Every once in a while we’ll answer a Photo QA question right here on the blog instead of on the Photofocus podcast.
“What are some techniques you use when shooting to help people look thinner (besides Photoshop)?
Thanks for the question Bryan. This is an important topic. As a photographer, it’s MY job – not my subject’s job – to make them look good. There are tricks and tips that I can use (and you can use them too) to make someone look thinner.
It starts with clothing. I provide my portrait clients with a suggested list of possible clothing choices. If I know the client is heavy – set, I’ll suggest thinning clothes. For instance, solid, dark colors will be more flattering than checks or patterns. I also suggest that people wear long sleeved shirts or blouses and turtlenecks are also often a good idea.
The next thing to think about is lens choice.
If I am shooting a heavy person, the first thing I’ll do is select a longer focal length lens. This is usually more flattering and allows me to compress the subject.
Next, pose and camera position come into play.
If you raise the camera and shoot down on the subject, you will naturally cause them to lift their head towards you. This automatically eliminates a double chin. You also want to make sure to avoid a pose that puts the body at a severe side-angle.
Lastly, I’d probably use more dramatic lighting with a heavy subject. Shot against a dark background, the subject, the shadows, etc., will all merge hiding weight issues.
While this list is not exhaustive, it should give you a starting point.
PS: Never tell a model she/he’s heavy or mention their weight. It doesn’t help 🙂