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7 Tips for Helping Women Love having their Photo Taken by You

When I look at a picture of myself, I can point out a million things I hate: my hair is always flat, I hate the ptosis in my left eye, I hate the shape of my brow bone, I have a bad complexion. And I’m a photographer! How can I expect women in front of my camera to feel any different than I do when I have to endure having my photo taken? I know that some men hate having their photo taken, too, and many of them probably aren’t as easy to admit that they hate their complexion or the shape of their brow bone, but I’m sure they think these things.

As in any situation, we photographers just need to start by asking ourselves…what would we want? How would we want a photographer to treat us? It’s a pretty simple, solution, really…to behave in line with the golden rule.

Women usually aren’t afraid to offer criticism about themselves. In fact, we’re downright professionals at criticizing ourselves. So if a woman truly hates having her photo taken, she usually says so upon making the booking with you. At that point, I would first congratulate her on coming to the point of actually making the booking in the first place. That’s a big step!

I wouldn’t have a questionnaire for her to fill out about the things she hates about herself. And I wouldn’t make promises and I definitely wouldn’t mention the word ‘Photoshop’. The instant you say ‘Photoshop’, I guarantee that 90% of women instantly begin thinking of Madonna, Kim Kardashian…any and every celebrity who looks NOTHING in real person like they do in magazines. And they may expect/require you to edit every last hair on their head, freckle on their body, roll of fat on their hips. And before you know it, you’ve aged 10 years infront of your computer editing one session.

Instead, this is how I would proceed:

  • Upon the first conversation and placing the booking, just assure her that having photographs taken by a professional is different and if she’s never done it before, she will probably love it in the end.
  • Simply ask: “what do you hate about it?” This will probably lead on to things she hates about herself. But don’t let her dwell on it too long. Ask what she loves about herself. Make notes about all this and keep them to yourself.
  • When you start shooting,  she might behave or seem awkward and uncomfortable. If so, talk to her as you’re shooting. Ask if she feels a certain side is her ‘good side’. Get her laughing. Tell her she looks great. But don’t patronize her. I mean…I know my left eye is droopy from Ptosis. If someone said it wasn’t, that would make me more uncomfortable.
  • When I edit, I will subtly smooth and ‘suck in’ bumps and bulges. I won’t eradicate them all together because that wouldn’t be natural. But I just do a little work that she won’t even notice and I’ve never had a woman as to get her muffin top put back the way it was! Of course, I understand that this is a controversial topic and doesn’t work for everyone.

Some tips on photographing women:

  • For goodness sake. Please PLEASE be responsible with low shots. I very rarely see a photo of a woman taken from down low (looking up) that doesn’t make her look totally unattractive. This isn’t a good angle no matter the size or shape of who you’re photographing. Friends don’t let friends get photographed this way so beware that a loving friend may tackle you at any point should you choose to proceed with a low shot.
  • On the opposite side of the spectrum. shooting from above (or even a slightly down-angeled POV) can be very flattering for a lady, particularly a fuller figured one. But also beware that this is the calling card of a large lady – this trick has become so well known. Don’t overdo it or you’ll be kind of highlighting the fact that she’s larger rather than minimizing it.
  • Learn from the red carpet – those poses aren’t accidental. Celebrities have training for how to handle the red carpet photographers. Learn their tricks so you can guide your subjects through poses that will highlight their lovely long legs or help minimize their post-partum baby bulge. And you don’t have to tell them what you’re doing because naturally, that will make them feel self conscious.

One hour with a sensitive professional can change a woman’s view of herself forever.

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Elizabeth Halford is a Hampshire Photographer and keeps a rockin'photography blog where she writes about photography and business in "real.plain.english". She's addicted to Facebook and can be found answering photography and business questions every day here on her page

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck

    Hi

    These are some really good tips. Shooting a bit high or at eye level is a good trick for flattering images. Shooting from a high vantage point thins out the torso but don’t get carried away. Also, if getting more upper body, have your subject place her weight on her back foot and turn the body away from the camera. It is amazing how more natural the posture and slimming this can be.

    regarding lighting, younger models can handle 45 to 90 off camera lights better than old models (wrinkles etc). So move your lights closer to 0 degrees for older folks and use a Softbox.

