your leg straight. I want that high fashion kind of oh, yeah. I'm going to start with you. I'm not here you go. You are so cute, too. Okay? And then hits to the left, which looks more comfortable to her. Widen your stance. That looks more comfortable. Doesn't. You can tell people you have a good side. What happened to her hands when I did that? Let me have a yard. Stick her along a long stick. One of these pipe cleaners actually might work pretty well when I was cleaners. Thank you. Okay, stand up. Nice and straight. Like we were in the begin. A straight line straight line now pop the hips, they just tilted. I can accentuate that even mohr by having a proper hip out even more okay this is kind of high fashion but now all of a sudden this hands lower than that hand isn't it okay her shoulders are still the same so pop the hips her shoulders are still the same like this okay, but now what if I said to her drop the left shoulder yeah now all of a sudden we went but like that so I'm just breaking apart the body feet pop the hands pop the hip all of a sudden we're on a different plane now if I go like this we're even on we've told the shoulders and then it's just a matter of getting the head in the right light and the nose in the correct angle of the chin up and down goes to the floor do you see what I'm saying so if anything if you have two of anything you should try to get it on a different plane so that nothing is perfectly vertical or horizontal same is the rule of heads rule that makes sense let's do some exercises belinda bless her heart can you hear me? Stumper agreed to help me with some bear since we didn't have any I think it's it's funny because it takes the element of the baby out of it which is nice um this is stunt mirror okay how I suggest you get some air because putting this in your client's arms beforehand helps them feel comfortable with the vulnerability of the pose okay sometimes parents especially for you and I we do this all the time like oh yeah baby safe no problem don't worry about it parents don't necessarily think so so if you put the the stunt bear in there first and say this is what you're going to be doing they go okay that feels good and they learned they practiced its practices stump there first and then they can do it with the real baby so stuffed bear is going to be little star of the show here okay so learning to see poses what looks good in three dimension does not looking into we all know that correct so your left brain makes a junk adjustments and thinks it looks good so I'm gonna ask you and teach you how to shift from left brain thinking too right brain okay so how do you do that shutting off the left brain I want you to look at this pose what's wrong with it can you see it better make it smaller sometimes when you make the image smaller on the screen you see the flaws more where does your eye focus to close your eyes now open where's your I focus too it's not easy I picked a hard one what's wrong with it emily's got it and once I pointed out to you really cautious friend the wary of me that he's got the claw. Okay, now, this was a very awkward dad. He didn't it was hard for him to connect, and so I sacrificed the pose for the connection because he doesn't care what his hand looks like. He cares that he loves that baby and it shows in the image I sell feeling not poses. Okay, so I'm going to go for the feeling before I'm going to go for the post, so keep that in mind, but once you start seeing these flaws in your work, you'll be like it'll just drive you crazy. Okay, so breaking into the body parts we what's wrong with this post this is a little harder to I know it's not easy to see what could you do to improve it shoulder a little bit but what's the big glaring problem here hit she's like this and I just went like this and cole are sid camel looks bigger, high like my hips, you know I mean really comes down to it. I don't mean to be embarrassing, but if that's true, all of a sudden her, her, her bosom and her shoulders of the accentuation hips or not, by the way she is twenty weeks pregnant that's why she's got a lot going on so but this applies maturity so I think it was a good she was a good choice to use ok so the hip position when you shift the hips away from the camera I always tell my clients put your weight on the back foot okay really helps a lot makes a huge difference okay what is wrong with this one there's a couple things wrong with it I only fixed one of them lantian yes the chin position when you bury the chin it makes it look smaller okay bringing it up allows you to the face and it's the same thing with a newborn on the beam back you know how many images I see of newborn time the americans shouldn't talk that way and you see the eyes but you can barely see the lift the chin pull that china ok same rules apply the babies as they do the older people okay what about this one? She actually pulls this off really well but it is slightly awkward shoulder I simply went like that and all of a sudden we improve the pot's greatly look how much more slender her arm looks just by going well okay okay next this one's pretty easy I don't get this one hands okay in classic portraiture again rules are made to be broken you don't want to see the back of a woman's hands does it happen to me all the time? You betcha okay, it is hard especially you have got a awkward baby's awake. Mom's trying to control the legs is squirming everywhere. It's really hard to get this correct. But if you've got a sleeping baby, seeing the sides of a woman's hands is much more feminine than the back. So if you could do that, go for it. Watch it carefully. So using poses for connection, taking them the rules and applying them for emotion sacrifice connection for the post. Ok, it's. Really important what I tell my clients is here to see me do this this afternoon. I try to take them into the moment of the image so I condition them initially. And I say things like your baby will not fit here again. So enjoy this because it's the last time this will happen. And I'm gonna do my darndest to make sure that we capture the stealing and I will say it like that. And I mean it. I mean, I'm kind of forcing it for you guys, but I mean it. So what? Ideo teo, make them forget the camera is there to create that connection with me. I tell them to close their eyes and their effect. I mean I show a lot of this on my website and on facebook because clients want to see it but I don't like the images of the land I'm looking at the camera I actually prefer the ones where their eyes are closed or they're looking at their baby or it's about the baby not the parent um and you know we could go into the deep psychological reasons about why that is but I won't go there I tell them to close