TINA CHISNELL: Blog https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog en-us (C) TINA CHISNELL [email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) Thu, 24 Jun 2021 19:05:00 GMT Thu, 24 Jun 2021 19:05:00 GMT https://www.tinachisnell.com/img/s/v-12/u280416170-o510786051-50.jpg TINA CHISNELL: Blog https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog 120 80 Up in arms https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/6/up-in-arms 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.





[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/6/up-in-arms Thu, 24 Jun 2021 19:04:59 GMT
The booty we love best. https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/6/the-booty-we-love-best 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.


[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) bottom photography portraits pose like a pro posing posing guide selfie https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/6/the-booty-we-love-best Thu, 10 Jun 2021 23:00:00 GMT
The problem with arms... https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/5/the-problem-with-arms 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


[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) curves portraits pose like a pro posing posing guide selfie https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/5/the-problem-with-arms Fri, 28 May 2021 14:00:00 GMT
The perfect headshot is right under your nose. https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/5/the-perfect-headshot-is-right-under-your-nose 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.




[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) photography portraits pose like a pro posing posing guide selfie https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/5/the-perfect-headshot-is-right-under-your-nose Wed, 19 May 2021 10:52:14 GMT
Building poses with triangles https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/5/building-poses-with-triangles 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.


[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) photography portraits pose like a pro posing posing guide selfie triangles https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/5/building-poses-with-triangles Thu, 13 May 2021 12:30:00 GMT
Baby steps towards a perfect pose https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/5/baby-steps-towards-a-perfect-pose There's so much to think about isn't there? If you've read any of my previous blog posts on posing you'll see that it's not all about having a killer smile or sultry looks. You have to think about what you hands, arms, hips eyes and … today's topic, feet are doing. If you forget to pose one of these body parts it's not the end of the world, but it can be the difference between a great pose and a “meh” pose.

So, feet. To put it very briefly you want to avoid having your feet pointing straight ahead and having them in the same plain as one another. You also want to avoid equal distribution of your weight into both feet. It's easier if I show you what I mean and I do have a video in my Pose like a pro guide (see main menu), but I will try my best to describe it in words.

You don't want you feet to look like you are a soldier standing at attention... yes it looks neat and tidy but it certainly doesn't look relaxed which is generally the look you are going for in photo session.

To avoid this rigid, awkward look, you have many options; I will go through a few here.

  1. Take a step forward. This is a dynamic pose and works well to show movement and makes for an interesting pose – if you get it right. When taking a step forward make sure you are not flat footed or it will look staged and … well posed. Your weight should be in one of your feet – not both. Taking a step gives you an opportunity to push your hip out on the weight bearing side which introduces curves which I keep harping on about. Just in case you've forgotten, curves are good!

  2. Have your left foot facing forward and your right foot about 45 degrees off to the right... this is not a precise measurement; I didn't get my protractor out so take your best guess. It's best if your right foot is not in line with your left foot. Have your weight in your left (forward facing) foot. This gives you a relaxed appearance and once again (you guessed it) allows you to push that hip out. Curves, curves, curves.

  3. Have your weight in your right foot and cross your left foot over keeping a soft bend in your left knee. This creates a narrow point at the knee which is which creates a pleasing silhouette.

And that's your very brief guide on what to do with your feet. For more information on posing your feet head over to my pose like a pro with your feet video.



[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) photography portraits pose like a pro posing feet posing guide selfie https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/5/baby-steps-towards-a-perfect-pose Thu, 06 May 2021 09:48:21 GMT
Make up matters https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/4/make-up You’ve booked yourself in for a photo shoot and you want to look your best. Of course you don’t HAVE to wear make up and many people don’t and look gorgeous. However, if you want to wear make up, here are a few tips to help you to get the best results.

Before I begin, I am not a make up artist and this advice is just things I have picked up from doing many photo shoots on subjects wearing make up and doing a bit of research on make up that works well with studio strobe lighting.

You wouldn’t be the first to think that you can get away with wearing your every day make up – but not everyone can. The first thing to remember is that a studio setting is not the same as natural light and so the camera won’t always “see” what you see in the mirror!

