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Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The lesson introduces the topic of incredible engagement photography and emphasizes the importance of consistently delivering incredible images. The instructor discusses the six steps involved in achieving this goal, which include communication, planning, posing, lighting, shooting, and processing. The instructor also highlights the significance of understanding the "why" behind photography techniques rather than just memorizing the "how." Additionally, the lesson touches on the importance of creating systems and processes in order to expand a photography business beyond handling everything personally. The instructor provides examples of different roles within a photography studio and the benefits of division of labor. The lesson concludes by introducing the Foundation Posing Framework, which starts from five foundational feet positions.


  1. What is the goal of incredible engagement photography?

    The goal is to consistently deliver incredible images.

  2. What are the six steps involved in achieving this goal?

    The six steps are communication, planning, posing, lighting, shooting, and processing.

  3. Why is it important to understand the "why" behind photography techniques?

    Understanding the "why" helps photographers to not only memorize techniques but internalize them, leading to a deeper understanding and better results.

  4. What is the importance of creating systems and processes in a photography business?

    Creating systems and processes allows for the delegation of tasks and the ability to handle more work, ultimately leading to business growth.

  5. What is the Foundation Posing Framework?

    The Foundation Posing Framework starts from five foundational feet positions and serves as a system for building effective poses.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Posing Guidance for Him


Posing Guidance for Her


Foundational Posing


Posing Touch Points


Couples Body Language


Posing Three Point Check


Posing Tips with Demo


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Welcome to Incredible Engagement Photography, we're gonna have a blast on this course. Now, I wanted to give you guys just a quick heads up for those that are in this audience as well as those at home, I want questions, I need feedback, I want you guys to actually get involved with the class and please like ask questions, we like to keep questions that are a little bit more on topic, we'll cover a lot in this entire course, but feel free to ask your questions, if you're online, Ken is gonna be kind of feeding me questions as we go and if you're here, at any time, guys, raise your hands, I want you guys asking and talking and if something makes sense and you're like, "That was amazing," you can give me like a boom, this guy likes an amen, Hallelujah. Hallelujah is a good one, like just make sound effects, either way, (audience laughing) but just let me know when something like makes sense, so that way we can kind of vibe with each other, if you get me. Alright, I'm gonna grab my cli...

