Beauty Shots? Glamour? Style?
Q. What makes your pictures different from anyone else?
what makes up more of your magic the camera or retouching/post production?
& how do you take a glamour shot?
why is it that the same subject taken with the same cameras at the same point but different photographers at the same time always look different. is it the setting on the cameras? the lighting. what is it?
OK, now this is very subjective so I preface my comments with the statement that these are opinions and beliefs of mine, your experiences may differ and that is fine, valid, acceptable and what makes this a diverse planet, if everyone thought like me, what a wonderful place this would be, aaahhhhhh..... what I meant was isn't it great that not everyone thinks like me and we have differing viewpoints and ways of seeing the world
So what makes my pictures different from anyone else's ?
Well, lets start with the simple one, vision, and lets end with the hard one, vision. Its not a creative vision, its not a technical vision, its just my vision vs anyone else's vision. This is not taking into account whether you like or dislike my work, its immaterial to the topic and only has bearing because it may have been what prompted the question, so lets forget the work itself and talk and discuss generals based on aspects of my work vs contradicting or differing aspects of others. First, I shoot warm fairly often, not always, sometimes its cool, sometimes accurate but look at what I do and prefer and it tends to lean toward the warmer tones. Why? well I have one answer that is not totally correct but will show an aspect of a whole that is quite telling. I died, many times actually, don't ask, but one thing that had occurred was a over sensitivity of my eyes to light, I don't like bright light and it gives me quite a headache if I am in it long. This has lead me to wear sunglasses often! I don't go out without them, and I easily get annoyed and dizzy with any that even slightly distort, but forget that, lets move on to why I mention it. I have been wearing sunglasses, often whatever I like and I replace the lenses with most often a Revo polarized lens, they tend to have a nice darker version that I like, and I have them cut to fit most any glasses I wear, they also tend to be quite contrasty, warm and color enhancing and especially seem to enhance the reds, greens and the extra contrast seems to boost blues a bit to a deeper color. I always knew they did but never gave them much thought, until I picked up a pair of Oakley's that I fell in love with on my face! They are great polarized, shatter proof, whatever, and I picked them up while out in sunny Beverly Hills, and wore them everywhere for a week, and was so depressed and miserable. I finally switch for a day to my older Revo lens frames and realized the WORLD was bright! Sunny! Vibrant! Alive! and I realized that for over 9 years I have not seen the world another way, until I put on a pair of Oakleys that have a cool gray neutral lens to them. So now that obviously impacts my perception of the world a tad, and when adjusting and shooting and doing any post work I want the skin to be what I want to see and remember it being and how it looks good and wouldn't you know it, its warm and a tad contrasty! Strange how that happens. Notice people who live in areas that tend to be cold, damp, dreary, rainy and cloudy and there is a tendency (not all, but many if not most) to shoot and correct for a slightly muted slightly de saturated cooler tones. Its what they see and how they see the world everyday so why wouldn't it cloud the way they imagine it to be and make it appear in the end?
Now that's only one aspect, but the whole process is based on the same perception that we all have of ourselves and the world around us. I see the world how it is, but don't like it much that way so what do I do? I imagine it to be better, and allow my mind to see it the way I would prefer it to be! While rose is not my color of choice I like my Revo colored glasses as it were Now that said, you will likely see me wearing some of the Oakleys I bought them in every color and several of each figuring by the time I scratch and destroy them they will be long discontinued so I have back ups, and love the look, and sadly the shape makes it harder to have lenses fit into them (but I am working on pulling some strings) But I can safely say that I still put on my older enhancing ones when I start to feel a bit depressed, just in case that is part of the problem.
Now, why the hell did I just tell you that and what does it have to do with taking pictures that look different than anyone else's? it is exactly those little stupid differences, and experiences that make us different and cause us to see the world differently, through the lens and not, and it means that when I shoot I make things look the way I want them to be, and sometimes its easy, and sometimes its a whole lot of work, but that's what makes it different, I am not trying to record history, and show what was there, I don't care what was there, I want to show what should have been there in my own little semi perfect world.
What makes up more of my magic, the camera of the post production work?
That would depend on the day, the hour, the mood and the goal. The real answer is again the vision, the vision to use what ever is needed to get to what I am happy with at the end, and what achieves the desired result! And more important the vision to see what is there that cannot be changed and realize what can be done to work with or enhance it to accentuate it and hide it in ways that are in my mind most appealing to me, and hopefully the final viewer. Now that can never be universal, and while I want to keep my actual work out of it I will say that some people seem to like it, on a given day I may or may not hate it and in any case I am probably bored by it, and there are some who find it unappealing, some who find it boring and unimaginative, and many who say its overly commercial and not true art. God I hope so! Since I am not an artist, but rather a photographer who makes images that sell products and gets companies to pay me lots of money for that ability. So to that end, I tend to go on the assumption and often mention it at pretalks with new clients, that I am assuming they are looking at hiring me because they either like what I do and how I see things or they believe what I do and how I see things will work well for them to sell their products! either way I don't care, but it gives me the general mid comfort level that says that if I do what I feel will look good to me in the way that helps get the point across to the consumers it is more likely that they will either agree with my taste or agree with my vision for the purposes of marketing that product. That's comforting to an extent.
So to answer your question more directly, its both. Someday's I need the camera and very little post work to get the perfect shot because the model the lighting, the location or lack of one the make up they style the emotion is all perfect and only enhancements are needed. And someday's a lot is just NOT RIGHT! and it takes a lot of work to fix it in lighting, in styling, and in post production to highlight what was good and hide what was in need of being hidden.