Tina’s Top Tips on make up

  1. Lose any products with SPF… you’ll get flashback – don’t know what that means? You’ll look a bit like a ghost!

  2. Unless you really like the shiny look, go for matte products and avoid shimmer.

  3. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. Start your make up on a nice smooth canvas to avoid that dry, flakey appearance.

  4. Use a primer. I know it may sound like you are using a lot of products but if you are having a long shoot in front of hot lights, it does get pretty warm; you want your make up to stay put for as long as possible without having to reapply.

  5. You don’t need to worry about fine lines on your face – we ALL have them and they make you look…human, but if you are really bothered about them, steer clear of too many powdery products or avoid them altogether, they sink into your lines and make them far more noticeable.

  6. This sounds obvious but match your foundation to your skin colour and pay attention to your jaw line and neck! You don’t want to look two toned.

  7. Flash photography can make your skin look a bit washed out so don’t be afraid to use a bit of blusher or bronzer to define your cheekbones…just blend out those edges so you look more JLo and less Coco the clown.

  8. Mascara and eyeliner are your best friends. Photographers tend to focus on eyes so emphasise those eyes with lashings of mascara and some eyeliner to make your eyes pop.

  9. Fill in those eyebrows but go easy. You want them to frame your face but they don’t need to take centre stage

  10. Before you reach for that lipstick, give your lips a once over with a soft toothbrush, pop on some lip balm…now you’re ready for some colour. Personally, I would always opt for a matte lipstick as I don’t like the “wet look” lip gloss or glossy lipstick gives on camera.


Finally smile, relax and try to forget that there’s a camera pointing at you – you’re fabulous!




[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) make-up photographer photography photoshoot portrait photography https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/4/make-up Wed, 28 Apr 2021 11:08:24 GMT
Sparkle matters https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/3/sparkle-matters We've probably all heard the phrase “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” The viewer is drawn in to the eyes of a portrait. That is why it is important to remember to pose the eyes (see previous bog – How to avoid looking creepy).

As well as posing eyes, we also have to remember to make sure the eyes look vibrant and alive. The way to do that is to ensure there is a catchlight in each eyes.

What is a catch light?

A catchlight is a small spark of light in the eye which makes the eyes sparkle. So how to you get these catchlights? Well, they are created by a reflection from a bright source of light this could be the sun, a light bulb, a torch or a strobe so all you need to do is make sure you are in a room or outdoors with a light source and there is nothing blocking the path between you and the light. You don't have to look directly at the light source – in fact if the light source is the sun, you definitely don't want to be looking directly at it but the reflection in your eye should be visible.

If you are taking a selfie, this should be one of the things you look out for by perhaps taking a photograph and zooming in on the eyes to check whether you have a catchlight. If not and your eyes look a little dull or dare I say it... dead, reposition your head to ensure you can see a catchlight in your eyes.

If someone else is taking your photograph; it makes life easier as they can position you correctly before taking a photograph.

If that all seems a little picky I'll show you an example of a photograph with and without catchlights and you can see the difference for yourself.

These two photographs are identical except for the removal of the catchlights from my eyes in the photograph on the right. As a result, my eyes look dull and lifeless in this picture. It's a subtle but important difference.






[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) catchlights photography portraits pose like a pro posing posing guide selfie https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/3/sparkle-matters Mon, 22 Mar 2021 14:15:00 GMT
It's all in your hands https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/3/its-all-in-your-hands Something I have learned about posing clients is that hands really matter. Not only can badly posed hands ruin a potentially great photographs, not posing hands at all can leave clients feeling uncomfortable and they will often ask the question, “what should I do with my hands?” You see, people feel more at ease posing if they have something to do with their hands; they feel they can be more natural within their pose. If you try it yourself and pose in front of the mirror but leave your hands by your side, it somehow makes you feel more vulnerable. (At least it does for me!) So while you are thinking about your perfect smile and popping out that hip, don’t forget to pose your hands.

There are a few things you can think about to make sure your hands aren’t appearing distracting, awkward or tense.

Firstly, make sure hands aren’t clenched into a fist or rigid like breadsticks. Fingers should be slightly separated and have a soft bend at the knuckle - not straight and rigid but also not so bent that they appear claw –like.