    This is close to 90 degree, model turning head slightly into the light “Surprise”: http://t.co/Fg6gfqZ

    This is not to say that shooting from below is always bad. It tends to give a rather dramatic and imposing effect, like this shot from a Trash The Dress Session: : http://t.co/I3Cw4kP

  • http://granttaylorphotography.blogspot.com Grant D. Taylor

    Thanks for these tips. I know I always feel uncomfortable photographing people and getting models for my projects is hard enough because of image issues. But hopefully this will help me to get the model to want to come back. Good article!

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck

    Hi

    These are some really good tips. Shooting a bit high or at eye level is a good trick for flattering images. Shooting from a high vantage point thins out the torso but don’t get carried away. Also, if getting more upper body, have your subject place her weight on her back foot and turn the body away from the camera. It is amazing how more natural the posture and slimming this can be.

    regarding lighting, younger models can handle 45 to 90 off camera lights better than old models (wrinkles etc). So move your lights closer to 0 degrees for older folks and use a Softbox.

    This is close to 90 degree, model turning head slightly into the light “Surprise”: http://t.co/Fg6gfqZ

    This is not to say that shooting from below is always bad. It tends to give a rather dramatic and imposing effect, like this shot from a Trash The Dress Session: : http://t.co/I3Cw4kP

    Read more: http://www.digital-photography-school.com/7-tips-for-helping-women-love-having-their-photo-taken-with-you#ixzz1KfaSD1A7

  • http://www.wendymayophotographer.com Wendy Mayo

    Timely advice Elizabeth! I just booked with a couple where the woman is a bit heavy and the man is shorter than her. Got my work cut out for me!

  • http://learnmorephoto.com Terri Ann

    With women always have them float their arms away from their mid-section, no matter their size. Having a negative space in between the body and the arms has a slimming effect that I’m particularly fond of.

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck

    Hi

    Great advice – I have learned from past mistakes, like shooting from a low angle, bad lighting, weird and awkward angles. Shooting from a slightly higher view point helps to slim people. Another thing is to get a comfortable pose and stance. I tell models to put their weight on their back foot, relax, stand straight and turn to torso away from the camera. This is slimming.

    Sometimes shooting from a low angles is very dramatic – depends on what effect one is trying to achieve.

    Here is one that I think works!

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/condemned-trash-the-dress/

  • http://www.minacicconi.com Mina Cicconi Photography

    FABULOUS article… some other tips would be to have her give you a few photographs that she really likes of herself. Bring a side-kick, and have them hold up a mirror. People tend to style themselves pretty when they can see what they look like for themselves. This can improve the quantity of quality shots you offer up when all is said and done. FINALLY, give her options! I find that my MANY clients love the shots I wouldn’t even consider to be in the top 20…. so don’t eliminate what YOU might not like. Clients see themselves differently than you do sometimes. Being a female photographer helps gain that extra comfort level that men just can’t. Sorry guys, this is one area of expertise where women have the edge. DEFINITELY have fun and try and make her laugh. Natural moments tend to be the most treasured.

  • Kama Carranza

    Great advice! Thank you so much!!

  • http://www.sphilpotphotos.blogspot.com Shasta

    Awesome advice! Your posts are always so helpful. :) I just did a session for a friend the other day, and she is always concerned with how she looks in pictures. She glowed in this session though! I did my best to get her talking and laughing throughout the shoot and it really paid off. As far as editing goes, I’m all for doing minor repairs on fat rolls, sometimes they’re just too distracting in the picture . And if you left it, you know the client would obsess over it – at least I would if it were me!

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck

    Hi

    I just thought of another great tip! We always carry an HD Monitor with us which we teather to the camera. There is nothing like the model seeing the result and dynamically making adjustments and giving feedback. During some early shoots I was encouraged to show images during a shoot – but looking at a small LCD on the back of the camera is never as good as seeing it on a calibrated 17inch Monitor. This helps improve quality immensely!

    In this show we didnt like the angle of the light and then adjusted the light and model – could not have done this looking at the back of the camera!

