Monday, November 28, 2011

For Whom the Camera Loves

I'm often amazed at the truth contained in the often-heard statement, "the camera loves her." I've shown up on sets and been introduced, for the first time, to a model I'm about to shoot and thought, "she's hot but nothing special." A bit later, when the model who failed to elicit an overly positive response in my head is in front of my camera and, after taking a few shots and chimping the results, I've then thought, "Wow! The camera really loves her!"

There's no absolute way to figure who the camera might love and who it might not love. The term "photogenic" is used to describe people who photograph well. Some photographers claim they can spot "photogenic" with their eyes. I can't. I doubt they can either. Not really. Not with nearly-guaranteed accuracy. It usually requires snapping a few and viewing the results before I apply the word, "photogenic" to someone.

I've shot women who, in real life, were absolutely stunning head-turners. Tens! Put them in front of the camera and, while they're still hot, they just don't photograph like the dream dolls they are in person. For whatever reasons, ten drops to eight in the photos. Sometimes, less.

Often enough, the opposite is true. A model who fails, at least in my opinion, to project a head-turning aura in person, who might even appear somewhat plain and rather average, (let's call her a seven) lights up in front of the camera and looks like the most beautiful, sexy, alluring woman on the planet. Course, things like makeup and hair and more effect that, often in huge ways. But the same makeup and hair and more on the already stunning dream-doll doesn't produce the same effects in the photos or prevent their real-life "ten" status from dropping a few digits. Go figure.

I'm not going to name names. There are a few models I've shot who occasionally read this blog. I'm not going risk the off-chance that one of them, that is, one who might fall into either category I mentioned above, especially the first category, is reading this. Next thing you know I'm getting a nasty email or phone call or they're bad mouthing me to people who might be clients. Plus, I don't roll that way. I don't like hurting people's feelings or bruising their egos. (Unless they deserve it.) So don't ask cuz I'm not gonna tell.

There was a time I chalked up "the camera loves her" concept to things like facial bone structure, neck length, body shape, and those sorts of things. I gave up on that theory a long time ago. Now, my theory is that whatever that thing is that makes the camera love one person more than others isn't a concrete and steadfast thing. It can be many things. A combination of things. An infinite combination of things. Plus, I think you have to add some ethereal aspects to it. People say true beauty comes from within. Usually, they're not referring to physical beauty when they say that. And they're right. There are many kinds of beauty which come from within. But I also think there is something that comes from within that does impact physical beauty and the camera sees it and records it. I wish I could suck whatever that is out of every model I photograph.

The gratuitous pretty girl at the top is Penthouse Pet, Celeste Star.(Click to enlarge.)


Anonymous said...

Not that I'm as great an expert as you, but I agree with what you write! I met a striking beauty on the street, asked permission to do her portrait. It turned out rather blah. The same day I met a man, not particularly good looking, asked permission, and he started doing his stuff! He enjoyed being in front of the camera and people who saw his portraits really liked them. I think it's not only "the camera loves them," but also "they love the camera."

Keep up the great posts and the pretty girls!

Rick said...

I asked my camera one day why it loved Megan over the other models I had shot that day and it just shrugged it shutter and said,"Every time aperture winked at her, it was magic."