Sunday, August 05, 2012

The Rule of Cool in Glamour Photography

The Rule of Cool states, "The limit of the willing suspension of disbelief for a given element is directly proportional to the element's awesomeness."

In glamour photography, the Rule of Cool is easier to stay within providing you have a model who naturally appeals to many viewers regardless of those viewers' usual and customary willingness to suspend disbelief. No brainer, no?  The hotter the model the less the photographer will be called out on elements of the photo which, in other circumstances or with other models, might result in violations of the Rule of Cool. In other words, viewers' attentions will be less focused on elements, like too much or too little post-processing for example, which may make it harder for those viewers to suspend disbelief when viewing the image.

Add too much post-processing to the image of an extremely hot model and viewers are more likely to be okay with that because, bottom line, the model remains seriously hot almost regardless of the level of post-processing applied.  Apply too little post-processing, even when the out-of-the-camera image literally begs for some "fixing" and "frosting" and the image still has an excellent chance of achieving cool and awesome status per the Rule of Cool simply because the model is so freaking hot that her hotness shines through even if the photographer did an otherwise piss-poor job of capturing said hotness.

I know. I know. It ain't fair. But who says life is fair?  Especially the lives of glamour photographers! Not me, that's for damn sure.

I see this Rule of Cool stuff come into play with more than a few of the models I've shot. There are times when I think I've done an exceptionally terrific job of capturing a model who might score somewhat lower on the "Hot Scale" and I don't get much of a response out of viewers. But other times, when I've felt like I've done a less than adequate job shooting some outrageously hot model and, even though the photos might score significantly lower on my personal, self-evaluated, photographic assessment, viewers go out of their way to tell me how "cool" or "awesome" or "beautiful" the photos are.

Funny how that Rule of Cool sometimes works, especially with photography and even more especially when it's a photo of a knock-down, drop-dead, gorgeous model versus one who is not so knock-down, drop-dead, or gorgeous.

Anyway. As I often do, I'm just saying.

The pretty girl at the top is Madison. (Click to enlarge if you're so inclined.)

1 comment:

Nadja said...

That's exactly why I love to photograph ordinary women of all sizes and ages. ( In my really small time hobby photography.)
I love a challenge.
I always compare making photos of beautiful young ladies with making photos of little children: everybody says oh...ahh... cute...beautiful.
Even when it's a mediocre photo of an annoying spoiled brat.
And actually, Jimmy, I often love your photos of a bit less stereotypical models the most. Of course, I am a woman.
I would imagine that's one difference in women photographers photography, a different view on 'beauty'.
But of course, this will not show when they have to work commercial.
As you already know, I hope, I have much respect for what you do and how you do it.
And thanks again for sharing your view on things.
Still trying to learn here, so...