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/blue-gloves/

  • happyspace

    Thanks Elizabeth. Love your articles.

  • http://www.jimschofield.com Jim Schofield

    Many thanks for the article Elizabeth.

    As a middle-aged man, I’m always wondering if I am connecting with brides at weddings or if they are too polite to tell me what they are really thinking. Usually I feel it’s a bit of both. I can go so far but there will always be a gap I cannot cross. Is this one reason why I see more and more lady photographers ?

    Regards,

    Jim

  • Jeff Brint

    This title doesn’t make sense.

  • http://www.jhkdp.com John King

    I thin the title should be ” 7 Tips for Helping Women Love Having Their Photo Taken BY You “.

  • http://www.about-photography.com Ed Verosky

    There are plenty of good general tips here. I’d like to add that if you make the actual shoot a fun experience for her, and the result is beautiful photography, she will be very happy that she worked with you. It’s that simple.

    Posing, angles, lighting, and post-processing are particular to the photographer’s style and genre of photography (boudoir or glamour as opposed to traditional portraits), so it’s hard to apply a general rule to these aspects.

  • Gus

    Are we really going to worry about the title? The information is great and very useful, just call it what you want and when you are ready to help other people with tips on improving their photography you may call it The Blue Goat if that makes you happy.

  • Doug

    “One hour with a sensitive professional can change a woman’s view of herself forever.”
    True, but would “the professional” be using a camera?

  • http://www.malbowkerphotos.com Mal Bowker

    From 1985 to 2005 I photographed around 1000 women in weddings, portraits and glamours shoots and almost all of them would disagree with Mini above. Firstly I have an attitude that women generally are beautiful and my task is to show that the very best way that I can. That is MY challenge. I can’t imagine why a woman who hates being photographed would even turn up at my door! I begin a relationship with the client from the first word. Building trust with basic conversation about them, the family, kids etc. Get them into their happy place. You’ll see it in their eyes and face when you acheive this and as photographers we should all be able to read that in a person.

    As I begin the shoot I assure them that nobody else will see the pictures before they do and that we can instantly delete anything they don’t really like. This immediately adds to the confidence level. I ask them what ‘bits’ of themselves they don’t like and then what about them they really DO like. We of course then feature the good bits and avoid the others. I once had a girl with a huge birthmark all over one arm so I just made sure this was on the side away from the camera or neatly covered by well placed tuille. She loved every shot and forgot about that mark for a while.

    Photography is about capturing and presenting emotion. The mother or the husband/boyfriend will always see something in a photo of a loved one that you will never see. Sell them that! I once had a very shy girl who first presented in a button up shirt, skirt and knee high boots showing very little of her. The final shots were in a very sexy matching underwear set (black) on white sheets and red rose petals. We enlarged one full length shot to poster size and inset some smaller prints along the bottom. When I saw her a year later and asked “did the photograph do the job?” she replied “Everynight!!” I think we were all satisfied with that.

  • http://londoncemeteries.co.uk Sue

    Oh, I’d hope so Doug, I’d really hope so ;-)

    Elizabeth, thanks for this article. As a (totally amateur) photographer who HATES having her picture taken, this will really help me – I need a photo taken for work, and I’m dreading it.

    One extra thing I’d say – think about clothes in advance. Everyone looks good in plain black (and it’s gotta be easier to Photoshop, right?), but vivid can totally change the shot. Be really careful with prints. Above all, be comfortable.

  • http://thenewwittys.blogspot.com Lynet Witty

    where can we learn how to pose clients like celebrities??! how come this wasn’t mentioned in the article?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebamo/ Ebaa

    Thanks so much! Those were great advises for me as a biggner.
    Folks comments as educational too. Thanks

  • http://www.webbingsystems.com Corporate Photographer

    Yes, a well written article, but leaves out many details required to actually put the rules in place. Maybe, as few more examples with appropriate photographs would have explained better.

    Nevertheless, a good starting point.