The next thing to consider is hand placement. Make sure your hands are not pressed into your face or body. When you lean your face into your hands, it alters the shape of your face. It can squash your chin up towards your lips or form dimples in the cheek (not in a cute way!) Pressing your fingers into the waist can make you appear tense or nervous – like you’re gripping on for dear life. To fix this problem, gently stroke the face rather than leaning onto your hands. I often ask clients to wiggle their fingers before softly placing their hands back onto their face or body. This avoids the poker straight finger appearance but also encourages soft, delicate hands.

Another common problem is the palm of your hand (who would have thought?) The palm of your hand has a large surface area and tends to be a brighter part of your skin. It is therefore quite distracting, particularly if it is posed near to your face. To help clients achieve more elegant looking hands, I ask them to alter the position of their hands so that the pinky side of their hand is facing the camera. This is a more slender part of the hand and achieves a more attractive less distracting pose.

And there you have it, a few tips to get you started on posing your hands. For more tips have a look at my posing guide: pose like a pro with your hands and arms.





[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) photography portraits pose like a pro posing posing guide posing hands selfie https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/3/its-all-in-your-hands Tue, 09 Mar 2021 14:23:00 GMT
Comfort and curves https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/3/comfort-and-curves Let’s talk clothing. A factor to take into consideration when sifting through your wardrobe in preparation for your photo shoot is your silhouette. My advice is to choose clothing that does not obscure your natural silhouette. This doesn’t mean you should wear skin tight clothing but just make sure your clothes fit you well.

However, in some cases, even if your clothes fit well, it can still remove all evidence of you having any curves. In the picture on the left, I have a shirt on which isn’t baggy but it doesn’t show my shape, in fact it makes me look a bit blocky. If you draw a line from my shoulder to my hip, it is pretty much a straight line. Even though I have popped my hip out in this picture, you can’t really see the resulting curve.

Looking at the picture on the right, I’m still wearing the same shirt but by placing just one hand on my waist (not my hip!) it immediately cinches in my waist and introduces a curve. You can now see the effect of my popped out hip. It produces a far more pleasing silhouette created just by altering the placement of my hand. As my friend the Aleksandr would say, Simples! 

For more advice on making the most of your curves, have a look at my video: pose like a pro with your hips.

[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) curves photography portraits pose like a pro posing posing guide selfie https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/3/comfort-and-curves Mon, 01 Mar 2021 14:23:00 GMT
If it bends, bend it. https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/2/if-it-bends-bend-it Curves are good, they draw the eye in, you see them all around you, that meandering stream, waves crashing onto a sandy beach, fluffy clouds, railway tracks, petals on a flower, branches of a tree, rolling hills and even that long and winding road (thanks Beatles). Curves create an interesting line for the eye to follow so it’s no surprise that it is used in portraiture too.

In portraiture curves encourage the eye to linger on the figure for longer, taking the eye on a journey along the form which is far more engaging than a straight line. That is why some bright spark came up with the rule, “If it bends bend it, if it curves curve it”

When posing a model, I make sure I introduce some bends and curves – this is not only attractive but produces a more relaxed posture. One way of achieving this is by creating a counterpose. This is taken from the term contrapposte, a sculptural scheme originated by the ancient Greeks.

Counterposing is created when on one side of the body you have a high hip point (created by pushing this hip out) and a low shoulder and on the other side you have a low hip point and high shoulder.

The example below shows this. You can do whatever feels comfortable with your hands but the hips and shoulders should be opposed as described. This is also known as the S curve because… well it produces an S shape (obviously). The S curve can be accentuated by adding a slight head tilt towards the “pushed out, raised” hip.

(Notice I said SLIGHT head tilt – don’t go overboard with that tilt.)

For a video guide to the counterpose, have a look at my posing guide: pose like a pro with your hands and arms.




[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) curves photography portraits pose like a pro posing posing guide selfie https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/2/if-it-bends-bend-it Wed, 17 Feb 2021 14:23:00 GMT
Perfecting being a poser https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/2/perfecting-being-a-poser When I started my photography business I didn’t really feel confident posing people. I started photography doing street photography and watching things unfold naturally rather than constructing planned images. I moved onto taking portraits; families, children, babies, couples, singles ... anyone who wanted photographs and was happy to pay me for taking them.

