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Posing Guidance for Her

Lesson 3 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

Posing Guidance for Her

Lesson 3 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

3. Posing Guidance for Her

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of the lesson is posing guidance for engagement photography, specifically focusing on the pose for the female subject.


  1. What is contrapposto and why is it a good pose for both guys and girls?

Contrapposto is when the weight is shifted to one leg, creating a relaxed and natural pose. It is a good pose for both guys and girls because it looks more relaxed and can create a more visually appealing shape.

  1. What is the goal for posing girls in engagement photography?

The goal for posing girls is to create an hourglass shape, emphasizing the shape of the waist and hips.

  1. How can the hourglass effect be achieved with posing?

The hourglass effect can be achieved by having the girl stand with a narrow stance, bringing the legs together at the base and creating an open hip by bending one knee forward and across the front.

  1. How should the arms be posed for engagement photography?

For engagement photography, it is important to create space between the hands and the sides of the body. The hands can be relaxed and drawn up slightly to create a natural and simple look.

  1. How should the female subject walk during a walking scene?

The female subject should walk with a heel over toe motion, with the toe pointed back to where it came from. This will create a shifting of the hips from side to side and cross the legs over, resulting in a more feminine and visually appealing pose.

Next Lesson: Foundational Posing


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

Posing Guidance for Her

So guidance for her. There are certain things that are gonna be similar, there are certain things that are gonna be different. And by the way with systems and frameworks, these are rules so you guys can understand the principles, these are rules so you guys can understand the hows and the whys, they are rules for you guys to also break and I want you guys to remember that but that rules are meant to be broken, it's just you need to understand when to break them and when it looks okay to break them and we'll get there. So generally with the feet, what's funny is you're kind of already doing it a little, by the way, there was one thing I forgot to mention, the way that you're standing right now, do that again, okay. Why don't you do that, put your weight on one side. This is Italian, it's called contrapposto, this is the only thing I remember from my high school art class, is this pose, I don't know why, you show me like a statue of David, and he's like contrapposto and I'm like, that's ...

