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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Portrait tips for photographing a "plus" friend
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03/03/2007 10:09:05 AM · #1
A friend of mine has asked me to do family portraits for her, but also wants some individual ones of herself.

But she's worried about how she'll look in print, as she is quite 'plus' sized. I hate the term fat, but she is a large woman.

What should I look to do in terms of lighting ? I have natural window light (eastern exposure only), a set of 2x500w halogen work lights, and a single 13w fluorescent work light.

I don't have a reflector - but can use white foam board or tinfoil, or possibly look into an inexpensive one.

I will be using a Nikon D50, and hope to have SB400 flash unit.
03/03/2007 10:11:08 AM · #2
Try not to shoot her from below. If she has a double chin, it will only be emphasized from that angle. Shooting her from above her slightly will thin out her neck and face. Keep the emphasis on her face rather than her upper body. Move around her with your camera until you see her best side and don't be afraid to use shadowing with your light when you can.
03/03/2007 10:22:06 AM · #3
Light her from the side turned to the back or "away". She will appear slimmer :)
03/03/2007 10:24:23 AM · #4
Originally posted by CalliopeKel:

Try not to shoot her from below. If she has a double chin, it will only be emphasized from that angle. Shooting her from above her slightly will thin out her neck and face. Keep the emphasis on her face rather than her upper body. Move around her with your camera until you see her best side and don't be afraid to use shadowing with your light when you can.


This makes sense for the most part.

I don't understand about the shadowing though - can you expand on that ?
03/03/2007 10:25:41 AM · #5
Originally posted by TCGuru:

Light her from the side turned to the back or "away". She will appear slimmer :)


I'm sorry Johnna - I just can't picture what you mean by this. Where should the light be put to do this ?
03/03/2007 10:39:51 AM · #6
If you mange to borrow the D50, then try to make sure you have a longer lens, that can be a lot more flattering than if you are using a 50mm right up in her face, a 200mm and standing well back and will help slim her face slightly, also open that aperature up a bit. Try not to use a focal length of less than 85mm as it wont do her any justice. Hope this helps.
03/03/2007 10:43:47 AM · #7
Originally posted by marksimms:

If you mange to borrow the D50, then try to make sure you have a longer lens, that can be a lot more flattering than if you are using a 50mm right up in her face, a 200mm and standing well back and will help slim her face slightly, also open that aperature up a bit. Try not to use a focal length of less than 85mm as it wont do her any justice. Hope this helps.


The D50 will be mine. I'm getting it next week.

I'll have both the 18-55mm and a 50/1.8 lenses to choose from.

Unless I can find a longer lens used CHEAP, those will be my only options.
03/03/2007 11:01:04 AM · #8
Hm.. You could play around with the liquify tool in photoshop...
03/03/2007 11:05:36 AM · #9
Originally posted by oscarmeyer:

Hm.. You could play around with the liquify tool in photoshop...


I have photoshop 5.0, or elements 4.0

Not sure if I have a liquify tool, where to find it, or how to use it.
03/03/2007 11:06:35 AM · #10
Originally posted by kashi:

Originally posted by oscarmeyer:

Hm.. You could play around with the liquify tool in photoshop...


I have photoshop 5.0, or elements 4.0

Not sure if I have a liquify tool, where to find it, or how to use it.


I don't know if it's in those version, but in CS2 it's under the filter menu.
03/03/2007 11:11:55 AM · #11
Originally posted by oscarmeyer:

I don't know if it's in those version, but in CS2 it's under the filter menu.


I don't think I have it - I can't find it. And CS2 is very far otu of my price range.

Thanks anyhow.
03/03/2007 11:12:30 AM · #12
Bonjour Kashi,

Reading your request, I went on google and type "How to photgraphe a large size person ?" and among the possibility, I found this //www.lili.jepose.com/index.php?page=galerie&serie=01-76

You don't have to take everything as it is showen here but it could lead you to something interesting to take photos of your friend...

I don't know the age or the style of your friend but anyway, from here I'm sure you'll find your way out...

cheers
03/03/2007 11:23:14 AM · #13
Originally posted by kashi:

Originally posted by oscarmeyer:

I don't know if it's in those version, but in CS2 it's under the filter menu.


I don't think I have it - I can't find it. And CS2 is very far otu of my price range.

Thanks anyhow.


Alright!
If you want to make something smaller, you can select the part you want to re-size (just a quick selection), hit feather under the select menu and go around 30 (depends on your image resolution).
Now go the filter menu, then distort and then pinch.
Again - I don't know if you can do this .. But now at least you can try!

