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Posing Questions

Lesson 11 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

11. Posing Questions

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of this lesson is engagement photography posing, specifically addressing how to pose couples during a kiss and how to pose heavier-set couples in a flattering way.


  • How can couples be posed during a kiss without looking awkward?
  • Couples can be instructed to go in for a close pose, wrap each other up, pucker their lips, and then interlock their lips slightly instead of puckering, which creates a more natural and pleasing look.
  • Why is a small pucker sometimes necessary during a kiss pose?
  • In wider shots, a small pucker is needed to show the kiss, as interlocking lips can block the view of the kiss and ruin the silhouette.
  • How should a heavier-set couple be posed to flatter their figures?
  • The photographer should not ignore the fact that the couple is heavier-set but should still see their beauty and work with it in the pose. For example, the couple can be in an open pose to the camera, but the woman can hug onto the man's arm and let her shoulder tip behind his slightly to partially conceal and make her look more trim.
  • How can a photographer ask about a preferred side without making the client self-conscious?
  • The photographer can ask simple and matter-of-fact questions, such as if they have a preferred side or if they have a better side, to get straightforward answers without hurting the client's confidence.
  • How can the photographer determine the client's preferred side if they don't know?
  • The photographer can do a finger check, where the client is asked to point their chin at the photographer's finger and keep their eyes on the photographer's eyes, to assess the symmetry in their face. If the client has a preference for a certain side, the photographer can use that side for shooting. If not, the photographer can default to the side that their hair is parted on, as it is generally the preferred side.


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 Questions

So let's do a couple of quick questions before we do head to our first break. When I've had couples kiss, they go-- Yeah. And they, it looks so awkward. So do you have any-- Yes. Can I bring my models out again? 'Cause I'm not going to do this with Trevor. (audience laughs) That would just be strange. Mainly because we're both married and our wives are probably watching this. You know. Kay. So, when you guys kiss, can you guys go in for a close pose? Close each other up, wrap each other up. There you go. Perfect. And go in for a kiss. And then pucker the lips. Kay. (man laughs) So if you get the pucker, what we usually say is interlock so instead of puckering, just interlock the lips a little bit. Perfect. And what that is is this. So you can actually just say, I use my fingers and I go, these are your lips, this is his lips and I want them to go like this. (audience laughs) So, so that's how we would get through that. But it does happen a lot. The funny thing is that sometimes...

, you actually want a little bit of the pucker because you can't see the kiss otherwise. Especially if you're shooting a little bit wider and you're getting a wide portrait, you actually need the pucker 'cause when they interlock, do the interlock thing again. You notice how their noses and everything mixes up in the center. You actually kill your silhouette. Like if you need a profile shot, you kill it. So what we do is we say, actually, go into, you guys are already in a close pose so hold hands in the center and then just take a step apart from each other on both sides. Lean across from the hips and go for a kiss in the center and just pucker the lips and kiss. Kay. So this gives us a much better silhouette shot, and you can even pucker like mm. Yeah. Kay. So shooting wide and getting this as a silhouette actually works really really nicely to have a small pucker 'cause the interlock kills your silhouette detail of the faces. But close up, yeah, do the interlock. Yes. Alright. Great. Well we have, you might want to stay there 'cause we have some more posing what if questions, I don't know, maybe not. What if. This one has a lot of votes. This is from Claire Photo who says, I would love to know how to work with a more heavy set couple. What angles would be more flattering for both the men and the women? Totally. Not that you are a heavy set. (she laughs) No no no, that's a question that we get a lot. I didn't realize how I'd flied through those slides. That truth tangent about adoring your clients and seeing the beauty, this is the number one thing that I would say to every single person is first, make sure that that is your mindset when you go into a shoot is that you can see their beauty, you see them for who they are but do not be ignorant to the fact that they might be heavier set. Do not ignore the fact that they might be heavier or don't ignore the fact that if someone has facial features on one side of their face that are not as flattering as the other side, don't ignore that. Don't pretend like it doesn't exist. Just see them for who they are. See them for their beauty and work with that in your pose. And the reason I say this is because if I do something like this, if Danielle were to be heavier set, and I said, Danielle, I want you to just put your body behind his shoulder a little bit, and then hug onto him right there. If I did that, she would know exactly why I did that. Okay? And I've seen this happen so much, where the photographer will actually put the person's body behind a door or something. Like oh, let's put 'em behind a door, let's put 'em behind the other person, let's do this kind of thing. And it's very obnoxious. It will destroy her self confidence and it sends your shoot down a really negative way. But if I said, oh this is, okay. So what I want you guys to do is, this is again why we go back to the foundation posing. Guys, Danielle, I want you guys to be in an open pose to the camera but I want you to hug onto his arm and just let your shoulder tip behind his a little bit. Perfect. And look down towards this side. Oh my gosh, you look amazing. Look down towards this side. And effectively, what we've done is we're gonna make sure hip is kicked, so we reveal her figure and her form and we've now used him to partially conceal and make her look more trim. And we've done it without bringing attention to it. When it comes down to things like, do you have a preferred side? You guys saw how I asked. Hey, do you guys have a preferred side? These are very matter-of-fact questions that if you treat it as simple and matter-of-fact and straight-forward, you get simple and straight-forward answers without having people's confidence hurt but if you say, do you have a better side? Or do you have a good side? Then that gets in their head as okay, now he knows that I have one side that's negative or one side that's worse than the other and so forth. If they don't know, I'll do the finger check. This is actually perfect 'cause I didn't get to show this. So the finger check is this. So, Danielle tells me, oh I don't really have a preference. You go okay, what I want you to do is look, point your chin at my finger and then keep your eyes on mine. I know this is kinda tricky. And then keep your chin on my finger and eyes towards me. Perfect. Chin on my finger and eyes towards me. Perfect. Kay. Now, what we're looking for is kind of the symmetry in the face and everything like that and Danielle has a perfectly symmetrical face which, she's a model, so yeah. But even if they didn't, I would say, oh, you have an amazingly symmetrical face. Give them that bit of confidence right afterwards, where after you do a check like that and then you say, but you know what, I noticed that your hair is actually parted to this side. Rule of thumb, and I think for your case, this is actually, the rule is not gonna apply but rule of thumb is we generally part to the side that we prefer. It's a subconscious body language thing again. Okay, so eight or nine out of 10 times, if you can't figure it out, that'll be the correct way to pose 'em. And then, even if it's not the right way to pose them, I wanna show you one thing. Now, Danielle you said you actually preferred this side, right? So, one thing to notice, if she likes that side, perfect, we're gonna shoot from that side. But do you guys notice that the part of her hair is actually towards this side? Kay. So Danielle, if you were to look at the audience and bring your chin over this way to my finger. There you go, perfect. So as you guys see, shooting into the open side of the part makes the face look larger actually than it is because you show more skin, more forehead area. Whereas if I say, Danielle, bring your chin over to this side and we shoot from the closed part, then we actually are using the hair to kinda conceal and trim the face. So the rule works most of the time because even if it's not their preferred side, or even if they don't know, you're still using the hair to slim the face down. So it works. Now if she knows and she likes, I would never shoot from the open side of the face, from the open part, unless I can clearly identify that that's the better side or unless they tell me that that's the better side. Otherwise we always default to the part.

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