Leeds Bradford Airport | 28th February – Shooting in to the sun grrrr, a set on Flickr.
The Photos from “The Day of the Faux Pas” .. enjoy !
These tips are by no means intended to be any sort of official rules. These are things I’ve learned as I developed into a photographer. I can only speak from the best of my knowledge, experience, and style. Not all of them will fit everyone’s style and some of them might work or not work depending on what type of photography you are focusing on or how your photo shoot is progressing. I don’t want to announce myself as an expert in this field of photography, because this is one thing I am not. To start with, lets see some examples. Like anything in photography, and just in my personal opinion, people will say there are right ways and wrong ways to do things. As much as I can agree with that statement, in the end if you are happy with your results and they fit the criteria you set out before you began your photoshoot then where is the problem? There are however, photographers that firmly believe that the way they do things is the only way. I don’t condone anyone who is happy to carry on shooting the one and only way they know how as long as they are happy with the results. Some photographers are afraid of change. Fact. There are many phrases that spring to mind but the one that jumps out first is “If it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it”. This can be applied in many circumstances but in some instances it isn’t always that appropriate. Sometimes a little push in a different direction can open up a whole new window of opportunity for you and I. Something as small as someone suggesting something can make you realise. As uncomfortable as it may feel, you suddenly see things from a different perspective. You can open up whole new avenues of ideas and nine times out of ten you will usually end up asking yourself “why didn’t I see that earlier?” or “what was I thinking?”. Photography is not about secrets, it’s not about hiding things away. We share our images with the world for others to see and ultimately enjoy. So why hide the creative process.
In this age of digital photography, presently, we have the ability to shoot and check, adjust, shoot and check again..until we achieve the results we want. So we have no excuse for not knowing that we have what we came for before we leave a set or a studio. We live in an electronic age; and as photographers with digital cameras we now have the ability to tether the camera to a laptop either with a cable or even wirelessly. If you have never tried tethered shooting before I can highly recommend it.
Tethered Shooting involves connecting the camera you are using to a computer or laptop during the photo shoot. It’s a great idea if you are working with a subject (not just a model) where the focus needs to be checked to pinpoint accuracy. When tethered, your camera is connected to your computer or laptop via a USB or FireWire cable, so each image is immediately available on the computer screen for you to look at. I have used it for some macro work at home inside Adobe Lightroom 3 and 4 and had some fantastic results. Using a computer screen to check your images is also a great way to understand how the small screen on your camera can make mistakes. Checking the focusing on macro shots gives a whole new experience when you see the images on the big screen. It makes it easier to place lights, define framing and correct things because you see each flaw in your technique. If you’re using RAW expect for some delay for the images to appear on-screen as file sizes from the latest cameras are quite large.
Back to the subject of posing. Below are twenty ideas that will give you an insight in to what you might want to try when doing a studio shoot. Enjoy !!
- Don’t shoot shoulders square on. Shoulders are the widest part of a body and as a photographer it is our job to flatter the least flattering parts of our bodies. Shooting straight on is not flattering. Angle the shoulders slightly to lead the viewer into the photo.
- If it bends, then bend it. Don’t let your clients have straight joints. It looks stiff and un-relaxed. Asking your client instead to slightly bend an arm or walk as they have their photo taken will help your client look relaxed and naturally posed. This rule also applies to the neck. If the neck looks stiff, ask your client to tilt their head slightly.
- Shoot straight on, or better from above. Shooting from below a person makes even the most gorgeous subject look awkward. Shooting from above can make someone appear slimmer, eliminates double chins, and can provide a beautiful look into your subjects eyes. Shooting from below can make someone’s hips appear wider than they are or any other body part and this is generally unflattering.
- No up the nose. Sometimes we forget our perspective and as moms when we photograph newborns we look at them the way a mom would holding them and take a photo. Anytime you are shooting a face from below or at an angle, be careful you are not doing ‘up the nose’ shots where you can see up your client’s nostrils. This can happen during any type of photography, so it’s good to be aware.
- Sharkeyes. Sharkeyes are when someone’s eyes in a photo are black and have no light or color to them. Ensure that the eyes of your clients have good catch lights or sparkle to them by asking them to tilt their head or turn slightly one way or another. These small movements can give that sparkle to a client’s eye that can make or break a photo.