How do you take a glamour shot?
Well I am going to go on a limb and say when you say glamour shot you mean a beauty shot as opposed to the alternate description of a sexy girl posed often to showcase many of her sexy attributes off for the benefit of male viewer ship. So how do I shoot a beauty shot? Well with over 3000 models shot that I know of and an average of 3 or more shots and looks each I can say I have that many ways I have likely done it. But what is most often in common is that I am to an extent a control freak and I shoot beauty like still life. this is for all shots but goes 98.6% more for shots with shadows and directional lighting that is carving and sculpting the contours of a face. WOW that sounds like really cool! sadly, I am more of a visual person when it comes to this and I place a model where she will be and place the lights with whatever modifiers and most often grids on them and start to move them into positions where they add light and take away the shadows that are there. I do that pretty quick and just make it look good, if I move it to the right and she does not look better, I move if more and see if that helped, if not I move it back to the left or up and down and generally in a few seconds somewhere looks better than not or else I move it away and don't use it there than once the basics are set up with the model facing where I will be, I get where I should be and point through a lens and look at her and start to have her move into the best position for the light and see how it reacts with the shape and contour of her face, and if needed move the lights a tad to get them just right. Than we start! That generally should take on a typical 6-7 light setup about 4 minutes or so if the lights are on stands in the area, longer if they are in the truck and the truck is outside down the block and you have to send someone to go get them, I found that out a few times and now I do it often when the model is a real hottie But back to the shoot! now that the light is good and the model is basically where she should be and I am ready to go I get focus on the eye (generally the front one to me and allow the rear to go soft, this is controlled by the amount of light and F-stop used to create the depth of field I find best or acceptable) and I start having the model tilt ever so slightly and talk to her about how amazing I am and how great I can make even her look with enough post work but that just does not seem to get the best response all the time go figure? So I than have to change approach and talk to her about what's happening in the world according to her age/location/background upbringing which generally means Paris Hilton and Britney Spears gossip, and what they think of the agency they are with and what campaigns they have done and who is hot and who is not and who they shot with whose name they can remember, and all the while I have them tilting where its needed and using some humor, and some questions I get the expression and responses needed from them. Luckily that only takes say an average of 3-5 minutes before it looks like I think I got it! not that much cause if I don't have it by then she is either my future ex to be or something is not working and I have to start all over rethinking the lighting or something and so far I have not had to rethink the lighting much Why not? because while they are in make up and hair I spend the time I should be getting the lights ready and set up, talking to the models and hanging out and staring, in a not so awkward, but rather like I am really paying attention to all this they are saying about how cool the new blackberry crunch cereal they wished they could eat if they were not a model who has to lose weight, kind of way and that time let me figure out how many flaws they have and what they are and what the hell am I going to do with the hair to cover that face and still make it appear a ad for face cream Love you girls!
After all that is done, you should have some real nice shots and at least one will have an angle with a glint in the eye, and come hither but not to hither almost a smile if you make me laugh but I a not gonna smile cause this is glamour look! And that is the one that gets chosen by me and I retouch it to be as close to perfect as I can get it in under 5 minutes and that is what the AD or CD sees first. Then after the WOW-A-THON is over I let them see all the rest of the un retouched shots to look through and make themselves feel better thinking they are choosing the shot even though they will agree with my choice if for no other reason because the image of a perfect flawless face is making it hard for any of the others to really compete with and sort of clouds the decision making process a bit Ooopppssss.
Why is it that the same subject taken with the same cameras at the same point but different photographers at the same time always look different. is it the setting on the cameras? the lighting. what is it?
That's a damn good question! The obvious answer is that one has better taste than the other, just kidding. its quite likely both have bad taste
But the reality is, if you have not figured it out by now, that both people are seeing the world and the subject differently, they are even internalizing the directions if given differently so say to both shoot a sexy shot and both think different things are sexy both will approach it differently. Lets say you have someone who is very tall and one who is very short, they may immediately move to a position that gets the models head to fit what they like, and that may be that one likes a model and face that is angled up so they can check out the nasal cavities verifying that she is not a snorer, and that is very appealing to one who is a light sleeper. while the other may prefer the model to tilt her head down as though looking down on her from above and he may like..... oh never mind that, but you get the idea, they will both be looking through the lens and directing the model (if they do that at all) into a position that accentuates what they like to see. Same goes for the lens selection, and lighting. One may love brightly lit shots the other dark and moody images, one may like big noses so they can see clearly up in there and wide angle lenses work great to accentuate that look and feel when up close and personal, the other may like the intimacy that a longer lens brings with it by giving that flattering perspective and bringing them within the comfort zone of model that only one who they are intimate with ever gets to be in. So that would be more than enough to get the shots to be very different, but still its what they ask for and what they express and how they make the model feel by what they say and how they say it, it all gets a reaction and a variation on the expressions she makes and how readily she makes them for you as a photographer when you want her too.
Personality of you as a photographer and her as a model all play a part, and since the truth of it all is you can't rely on hers you better be able to adapt your to whatever works to get the shots done well.
hope that helps a bit, if not I will be selling a page of three lighting setups guaranteed to make everyone look really, really amazing every time! Look for it soon
©Stephen Eastwood 2008 www.StephenEastwood.com www.StephenEastwood.com/bio www.StephenEastwood.com/tutorials