How to compliment my fiancé?

Lady_Winter

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Hello everyone,

I am a photography enthusiast on my way to a hobby photographer. I almost exclusively do portrait and general people photography. As far as my biggest projects go, last month I shot a friends' wedding and now I am preparing a boudoir session with the bride. I mostly love a photojournalistic style but have recently been fooling around with more detailed set-ups and posing.

My greatest regret is that I have extremely few good pictures of my fiancé and boyfriend of 7 years. He is a little heavyset (think a slightly slimmer Zack Galifianakis with medium-blonde hair), rather soft-contoured in the face and extremely self-conscious about his body. I have only recently gotten him to the point where most times he doesn't care about me taking his picture (instead of turning away) and I would love to reward him -- and me! -- with some really good pictures of him. His expectation of yet another "horrible" picture obviously does not lend the best facial expression nor the most enthusiastic model.

What are good lighting set-ups and poses for him? What props might be helpful? Neither the color of his hair/beard nor his facial structure give much contrast/shadows to work with. How do you approach models of non-standard beauty?

I would love nothing more than to let the beauty that I see in him bleed through to the more neutral view of a photograph and the most critical view of himself.

Thank you everybody in advance!
 

The_Traveler

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I would suggest that you stop posing him and just get shots (many) as he is involved in doing what he likes. That will allow the inner 'him' to shine through. Most posed shots are great at maximizing external beauty and minimizing external faults. For many, if not most people, the tiny muscles are their face freeze when they know they are about to be photographed.

Get him relaxed and being happy - and catch him then.
 
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Lady_Winter

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The_Traveler: That is my MO for almost any shoot and the style I feel most comfortable with. :) Plus, those are almost the same words I use when explaining why I'm constantly taking pictures of people and not telling them.;) I do have several nice shots of him this way, though mostly when I'm in the frame, too, and the picture is taken by a third person.

I guess my goals are two-part here. For one, even in candid, journalistic photography, I am often able to influence the settings -- drawing curtains, turning certain lights on and off, my own position. I would appreciate certain hints that help guide me in that. Something along the lines of "Don't shoot up the nose", "Shooting down makes the subject softer, upwards makes it more mighty", "Longer focal length allows you to get out of the subject's face and distorts less" simply rules* that you live by when you compose an image in your head.

Also, as I mentioned above, I am currently experimenting with more influenced, sculpted images. Something that I never thought would be my cup of tea, but I'm finding the level of control it offers me lots of fun. It challenges me on a different level, having to keep many things in mind and planning ahead more. Here, too, it would be nice to hear some experience, again along the lines of "for women, try light along the body, high shoulder to the front, face to the high shoulder", "split lighting creates a dramatic mood" or "remember a catchlight!".

There are lots of posing tips for women out there, some even for the heavyset or wrinkled model, but apart from the business-type shots there is very little on men and I have yet to find good advice for my situation.


* I am more than aware of the fact that rules are made to be broken. I would still like to know the rules first. ;)
 
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Lady_Winter

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I am a photography enthusiast on my way to a hobby photographer.

So are you being demoted then?

Oh is it that way around? I always took "enthusiast" to mean something like "look what camera I can afford!" and "hobby photographer" to be more along the likes "I'd do this for a day job if I had the guts". Oh well, one way or another I'm really into it. ;)
 

amolitor

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Is he muscular? Even in a padded sort of way. Bodyscapes and the like can be quite flattering, pretty much no matter the body type. As a mildly portly fellow myself, I can attest to the power of shadows to conceal a multitude of sins!

Think of a moment, a thing he does, a time of day, whatever, where you find him just dead sexy. Think about how to turn that into a picture. You might try to photograph him at that very moment, or you might try to create a picture that recreates the essence of that moment. Perhaps the moment itself if not picturesque at all, but you can design a picture that is picturesque and which contains the same idea, that makes your knees go weak.
 

unpopular

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I am a photography enthusiast on my way to a hobby photographer.

So are you being demoted then?

Oh is it that way around? I always took "enthusiast" to mean something like "look what camera I can afford!" and "hobby photographer" to be more along the likes "I'd do this for a day job if I had the guts". Oh well, one way or another I'm really into it. ;)

LOL - I don't know who is passing out these merit badges. Maybe you should ask the boyscouts?
 

