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Photography Question 

shooting feet in casual senior portraits

Hello. My friend and I want to try to take our own senior portraits, at least some of the fun casual poses. We've noticed that lots of girls pose barefoot in sample portraits we've seen from studios. Why is this so common? What are some good poses for a barefoot subject? Is the positioning of the feet important in these types of poses?

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1/25/2005 5:43:28 PM

Maynard  McKillen   Dear Ashley:
Boy, there can be several reasons why posing barefoot keeps showing up in senior photos.
One- The Senior arrives at the studio, and the photographer and the stylist take one look at her shoes and gasp!
Two- Sometimes, even more than hair and clothing styles, shoe styles can really date a photo.
Three- All her friends are doing it.
Four- The photographer saw senior portfolios at the last trade show, and there were barefoot young women in every one.
Five- Barefoot implies informal and casual, the opposite of stiff and stuffy.
Six- Feet can be pretty, too.

Take a look at some of those barefoot poses. Do you ever see the bottoms of the feet? In seated poses, are the feet ever sticking out straight towards the camera?
Chances are the poses show the feet from the side, often with painted nails, and the feet may be extended or "pointed". This can make legs seem longer. Legs, for that matter, do not tend to be closer to the camera than the head and shoulders, and may often be sideways to the camera. Posing so the head and shoulders are closer to the camera than the hips and legs can make the latter seems smaller.
You may get some ideas for casual poses by looking at portrait photographers' websites, at teen fashion magazines, even by looking at the posters in teen clothing stores.
It may help to notice how the sujbects are lit, whether you see them casting any shadows, and what kinds of settings and backgrounds are used. Photographers often use flash outdoors and/or use large reflectors and diffusers to improve the way sunlight illuminates the subject. It may take a few rolls of film shot with a good 35mm SLR, or a high end digital camera, plus the help of friends/assistants who hold those reflectors and diffusers, to start getting the look that you want in your senior photos. Better camera stores actually sell books on how to light and pose subjects for senior portraits...

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1/25/2005 9:10:51 PM

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