Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 195

I went and took some new employee pictures for a friend who was unhappy with what their corporate photographer had done. When I looked at the previous pictures, I could tell that the photographer was in a hurry and just used the on-camera flash and then tried to fix all the unflattering shadows in Photoshop. That usually doesn't work very well. It's odd. Everyone seems to have a fabulous camera these days, but very few people know how to light anything properly. Pretty lighting is the secret to good photography.  In the right light, almost anything or anybody will look fabulous.

That's why, for even the most mundane photoshoot, I still take along my heavy Norman strobes and bulky softboxes. I hate lugging hundreds of pounds of equipment around, but the results are worth it. There's just no substitute for good lighting.

If decent lighting is step one, convincing my subjects that they can look good in a photograph is step two. Everyone seems to think that they'll look the same way in a photograph as they do when they look at themselves in the mirror. Mirrors are actually more forgiving that photographs. To look natural in a photo, you have to do things that initially seem a bit unnatural. Most people don't even realize how much they squint in real life. You have to tell almost everyone to open their eyes wider than normal to get the look that they're trying to achieve. Think about it. When you look at someone's face, you're almost always drawn to the eyes first. Everyone worries about their smile, but the eyes are even more important. A lot of people worry about wrinkles too. I tell them to stick their chin out a bit and the wrinkles and double chins will disappear. It usually helps.

Years ago, I used to shoot a lot of fashion. I noticed very quickly that the best models weren't necessarily the prettiest or most handsome ones. They were the people who understood what they looked like. If you ask a good model for a very specific look, they know exactly what to do. Knowing in advance what you're going to look like when you move your head or body in certain ways comes naturally to good models.  If you don't really know what your expressions and movements are going to look like, the photo session is likely to be more like taking pictures of dogs. You just take a ton of pictures and hope that you accidentally get something wonderful.

Everyone was happy with their pictures today, but I'll have to admit that the previous photographer set the bar pretty low. Dot was definitely not happy when I returned. It had started raining while I was away and she had to hide under my desk alone. I keep hoping that Dash will eventually teach Dot that rain is no big deal. Unfortunately, since Dot is the dominant dog, exactly the opposite is happening. Now Dash seems to be developing a fear of rain as well. Sometimes I wonder if children are this difficult.

Dalmatian of the Day

    Watch of the Day

1 comment:

  1. My husband is a photographer too and he always make sure that the result is outstanding. He used a lot of lighting equipment and even photoshop.

    Nice to be here once again my friend.