cker, I should give you like a little heads up, by the way, my name is Pye and I have a kind of a story, I don't know if it's a colorful background, I don't know, I'm just gonna say I'm a little bit weird, a little bit awkward, that's kind of my energy, it's my vibe, go with it. I'm an Iranian kid, that grew up in Utah and became Mormon, married a Chinese girl to have kids that speak only Mandarin and I've been in like an existential, existential, is that how you say that word, existential? Yes. I've been in my identity crisis for like 35 years, okay, that's my age, so just roll with it. Let's go and we're gonna talk today about well, why we're here and it's to take Incredible and Engaging Photos, that our mission, our mission inside of our studio is consistently incredible images and the keyword here, the word that I love is consistently, right, because as a professional photographer, it's always, well, it's kind of a bummer as a client, if someone hires you to not be delivering that consistent product every time, time and time out, regardless of the weather, how you're feeling, your moods, your emotions, whatever it is, consistently incredible images is our goal and it's really the only time, that I feel like we can call ourselves professionals is if we can deliver always, okay, so consistently incredible images is our purpose and how do we get there though? Well, we found that, actually I think I skipped one, nope, I'm good, we found that it takes several different steps in the course of shooting at, it doesn't matter what you're doing, whether it's an engagement, a wedding, whether we're doing commercial work, fitness, it takes these six different steps, communication, planning, these two things are generally done beforehand, communication and planning, we're generally gonna do those before we actually go out on a shoot. Do I need to walk over to the screen? I don't know, it's like so big and enticing, like it just makes me wanna touch it, okay, posing, lighting, shooting, I mean, the technical sides are these sides, right, posing, lighting, shooting and processing, those are like the technical components of being a great photographer, the problem is is about 80% of your success is gonna be in this area right here and about 20% is gonna fall into the other areas and so we wanna spend quite a bit of time talking about the 80% and the reason why we say that is because you could be the most amazing technical photographer, you could know your lighting, you could know everything, I would consider myself a technical photographer and you can completely botch a shoot by not understanding what a client actually needs or wants, they might see a certain image that you've created and they might just love the pose and when they say, "I love this photograph," you go out and you do that lighting and you do everything, but you don't do the pose and then they're like, "Oh well, it's okay, but I thought you were gonna do it "like this exact thing that I wanted," so, so much of that relies on communication and planning. Alright, and this is what I want you guys to do is I mentioned that I want you guys to ask questions, this is a Chinese character, I wanted to talk about this for one second, my job in our company is to create processes and systems relating to photography and relating to post production, that's it and I found that in learning anything, asking the question of how generally results in memorization, asking the question of why something is done will result in internalization and what that means basically is I don't want you guys to remember something today or tomorrow, that's how we do things for tests, right, when you guys were in high school and college and so forth, we learned how something was done, so we could pass a test, but then the classes that you really enjoyed and where you really dove in, you probably still remember a lot of the things that you learned, because you were asking why instead. So this is the Chinese character for love and if I were to say Catherine, I'm gonna show you the next slide, can you recreate that character and just draw it from memory? I could show you how, like the how is basically you start with this one and you go one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, it's really difficult to try and memorize a, and by the way, I had to learn, when, I speak Cantonese and Mandarin, so I didn't actually learn how to read Chinese and every character, every word is a pictograph essentially and you're memorizing these images and I was like that's so impossible to memorize these images, well, what if I learned the process or the why of how these characters actually work and characters we find, they are actually broken into different components, they call them booshos, okay, these components of a character are actually what makes up the word itself, so if I told you that, well, most of this character is made up of this word, which you've already learned, this is to receive, to suffer, to bear, to accept and to do that with heart or to receive somebody with your heart to bear from the center of your being, those two things combined mean love and so when I actually learned that, it was a world of difference, because it was easy for me to memorize stuff, that was like that simple and to understand those things and then to build and to put those things together, so as we go through this entire course, I want everybody asking the how, because the how is important, don't get me wrong, how to adjust your flash, how to adjust your camera settings, those things are important, but the why is gonna be even more important, so as we get to certain components like any of these areas, communication, planning, posing, lighting, shooting, processing, ask me why. Alright, this is one little caveat, as a partner or owner, your responsibility lies in the creation of systems, this is a rule for us inside of our studio and I would like you guys to kind of internalize this, because every one of you for the most part, our studio literally is composed of 40 plus in studio on a Monday to Friday basis and 80 people on the roster basically, so we have people that handle every single different task, from accounting to sales to just meeting, we have a person that just blogs, okay, if you're getting started, every single thing, Steve is on you, you're doing all of it, start to finish, every single thing is on you guys, so you are the partner, you are the owner and your responsibility should not be in the day to day grind, it should be in the creation of your systems and processes, so that way you can create a system of production and hand it off to somebody, create a system of client engagement and hand it off to somebody, that's the only way you'll ever grow beyond shooting 15, 20 weddings, 30 weddings a year, because there's just not enough time in the day for you all to be handling everything. So just out of, sake of interest and whatnot and in talking about what we do, I'll tell you what we do in the company. This is the best headshot I've ever had taken in my entire life, I love it, so my job is photography, processing and education, those are the three components that I do in the studio, so I create all the education, not only for our studio, but then also for SLR Lounge and that's it. Justin, aside from being professionally good looking, both of them are good looking, aren't they? Man, I'm just admiring my partners for a second, alright, Justin is in sales management training, so this is the funny thing, is that Justin was selling our wedding packages and getting 3,000 and 4,0000 dollar sales, when we first started, like a year or two years into it, before we even really had the confidence and ability to be able to actually deliver on that and that's not me saying to go out and do this, that's just saying that having him focus on that area was incredible for our studio, because he's so good at sales and presence and charisma and so forth, that he was able to really build and develop that process, so he does sales, management and internal training, meaning that I'll create the education, he makes sure that that education goes into all of the associate shooters that we have in the company. Chris handles marketing, SEO/social, website, Chris has become our online marketing guru, like we're listed number one organically on search and our images are everywhere, because of all the time and work, that he's put into it, so having those two kind of focus in that area helped us to really launch the studio very quickly. So throughout this course, we have several different public service announcements, we're gonna call them PSAs, they can also be photographer service announcements or Pye service announcements, do you see how that works? It's three levels, guys, it's on three levels, most of my acronyms work on two levels, this is on three, I'm extremely excited about that, (audience laughing) but we're gonna have these just to kind of break things up a little bit, so by having us each focused, I really was able to master my posing and lighting skills. This is an advanced pose that we'll get to, (audience laughing) maybe in the next course. Justin, again, his presence and charisma allowed him to really be able to deliver, in terms of selling clients and Chris, well, it took like, this was a photo that we took 20 years ago, when he came out to visit us, this is actually Chris right there, me mugging it and we took his face and replaced it on his Mom and his brother and his sister and everybody else, because it took him 20 years to master this, I mean, this, that look takes time to practice, so division of labor, that's what I'm trying to say right now. But seriously, those kind of things in your studio, oh, sorry, this one, these kind of pictures, they were shot by that guy, that's Trevor and he's sitting right there, that is his best shot ever, (laughs) it doesn't really get any better looking than that, I don't know, honestly. Alright, so the Foundation Posing Framework, this is the first system that I wanted to kind of talk about, this is a, I've done a lot of studying of posing and the funny thing is that so much of posing is body language and there are things that we've learned throughout our, you know, time on this planet, whatever you wanna say, throughout our experience, where you look at a picture and you know when something's working and when something's not, you don't necessarily know why, but you know that there's something off about it, that's the biggest thing that I wanna talk about today, so today you could say that if you're at home, like you could say that the number one thing that I want you guys to take away from this course is to understand that when something isn't working, I want you to know exactly why it's not working, whether it's your posing, whether it's your lighting, whether it's something, that's what systems are gonna enable you all to do is to know why, because most of you as photographers, if you are getting into this industry and you are, have an eye, like our friends always say, "Oh, you have an eye for this," you guys generally know when something's wrong with the photo, we just don't know how to fix it, right, that's the issue, we don't necessarily know how to fix it and that's what systems and frameworks are gonna help with. So with Foundation Posing Framework, we found that, well, I found that most poses actually started from five different feet positions and so hence I called it foundational, because we're talking about building from the foundation up, I've done a lot of studying, in terms of, and I'm gonna give you guys a bunch of great resources, 'cause we're gonna dive quite a bit into posing here, but beyond that, there's so much more and I'm working on an actual book for Foundation Posing, but that's gonna take time, so in the meanwhile I have great resources for you guys to check out.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Pre-Shoot Videos
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Presets Installation Guide
Gear Guide
Favorite Software
Lightroom Presets

