The Head And Face

For a natural look, the client's head should be slightly tilted (not rigidly straight). This tends to happen naturally when you position a client and have them turn toward the main light. "The only time the head usually needs to be repositioned," says Jeff, "is when the client is extremely nervous. When this happens, they tend to drop their head too far toward the higher shoulder."

Double Chin. A double chin (or the entire neck area) is easily hidden by resting the chin on the hands, arms, or shoulders. "Be careful that the subject barely touches his or her chin down on the supporting element," warns Jeff. "Resting on it too heavily will alter the jawline."

GET CREATIVE

"Some photographers are so stuck in what they have always done that they bitterly resist any change," says Jeff. "I once took a class on senior portraits. There was another photographer attending this class who was just starting out. Every time the photographer conducting the class wasn't talking, this photographer would ask me all kinds of questions. At lunch, we had some extra time, so, with permission, I went into the camera room and started showing my newfound friend some of the different poses we use with seniors. He loved it. Everything was going fine until the photographer conducting the program came in. I was doing a yearbook pose that had the subject reclining back, to make the shoulders run diagonally through the frame. The photographer conducting the class remarked that this pose was more suited to boudoir than seniors. To reply, I simply asked both photographers if the subject looked beautiful in the pose. They both responded affirmatively. I said that was all that mattered." The moral of the story? People just want to look great—and not like mannequins.

Another way to make a double chin (or loose skin on the neck) a little easier on your client's ego is to stretch the skin under the chin. To do this, turn the body away from the light, then turn the face back toward the light. This will stretch out the double chin so that it will not be as noticeable.

When a head-and-shoulders pose is needed (for a yearbook, business publication, etc.) it is sometimes impossible to use the hands or arms to hide this problem area. Posing the body to make the neck stretch can only do so much to hide a large double chin. In a case like this, Jeff recommends doing what some photographers call the "turkey neck." To do this, have the subject extend their chin directly toward the camera, which stretches out the double chin. Then have them bring down their face to the proper angle. Most of the time, this eliminates the double chin from view. It is especially helpful when photographing a man who is wearing a shirt and tie. Men who have large double chins often also have tight collars, which push up the double chin and make it even more noticeable.

Ears. Corrective posing is also the best way to combat the problem of ears that stick out too far. Ladies who have a problem with their ears usually wear their hair over them. In this case, make sure that the subject's hair isn't tucked behind her ears, as this will make them stand out. Larger ears can also stick out through the hair, making them appear really large.

Without hair to conceal them, the best way to reduce the appearance of the ears is to turn the face toward the main light until the ear on the main-light side of the

In most portraits, your clients will want to see eye contact—and they want their eyes to look as big as possible.

Paired with a flattering pose, a relaxed, natural expression can produce a portrait that virtually sells itself.

face is obscured. Then, move the fill reflector farther eye opening and gives the eye more impact as well as a from the subject to increase the shadow on the visible larger appearance."

ear, or move the main light more to the side of the subject to create a shadow over the ear.

With a person with larger eyes that tend to bulge, the face needs to be directed more toward the camera.

Noses. The nose is only seen in a portrait because of You must also make sure that no catchlight appears on the shadows that are around it. "By turning the face the whites of the eye, as this will draw a great deal of more toward the light or bringing the main light more attention to this area and make it much too bright.

toward the camera, you can reduce the shadow on the

Expression. Proper expression depends on the age side of the nose and reduce the apparent size of the of your clients. With babies and small children, parents nose," says Jeff.

love laughing smiles. With children, moody, more seri-

Eyes. "Most people want their eyes to look as large ous expressions are salable. In dealing with teens and as possible," says Jeff. "By turning the face toward the adults, the best expressions are more subtle.

main light and bringing the subject's gaze back to the

"While squinty expressions are cute on a baby, not camera, the pupil shifts more toward the corner of the many adults really want to see themselves with no eyes,

Turning the subject to an angle from the main light naturally enhances the bustline.
Posing the subject with their torso at an angle to the camera produces a slimmer view of the waist.

left—When they slouch, even trim subjects can seems to have rolls at their waist. right—Instead, have the subject sit up straight— almost to the point of arching her back. This makes a big improvement; not only does her stomach look flatter, but the pose also provides a space between her waist and left arm, making her entire torso look slimmer. Notice, too, the change in the position of the subject's feet. Simply by having the subject lift one heel, as in this image, her legs look much more shapely.

left—When they slouch, even trim subjects can seems to have rolls at their waist. right—Instead, have the subject sit up straight— almost to the point of arching her back. This makes a big improvement; not only does her stomach look flatter, but the pose also provides a space between her waist and left arm, making her entire torso look slimmer. Notice, too, the change in the position of the subject's feet. Simply by having the subject lift one heel, as in this image, her legs look much more shapely.

huge chubby cheeks, and every tooth in their mouth visible," says Jeff. "Large smiles are unflattering to adults for these reasons, too—but also because this expression brings out every line and wrinkle on a person's face." While retouching can reduce the appearance of these lines on the face, it often results in subjects that don't look like themselves.

With smiling, timing is important. Once your client smiles, it is up to you to decide when the perfect smile occurs and take the pictures. When most people first start to smile, it is enormous. "If you take the shot at this point," says Jeff, "you end up with a laughing or almost-laughing smile." A moment later, the expression starts to relax. "It isn't that big a change," he notes, "but it is the difference between a laughing smile and a smile that is pleasing to an adult client."

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