their eyes and just listen to my voice all they have to do is listen to what I asked them to do and follow direction and I will help them through the entire thing they don't have to think about anything if I asked him to make small if I asked him if I ask you to make movements keep them very small and subtle I'll tell you if I need more okay so I tell them to listen to my voice I use a very soft tone okay very warm soft this is going to be an enjoyable peaceful experience okay all that has impact I tell them to breathe in and smell their baby I want you to turn your noes georgia baby and just breathe them in and I want you to remember what it felt like the first time you felt the little popcorn tickle your belly the first kicks and you will just see the face go and her expression just becomes so authentic and real okay. And that's, on the count of three, you're gonna look at me one, two, three and it's just this beautiful expression of the camera's not there anymore. So find these techniques and immediately they go back into you get one chance. I mean, they open their eyes is like snapped. You get that's the moment because they immediately go back into oh, my god there's a camera on me. So you have to constantly get them back and forth into this feeling of and then eventually they start to get more comfortable with it and helps. But when you take their mind away from the present action that's occurring meaning they're having their photograph taken, you're going to connect with him on a lot deeper level. Finally, safety I can't do this whole class without talking about safety. It cannot be stressed enough. You guys know this, but I would be a terrible person if I didn't say it. You're not a tempos you cannot do safely. This is a composite. Okay? There were never hands not touching this baby when we did this. It was all photoshopped out don't attempt to do things that you cannot be safe with, okay, hygiene, hand sanitizer is our religion around our studio, okay? Apu pile last about this, but I have a laundry basket. Parents love to see that when I the minute I put a laundry basket into my studio parents, all of a sudden I had this comfort level knowing that I was sanitary. I mean, it's a little thing, but it makes a big difference, especially to the first time moms get vaccinated flew in for texas. No there's arguments against that. I know there's controversy in it, but you need to treat yourself like you are in a queue. Nurse, you are handling babies that are young and have no immune system developed, and if you don't protect them, let me tell you about shane hey, don't put yourself in that position, okay? Parents are usually nervous, they don't know what to do. Okay, so you need to help them through this. Even if only photographed two or three babies in your life, you probably know more than the first time parent does. Okay, so kind. I always say the photographers take until you make it. I mean, don't do something stupid, but fake it till you make it show that confidence and let that mom be confident in you, that you are going to treat their baby, that a cz if they were your own. Okay um for some houses baby simply must be sleeping it's it's just a fact and that we may run into that this afternoon and we won't but sometimes you can't do it maybe not sleeping okay, but there are plenty of places you can do if they aren't so we'll go there too explain the coat the post first then execute so use stunt bear on keeping insistent close by to spot the baby I worked for years without assistance okay there's three points of contact for safety with a newborn baby pose is typically the hands and the chest always use those three points there are some poses that do not have three points you better have a spotter there. The moral reflects that startle reflex any of you who have ever photographed newborns babies will just jerk awake it's called the moral reflects and it's instinctual in every single baby it's a survival mechanism so they will just out of nowhere I mean I can't tell you I mean, there was just a few weeks ago lauren and I were working on the bean bag and I went to go back and shoot the baby won't just like flew up and saying god she was there that able to roll right after being back okay, so that's why she is their main reason is because of safety okay, um finding an assistant trust me so tiffany, for those of you who knew tiffany from the last workshop, she went out to do her own thing. She has her own studio now in ben, and I'm really happy for. So lauren came on board and there were forty five applicants for her position within a week at my studio. Okay, it's. Not hard to find the job we do. The creativity involved the fun of working with babies to most. I mean, you and I it's every day, but to most people that's like, wow, what an opportunity that sounds soul fun. What a cool job and you can pay them per job you don't have to, like bring him on is a full time employee if you don't want they work when you work, pam, when you work, build it into your session fee. Yeah, they have to have flexible hours, but a lot of people are willing to do that to work in a cool job at a cool place in a creative environment.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

BD Design Cards
Butterfly ClamShell Lighting Set Up
Newborn Posing Design
Newborn Prepartion Sheet
Standard Lighting Set Up
Studio Gift Card
Gear Guide
Downloads with RSVP

Ratings and Reviews

Natalia Malinko

This is the second course with Julia I have seen. And it's amazing and very inspiring in so many ways! I appreciate so much the honesty of Julia, her spirit for doing things she loves. Like a photographer and artist myself, I feel identified with her perception of world and the passion for artistic and family photography. This course is about never give up, it's about hard work, and also it's about cultivating creativity and honesty. I highly recommended this course to every photographer who want to grow and understand himself and the business of professional high-quality photography. Thanks, Julia and Creative Live, for this one!

a Creativelive Student

So glad I bought this class - well and truly worth the investment. This course has helped me realise why it is so important to make an emotional connection and how to use it to my advantage {while giving my clients the very best too}. I cannot wait to try some new printing/mounting glad Julia was kind enough to share this! I got a lot out of this course and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to take their newborn photography business to the next level.

Jenny White

This class was amazing!!! Julia does a great job of showing her process, how she captures beautiful images from start to finish. It was worth every dollar I spent!!

Student Work