Ratings and Reviews

CPR Photography

I think Pye Jirsa is one of the best, if not the best, instructor for photography on Creative Live. He is very personable, smart and approachable. He has a perfect blend of personality (comments, laughs, tangents..) to the amount of instruction. He asks the questions for you, because he knows you are thinking those questions right then. He's very good about identifying settings, gear, etc.. and not leaving us in the dark about how he "got the shot". He goes into great detail. His instructions flow, but are linear, which is helpful. He's very organized, and you can tell that he really put a lot of work into his presentations (slides, video, test shoots, live teaching, graphics, etc..) I have been listening to him for like 10 hours straight, and still haven't gotten tired of him. He keeps things moving, He's very funny too. Nice job, I've learned so much. :)

a Creativelive Student

This course was AMAZING. I'd say int he past year or two I've fallen into a slump. Uninspired by my surroundings and uninspired by my clients. As a result, it showed through my work. My posing suffered as well and more than a handful of times some of my shoots became more than awkward. Then I bought this course and watched most of it in the course of a day. I walked away inspired, blown away, and renewed. The next day I walked into an engagement session confident. I gave my couples a quick overview on posing and then we just had fun in front of the camera. Immediately afterwards they texted me about how amazing their shoot was and how relaxed I made them feel about posing. The photos turned out fantastic to say the least. I've since shot several more engagement sessions and each one of them has been amazing. If anything, this course should inspire photographers to think outside the box and provide you with the necessary skills to take incredible engagement photos. Thank you Pye and Creative Live! I cannot speak more highly of this course. I should also state I purchased Pye's Natural Light course on SLR Lounge: this course is a wonderful addition to that. If you already own the natural light course and are hesitant about purchasing this one, don't. Buy it and reap the benefits!


This is by far one of the best courses I have taken. Pye makes learning fun and easy to understand. I feel like I have learned so much throughout the course, that I have truly advanced my photography skills. I am so excited to get out there and try so many of the techniques that he showed. I would love to take another course of his. The pricing for the course doesn't even compare to how wonderful the education truly is, I really got more than my money's worth on this one.

Student Work