Apparently, someone once said the camera never lies. Whoever that was obviously didn't really think too much about the importance of very simple elements like lighting, posing and clothing. Melanie Ventura, an Australian fitness instructor (pictured above) has demonstrated very easily the importance of these elements that most of us as photographers are aware of but don't always consider. Simple, basic technique can absolutely transform the people you shoot. Read on to find out more.
I've just spent last week working with Lindsay Adler on some very interesting material for a Kelby lesson she was teaching on how to highlight and bring out the strongest side of the people we shoot. Whether you are dealing with a heavy set individual, someone with glasses (and issues of reflections in their lenses), someone with challenging (large or wide) or asymmetrical features, oily or shiny skin and so on, Lindsay is masterful to watch because she knows that the slightest fraction of movement (by either her camera or subject), her subject's posture, her lens choice and her lighting direction, intensity and quality can all bring about vastly different final images, and therefore perceptions in the people we see in the final shot. She also reminded me today of Melanie's picture and her rapid transformation from the result of very simple and basic actions we don't always think about but can all apply when we shoot portraits or images of people we want to make look their best.
Melanie's amazing transformation shot was the result of nothing more than a quick pose change (note the negative space when she moves her arm away from her body making her look slimmer), better posture (pulling the shoulders back and kicking the hip out really makes more of a pleasing 'S' curve), an outfit change (black slims the figure and isn't it amazing what proper fitting clothing can actually do!) and some simple hair and make up changes.
It makes you wonder how many of those "Before/After" shots we see everywhere, showing what the latest diet/exercise machine/slimming pill in action are really the effect of said remedy, or are actually just people making some small changes as Melanie did.
We all probably know this stuff makes a difference but often we forget just how powerful it is in how our final image is realized, or how to control these elements like those mentioned when shooting someone. Very simple, but very powerful stuff to apply on your next portrait session.