Friday, October 14, 2011

Show Offs: Who's More Important?

There are two people showing off in every glamour photo: The model and the photographer. The trick, of course, is to find a balance between the two. How effectively that's done rests in the hands of the photographer.

Glamour photography is, in a nutshell, about showing off the beauty and allure of the model. But the photographer, of course, also wants to show off their skills and know-how. Problems sometimes arise when the showing off is lopsided.

Obviously, as a photographer, you want your images to reveal your photographic abilities. How evident those abilities are revealed can be the difference between a decent glam photo and a great one. Photographers who work too hard at showing off their own skills can inadvertently defeat the purposes of their photos. Those purposes, of course, include an important one I've already mentioned: Showing off the beauty and allure of the model.

This might sound like I'm splitting hairs and maybe I am but I've seen plenty of glamour images which were so obviously about the photographer's skills, the photographer showing off, whether through production or post-production techniques, the models nearly became irrelevant. That might be a positive thing for the photographer but it's not so positive a thing for the model, especially if the photos are designed to "sell" the model to an agency or potential employers of some sort.

If you're shooting models for the sole purpose of showing off your photographic skills, being the principal show-off in your photos probably isn't a bad thing. But if you've been engaged, as a photographer, to capture the beauty and allure and marketability of a model, you need to strike a balance between your abilities and the model's beauty, skills, or potential as a model.

While much of glamour photography is about creating fantasy, that doesn't necessarily mean the fantasy should be at the complete expense of viewers being able to recognize the model when she's not participating in the fantasy you're working so hard to create. Sure, that might work for some photos but it doesn't work for all of them. In fact, it might work for less of them than you think. It all revolves around who's more important in terms of showing off, the model or the photographer? Most the time, I believe the two should be equal.

The pretty girl on the staircase is Devin. I used my 5' Photoflex Octodome for a main light and let the natural light coming in from a bank of large windows above and behind her do the rest.

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