Thursday, March 26, 2009

Model or Glamour Photography

Three years ago I had shot some fashion show by budding fashion designers. The photos are here.

I think Fashion Photography needs knowledge not only about photography but also models and poses and of course ample doses of creativity and careful usage of light and props. Taking photos of Human Beings they say are of 2 types:- portrait and candid . Candid is shooting people as they are (even they may not know what they are) & Portrait is shooting people as you want them to be (they may too dream to be) and that depends on the basic appearance and the objective of the shooting. Say you want to sell horses then you need to make the man look rugged. But then it also depends on the story you want to convey. For example a soft looking model can also serve the purpose if you want to bring out the ruggedness of the horse by contrast. The need guides the shooting. I guess!!! Depending on the desired output the choice of location and the props vary. If the model is making his/ her portfolio he/she needs to be aware of his/her own pluses and minuses and make use or hide them as may be while shooting. The photographer will help here.

I made an open invitation to budding models to come and get portfolios made by me free of cost & that invitation still holds today. Free because I am not professional. The flip side will be that the output may or may not be that professional like the ones you could get from professionals.. Obviously!!

I got two requests earlier but I never responded since I was still not that prepared and I wanted to prepare a bit before I try my hand. Needed to know how to handle light in a creative manner for this, understand what Props are used by Professionals (like reflectors, umbrella flash, bounce flash, fill flash, and so on), and I also needed to understand the human body- like how to pose, which way a body can be made to look more beautiful and attractive, how an ordinary face can appear appealing.

I got a request from a 3rd young man, this time at Chennai, where I had time and so I attempted my first Trial Shots -- No props, natural light with external fill flash where required.. outdoor location -- a young man who lost weight due to typhoid and so is too thin so it is not as if I was shooting Salman Khan with his bare his chest & mischievous looks. [But that does make my challenge meaningful because if it was Salman or Hrithik - what is my effort in creation ?? They are experts in body language - It would be just like a ready to cook meal to be served with a few garnishes.

A few things learnt today (22-03-2009) hands-on (since this is free for me I do not mind teaching others while I learn myself - this will also help me chronicle my learning for my own use later when I do this again): -
  1. Lighting- Lighting- Lighting!!
  2. Facial expression is very important. The eyes are very important, how the model looks at the camera or away from camera. Try to convey mischief, mystery through the eyes..
    Photo No 121 for eg: the looks on his eyes are severe. Calculating, and that is what a man with a car portrayed as a force should look like.. A man with the world under his control. Something like that.
  3. Match face with locational background if possible .. eg if a face is rugged then why not try to portray a rugged man on a rugged terrain.
  4. You can always use Adobe Photoshop to modify photos, change backgrounds.. maybe you need to do it too, but best would be to do it through at the shooting itself.
  5. If you do not know the poses and cannot guide the model, just ask him/ her to do whatever she can & go on shooting. You will get ideas when you see the photos later & can always have a second attempt with better ideas then.
  6. People look good from a particular side / angle; a good photographer will be able to catch that instantaneously. Others can use the trial shots to decide the next shoot.
  7. Dress Counts - it should match with the location , looks and desired output.
  8. Ahh this reminds.. me I think better shots can be taken if I can have a story in my mind.. everything needs story.. what I want to portray... and rest all should be matched..
  9. I tried changing to B&W and somehow some of the pictures make him look better.. I guess the dark complexion comes out better in B&W photos where it can blend smoothly with the background....
  10. Heyy! that makes me realise.. I should remember that complexion is also important when choosing backgrounds.. even colour..
  11. Then have you seen some beau-ti-ful women's faces in close ups? How those photos look? Yeah.. but say your subject is not beautiful in all round manner.. what do you do? Look for those features that can be highlighted and do that.. sometimes you may also need to do the opposite of a close up .. go backwards and highlight body or body movement.

Net Analysis?
Well out of 115 odd photos I like only 15 odd!! And those too seem to be very ordinary - they do not reach anywhere like the ones we see from experts - Naturally !! I mean these photos do not make any effect on my mind.. no story in them, no particular character of the model being portrayed.. character which of course has to match the face and body which are given. Rest of the photos I have tried to do bit of editing in Adobe to get some effects.. I know it is better to do the effects with lighting only during shooting.. but then next time.

I will now have to think how to make this young man with normal looks like anybody else turn into a glamorous model on photo . Now that should be my challenge..

No. 15 is a Long Line vertical Pose (In modeling or Pose language), the others are where I think he looks better and can give me insights.. eg 121 above. Some other photos are posted here and will also be posted later separately and in slide sho..

I need to Continue doing analysis like this and update knowledge..and soon you will learn (- Oops !- sorry I will learn!!).. ..Always aim for perfection.. I am a looooong way from my goals still !!

A few other photos..BELOW.. for full slide please see here

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