To begin with, I would give people a scenario to pose them in order to recreate the image I envisaged in my head.

Pretend you are sat down on the floor, relaxed, watching tv.”

Or “Stand as if you are waiting for a bus.”

This worked most of the time... sometimes... rarely. More often than not, the resulting pose wouldn’t match the vision I had. Not so surprising since I gave them minimal direction to work with. After all, there’s more than one way to sit down watching tv and more than one way to stand waiting for a bus.

I soon learned I had to provide clear, concise directions if I wanted to create the poses I was after. This isn’t all that easy, or at least it wasn’t for me - maybe I’m just bad at expressing myself clearly! I would try to describe what I wanted the client to do and they would look at me slightly confused before awkwardly getting into a pose and asking, “What like this?”

Not to mention the younger children who didn’t know their left from their right… I didn’t stand a chance with those clients!

I realised that if I wanted those poses in my head to come to life in my studio, the ones I saw other photographers produce, then I had to show my clients how to do them; not just through words but through demonstration.

This was very hard for me to accept. I am not comfortable in front of the camera at all. In fact at my wedding I insisted on having only natural, candid photographs being taken by the photographer. I am naturally an awkward poser; I tense up, my shoulders rise and my smile looks forced - not the kind of photographs I wanted to remember our special day.

The thought of posing in front of clients who I didn’t know was daunting. The normal, “What will they think of me?” “I’ll feel stupid.” “I’ll LOOK stupid.” flooded my thoughts. However, I had to do something as my existing method was not producing results I was happy with. At best they looked awkward, at worst they looked untidy and unintentional.

I began practising posing in front of the mirror. Did I feel silly? Yes! Ridiculous! BUT I began to really know what it felt like to get into the poses I wanted to create with my clients. For instance, I felt that it’s actually quite uncomfortable to push my hip out to create that accentuated curve from my waist to my hip. So when working with my clients I would be sensitive to this and I wouldn’t keep them in that pose for too long.

I could also see from my reflection that even if I FELT I was tilting my head just a little… it could look too much and over-posed. Similarly, I only had to introduce a very soft bend in my knee to create a more relaxed pose. This helped me to direct clients with far greater accuracy.

I soon gained enough confidence to demonstrate poses in front of my clients enabling them to mirror my poses step by step. I found that my confidence to pose in front of my clients resulted in their increased confidence to pose in front of me!

It turns out, people have better things to concern themselves with than to waste their time judging me and if, on the off chance, they do think unkind thoughts about me… I will probably never know! Ignorance really is bliss!

[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) head tilt photography portraits pose like a pro posing posing guide selfie https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/2/perfecting-being-a-poser Fri, 05 Feb 2021 14:23:00 GMT
How to choose your best side https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/1/how-to-choose-your-best-side You’ve probably heard people asking for their photos to be taken showing their “good side.” So does everyone have a “good side” and if so how do you find out which side it is?

Firstly, not everyone has a good side, if you have a symmetrical face, chances are you won’t have a preference for either your left or your right side. However, if your face is not symmetrical, there are a few things you can look out for to decide on your “better side.” This involves getting a mirror out and giving your face a good long look.

  1. Eyebrows. Do you prefer one eyebrow over the other?

  2. Brow-bone. Is one brow bone more defined?

  3. Eyes. Is one eye more turned up (and so looks a bit happier!) than the other?

  4. Mouth. When your face is at rest, does one side of your mouth turn up more than the other?

  5. Jaw. Is one side of your jaw more defined than the other?

  6. Hair. Do you part your hair to one side resulting in this side of your face being more exposed and better lit?

All of these things may point you in the direction of your better side.

For me, I prefer my left eyebrow to my right, my brow bones and eyes and jaw line are pretty much the same on both sides (as far as I can tell), my mouth seems to lift more on my left side and my parting is also on my left side which means the left side of my face is more exposed. So…. my best side seems to be my left!

