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Photography Question 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
 

Portrait Help


I need some quick posing advice. My wife's friends have asked me to try and take a few portraits of them to alleviate the prices of a professional service. Anyways they are great people and I really don't mind. Here's the deal. They are larger people. I don't want to be rude but they are actually quite big. Anyways I love 'em to death and I'd do anything for them, except screw up their pictures and insult them. Check out my gallery, I'll be shooting at the same place as I did my wife and I. Anyways here's what I'm scared about. If I pose my skinny wife wrong, it can make her look chubby, so i'm petrified at messing up an already large person. Please help with some posing ideas. Again we'll be shooting at the same rose garden as the first 5 or so pics in my gallery. Thanks so much.

.justin.

p.s. i'll be using my 75-300 and my brand new 50mm f/1.8

I'll also be using Kodak 125PX and 160NC. Thanks.


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9/12/2005 2:59:01 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Turn them in a bit, but not a full side view, more like a 45 degree turn. This will help a little. Also, ask them to dress in clothing with vertical stripes. Stripes make you look slimmer. If you have a dark background, have them dress in daker clothing. It will make them blend in with the background a bit. Use a higher camera angle, slightly above their head.

BTw, if you can make your wife look chubby, PLEASE don't take any pictures of me! The extra 30 lbs. would look like 60! LOL


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9/12/2005 3:21:02 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Haha Kerry! Thanks. I actually told them to wear lighter clothing but I think I'll have to go with darker.


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9/12/2005 3:28:06 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  What about like a sitting down shot, what do you say? Like the one called Our Best


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9/12/2005 3:28:43 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   I would go with a standing shot, especially if it is full length. The best shots will probably be the head and shoulders shots of the torso and up shots.


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9/12/2005 3:30:52 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Ok good call. will DOF have anything to do with all of this. i'm thinking that if I go nuts with my new f/1.8, then with that shallow DOF that it would make them "pop" out even more. should I keep the bokeh slightly down such as the f/4-8 range? or does this not matter at all?


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9/12/2005 3:40:20 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Hello Justin....
My first thought?..Keep the 50mm in the bag for portraits...It's too sharp and will also deepen eye sockets, nose length etc.. Use your 75-300mm. something around 130-250mm will work great if you have the room. The longer focal lengths soften the images..wrinkles; ya' know? LOL

Heavy people are often positioned with their heads leaned slightly forward and raised so as to reduce the double chin thing. Not too far forward where they look un-natural.
Happy Shooting.
Pete


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9/12/2005 8:53:59 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   I second Pete's thoughts on the lens. 50mm is too short for good portraits. I would shoot at several different aperatures and pick the one that suits them the best.

For shots of me, a 50mm might be great if, by lengthening my nose it could make it appear a little less wide. LOL


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9/13/2005 6:49:02 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
I had this situation today... a beautiful girl, but heavier and very self conscious. I did my best to flatter her, and I love this pic, but the more I look at it the more paranoid I get about the pose. Is her arm distracting?? What do you guys think?


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1/14/2006 8:27:09 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
I never get the upload image prompt after I click submit (yes, I select '1' from the drop box) I'll try again...


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1/14/2006 8:29:34 PM

 
Brendan Knell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2005
  Denyse, I looked at the pic and scrolled up so the bottom half of her arm was cut off, and I think that it looks better that way. So maybe try and crop that little bit off and see if it looks any better to you.


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1/14/2006 8:35:54 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
Hi Brendan. Thanks... you mean like this?


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1/14/2006 8:44:39 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  I guess I should have had the arm less in the center, maybe that's what really bugs me. And in general, is it strange to have an arm in a headshot when you don't see where the arm is coming from?? I do personally enjoy the picture, but I'm still trying to learn posing...


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1/14/2006 8:49:10 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Tough call to make here..I did as Brendan did, but looked to crop a tad more from the left side...I drew a line from the edge of her hair on the left and extended down.
The attempt was to eliminate some of her forward torso..Trying to be polite here :)

Oh..and maybe..just maybe a little more head room.


Pete


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1/14/2006 8:49:37 PM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
Hi Pete,
Yeah, I have a continual problem with cropping too close on the tops of heads!

I combined your ideas... I think you're right, I think I like this the best.


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1/14/2006 8:54:23 PM

 
Brendan Knell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2005
  Denyse, I agree the last one is my favorite.


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1/14/2006 10:24:29 PM

 
Sherry S. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/28/2005
  I agree, Denyse! It draws the attention straight to her face, really accenting her more flattering features.