- Put weight on the back leg. Have clients angle their shoulders so they’re not square to your camera and put their weight on their back leg. This automatically makes them relax.
- Give your clients lots of direction. Most people are uncomfortable in front of the camera and you have to direct them. Giving them direction will help them feel confident and that confidence will show up in the photos.
- Let one pose become many. You can move your own feet, or zoom in or zoom out or move slightly to the side and take photos from different angles.
- Have your clients look places other than your camera. You can tell them to look away, look down over their shoulder, look past your camera to provide a different emotion to your photos.
- Give your clients encouragement. When they’re in front of the camera they can’t see what they look like and they need to know if they look good. When they hit a good pose or you’re taking photos that you know have hit the mark, let them know how good they look.
- Portraits are traditionally shot a few degrees above the eyes.
- Bring a stepladder with you to all your photography shoots and weddings.
- Talk to your clients. Getting to know them gives them a sense of trust with you. You want your subject to trust that you know what you’re doing and can make them look good.
- Sometimes people’s faces get stiff. Ask your clients to take a deep breath and breath out with their lips slightly open. The few moments after this your clients face will be relaxed and natural – so snap a few. If that doesn’t work, ask them to do the “pufferfish” face where they blow up their cheeks and then let it all out. That helps their face to relax too. If you do it with them, they won’t feel as silly.
- Give them something to do with their hands. They can touch their cheek, run their hands through their hair, put their hands on a nearby object…something.
- Show them what you mean. Instead of trying to tell your client how to pose, get in the pose to show them how you want it to look. You’re a photographer right? You are visual and probably learn visually and it’s likely that your clients are visual learners too!
- Be aware of ears. Shooting people straight on can make their ears appear large. With women if they are tucking their hair behind their ear or if their ear sticks out just slightly it can be one of those things that will bother them later in photos and can sometimes look distorted when in 2-dimensional photography form
- Get close. One of the biggest newbie mistakes is to shoot from far away and get lots of the background or landscape in the photo. This happens a lot when we’re not confident with posing. If you force yourself to get close the photo becomes more about the clients and their interactions with each other or with you than about the background.
- Limbs. If you are cropping out anyone’s body ensure that your crop lines do not fall at the joints (wrists, knees, elbows, etc.). When this happens it gives the appearance that the subject’s body does not continue past the frame of the photo. Instead if you have to crop, do it where there isn’t a join and this will give the impression that the rest of their arm, leg, etc. continues beyond the photo.
- Watch for shadows and light. There’s a reason a lot of photographers like to shoot in that ‘golden hour’ either in the wee hours in the morning or just before sunset. The light is even and not harsh and it prevents you from having strange shadows on your clients faces. Shadows below the nose or below the eyes can give your client the appearance of not being as good-looking as they truly are. Whatever time of day you are shooting aim to ensure that your clients faces are in perfectly even light where there are no harsh shadows. If you have to shoot in the middle of the day, shoot in the shade.
It’s about time too.. I have been busy creating pages for this blog that sit in the background with snippets of information that I find or have found useful or interesting. It then became apparent that maybe doing these pages made me neglect the daily ramblings which was the initial purpose of this blog-ette. So here we go, my first blog….
Last month, towards the Christmas period, I took a look at the mounting backlog of images from the 12 months of 2012. I had started off the year with every intention of keeping up. The fact that I had ended 2011 in exactly the same predicament as I have ended 2012; way behind in editing; probably had a major influence on why my images fell so far behind. I found myself editing January’s efforts in April. But, having said that I can only blame myself. I think I am way too fussy about things been right. They have to look good, correct and in place; not particularly perfect as I allow for my own creativity to play a part in the final results but that’s open to flexibility isn’t it? Having said that, the whole problem is caused by taking way too many photographs in the first place. Where does this vicious circle end though? Fine, I can understand it been my responsibility. I am the one pressing the shutter…every press can create up to 15 minutes of work, editing, resizing and preparing in Lightroom for upload to my Flickr pages. I personally put it down to my love of taking photographs far exceeding the love of editing. This, coupled with seizing every opportunity to shoot something in the sunlight as opposed to cloudy days means that a week of good weather can produce 700 images and no editing. End result – Mounting backlog of images.