For more helpful tips on posing your face, have a look at my posing guide, pose like a pro with your face.

[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) choosing your best side good side photography portraits pose like a pro posing posing guide selfie https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/1/how-to-choose-your-best-side Fri, 29 Jan 2021 14:23:00 GMT
How to avoid looking creepy https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/1/how-to-avoid-looking-creepy How to avoid looking creepy

It’s easy to fall in to the trap of having all of your photographs looking the same; same smile, same gaze towards the camera and same head tilt. To change things up a bit you could look somewhere else, this can add interest to your photograph as it invites your audience to wonder who or what you are looking at and perhaps what you are thinking.

People are generally drawn to a person’s eyes when looking at photographs so it’s important to remember to pose your eyes.

Looking at the photograph on the left you can see that there is too much white showing on the left side of my eye. This is because I have shifted my gaze to the right without moving my head enough to the right. This is generally not an attractive look at best it looks strained at worst it can look a bit creepy.

Unless creepy is the look you’re going for, you can avoid showing too much of the whites of your eyes by following a little trick. When you are gazing to the left or right, make sure you are looking in the same direction as where your nose is pointing.

The picture on the right shows how I rectified my strained/creepy eyes to create eyes that look more relaxed and flattering.

For more advice on posing your eyes, have a look at my video pose like a pro with your face.


[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) photography portraits pose like a pro posing posing guide posing your eyes selfie https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/1/how-to-avoid-looking-creepy Thu, 21 Jan 2021 14:23:00 GMT
Yoga Body https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/1/yoga-body About 17 years ago I went to my first yoga class. I didn’t know what to expect but I wanted to try something different from running which was never attractive during those cold, dark and often wet evenings. There were only about 3 of us attending the class at that time which meant a lot of individual attention and adjustments!

The yoga instructor wore a simple black vest and black, light loose fitting jogging bottoms. I remember this because this has pretty much been her uniform for the 17 years that I have known her.

I fell in love with yoga; it gave me a feeling of serenity and made me so acutely aware of my own body and its abilities and limitations. More than that, I loved the ethos within this particular class. Yoga is a non-competitive sport there was no looking at the person on the mat beside you to see whether they were reaching further than you could. (Although I have to admit, back then I did occasionally glance at someone on another mat since my future husband was practicing on said mat… but that’s another story!) The focus was on your own body and sometimes your own discomfort (it’s not pain… it’s heightened awareness!!)

I started to read up on yoga and learned about the spiritual side; while yoga is historically associated with certain religions, it is not a religion in itself. Also regardless of what people may tell you, meditating does not leave space for the devil to enter into the mind! Yoga is about union; the union of the body and mind, breath and energy, conscious and unconscious, the soul and the divine (whatever that means to you).

I started to follow a lot of yogis on social media along with photographers and photography. My hope was to fill my feed with things that inspire and nourish me rather than seeing the latest exotic holiday my friends had been on which only led me to play the comparison game (where I generally lose!)

This worked for some time and I felt better about being on social media; I didn’t get that depleted, dissatisfied feeling once I turned off my screen. Then it changed and my feed started to be filled with images of people in bikinis doing yoga, which sometimes looked more like acrobatics. This wasn’t the yoga I fell in love with; it had somehow turned into a cross between the talent and swimwear round of a Miss World beauty pageant. It became more about, “Look how great my body looks” and “Look I can do the splits while making breakfast… and changing my baby’s nappy at the same time ” than it did about unity of the body mind and spirit.

It’s getting worse. I see yogis now who I have followed and found inspiring for a long time resorting to wearing more revealing clothing; perhaps it’s to get more likes or followers or dare I say it… become influencers… who knows?

I am not saying it’s wrong to show your skin, I’ve rocked a bikini and a crop top many a time, but I do think that the message and meaning of yoga is being diluted and lost in the process of more yogis practicing in this way.

I’m calling for more attention on breath work and less on the booty! It will make you feel better about yourself, I promise.





[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) body breathe yoga https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2021/1/yoga-body Sun, 10 Jan 2021 14:23:00 GMT
Keeping it real https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2020/12/keeping-it-real I aim to make people feel beautiful, whatever their hair colour eye colour, skin colour, height or weight may be. I want to raise their confidence levels so that the vibrant energy released enhances a beauty that was always there.

