Monday, January 27, 2014

Day 15, Learning 15: Posing plus size models

Working with your subject is one of the four major areas of photography expertise (whatever your subject is... people, architecture, food, dogs).  People who are heavier-set often avoid being photographed because they dislike how the pictures emphasize the parts of themselves they’re unhappy with, while de-emphasizing the parts of them they are pleased with.  And that’s the key to photographing larger people: find and focus on the parts of them they love.

I don’t want to make this a diatribe, but beauty and strength reside in many places in the human body.  There are a few “slam dunks” when it comes to these areas:  the eyes, and the smile.  But there are also plenty of other areas to explore.  And there are a number of ways to minimize the areas that the person doesn’t like.  So here are some guidelines and some tips:

  • If you don’t want some part of their body in the image, don’t put it there.  Move in closer and crop it.
  • If you can’t exclude it, hide it: angle it away from the lens, or tuck it behind a door frame or couch arm.
  • If you can’t exclude it, shape it with light.  We’ll talk about that in the tips section
  • Resist the urge to photoshop it.  That can be offensive

10 Tips:
  1. Create space between the arms and the body.  Show the curves
  2. Position the face closest to the lens
  3. Keep the arms off the breasts and torso
  4. Arch the neck slightly up and forward
  5. Position the body so that it creates a V shape.  For example, sit them on a chair, put their foot on a stool, and cross the arms over their forward knee.  The crossing of the arms creates a V or hourglass.
  6. Shoot from slightly above the subject
  7. When standing, increase the angle so that it’s closer to being a profile shot (say 50 degrees rather than 30 or 40)
  8. When standing, cross the legs, or bend on leg towards the other.
  9. When posing with another person, tuck the larger one slightly behind the thinner so they keep the same “ratio of space” in the frame
  10. Ask them what parts of their body they like the best, and focus on them!

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