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  • Writer's picturerachel leintz

warming to flash and the golden rules for posing

A quick update tonight on the training I've been taking through Creative Live with Roberto Valenzuela! I'm about two thirds of the way through now and I've see Roberto handle some problematic scenes and I've also learned some amazing, "gold rules" for posing! So I thought I'd share a few with you guys tonight!

Amazing Light-Bulb Moment #1:

1. You don't have to memorize millions of poses to keep the creativity flowing

Roberto spent quality time during this training, talking about the struggle that a lot of wedding photographers have; coming up with unique and interesting poses that are artistic, but still make the couple or subject look amazing. The wonderful thing I learned through this part of the training was you don't have to memorize a bunch of poses that you will quickly forget once your are shooting a wedding and it's game time. Roberto actually has come up with a 21 point system to follow that makes posing more of a second nature process than one of memorization.

A few key points I picked up:

1. If it bends, bend it (joints, legs, wrists, fingers.

2. Right angles convey strength, so if that's not what you're going for, change the angle.

3. Always show the origin of fingers and hands (at least a wrist)

The concepts and inspiration I used to pose the beautiful Sydney in the image above actually came from the ICE society, where Jerry Ghionis does an amazing job talking you through why he poses the way he does. But I was glad to see that one of my favorite images followed a lot of Roberto's cardinal rules. Those fingers could have been a little more relaxed, but I adore the curves in her waist, wrists and arms.

In these two images, I remember having Edy and Ted relax their faces and give me a "GQ" "Madmen" look. And now I know why that expression makes so much more sense than the smiling one below. Their bodies are almost pointed directly toward the camera, their collar bones certainly are, and their chins and eyes are making a direct 90 degree angle with the lens. All of those posing points convey strength. So it makes sense that their expressions should be strong too. See if you agree! I think the top is "high fashion" and "editorial". The one below seems a little disjointed to me.

This one, I broke a rule :( But Roberto also explains that during the photojournalistic moments of the day, if you get the expression you are looking for, you take the picture! If there's a weird hand creeping out of somewhere, or you end up without catch-lights, you still capture the emotion of the moment. And that's more important.

There are so many more, but if you want a quick, awesome read, Roberto has written a book on the subject that you can find here.

Amazing Light-Bulb Moment #2:

Another really interesting concept I learned from the training this week was the concept of using flash (and CTO filters) to add to existing light. Like a lot of "natural light" photographers out there, I shy away from those little EFU's unless I really need them. I'm dying to use an ICE light on my next wedding, but as far as the flashes go, I admit, I haven't been as adventurous as I should be.

I use them in dark receptions, and during dances to add a little drama. I'll even use them during a ceremony if I really don't have another choice, but it never occurred to me to use them when there was plenty of light available, but I just want to change the quality of it. And CTO filters are going to get added to my gear shortly! I also learned that you don't really need an assistant to use the flashes in the way Roberto explains. They come with a little stand, so BOOM! You are good to go :)

So excited to put all this great stuff to use in the next few weeks!

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