For some people it may come easy…er to feel beautiful. You are fed with this message from a young age; magazines and television display images of people who look like you.

For me that wasn’t the case. I grew up as a brown skinned girl who couldn’t see many (if any) women on TV who looked like me. The women I saw as beautiful and were sold to me as beautiful were fair-skinned with long glossy brown or blonde hair. That slowly became my definition of beautiful and it didn’t look anything like me.

I grew up and with time began to have a better relationship with my own reflection. I learned to use the right make up to compliment my skin, not those that made me look ashy and pale. I learned how to manage my frizzy hair, using leave in conditioners and oil treatments. I basically learned to accept and work with myself instead of being in a constant battle with myself. It wasn’t an easy journey and at times the girl who felt like the forever unattractive side-kick does still make her appearance. I am kind to her and do my best to reassure her and hope that with my kindness and acknowledgement of her existence she will once again retire to her dormant state.

I endeavour to help the people I work with recognise their uniqueness as their strength and power rather than a flaw to hide away. I want to show them the beauty they may have been ignoring or maybe even battling against and encourage them to let it shine.

I won’t Photoshop your pores to oblivion nor will I erase your freckles. I won’t make you look, taller or shorter, thinner or curvier. I won’t make your caramel skin look lighter or your porcelain skin look darker. You are you and I will honour and celebrate you for the unique, awesome individual that you are. The end!





[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2020/12/keeping-it-real Fri, 18 Dec 2020 16:11:00 GMT
Meet Charlie and Fred https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2020/9/meet-charlie-and-fred I have wanted to broaden my horizons and venture into product photography for a while; I love photographing people but there has always been something about taking pictures of pretty, stylized inanimate objects that has been attractive to me. So when Nicki and Jane asked me to photograph their Charlie and Fred candles, I pretty much jumped at the opportunity (send your wishes out to the universe and she will respond!)

There are a few tips I thought I’d share which might help you to get perfect product pictures.


This is a biggy as always with any photography. So think about it carefully. To help you make your decision you need to know that natural light will give you soft light and artificial/flash lighting will give you harder light. So you need to decide what kind of a “feel” you are after.

For the stylised shoot of the Charlie and Fred candles, I opted for natural light to give a soft and airy feel. I used an aperture of about f6.3 to capture enough detail of the products but pushed the background out of focus. I did fill in shadows using my speedlight bounced off the ceiling, which maintained the overall soft light.

For the individual products which were going to be used for customers to choose for purchase, we wanted a cleaner feel. The focus was just one product and so I used my strobe lights which gives a harder more direct light. As I used an artificial light source, which I could control, I could use a smaller aperture f11 to provide greater detail of each product. The main goal is to make sure the product is evenly lit and that the branding is not obscured by any glare. This means positioning of my lights is key.


This can be easy to ignore and can easily mess up a perfectly good photograph. Again, a few decisions need to be made beforehand. Are you looking for your photograph to tell a story, to provide a particular mood? In which case a background of some sort would be beneficial so you can see the candle in some context.

For the stylized shoot we wanted to give the impression of the candles being in a home. We wanted to create a light, and airy mood. I shot the candles on a white table top with a window and a large plant in the background. The plant and window are out of focus but it is clear what it is. It gives the at-home feel without providing too much detail of the home which is not the focus of the photograph. Things to watch out for are too many bold distracting colours. The colours in the background should blend in together and not be blocky.

For the individual products I used a white vinyl backdrop. I didn’t want the eye to be drawn to anything else other than the detail of the products that a customer would purchase. I wanted an almost clinical mood.


So once you’ve made decisions on the lighting and where you want to shoot, make sure your product is in tip top condition. This sounds obvious but it’s easy to miss slightly wonky labels… which you won’t miss in post-production when you have your grid up and every photograph has a label that’s ever so slightly bent!

Also any finger prints, specks of dust, little nicks or creases will be glaringly obvious when you come to look at your photographs so save yourself a lot of post processing time and tears by giving the products a thorough inspection before you begin.










