Why this Article
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. If you already have your own unique look, this article is not for you. If you have a particular theme or idea you wish to portray in your shoot this article is not for you. But, if you are among the vast majority who stress about how they look, this article may just help you.
When I was setting up for a shoot with the beautiful young lady pictured above. She asked, a simple question that most ladies ask before a photo shoot. “What should I wear?” I told her I just needed her to be pretty. Right there is where the problem started. Her makeup and hair looked great. Her jeans were well fitting and looked good as well. But her blouse was a loose fitting black sweater which made her look 30 something! No offense to 30 something women, but I should not mistake a 19 year old for 30!
As we talked about her choice of clothing it became clear that she did not understand how to get the most out of her looks. So while I am no fashion expert, I have taken and seen enough good and bad pictures to give marginally good advice on what looks good in front of a camera, and how to minimize what does not.
Let’s Get Honest
Your first step is to stop, look in the mirror and take a critical look at yourself. You don’t look like a supermodel and I am not going to photo shop you into one! But trust me when I say you are beautiful and unique as you are. I just want to capture that on print. Many ladies, have a hard time taking both complements and criticisms about their appearance. If you finish reading this, I hope you decide to be an active participant in this process. You may realize how beautiful you really are! So now let’s begin with 3 lists.
- The Good –Decide what your best features are. What do you like about yourself? What do others complement you on? Don’t be shy. If you have great eyes, curves, and smile list it all. These will be traits we want to accentuate.
- The Bad –What is it you don’t like about you? Again be honest. If you think you have no waist, your forehead is too big, or your breast too small, whatever it is, write it down. This does not need to be a collaborative effort as no one else knows how you feel about your body. No one I know is 100% happy with themselves, so don’t feel bad.
- The Unique – Finally what is unique about you? This is where you may wish to talk with family and friends. This list may contain features that you may or may not like, but they are things that everyone notices about you. It can be a unique face you make when you laugh or the way your ears stick out at times. These will be things we want to capture.
Time to Share
Now you are done with the hard part. The “GOOD” list we will talk about during the shoot. Those are the simple things to work with, and I can probably pick those out. So let’s concentrate on the last 2 lists.
The “UNIQUE” list I suggest you embrace. That’s what makes you special to everyone else. Even if you don’t like them thing twice before changing or minimizing them. I photographed one young lady who has a beautiful face. But, she is so conscious of her ears sticking out, that she hides most of her face behind her hair. When in fact, only she notices her ears. Everyone else is drawn to her face. So, when I tell you don’t worry about it, don’t. Trust me to bring out the best in you. For your “BAD” list get this to me beforehand. I can suggest how to counter the things you don’t like. Far too often women and young ladies are too critical of themselves. Quite often your “BAD” attributes can be countered simply by how you are posed, or by playing up your “GOOD” to the point that the “BAD” is not noticed.
With the list done let’s talk about some general things you may want to keep in mind. These are things ladies often complain about!
Decide your wardrobe in advance. Spend some time before the shoot in the mirror in your outfits. Now that you have your “Bad List” you make, does your attire address those areas?
- Too Much Forehead – Bangs are great. Try hairstyles that bring your hair to the front.
- Small Eyes – Without tucking your chin into your neck lower your chin and look up this makes your eyes appear larger. Sit lower than the camera.
- Ears Stick Out – Don’t look straight at the camera and a ¾ profile hides this completely.
- Flat Chested – A scarf does wonders for drawing attention back up to the face.
- Small Chest – A scarf, hides breast side. Pendants, pushup bra, and V neck blouses help to make the chest look fuller. Avoid a black blouse.
- Large Chest – avoid pendants, and blouses that draw attention to the bust line. Sports bra and minimizers will help reduced the appearance. Loose fitting and dark blouses help hide the size as well. You may wish to face the camera more with your body.
- Narrow Hips/No Waist– High waist pants, flowy fabric and a waist belt helps. Easily fixed with poses.
- Wide Hips – pose at angles to the camera.
- Large Thighs – Long tapered jeans, heals, shorter tops. Posing can help as well.
Remember – while you may find these traits to be a problem there are MANY people who find them beautiful.
Love you and don’t worry about it!
The Do’s and Don’ts
- DO NOT just show up. Unless you are modeling for me, or I have known you for years you need to bring some of your ideas, and inject your personality.
- DO practice your poses. You have limited camera time! You want to take as many pictures as possible. Don’t waste time asking what to do. Come with poses in mind. I suggest browsing the internet and using Pinterest to record things you like. Here are some poses to start with Http://fail.stosim.com
- DO TALK to me. Ask for what you want. Assume I know nothing! Tell me about anything that like or that makes you uncomfortable. Suggest poses, locations, and looks. Bounce ideas off me if you would like. It’s all about YOU.
- DO Relax! Your look has a lot to do with how you feel. Your shoot should be fun. How you are feeling inside shows more than you know. So get your diva on! If that means, you bring your BFF or leave dad home do what you have to do! Don’t just be who people think you are, free yourself to be who you want to be! Knowing who that is knowing your look!