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck
  • Howes Photography

    The biggest challenge I have is posing. Most articles like this will mention that posing is important, but not give any more detail than that. Elizabeth, you seem to understand posing well. Would you be willing to write another article that talks about the differences between masculine and feminine poses and how to set them up? I think a lot of people on this site would appreciate that kind of information.

  • http://www.kimjansenvanrensburg.blogspot.com Kim

    Thanks Elizabeth! Great tips!

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck

    Hi

    Sometimes some extreme angles work as well – top to bottom. I wouldn’t have shot this but Jessie wanted this…I think it worked.

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/be-mine-valentines-day/

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck

    Hi

    This one is slightly low, off camera flash. Somewhat dramatic after a long Trash The Dress session in the rain.

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/lets-ride/

    Cheers, Erik

  • http://www.nikijonesphotography.me Niki Jones

    Finally! Being a 6’3” photographer pays off. :-)

  • http://viviansville.com Vivian Bedoya

    More posing tips would have been great in this article but overall, it’s very informative.

  • http://www.whitepetal.co.uk Paul

    Thanks for this, as a wedding photographer I can certainly relate to the tips and advice given.

  • Sam

    good article….

  • Isaiah

    Typo….I’ve never had a woman as to get her muffin top put back the way it was! should be “ask” not “as”. Great article though! Thanks for the tips

  • Michael Hope in Toronto

    I have been photographing women professionally for 20+ years and I have to say, my clients ASK me if I use Photoshop—or KNOW I do and even use it as a verb. “Can you just photoshop this zit/cold sore/wrinkle/stain?” I am absolutely not afraid to mention it to set their minds at ease…and I really believe they appreciate it and refer their friends.

    Other questions I get are, “Is that a skinny lens?” or “Can you make me look thin and beautiful?; “Can you make me younger?”…As you’ve said, I NEVER make my changes obvious. I find if I light well (which I do)…I simply show them the first few frames on the back of my camera and the reaction is unwaveringly constant: “Oh. I look good!” Then I make a joke about “Don’t sound so surprised” and we’re off.

    Light well. Shoot with at LEAST an 85mm (unless you’re shooting environmental) and give everyone the benefit of a good night’s sleep et all with subtle PhotoShop. Or I set their mind at ease telling them I will take care of the finishing as I would my wife. They really like that. See for yourself. http://500px.com/HopeShots/sets/corporate_portraits

  • Ian Catchpole

    Most of my photoshoots are with new/aspiring models – but the majority have insecurities about something or other. I do exactly what you suggest – what don’t they like about themselves first, and then what they like. Maybe they don’t like their belly (even young models aren’t immune from post-baby belly, stretchmarks etc), but they love their legs. So I always say we will be sure to show off those legs to their best and as for the belly – forget it – at least for the shoot, I want them to imagine that their body is perfect and pose like it is. There’s nothing worse than a model trying to hide a feature they don’t like – it always looks artificial. Lighting, angles and some subtle editing can always improve things much more than a model trying to ‘suck it in’. Likewise with moles, zits, wrinkles etc. Too much effort at concealer can make things look worse. Again lighting and a quick touch up in post processing can easily do as good or better job as heavy makeup. Above all, I try and make the whole experience fun – a relaxed model doesn’t tend to worry so much and the results are all the better because of it.

  • Sable Park

    Ironic how, in an article mentioning being subtle with your corrections, you put a huge spotlight on a typo. *sigh* Maybe DPS can do an article on tact…

  • dave

    my avenue of getting the best from the worse is to express to every client honestly “we are not all super models” however,… “there is beauty in all of us and my job is to bring your’s to life via print!” I strive to create and capture exactly who they are and who they desire to be in a series of shots. my mission is to have people who see YOUR photograph say “OMG, that is so you an you look AMAZING!” then turn to them and see exactly the beauty that we captured together because this is a joint venture between the client and the artist / photographer.

  • captainjman

    your reply is better than the article, thanks :)

  • Charles in Perth

    From my experience women like to be made to feel a bit special. It is important to calm their nerves prior to the shoot by engaging them in some conversation. It is crucial to turn a stressful situation into a fun experience. I often tell them funny events that have happened in the studio, or ask them about their family or pets or anything that helps break the ice. It’s also a good idea to start off by saying, ‘I’m going to take a few test shots to see how the light looks on your skin. Please hold this grey card for a reference picture.’ Though seldom do I need these ‘test shots’ they help to warm the client to the idea of having her photos taken.