[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) commercial photography Hampshire photographer lighting photographer post production product photography https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2020/9/meet-charlie-and-fred Tue, 22 Sep 2020 10:30:00 GMT
100 in Hamble https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2017/3/100-in-hamble About 4 years ago I had an idea; I thought I would take photographs of women and girls aged from 1 to 100. The idea was to celebrate the lives ladies who live in our little village, Hamble. That was all before I had a baby. However, when my brown-eyed boy arrived my idea remained just that – an idea.

Not so long ago, Mark reminded me of my abandoned “100 in Hamble” project and thought now would be a perfect time to proceed with it. Not only are my children older and give me more time and space to dedicate towards this project, but this would also give me the opportunity to reacquaint myself with the people in Hamble I have forgotten and also those I do not yet know. Win-win situation!

So here we are, the 100 in Hamble website has been launched! A project capturing the look and lives of 100 women aged 1 to 100, living in Hamble, in the second decade of the third millennium.

I’d love you to see how I am getting on - find the 100 in Hamble link in the main menu.

I thought, for this blog post picture, it most appropriate to start at the beginning – so here is Molly, age 1.










[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) 100 in Hamble Hamble portrait photography portraits women https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2017/3/100-in-hamble Mon, 27 Mar 2017 23:28:00 GMT
Satin-lined cages and the search for a studio https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2012/11/satin-lined-cages-and-the-search-for-a-studio  

This summer has been the busiest summer of my life, I got married… I could just stop there really and that would be enough, but I also did some research on lighting and a studio to hire for my portrait photography. The lighting was tough; there are so many lights which all seem to do the same thing, but the cost varied so much. I’m normally an impulse buyer; I know what I want when I see it and I get it… be it a coffee table, a jumper or a jacket, I’m in and out within minutes, decision made, credit card swiped, all bagged up and ready to go. I may spend a few hours feeling guilty about my purchase later on and wonder whether I really needed another pair of brown, leather boots, but that’s half the fun right?

However, when it came to my photography lighting, it took me a while to part with my hard earned cash. The words of one of my friends rang in my ears, “buy cheap, buy twice!” This is something I didn’t want to do and couldn’t afford to do. In the end, I opted for the Elinchrome BX 500Ri which so far has proved easy to use and the results have been fabulous – although perhaps I should leave others to be the judge of that.

The studio issue was a whole different kind of story. I knew what I wanted; a nice, cosy space, close to home where I could take family portraits. The first studio I went to was owned by a guy who wanted to do a studio share. I made an appointment and took my husband (then fiancé) along to get a second opinion… I didn’t need a second opinion – the place had a dungeon! Yes, a fully kitted out dungeon, complete with black painted walls, a whip and of course… a satin lined cage in the corner. The dungeon was the theme room; under lock and key as all theme rooms are - not really the kind of space I had in mind for my family portraits.

Needless to say, I wasn’t interested in signing up for his studio share. However, I didn’t want to be rude to the man, after all this was his business, even if it wasn’t my cup of tea, coffee or any other drink. So, I listened while he showed me his lighting system and offered to give me a portrait lighting course at a very reasonable price; all the while thinking “Do I really look like the kind of girl who would want to take photographs of people in a dungeon?”

After that, I decided try plan B, which was to go to a portrait studio and get some photos done and learn from the experience. Again, I went with Mark, but this time the experience was one that I would want to recreate. The photographer was warm and chatty and explained what he was going to do, making us feel at ease. I am not the best in front of a camera; I prefer to be tucked away behind one; making clicking sounds. However, the photographer had a way of making us both feel comfortable. I don’t remember exactly what he did, or what he said, but  I do remember that we were genuinely laughing during the shoot, which made all the difference; true smiles are always more beautiful than the fake ones.

The result? Some gorgeous engagement shots – and there’s not a dungeon in sight!  I have posted a few of our favourites on my facebook page and if you take a look, please "like" the page.


[email protected] (TINA CHISNELL) https://www.tinachisnell.com/blog/2012/11/satin-lined-cages-and-the-search-for-a-studio Tue, 13 Nov 2012 20:22:24 GMT