As the months progressed I stayed at a continuous level. Usually two months behind. On December 26th I took one look at November’s and Decembers contributions and just thought “sod it”. I ploughed in to them like a man possessed. I was ruthless. Anything that looked remotely like previous images was marked for deletion and anything that stood out was edited at marked for upload. Then came the big one. I uploaded what I had marked in my first pass of the images as edited. Then I deleted the remainder. OH NO !!! Big mistake…HUGE, ENORMOUS. The 300gb of files that were deleted had gone, yes I was warned that they were too big for the recycle bin but I had automatically assumed that they were the ones I had finished with and not the unedited ones. Anyway, to cut a long story short…they have gone forever. Floating around in cyber space somewhere never to be seen again.
I uploaded the batch that I had finished and that was it. 2012 was all done. I have been twiddling my thumbs ever since. The present Mrs Winterbourne must be wondering what the hell is going on. All this time I am spending with her is becoming a shock to the system. As a consequence of the file loss, I have put some contingency plans in place and today a new 2tb hard disk arrived at Winterbourne Towers ready for installation tomorrow. This will give me plenty of space for 2013 for all my RAW files. But the weather had to improve first.
The weather has a lot to answer for doesn’t it? Not a glimmer of sun, plenty of rain, cold temperatures and then; my family residing in New Zealand, and my family visiting New Zealand start posting pictures on Facebook of cloudless skies, sun-tanned bodies and summer. Yes, remember summer….that thing with warm weather and sun ! So do I…but only just.
This weekend saw Elaine and I disappearing for a well deserved break. We do this from time to time you know. It does the soul good, four walls are better than three in your home but they all tend to look the same after a while anyway. So a change of scene was in order…just don’t tell the kids she said. Saturday morning saw me helping a friend out and taking some photos so I was away well before lunchtime. Mrs W on the other hand had a day off work and a rendezvous at our hotel of choice later that day was in order. It’s not as easy as you think to check in to a hotel that your wife had already checked in to. Even if they give you the room number by text message, getting past Saddam Hussein on the door is another story. It wasnt so much that they wouldn’t let me in first time, as I fully understand security and its procedures with my background; it was more about the fact that they fired questions at me that were so unexpected. I greeted the receptionist with a smile and was hell-bent on keeping walking but as I passed her at 90′ she must have realised I was on a mission and from behind me came the voice “excuse me sir”…”why, what have you done” was the thought, and yes I was itching to say it. “May I help you sir?” …. of course.. I’m meeting my wife here and need to go the room she is in. “Please wait here sir, whilst we check” … check what I thought….? Yeah I know, security etc….but I would have thought that knowing our address, providing the credit card the booking was made with and handing over my identification would be enough, as well as knowing the full name, date of birth, cup-size and colour of the underwear of the occupant of room xxx as secondary. No. ! it wasn’t … I was subjected to “we are just checking with our guest sir” … I know, that guest is my wife for goodness sake.
Now, it doesn’t take a genius to work this out but this must have looked quite laughable to the people who were in reception. I was an alien…an illegal one at that… I started singing the Genesis track in my head…”I’m an alien, I’m an illegal alien”… you know how it goes….mind you, I moved on to the next track in my imaginary playlist and came up with Home By The Sea another Genesis track which goes in to quite graphic detail about a mental institution. The humming and singing quietly came to an abrupt end as she announced the room number.
I felt like a businessman meeting his secretary for some extra curricular activities out of working hours. As I walked towards the elevators I felt like they were talking about me…I can hear it now, Hey Doris, remember that blonde lady that arrived this lunchtime, you know the one with the black sports top on….he’s off to meet her….
I know, I’m getting carried away…but we had a great weekend though. It’s not often Elaine & I will go to the cinema to see a film twice but we decided to make an exception to this one. Skyfall is absolutely fantastic and well worth a return visit. We had decided to go for an Indian Meal at Nawaabs initially and with an early bird offer we were dining by 17:45 …what an absolutely fantastic meal too…the place was great, not too busy at first but nearly full when we left. It comes highly recommended should you like this style of dining.
We decided over our meal that the cinema was an option.. We just looked at each other and said “Skyfall” .. So, it was a done deal… Skyfall it was. A quick check online for the show times and we were sorted…who can resist a bit of 007 action.
A fantastic weekend, and not a one image shot or edited for my library….unless of course you count our #januaryphotochallenge on Instagram
Thanks for reading….