Saturday, May 01, 2010

Three Simple Tips to Wow Them

A photographer friend asked me to look at some pics he shot. Actually, he's a Twitter friend and I've never met him in real life... not that the internet isn't "real" life, it's just a different reality; one that isn't as real as real life if that makes sense.

So, my friend asked me to take a look at some pretty girl shots he took of his girlfriend. Is it me? Or is there something a little extra, uhhh... spicy and enjoyable looking at naked pics of another man's pretty woman, be it wife or girlfriend? I know. Every pretty naked chick we see on the web is, probably, some man's woman. And I'm not inferring that men own women. Chicks say " man," all the time. Regardless, in my opinion there's a bump on the plus side if you know the guy to whom the model/chick belongs.


He asked if I'd take a look at the pics and make a few suggestions.

First, let me say his girlfriend is hot. While I'm not including "hot" as part of my Three Tips to Wow Them, "hot" certainly accounts for much in the "wowing" department. Sometimes it accounts for just about everything. Leastwise, when you're shooting glam, tease, beauty, and that sort of stuff. Just sayin.

I looked at the photos and, while they were good, they could use some pizzazzing. (Is that a word? No matter. You get what I'm saying.)

So, after telling the dude his g/f is hot, I suggested he use more highlights and/or shadows to add drama and appeal to the images, and perhaps to lead the viewer's eyes to his model. I also mentioned composition and shooting angles. This led me to today's update wherein I'm going to break my suggestions (to my friend) into three points and list them here.

1. Use Highlights to "Pop" the Model From the Background. They also help lead the viewers' eyes to where you want them to go. (Their eyes being instinctively drawn, like a moth to the flame, to the bright areas of a photo.) Whether those highlights are in the form of "edge" or "rim" lighting or they are well-placed highlights--e.g., face, breasts, butts--they are going to take the viewers' eyes where you intend for them to go. Highlights, of course, generally require additional light sources. Leastwise, when you're using artificial lighting. If you're outdoors, using the sun behind the model for rim or edge lighting, you'll probably want to balance the front by bouncing or reflecting (or using a strobe)to fill.

2. Use Shadows to Add Drama. They can also add mystery and artistic flair. Also, well-placed shadows can, like highlights, take the viewers' eyes where you want them to go, i.e., to the non-shadow areas. Shadows also help add depth and dimension. In the art world, that's called chiaroscuro. I recently wrote about chiaroscuro, right HERE if you're interested.

3. Shoot From Less-Seen Angles & Frame Using Interesting Compositional Elements.
By less-seen angles I mean get your feet off the floor and your butt on it. Get down low and shoot up. Or, get up high, on a chair or a ladder or whatever, and shoot down. Quit always shooting from the same spot with your camera at the same height and at the same level with the model. Try shooting with some Dutch angles. Compositionally, get your subject out of the center of the frame. Use the Rule of Thirds, leastwise, shoot with a nod towards those rules. Consider geometry when posing the model, e.g., "S" curves, limbs forming triangles, etc. Look for diagonals in the frame that help lead the viewers' eyes. Don't be hesitant to use negative space and avoid distracting clutter in the frame.

Well, there you have it: Today's three simple tips to wow them; them being your models, fans, critics, casual viewers and even yourself. Yep. It feels good to wow yourself. (Caution: Don't be easily "wowed" by your own work... for obvious reasons. Again, just sayin.)

I guarantee if you start incorporating these three tips into your shooting regimen, and if other factors are working well, you know, good exposure, a non-reliance on post-processing to frost the turds, etc., they will take your pretty girl shooting to new levels, improving it dramatically and, sometimes, helping you capture those semi-elusive pics that truly wow them!

The pretty girl at the top is Monica from some time back. Monica is a hoot to work with. No doubt, she breaks hearts as easily as she breaks balls. One more time: I am just saying!


Ariston Collander said...

Thanks so much for making this post! I really appreciate the feedback and the kind words about my girlfriend. I totally agree, she is HOT and a great model to work with. I'm really eager to get her back in the studio so I can start working with some of your tips.

Ed said...

Most excellent tips, as always. Uh, when is Ariston going to post these, and where?