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A Summary of Roberto Valenzuela’s 21-Point Posing System

By Hanssie on August 4th 2015

If you ask photographers what their challenges are when photographing people, many will tell you one of two things: Lighting and/or Posing. Posing people is not easy. Everyone has unflattering angles and are self-conscious about certain areas of their bodies. I learned how to pose people by religiously studying fashion magazines – as my brand was more fashion-oriented – and working with lots of models and dancers. I remember the first time, early in my career, where I photographed an aspiring model who had never been in front of a professional photographer’s camera before, but because she had years of extensive dance training, she knew exactly how to move her body and exuded confidence, making my job extremely easy. Through the years, I’ve learned a lot about posing, picking up bits and pieces here and there with practice, and but most of my posing knowledge came from a workshop with photographer Roberto Valenzuela.



In the following excerpt from his 101 Solutions to Common Photography Problems class on CreativeLive, Roberto gives a summary of his 21-points of posing system. The 21-points of posing is highlighted in his book, Picture Perfect Posing. The video is 40 minutes long, and he only briefly breaks down the various posing concepts (as it is a recap from a prior day). He talks about the basics – straight spine to collarbones to necks and fingers – in the first half of the video. The second half of the video are images from the day before, and Roberto is able to point out so many various teaching points and problems that he had to solve, as well as the various posing points.

Roberto’s teaching style is relatable and chock full of usable information to apply to your own photography. This video is definitely worth a watch from one of my very favorite photographers. To get more posing tips from Roberto, be sure to check out his Picture Perfect Posing book here.

21 Points Posing System Recap – 101 Solutions to Common Photography Problems

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Paul Empson

    bought the book early in the year and was just about to recap on it… this video has been excellent for that..

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  2. Uncle Bob

    Roberto is an amazing photographer and I love his work. I have his first book “Picture Perfect Practice.”

    It’s funny though, as a teacher I learned way more from seeing/reading his critique of photos and general talk than from all his number systems which can be a bit of overload (21 Points and some of those points have sub points and that’s JUST posing! he’s got number systems for lighting and composition too).

    It could just be a result of the way I learn but all the stuff he does after the 21 points (from about 15 min on) is what really sticks with me. Regardless, its still worth watching this video and picking up his books.

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  3. Alexander Europa

    This is the first I’ve heard of him (I know, I know…), and his work is so wonderfully refined and polished. I definitely need to spend sometime with his books and videos to learn more. His teaching methodology really works well with my brain as it helps the logical side understand what the creative side wants to see how gives it checkpoints on how to get there.

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  4. Janna Slaback

    Roberto is so amazing! I have learned so much from him. I especially appreciated learning the “Light 5″ which was a lot easier for me to grasp than the 1000 things to remember. He rocks! I have his book, Picture Perfect Posing” as well as “Picture Perfect Practice”.

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  5. Brandon Dewey

    That was a great class on creativelive. I love his books also, I have leaned a lot from him.

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  6. Peter Nord

    Thought I just watch a few minutes of the 40. Watched the whole thing.

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  7. Justin Haugen

    Big fan of his posing book. He’s turned posing into a science.

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  8. Trevor Dayley

    When it comes to posing, Roberto is the king!

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    • Rafael Steffen

      I totally agree, but you should also check the work of Nikon Ambassador Jerry Ghionis! He also Rocks!

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