the best word ever and I remember, that's the one thing I remember. Okay so contrapposto is your weight on one leg, Italian word for your weight on one leg. It's generally, this is a great pose for guys and girls. Guys can get away standing flat footed okay, it's not a big deal if a guy is standing flat footed. But it looks more relaxed to have the weight shifted to one side or the other side. So that's great. Now, for the ladies, well what we're gonna do, so let's start from the feet and generally we're gonna do with a more narrow stance and the reason why is I want your legs to actually come together at the base. And what we're gonna do with the knees is we're gonna kind of drop a toe, so you can drop a toe back, you can cross it over, you can go in the front, you can bend the knee across. Every one of these is totally perfect but what we're trying to do is we're trying to create the hour glass effect. With girls, our goal is different than with guys right. Guys, we want to make them look bulky, we want to bring out, the ultimate shape that a guy is achieving to get, do you guys know what it is. Triangle. Yeah, did someone say triangle, it's the trapezoidal triangle. Now, I'm not there yet. But that's what we're going for. So we want our shoulders to drop in to the waist and create this trapezoid triangle type shape up here. With girls, what is the shape that we're going for? Hourglass. Hourglass. So what we do is, as soon as I do this, watch, I can take my masculinity, now that's not very masculine, me doing this. But I can do this and then as soon as I go, right. So what happens is, if you look, we can see a slimming point right at her knees so what we want to do is bring a knee like can I bring this knee forward and across the front. There you go. So we create an open hip, a slimming point and if they have a dress on, what you get is you get a little pull in the dress across the front and so you can actually see the shape of her leg and it creates a beautiful look and so forth. So with that, what we typically will do is if you're, if you're hugging onto Travis, so why don't you guys face each other and hug, you're gonna drop a toe, so leave one toe kind of back, exactly. So we kind of always do something with the feet, just so that she's not flat footed, she always has a hip kind of tip to the side. Alright, come out of that, I know you guys are perfect together and love doing that but you'll have plenty of time for it so don't worry. Okay so, with the knees closed, the hip is kicked and generally with, you're gonna have a side that you're more comfortable kicking towards right. Usually most girls have a side. This is my side, this is like, this feels weird, do you have your side? Yep. Okay, which is your side. Good. Looks good. By the way if she doesn't know, you can actually have them do that, so let me see you take it to both sides and what you generally see is that because of our muscles and the way that we do this, one side will kick further than the other so one side is actually more limber and loose and so you'll see a greater curve when you kick to the side that they naturally go to. So when I kick to this side I can actually push my hip out much further than when I go to this side. It's creepy that I kick to this side that much that I can get more curve, but let's just move on. Alright so that's why. So you can actually look at them straight on and be like, okay yeah let me do it and then you see okay, perfect, I want you to kick to the left side, I want you to do that from here on out by identifying it. Okay, well the guy with his arms, we kinda just talked about palms in the pocket, that's cool, it's great, we don't need to worry too much. You know if we can't see through here and by the way I already did the whole, I'm kinda touchy feely thing, I always start that off before. Whenever I walk over to a client, before I make contact with them, I say hey, I'm kinda touchy feely, I kinda like to put you guys in poses, is that okay? And then usually the guy is like yeah, go for it and I'm like that's weird that you're so cool with me doing that but yeah let me start with you and I'll kinda make it into a joke and stuff and we kinda start doing our thing, but yeah, always ask permission before. So do I have permission to kind of, okay, you can, do I have, you're good. Yes. You're good. Okay so what we're gonna talk about is number six is straight, her arm space. So with a guy they can hang their hands down the side but with a girl, if we put your hands right at the side, if you put your hands down at the side, it makes it look like your chest goes from here to here and what we need to do is create space. Now supermodels, you know what supermodels do, can you do it? So I don't feel so silly, there we go. So they do this right, granted this works, it's done a lot because it works fantastically well, it's just for an engagement pose, for engagement photography of couples, it's a little bit on the fashiony side and also I feel like a little bit on the over the top, maybe a little bit overdone side, so I try and make it a little more subtle. All we need is space to put our hands through. Okay so if you imagine, let your arms drop to your side and then just, what you're gonna do is let the hands hit the thigh and drop a little bit. As long as I can put space between the hand and the side, as long as we can see through those gaps, then we're good, that's all you need. Which means if she wants to just let her hand relax, all you do is you have her relax the hand and draw it up a little bit and then it will look really nice and simple. Okay, and then the other thing is, you have kind of a loose Bohemian kind of top on right now. So what we're gonna probably do is we're gonna do a clothing pin so if for later when we start shooting. Do you guys know that clothing pins are called C47s. Is that not the weirdest thing in the world? I say this because they're in production too. So a clothing pin, it's called a C47 on set. Give me some C47s and a DB8 and an RTDT and a, I don't, the story is, back in the day, some guy was making these clothing pins and they were trying to sell em to Hollywood sets and they're like if you call em clothing pins, they'll look like ten cents, let's call em C47s, they're much more advanced, but it's just a wooden clothing pin, and now it's called a C47. Tangents, I'm a big guy on tangents, just so you guys know. Alright, so with our hands. Generally again, when we're not posing the hands, it's the same rules, we need to give a purpose, a reason to the hands, if not leave them at rest. One thing that we didn't talk about yet which we will, I think get to if not we'll mention it. And then neck is extended out slightly, just the same as the guys and then the walking thing is gonna be a little bit different. So normally, like guys and gals, we walk like this, this makes kind of sense, it feels comfortable. I teach my girls how to walk heel over toe with the toe pointed back. Okay so what we're gonna have you do is you're gonna take a step, always let your hips kick on a step and then you're cross the heel over, the toe points back to where it came from and cross over, toe points back. Do you guys see what it's doing to our hips, hmm hmm. He was doing it better, let's try it again. (laughter) I'm just kidding. Please don't say online that I'm doing it better, that would wreck my confidence for the entire day. Okay so what that does is hopefully if you do that again and just focus on her hips, you can see the hips shift from side to side. So in a walk, whenever you are taking shots, when you fire that shot during a walking scene, you're freezing them for that moment, correct. So what we want to do is, we wanna freeze them when the legs are crossed over and the hip is kicked. And if you do this walk, then almost every capture, the knees are going over and the legs are crossed over and you're good. If you don't do the walk then what happens is you get a bunch of shots where the legs are open and apart on the girl's side and that looks masculine. By the way that's not a bad thing, it's not a bad thing to make your girls look masculine if that's the purpose of your shoot. There'll be fashion shoots all the time where they do a stance like this right. Like crazy legs like open like it's that power stance, I just like doing this, it's a lot of fun. Okay so that's just not the purpose of what we're trying to do with engagement photos.

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