- Oscar
03/03/2007 11:29:48 AM · #14
Using creative lighting will produce shadows. Instead of a full frontal assualt with lights where EVERYTHING is lit up like fort knox, try using a single light, so that shadows are produced in darker areas. That may help slim things down some.
03/03/2007 11:47:06 AM · #15
Originally posted by Simpa:

Bonjour Kashi,

Reading your request, I went on google and type "How to photgraphe a large size person ?" and among the possibility, I found this //www.lili.jepose.com/index.php?page=galerie&serie=01-76

You don't have to take everything as it is showen here but it could lead you to something interesting to take photos of your friend...

I don't know the age or the style of your friend but anyway, from here I'm sure you'll find your way out...

cheers


Thank you for that link - that model is absolutely stunning.
03/03/2007 11:53:53 AM · #16
Originally posted by oscarmeyer:

Alright!
If you want to make something smaller, you can select the part you want to re-size (just a quick selection), hit feather under the select menu and go around 30 (depends on your image resolution).
Now go the filter menu, then distort and then pinch.
Again - I don't know if you can do this .. But now at least you can try!

- Oscar


I found liquify in Elements - not sure how to use it though.
03/03/2007 11:59:16 AM · #17
Originally posted by kashi:

Originally posted by oscarmeyer:

Alright!
If you want to make something smaller, you can select the part you want to re-size (just a quick selection), hit feather under the select menu and go around 30 (depends on your image resolution).
Now go the filter menu, then distort and then pinch.
Again - I don't know if you can do this .. But now at least you can try!

- Oscar


I found liquify in Elements - not sure how to use it though.


Now you can use the Pucker Tool (S) to manke things smaller.
03/03/2007 12:00:19 PM · #18
Originally posted by oscarmeyer:

Hm.. You could play around with the liquify tool in photoshop...


A big noooo... that's gonna look horrible.

Turn her 3/4 pose. That's a theatrical term for shooting from the side, turned slightly in. This will in itself make her appear slimmer.

Also have her lean forward a bit and tilt her head back, this will both reduce double chin and minimize stomach (using the breasts to deemphasize the stomach).

If you can shoot from a PoV of slightly above her. You will make the head appear larger to the body size, also giving an appearance of a smaller body.

Try to get the most lighting emphases on her face.

Message edited by author 2007-03-03 12:01:46.
03/03/2007 12:13:13 PM · #19
If you have a solid background, one trick that can be done in photoshop sparingly is to "pinch" the bottom of the photo with the perspective transform.

Making the bottom of the image skinner will give a smaller body to head size ratio, giving the appearance of a smaller body. Use it sparingly though and only if you can't achieve this via a different camera PoV.
03/03/2007 12:16:02 PM · #20
Originally posted by marksimms:

If you mange to borrow the D50, then try to make sure you have a longer lens, that can be a lot more flattering than if you are using a 50mm right up in her face, a 200mm and standing well back and will help slim her face slightly, also open that aperature up a bit. Try not to use a focal length of less than 85mm as it wont do her any justice. Hope this helps.


This is true true true. Take it from a "plus."
03/03/2007 12:19:20 PM · #21
I'd say no on the liqify. I'm a "plus" gal too and I refuse to physically alter myself in photoshop. I've done it twice but I feel dumb for doing so and would be P.O.ed if a friend did it to me. that being said there are many angles that can be much more flattering than others. I think in general it depends on your model/friend. dont go by set rules. take tons of shots from tons of angles and find HER best angle.
03/03/2007 12:20:57 PM · #22
another method could be to put lots of oversized props around her ... if you make everything bigger, then she'll seem smaller.

hey, that's what they used to do in hollywood westerns! :)
03/03/2007 12:27:50 PM · #23
Originally posted by jaded_youth:

I'd say no on the liqify. I'm a "plus" gal too and I refuse to physically alter myself in photoshop. I've done it twice but I feel dumb for doing so and would be P.O.ed if a friend did it to me. that being said there are many angles that can be much more flattering than others. I think in general it depends on your model/friend. dont go by set rules. take tons of shots from tons of angles and find HER best angle.


You make a good point.

And, honestly - *I* will gain more by learning to use lighting, perspective, and posing techniques than I will by altering things after the fact.
03/03/2007 12:41:11 PM · #24
Originally posted by kashi:


And, honestly - *I* will gain more by learning to use lighting, perspective, and posing techniques than I will by altering things after the fact.


Yes you will and will generally be more pleased with the results. It's much easier to edit a photo done correctly than it is to try to correct a photo that is not.

Do a lot of "chimping" on this shoot. Look at the screen and see what is working for you.
03/03/2007 12:45:40 PM · #25
Hi Lea, I was talking about the 3/4 pose and a light that will emphasize her best features. Try using your lighting to bring out the best and hide what she doesn't like. ie: light her eyes, nose, and mouth but cast under her chin into shadow. Others are correct, it may take quite a bit of trial and error. I took a whirl through your thumbnails and you have great skills. Trust yourself :)

Oh, and take a peek at ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' jaded_youth's 30 day sp folder, she is a plethora of knowledge and ideas :)
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