    Once the shoot is underway attention can be given to posing, tweaking lighting and choosing the right lens for the situation. Clear posing instructions together with careful composition and the judicial use of shadow can mean a lot of post production surgery will be uncalled for.

    Once there is a real connection between subject and photographer then good photographs will follow.

  • KBennett Photography

    Oh my…I love you for writing this. My wedding photographer shot ALL of our photos from the lowest angle possible. She was practically crawling on her belly the entire time, including during the portrait session with me and my husband! To this day, I will never understand why. And, to this day, I am still upset about my wedding photos (taken 2 years ago) that I can never get back. I cried when I got my photos. I looked severely overweight because of the angle. My wedding video was totally different because it wasn’t shot from the ground, and I actually looked lovely. I will never, ever, forget the effect of a low angle. And actually, that inconsiderate photographer is the person who inspired me to do photography in the first place. I wanted to make men and women feel good about themselves instead of ruining their self-esteem.

    My husband said he’ll hire a better photographer for when we have a vow renewal someday. That’s the only thing that gives me comfort about my awful wedding photos!!!

  • Meagan Jordan

    Man, that sucks, it sounds like you didn’t get a professional photographer to shoot your wedding. They might have claimed to be one, but no one with any amount of real training in photography would’ve shot you that way on one of the most memorable days of your life. Hopefully your photos for your vow renewal will be awesome!

  • KBennett Photography

    Aww thank you for the kind wishes :).

    Yes, we were on a budget, so we didn’t expect miracles, but we still paid her several hundred dollars! My husband spent the summer saving to afford the photography. She was a beginner, and I agree; I don’t think she deserved the title of a professional.

    I think it was one of those who got some “accidental” good shots and posted them on a web site and couldn’t perform in an actual professional situation with pressure.

    Ah well! Years later, here I am :)

Some older comments

  • Sam

    June 19, 2011 08:17 am

    good article....

  • Paul

    May 6, 2011 08:56 pm

    Thanks for this, as a wedding photographer I can certainly relate to the tips and advice given.

  • Vivian Bedoya

    May 4, 2011 12:17 pm

    More posing tips would have been great in this article but overall, it's very informative.

  • Niki Jones

    May 2, 2011 06:26 am

    Finally! Being a 6'3'' photographer pays off. :-)

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    May 1, 2011 03:16 pm

    Hi

    This one is slightly low, off camera flash. Somewhat dramatic after a long Trash The Dress session in the rain.

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/lets-ride/

    Cheers, Erik

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    May 1, 2011 03:14 pm

    Hi

    Sometimes some extreme angles work as well - top to bottom. I wouldn't have shot this but Jessie wanted this...I think it worked.

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/be-mine-valentines-day/

  • Kim

    April 30, 2011 09:27 pm

    Thanks Elizabeth! Great tips!

  • Howes Photography

    April 30, 2011 08:14 pm

    The biggest challenge I have is posing. Most articles like this will mention that posing is important, but not give any more detail than that. Elizabeth, you seem to understand posing well. Would you be willing to write another article that talks about the differences between masculine and feminine poses and how to set them up? I think a lot of people on this site would appreciate that kind of information.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    April 30, 2011 12:09 pm

    Hi

    Soft Lighting works wonders.

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/nightly-image-jovis-model-shoot/

    Best regards, Erik

  • Corporate Photographer

    April 29, 2011 03:16 pm

    Yes, a well written article, but leaves out many details required to actually put the rules in place. Maybe, as few more examples with appropriate photographs would have explained better.

    Nevertheless, a good starting point.

  • Ebaa

    April 29, 2011 02:46 pm

    Thanks so much! Those were great advises for me as a biggner.
    Folks comments as educational too. Thanks

  • Lynet Witty

    April 29, 2011 06:20 am

    where can we learn how to pose clients like celebrities??! how come this wasn't mentioned in the article?

