I’m Tina Chisnell; welcome to my blog.
If you are a prospective client please take a moment to browse through my portfolio for examples of my work.
This is a space where I will share some advice and tips to help you to make the most of your photo sessions as well as sharing some of my random thoughts on life, the universe and everything.
I hope to see you soon.
What’s wrong with this picture? Now there’s a dangerous open invitation for criticism!
The mistake I want to draw your attention to is my left arm (highlighted in the second photograph). My left hand is placed in my hair which is a good thing; my hand has something to do and is not idle or awkward. However my elbow is pointing towards the camera giving this arm a shortened, cut off appearance. Also the placement makes the left upper arm closer to camera so more emphasis is placed on this arm and it looks disproportionately large.
The fix is simple. If I turn my upper body a little to the left, the viewer would be able to see the length of the left forearm as well as the upper arm and it would no longer appear shortened. The left arm would be further from camera making the arm look more proportional in size.
Simple changes - big difference.
For more tips on posing have a little look at my posing videos here.
This is a subject that is very personal and comes down to preference – there is no right or wrong. There are those of us who want to minimise the size of our bottoms and draw less attention to this area and there are those who would like bigger and curvier bottoms. The good news is that whichever category you fall into, there are things you can do while posing to achieve the right booty look for you. The rule to remember is; whatever is closest to the camera is going to appear bigger. So now you know this... it's all going to be quite simple.
In picture number 1 I have most of my weight in my right foot, the foot furthest from camera, and this leg is straight. I have pushed my right hip towards the back wall away from the camera. Since my hips and bottom are further away from the camera my bottom will will appear smaller.
Bottom appears smaller.
In picture number 2, I haven't changed my position much at all except for shifting my weight from my right foot to my left foot which is closer to the camera, this leg is now straight. Since my bottom is now closer to the camera it now appears bigger and curvier.
Bottom appears larger.
If you want to exaggerate this effect and make the bottom look even bigger, altering the position of the camera will also help. Moving the camera down so that it is level with the bottom will make this area closer still and therefore bigger.
So if you want bigger, smaller, curvier or flatter, I've got you covered.
I've talked a lot about hand placement, where to place them, how to place them, which part of the hand is considered more attractive etc etc. I haven't talked much about arms.
Arms can also pose a bit of a problem. If you look at the pictures below, the first picture has the arms placed at the side of the body. There are a few problems with this. Firstly, it looks a bit dull; the arms are just hanging and the hands are idle – making for an awkward, lazy looking pose. The arms at the side also creates a boxy silhouette which is far from ideal. All curves are obscured and the placement of my arms adds width to my hips.
The second picture is better; the left hand has been given something to do by hooking the thumb into a pocket. You can see some negative space between the arm and the trunk which defines outline of the the waist and hips and creates a triangle - a pleasing shape for the eye to follow (see previous blog: building poses with triangles. The right hand has also kept busy by playing with a necklace. However, the placement of the right arm merges into the trunk which widens the appearance of the trunk and and obscures curves on this side - not ideal.
The third picture shows how I fixed this. By bringing the right arm inside the body's frame, you can now see the outline of the trunk (highlighted in purple). Now you can see curves on both sides of the trunk and it makes for a much more pleasing silhouette.
And finally the fourth picture shows how you can create even more curves for the eye to follow simply by altering arm placement - also creating another triangle.
And that's a quick guide to posing your arms. For more ideas on posing arms, have a look at my posing videos.
There are many ways to position the face when posing and I do encourage models to look away from the camera or have one side of the face more exposed to the camera. This makes for a more interesting photograph; it can give the model a wistful or thoughtful appearance encouraging the viewer to wonder what the model is looking at or thinking about. It tells a story. It can also make the face appear slimmer if that is something you are concerned about and can showcase your “best side” ( see previous blog “How to choose your best side.”).
When facing away from the camera, unless you are going for a side profile picture, you should think about your nose. Your nose should not break the line of your cheek. This is difficult to explain in words so have a look at the two photographs below. They are pretty similar, however in the first photograph the pink line shows the outline of my face. You can see that my nose breaks the line of my cheek (I've marked this in yellow just to labour the point) and my right eye merges into the background; you cannot see the outer edge of my eye.
In the second picture, this is corrected just by a slight movement of my face towards the camera. Now the outline of my cheek is intact and you can see the outer edge of my right eye. It's a subtle difference but makes for a better (more flattering) photograph.
This is a moment when you need to communicate with your photographer because it will be impossible for you to know whether your nose is breaking the line of your cheek but the all-seeing all-knowing photographer will be able to guide you ;).
For more guidance on posing your face, have a look at my pose like a pro with your face video.
When I was school, I remember being given a task during science (maybe) to make a bridge using just lolly sticks, newspaper and glue. As a class we tested to see how much weight each bridge could hold. It must have been a good lesson because here I am 30 or so years later thinking about it. From that lesson, I learned that triangles are great structures for building bridges; they distribute the weight from a single point to a wide base.
Years later, I would learn that they are also great for building poses. We've all seen (and created!) those photographs where people are lined up in a straight line horizontally. It's an easy way to pose people especially if there are lots of people in the group and you're pushed for time. However to the viewer it's not such an interesting composition. Their eyes literally has to travel from left to right before losing and there is nothing to keep them interested to flow throughout the image. When we create photographs, we want the eye to linger; we want to encourage the eye to flow throughout the picture.
I've talked about how curves in a photograph can take viewer's the eye on a more interesting journey encouraging their eyes to remain on the form; triangles do a similar job.
For groups creating triangles with the subjects' heads is a good way to create a more interesting composition, it makes the photograph look balanced, it also creates a more intimate photograph.
Triangles can also play a part in individual's poses by making use of their limbs. This is great news because most if not all people I've worked with want to know what they should do with their hands. People being photographed are far more comfortable if they are given something to do with their hands.
There are lots of ways to create triangles and you will find that you may even be creating some without thinking about it. Here are a few examples to try.
As with the bridges, the triangles created gives rise to a sense of stability and power to the pose as well as providing more interesting shape for the eye to follow and flow through the picture.
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© TINA CHISNELL