The 3 P's of Posing

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could really be about 17 pages long.  We talked about “posing and creating an environment of confidence for your client” for close to an hour and a 1/2 at the SUGAR SHOOT! It’s impossible to cover what we talked about in one blog post. So, I’m just going to share the basics. Making your clients feel COMFORTABLE is SO VITAL to your business. They WILL talk about their session to friends, family, bridal party, etc and you want them to be praising your business. Your clients can very easily become FREE evangelists for your business….if they are head over heels in love with you, the way you make them feel and your images!

I made a bold statement during the workshop that I think that making your clients COMFORTABLE and CONFIDENT is more important than the images you produce! (ah!)….Some may disagree but here is why I think that….If you create an environment of confidence for your client and make them feel like they are the hottest couple you have EVER shot….you WILL get better images. You clients will begin to stand a little taller and the confidence that you give them will ooze through the way they are posing. Brides who didn’t think they had a “good model face” now think  they should be on the cover of Vogue and grooms who didn’t even want their picture taken in the first place are EATING IT UP. People LOVE feeling photogenic… and when they FEEL photogenic, they become even more photogenic. So if you can create an environment of confidence for your client…. you WILL have more genuine images that your clients will LOVE!


So, how do you do that? Well, I could go on and on about this. However, today I’ll just share the 3 P’s of Posing. Are these 3 P’s written in some “Law of Photography” book somewhere? No. I made these up.  This is JUST what helps me focus and make the most of my sessions. It may not work for everyone… that is my disclaimer. However, when I was thinking about how I have improved over the last 3 years, I found that I can attribute a lot of my growth to confidence. When I became more confident in the way I was shooting, I started having more successful sessions. I had to realize that I was the one in control of everything!!! And this leads us into the “P’s”.



The 3 P’s of Posing


1. Power


2. Praise


3. Precision



1. Power – YOU the photographer are in CONTROL. You are in control of how comfortable your clients are socially, physically and emotionally. So many times I want to say “Aw, it’s too hott today… this session just isn’t going to be as good”.  What?! No! I have the power to MAKE it work, but I have to remind myself of that. I am in control of EVERYTHING and my clients WANT me to be in control! Remember that! Your clients, more than likely, have NEVER had to be models before….they don’t want to do this on their own, they want to be directed and encouraged!


One thing to watch is YOU.  Be careful that you don’t get overwhelmed during a shoot. It’s VERY easy to do and still happens to me constantly! However, you need to recognize when you’re moving too fast and getting stressed.  Take a minute and collect yourself… will be SO thankful you did this later when you’re going through your images because the first thing that goes when you’re overwhelmed is creativity. When we get overwhelmed and forget that WE have the POWER in this situation….we lose our creative poses and our confidence.  So if this happens to you…recognize it and take a minute or two to just stop, collect yourself and then give it another try!



2. Praise – “Yes!!!!” “That’s SO it!” “Awesome girl!” “OMG You look AMAZING!!!!” “Are you KIDDING ME?!”  “Look at you! Gosh!!”  ………… Am I obnoxious or what?! …..But it works. It does. I am overly vocal when I shoot and I mean every word. My couples are gorgeous. Every single one of them…. and I let them know it.  When photographers are shooting and it’s dead silent, their clients will start to think that they’re doing something wrong and all of their confidence is thrown out the window!  So as you’re shooting….constantly tell them how awesome they are.  I know that this works from personal experience. When Jasmine told me I was fierce…. I believed it! I don’t even have the amazing “model face” but on my wedding day…. I believed I did! ….. Because she kept telling me I was amazing and fabulous and “gorge”…. (idk, it’s a Jstar word….she makes it work).


So PRAISE your clients constantly and you will see their confidence go through the ROOF!  BUT….It has to be genuine praise. People can tell when you’re just saying words without any meaning. I LOVE my couples…every single one of them and I think they are AMAZING…. so I let them know that. We talked about this A LOT at the Sugar Shoot and then again when I attended J&M’s Walk Through a Wedding. It’s such an important technique to incorporate into your shooting style.



3. Precision – I still struggle with this. I say “MAYBE” way more than any normal human being should….. but I’m working on it. You have to be PRECISE when your directing clients. Saying “Well maybe move your right shoulder forward a little” is confusing! Your client will be thinking… “So should I move? Our photographer said “MAYBE”….I’m confused”…. and then they start to lose confidence.  Be exact. Use phrases like  “Katelyn I want you to take one step towards me, nice!” …..”I need you to look straight into the lens….ah! perfect!”.  J&M also mentioned that using your client’s name over and over again is ALWAYS a good thing and I think that’s such a simple but yet brilliant tip for interacting with clients!  Who doesn’t love hearing their name?! And…. this clears up confusion as to whom you are talking to directly.