  • Sue

    April 29, 2011 05:57 am

    Oh, I'd hope so Doug, I'd really hope so ;-)

    Elizabeth, thanks for this article. As a (totally amateur) photographer who HATES having her picture taken, this will really help me - I need a photo taken for work, and I'm dreading it.

    One extra thing I'd say - think about clothes in advance. Everyone looks good in plain black (and it's gotta be easier to Photoshop, right?), but vivid can totally change the shot. Be really careful with prints. Above all, be comfortable.

  • Mal Bowker

    April 29, 2011 02:25 am

    From 1985 to 2005 I photographed around 1000 women in weddings, portraits and glamours shoots and almost all of them would disagree with Mini above. Firstly I have an attitude that women generally are beautiful and my task is to show that the very best way that I can. That is MY challenge. I can't imagine why a woman who hates being photographed would even turn up at my door! I begin a relationship with the client from the first word. Building trust with basic conversation about them, the family, kids etc. Get them into their happy place. You'll see it in their eyes and face when you acheive this and as photographers we should all be able to read that in a person.

    As I begin the shoot I assure them that nobody else will see the pictures before they do and that we can instantly delete anything they don't really like. This immediately adds to the confidence level. I ask them what 'bits' of themselves they don't like and then what about them they really DO like. We of course then feature the good bits and avoid the others. I once had a girl with a huge birthmark all over one arm so I just made sure this was on the side away from the camera or neatly covered by well placed tuille. She loved every shot and forgot about that mark for a while.

    Photography is about capturing and presenting emotion. The mother or the husband/boyfriend will always see something in a photo of a loved one that you will never see. Sell them that! I once had a very shy girl who first presented in a button up shirt, skirt and knee high boots showing very little of her. The final shots were in a very sexy matching underwear set (black) on white sheets and red rose petals. We enlarged one full length shot to poster size and inset some smaller prints along the bottom. When I saw her a year later and asked "did the photograph do the job?" she replied "Everynight!!" I think we were all satisfied with that.

  • Doug

    April 28, 2011 03:03 pm

    "One hour with a sensitive professional can change a woman’s view of herself forever."
    True, but would "the professional" be using a camera?

  • Gus

    April 28, 2011 08:58 am

    Are we really going to worry about the title? The information is great and very useful, just call it what you want and when you are ready to help other people with tips on improving their photography you may call it The Blue Goat if that makes you happy.

  • Ed Verosky

    April 28, 2011 02:21 am

    There are plenty of good general tips here. I'd like to add that if you make the actual shoot a fun experience for her, and the result is beautiful photography, she will be very happy that she worked with you. It's that simple.

    Posing, angles, lighting, and post-processing are particular to the photographer's style and genre of photography (boudoir or glamour as opposed to traditional portraits), so it's hard to apply a general rule to these aspects.

  • John King

    April 27, 2011 11:55 pm

    I thin the title should be " 7 Tips for Helping Women Love Having Their Photo Taken BY You ".

  • Jeff Brint

    April 27, 2011 09:19 pm

    This title doesn't make sense.

  • Jim Schofield

    April 27, 2011 08:35 pm

    Many thanks for the article Elizabeth.

    As a middle-aged man, I'm always wondering if I am connecting with brides at weddings or if they are too polite to tell me what they are really thinking. Usually I feel it's a bit of both. I can go so far but there will always be a gap I cannot cross. Is this one reason why I see more and more lady photographers ?

    Regards,

    Jim

  • happyspace

    April 27, 2011 12:57 pm

    Thanks Elizabeth. Love your articles.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    April 27, 2011 10:42 am

    Hi

    I just thought of another great tip! We always carry an HD Monitor with us which we teather to the camera. There is nothing like the model seeing the result and dynamically making adjustments and giving feedback. During some early shoots I was encouraged to show images during a shoot - but looking at a small LCD on the back of the camera is never as good as seeing it on a calibrated 17inch Monitor. This helps improve quality immensely!

    In this show we didnt like the angle of the light and then adjusted the light and model - could not have done this looking at the back of the camera!

