Anytime you turn your subject’s face away from the camera, you run the risk of emphasizing the size of her nose, and in all the pictures I’ve ever made, no one has ever said, “I wish you’d made my nose look bigger.” The most important thing in a portrait is usually the eyes but placing your camera in the wrong position will make the nose distract from the eyes.

Beware the Nose Lobe

The trouble is that a person’s nose may stick out past the profile of the cheek. When it does, it sticks out a little bit, kind of like the way the lobe of the ear protrudes from the side of the head. This little nose lobe draws the viewer’s eye because it’s interrupting the normally continuous line of the cheek. Compare these two pictures and you’ll clearly see that the nose lobe catches the eye and makes the nose look larger.

How To Resolve It

It’s essential that you notice things like the nose lobe. Reviewing pictures on your LCD is a great advantage and you’ve got to utilize it. When you notice the nose protruding, just move the camera a little toward the direction she is looking. If it won’t affect the lighting, you could also ask her to bring her face back toward the camera a little. I prefer to move the camera, though, because it’s easier for me to move a tiny bit that it is to get her in the perfect spot again.


A nose lobe can ruin an otherwise excellent photograph and there’s really nothing you can do in post-processing to fix it. You just have to notice while shooting. It could be the best picture you’ve ever made with terrific light and a great expression, but your subject still won’t want to hang it in her home if you’ve made her nose look large.

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