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1/14/2006 11:20:27 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Ya, looks a little better.
For future reference, when posing women, I think I would relax her fist a little more, perhaps even open or the forefinger and thumb cupping the underside of her chin.

Now, to add a little more creativity...If you are using Adobe PS, (any editior actually should do this, give this a shot.

Using black and maybe 40 percent opacity with a large soft brush, draw around her head, but not so much that her hair is totally covered, hence the 40% opacity..You may have to go over it twice.

Switch to 80%, except this time, overlap and stay away from the hair line.
The attempt here is to totally darken the background, especially to the upper right.
This technique is only a personal fav to highlight a portrait when the background may be a tad distracting.

What you do NOT want when doing this is a "halo" effect around the hair line.


Pete


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1/15/2006 5:13:05 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  My PS skills are SORELY lacking, but I will play around with it. Thanks for the comments everyone!!


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1/15/2006 7:32:10 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  Justin,
A couple things,1: There is a Posing and PS Workshop the weekend of Feb.11th and 12th in NC about 4 hours from you.I would love to meet you if you can come. email Liza Franco for more info.
2: When Posing Large people , Never let them sit back on their stools, have them use just the edge with legs out, angle them about 45 degrees,then have tem lean toward you, by having them lean you will see the breast rise and the chin, and face muscels tighen, this makes for a slimmer and younger look.
Do remember the " the more uncomfortable the pose , the better you'll look"
test your sefves: go sit as you normally do on the couch.
back bent? tummy out?chin tucked a little? man if you have a mirror-use it now to look.
then get a chair an dtry this in front of it. I have done this with so many of you here on BP by phone an dit is so funny to here you all laugh, because you see it!
get a stool or chair,as high as possible.
useing only the edge sit at a 45 degree angle and strech your legs out. now turn toward the mirror as if it were a camera ,straighten your back and lean, you should be able to see, things lift and tighten.
now , want to look thinner, give yourselfs windows: these are windows around the wiste , when you have them you WILL look thinner.
take a look at yourself on the couch-then as I just posed you.
Now, extend the hand furthest from the camers(the mirror) down your leg a bit,
take the hand closest to the camera and rest it on the upper thigh,near your wiste, bring the elbow toward the camera a little( you have windows ,now) and lean forward.
uncomfortablt -but it works and when you frame it as a 1/2, arm or head shot, you will see the subject looks thiner, not uncomfortable.
I hope this helps,
Debby


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1/15/2006 12:30:35 PM

 
Tracy Coppock   Please, don't put anyone in stripes!!! Big or not!!! Vertical or horizontal!! Tell them solid color!!! Maybe some blue jeans and black turtle necks with long sleeves. Tell them no short sleeves. Have them sit on the edge of a seat and go ahead and pull their shirts out to where it is not hugging the mid area. Or better yet have them stand up and you crop in. Go for the face a little tilted. Or have them look over their shoulder with their back to you. Watch for shadows under the chin makes chin look bigger. They know they are big treat them as you would anyone else. Just go for the face!!! And if you can put the biggest ones in the back of group shots and let the skinny ones in the front. Good luck... Happy shooting. Would love to see what you did on the shoot.


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1/17/2006 7:17:59 PM

 
Barbara Helgason
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2004
  Justin, just one more suggestion, this is from the ps book for digital photographers. After using all of the great suggestions above and the pictures are taken try this: using the free transform tool in ps, drag either the right or left center handle horizontally towards the middle. Voila instant shrink! You can go down up to 94% and no one will ever know, they'll just think you are an amazing photographer. I've actually done this on a couple of pictures, everyone loved them and no one ever knew. (I hope I won't get blasted for this suggestion.)


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1/17/2006 8:58:21 PM

 
Jessica    It's all about lighting. Use the "moon" effect (half moon vs full moon). Use a 3/4 profile and have about 1/4 of their face in the shade.


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1/18/2006 6:53:06 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Justin, don't you dare moon your subjects!


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1/18/2006 6:59:56 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  LOL,LOL,LOL OH MAN SOME TIMES YOU JUST CATCH A PERSON OFF GAURD AND YOU ALMOST DIE LAUGHIN'!!!!!!!
LOL,LOL
A Very Good Morning to you Kerry,lol!


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1/18/2006 7:03:05 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   And I'm only on my first cup of coffee!


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1/18/2006 7:04:59 AM

 
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