In today’s modern photography there can be a stigma that almost everything seen in magazines, online or in editorial publication has been photoshopped to make the models look slimmer, softer and more shapely. What if with a few simple “in camera” steps you could minimize the amount of work that needs to be done in post-production. Here are a few simple tips to remember when shooting on location that will save you time and increase your productivity in post production.
1. Body Shape and Angle
With both men and women we are at our widest if we stand dead straight on to the camera so to avoid looking larger than we are simply angling the body slightly so it’s more of a side profile and then bring your face back to the camera. This is such a simple technique that can really make a huge difference not only in full sun or shade but if used during a window-lit portrait session combined with your in camera crop you can actually highlight areas of the body you want to draw the viewer attention to.
2. Light with intention
To highlight your subjects face rather than the torso or arms which are bigger in proportion to our face simply turn your body away from the light source and bring the face back to the light source ie: beautiful soft window light. Also if you can find a location where the background tone is darker than the subject it will help make the model the center of interest in your shot. This could mean choosing a location in the house which has a darker midrange tone not a white or cream, after all, it’s most likely going to be out of focus.
3. If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist
Simply covering up or moving a problem area so it’s out of shot eliminates it from being highlighted. Highlight your beautiful smile or eye instead draw the viewer into what you want them to see not an area of skin with blemishes or that may appear larger. So you could use a veil in a bridal portrait or part of a dress or a prop in a fashion shoot.
4. Avoid direct sun
Avoid being the harsh direct midday sun. It will highlight skin imperfections and create hard shadows in the eye sockets which can look like dark bags. If you have to shoot during midday sun remember the light is coming from directly above so where possible find poses to get the models to tilt their heads up towards the sunlight so their entire face is lit and we avoid those horrible bags under the eyes.
5. Keep your arm’s off your body: One of the biggest problem areas for any woman is the arms. This one is quite easy to resolve. Simply use your hands to hold the veil, dress, a prop or flowers creating lovely shape and form again drawing attention away from the arms. Just try and avoid having your arms pressed up against your body as this will almost certainly make them look larger than they really are.