Oh I could go on and on about tips and tricks and examples of what NOT to do (because I’ve done them! haha). But we’ll have to leave it at that today. So next time you’re shooting…. try remembering that YOU have the power to control the situation, you need to PRAISE your clients constantly and be PRECISE when you’re directing them!! Try it out and let me know if this helped at all! Enjoy your weekend!


xoxo, Katelyn
28 Comments Ask Anything, Education
  1. Nancy Mitchell reply

    Thanks for sharing this Katelyn! I will have the POWER, give the PRAISE, and be PRECISE! I look forward to your next Ask Anything post! You too have a wonderful weekend!~nance

  2. Jennfer reply

    Awesome post! I struggle with sounding like a goofball. Haha!

  3. Amy reply

    Thank you so much! There were things in here that I do, but more that I needed to learn! I will use it on my next session! Thanks tons!

  4. Laurajane reply

    it’s possible that i have you beat with the amount of “maybes” used during a session. i’m pretty sure it’s in every single one of my directions. no wonder why they never pose the way that i want them to. i just never know what to say to communicate with them what’s in my head. so saying “maybe” is the best i can do.

  5. Jennifer Jar reply

    Thank you for this post! I’m doing a maternity shoot next week and I was worried about posing. Now I can think about your three P’s and hopefully get some great images!

  6. Oana Adriana Thompson reply

    I wish I had found you sooner. I would have loved to attend the Sugar Shoot. If you ever have another workshop please let me know.
    Is it possible to be in love with someones blog? lol Because I think I am in love with yours! So much wonderful talent, so much amazing information and it isn’t overwhelming at all.
    Beautiful and brilliant! <3

  7. Julie reply

    Thanks so much for the post! I always get nervous in the ‘posing’ aspect!

  8. Holly C reply

    I think you should add another “p” . . Pursuade. Like how you had to pursuade Erik to climb into those flowers!

  9. Kimber Wassenberg reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the tips! I love them!

  10. Hannah reply

    Thanks for these tips! I am shooting my first wedding in a little over 2 weeks, and the thing I am most nervous about is posing and giving posing directions. You are such an awesome photographer, I love looking at all the photos you post, as well as reading your blog!! Blessings!

  11. Hailey reply

    This was fanatic, thank you!!!!

  12. ashley barnett reply

    Fabulous post lady! I definitely struggle with the power “P”. I love the suggestion of just taking a step back and breathing to get yourself back into the creative space. And girl, after watching myself on Jeremy’s videos I was like oh wow I don’t shut up do I?! But if it makes the clients confident, I’ll just be the most annoying photographer ever! :) Happy weekend Katelyn!

  13. ashley barnett reply

    Fabulous post lady! I definitely struggle with the power “P”. I love the suggestion of just taking a step back and breathing to get yourself back into the creative space. And girl, after watching myself on Jeremy’s videos I was like oh wow I don’t shut up do I?! But if it makes the clients confident, I’ll just be the most annoying photographer ever! :) Happy weekend Katelyn!

  14. Ashley Terry reply

    Thank you for this! I’ve got a shoot tomorrow morning that I’m a little nervous about but I will keep this running through my head. I just love your blog!

  15. amanda reply

    Katelyn this is SO helpful!! I’ve definitely found myself getting overwhelmed during a shoot and then I get home and don’t love my images as much!! I will definitely start keeping the 3 Ps in mind all the time now :)

  16. Clickmama reply

    Wow I gained so much from reading that! You just articulated the very emotions of the situations one is during a shoot. You have to take charge, take control and own it, sometimes you have to wing it but it’s alright, no one needs to know you’re wingin…lol
    Great post!

  17. Lindy reply

    I’ve recently found your blog & I am in LOVE with your personality and confidence that shines through each and every one of your posts! I feel like I know you.. is that weird?! haha I can only imagine how that pours out & contributes in your sessions as well! I am 100% interested in contacting you some where down the road… =)

  18. Jill Samter Photography reply

    katelyn i just adore you! these are awesome tips no matter what kind of session you are shooting. kids love to hear their name and told how beautiful they are too! teens soak it in! your photography oozes the three P’s! can’t wait to meet in person!!!

  19. Karin reply

    Great tips Katelyn, thanks for sharing! These are concepts that I constantly need reinforced. Ugh and you are so right about creativity being the first thing that goes when you get overwhelmed… learned my lesson on that one recently.

  20. Stephanie reply

    Katelyn! Thanks for sharing your tips! Its so great to get some insider advice to help me build my confidence! I can’t wait to hear more!

  21. Kristina N reply

    What a helpful post! Can you do another one telling brides how to help their camera shy grooms? ;)

  22. Girish reply

    Great tips. Excellent and important I would say.
    More tips please :)

  23. Selena reply

    Thanks for writing this! I was guilty of a few of those blunders for sure! These are good tips to remember.

  24. Brooke reply

    Excellent information, thank you!

  25. Allix B. reply

    VERY helpful!! THANK YOU!! :D

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  27. Melissa C reply

    Thanks for the tips ! Very useful !

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