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/blue-gloves/

  • Shasta

    April 27, 2011 10:33 am

    Awesome advice! Your posts are always so helpful. :) I just did a session for a friend the other day, and she is always concerned with how she looks in pictures. She glowed in this session though! I did my best to get her talking and laughing throughout the shoot and it really paid off. As far as editing goes, I'm all for doing minor repairs on fat rolls, sometimes they're just too distracting in the picture . And if you left it, you know the client would obsess over it - at least I would if it were me!

  • Kama Carranza

    April 27, 2011 10:26 am

    Great advice! Thank you so much!!

  • Mina Cicconi Photography

    April 27, 2011 10:21 am

    FABULOUS article... some other tips would be to have her give you a few photographs that she really likes of herself. Bring a side-kick, and have them hold up a mirror. People tend to style themselves pretty when they can see what they look like for themselves. This can improve the quantity of quality shots you offer up when all is said and done. FINALLY, give her options! I find that my MANY clients love the shots I wouldn't even consider to be in the top 20.... so don't eliminate what YOU might not like. Clients see themselves differently than you do sometimes. Being a female photographer helps gain that extra comfort level that men just can't. Sorry guys, this is one area of expertise where women have the edge. DEFINITELY have fun and try and make her laugh. Natural moments tend to be the most treasured.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    April 27, 2011 10:16 am

    Hi

    Great advice - I have learned from past mistakes, like shooting from a low angle, bad lighting, weird and awkward angles. Shooting from a slightly higher view point helps to slim people. Another thing is to get a comfortable pose and stance. I tell models to put their weight on their back foot, relax, stand straight and turn to torso away from the camera. This is slimming.

    Sometimes shooting from a low angles is very dramatic - depends on what effect one is trying to achieve.

    Here is one that I think works!

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/condemned-trash-the-dress/

  • Terri Ann

    April 27, 2011 08:32 am

    With women always have them float their arms away from their mid-section, no matter their size. Having a negative space in between the body and the arms has a slimming effect that I'm particularly fond of.

  • Wendy Mayo

    April 27, 2011 08:14 am

    Timely advice Elizabeth! I just booked with a couple where the woman is a bit heavy and the man is shorter than her. Got my work cut out for me!

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    April 27, 2011 08:10 am

    Hi

    These are some really good tips. Shooting a bit high or at eye level is a good trick for flattering images. Shooting from a high vantage point thins out the torso but don’t get carried away. Also, if getting more upper body, have your subject place her weight on her back foot and turn the body away from the camera. It is amazing how more natural the posture and slimming this can be.

    regarding lighting, younger models can handle 45 to 90 off camera lights better than old models (wrinkles etc). So move your lights closer to 0 degrees for older folks and use a Softbox.

    This is close to 90 degree, model turning head slightly into the light “Surprise”: http://t.co/Fg6gfqZ

    This is not to say that shooting from below is always bad. It tends to give a rather dramatic and imposing effect, like this shot from a Trash The Dress Session: : http://t.co/I3Cw4kP

    Read more: http://www.digital-photography-school.com/7-tips-for-helping-women-love-having-their-photo-taken-with-you#ixzz1KfaSD1A7

  • Grant D. Taylor

    April 27, 2011 07:56 am

    Thanks for these tips. I know I always feel uncomfortable photographing people and getting models for my projects is hard enough because of image issues. But hopefully this will help me to get the model to want to come back. Good article!

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    April 27, 2011 07:34 am

    Hi

    These are some really good tips. Shooting a bit high or at eye level is a good trick for flattering images. Shooting from a high vantage point thins out the torso but don't get carried away. Also, if getting more upper body, have your subject place her weight on her back foot and turn the body away from the camera. It is amazing how more natural the posture and slimming this can be.

    regarding lighting, younger models can handle 45 to 90 off camera lights better than old models (wrinkles etc). So move your lights closer to 0 degrees for older folks and use a Softbox.

    This is close to 90 degree, model turning head slightly into the light "Surprise": http://t.co/Fg6gfqZ

    This is not to say that shooting from below is always bad. It tends to give a rather dramatic and imposing effect, like this shot from a Trash The Dress Session: : http://t.co/I3Cw4kP

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