photographing unattractive people

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by alliseeisyou, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. alliseeisyou

    alliseeisyou TPF Noob!

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    I edited this post because I didnt mean to sound judgemental when I wrote "photographing unattractive people" I guess I meant what the 4th person commented on - when someone has flaws/problems - do you just arbitrarily fix them?

    For example - my husband has bad scarring on his face but says if I correct it, it doesn't *look* like him anymore. Where as if my 13 year old daughter has a scar on her face and she *wants* it corrected because she doesnt like it there. So what do you do? How many blemishes appear before you ask someone if they want you to touch up their skin? Or remove a mole or two? Do you just not do anthing unless they say something?

    I mean a lot of people I photograph joke around and say things like "can you make it look like I weigh 20 lbs less" and the answer is yes .... and no. Where do you draw the line?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
  2. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't see why you'd need to light someone or photograph them differently based on their perceived attractiveness.
     
  3. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Stop being judgemental. That'll help.
     
  4. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Do you mean something like if someone has a hooked nose, you should not shoot them profile? Ears that shoot out the side of someone's head should have their head at a angle and not straight on?

    Most of these things are very subjective. Just because you assume that someone's ears do not look the norm does not mean that they think the same thing. I wouldn't assume to make someone look different than they are, unless they request it.

    Same goes for photochopping the image after. While some changes are fine (levels adjustment, saturation and what not) when you get into changing eye colour, removing blemishes...these things might not bother the subject, and in fact, are part of who they are.

    I'm sure the first photographer to have Cindy Crawford model for them thought about covering up that mole.
     
  5. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Like most photographers, I take the opposite point of view. The essence of portraiture is to flatter the subject. There are tons of books and web tutorials on how to do that, from make-up to posing, lighting and camera angles. The biggest mistake of the "natural excuse" photographers is that they often bring visual attention to blemishes in their work, which I would consider insulting the subject.

    Now, postprocessing does much of what was previously done in photo labs. If PP is well done, it will not even be noticed by the subject when you show hm/her the prints. Some for example reduce blemishes, so that they are less noticeable, rather than completely eliminating them. Blood shot eyes can be fixed and teeth can be finessed.

    So, the fine balance is to flatter the subject without transforming him or her into a permanent totally different person.

    skieur
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
  6. alliseeisyou

    alliseeisyou TPF Noob!

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    Exactly. And I've done my homework and read the books and studied on posing techniques and tried different ones out and adjusted lighting and everything else. What I want to know is the best way to flatter your subject.

    I work in an Emergency Dept and (sorry -- 7 years has jaded me in ways that I am sure are unattractive) we get a LOT of people in there who are not phenotypically people that I would CHOOSE to photograph - though I am sure their parents think they are the cutest kids ever. I try very hard to see some beauty in everyone - especially children.

    I'm one of the most laid back people there is - I'm trying to solicit some advice here. So what do you feel helps? Bright colors? Candid shots?
     
  7. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    When I do headshots for people, what I do is not COMPLETELY remove blemishes, I just fade them out and make them less noticeable.

    Now if it's something like cits from shaving that morning, well duh, of course you take that out. But moles, wrinkles, scars, unless they're really tiny, I always use the patch selection, fade selected area, that way it's not totally gone, it's just not the first thing you look at.

    Then I generally liquefy just a tad, because most people perceive themselves just a wee bit (really, not much) thinner then they really are.
     
  8. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    That is the best approach. De-emphasize blemishes and scars so that it is not the first thing that you notice or look at when you see the photo.

    skieur
     
  9. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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  10. arteest1

    arteest1 TPF Noob!

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    I usually de-emphasis blemishes in-camera or in Photoshop, though asking the subject first what they want emphasized and de-emphasized will help as well.
     
  11. jbylake

    jbylake Dodging the Men in Black Supporting Member

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    I'm not a professional, so I really don't have to worry about it. But I think if I was confronted with that dilemma, I'd wait for them to bring it up.

    J.:mrgreen:
     
  12. CSR Studio

    CSR Studio TPF Noob!

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    I use lighting when I can. I also use a cross star on some portraits to soften them. I always have women jut out their chin so that they don't have a double chin. I also sit with my clients and explain what I can do in PS. I explain that I can take reflections out of glasses, remove blemishes and that sort of thing. Then I ask if there is anything that they would like to have done. If you present it that way people understand and will thank you for it.
     

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