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The_Traveler: That is my MO for almost any shoot and the style I feel most comfortable with. I do have several nice shots of him this way, though mostly when I'm in the frame, too, and the picture is taken by a third person.


I guess my goals are two-part here. For one, even in candid, journalistic photography, I am often able to influence the settings -- drawing curtains, turning certain lights on and off, my own position. I would appreciate certain hints that help guide me in that. Something along the lines of "Don't shoot up the nose", "Shooting down makes the subject softer, upwards makes it more mighty", "Longer focal length allows you to get out of the subject's face and distorts less" simply rules* that you live by when you compose an image in your head.

Also, as I mentioned above, I am currently experimenting with more influenced, sculpted images. Something that I never thought would be my cup of tea, but I'm finding the level of control it offers me lots of fun. It challenges me on a different level, having to keep many things in mind and planning ahead more. Here, too, it would be nice to hear some experience, again along the lines of "for women, try light along the body, high shoulder to the front, face to the high shoulder", "split lighting creates a dramatic mood" or "remember a catchlight!".

There are lots of posing tips for women out there, some even for the heavyset or wrinkled model, but apart from the business-type shots there is very little on men and I have yet to find good advice for my situation.

Let's just think about this from his standpoint. If he has a bad body image, as I do, I look at a posed picture and think that the photographer had to do lots of stuff to make me look good - and it wouldn't help my self-image at all.

Get pictures of him when he is deeply engaged in something he loves so that the interest and involvement shines through. Then he will see himself - and what he loves - as a good association.
Think of him, not as a model, but as someone you care for.
 

Gavjenks

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I like the idea of in-action candids doing something he likes.

But if going a studio route: try doing just all of the slimming basic tricks at once: shoulder angled edge on to the camera, make the key lit part of the skin fairly bright but not washed out, use short (narrow side lit) split (lights coming in at 90 degrees-ish to face) lighting with camera at a slight angle to the nose, cover things he explicitly doesn't like by having them not be in the shot, or in shadows from lighting or by photoshop, depending on which is easier. Medium key:fill ratio like maybe 3:1?
 

tevo

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If you had to light him, generally short side lighting makes people look a bit thinner. I agree with the candid suggestion though!
 
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Lady_Winter

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I'm really liking the ideas and comments coming through here! :thumbup:

Is he muscular? Even in a padded sort of way. Bodyscapes and the like can be quite flattering, pretty much no matter the body type. As a mildly portly fellow myself, I can attest to the power of shadows to conceal a multitude of sins!

Think of a moment, a thing he does, a time of day, whatever, where you find him just dead sexy. Think about how to turn that into a picture. You might try to photograph him at that very moment, or you might try to create a picture that recreates the essence of that moment. Perhaps the moment itself if not picturesque at all, but you can design a picture that is picturesque and which contains the same idea, that makes your knees go weak.

I could do something with his upper arms, that could be a plan. Plus, it sounds like I'm gonna be taking my camera to bed to capture that lazy, early morning look... I'm thinking bright, washed out light, wide aperture, focus on the eyes... Not quite the shadows you're (rightfully) telling me to go with but I'm thinking a close crop and a clean focus on the eyes should do... excuse me while I, umm... I gotta go. :sexywink:

What are good lighting set-ups
Whats your flavor natural light / Flash ? as for poses 4 men, this and this should get you started.

Usually I'd do my very best to use available light and avoid distracting people with flashes (much like holding up a big sign and saying "Oy! Camera here! Watch your expressions!" :D) but I'd really like to try a more studiolike setup.

Thanks for the links! I already knew the dps one but I'll check the other one out!

Let's just think about this from his standpoint. If he has a bad body image, as I do, I look at a posed picture and think that the photographer had to do lots of stuff to make me look good - and it wouldn't help my self-image at all.

Get pictures of him when he is deeply engaged in something he loves so that the interest and involvement shines through. Then he will see himself - and what he loves - as a good association.
Think of him, not as a model, but as someone you care for.
That's a really good point. Actually kind of shames me. I wanted to produce something really polished to boost his confidence (that's the way it would work for me), but this sounds much more like him.


But, if only for general knowledge, your input is great, keep it coming! One of the links above led me to [video=vimeo;35732667]http://vimeo.com/35732667[/video], a video by Peter Hurley that I really liked. It's amazing what difference this makes.
 

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