Knowing what to fix in Your Clients Appearance!

The 3rd edition of my book Corrective Lighting and Posing just came out and I am receiving many comments from younger photographers that are amazed that you can correct client flaws in the camera using lighting and posing rather than Photoshop being the only option for saving client’s ego from harsh reality.

Before you can ever start to correct the flaws of the average client, you must figure out what to correct, hide or disguise in the average client’s appearance.  Many photographers talk to their clients about such things, but many times a client is embarrassed to talk about problems and in many cases they really don’t think about problems until they see them in the portraits you have taken.  You have to become observant for these techniques to be effective.  You have to become understanding of the human condition and realize that we are not all that different from one another about or appearance.

If you are photographing a woman, there is a 99% probability that she will not want her hips and thigh to look any larger than they appear and she would, in reality, like it if you could trim off a pound or two.  The average woman wants her waistline to appear small, her bust-line to appear its appropriate size (or larger for many women) her legs to look long and tone, her arms thin and fit, her neck not showing any sign of aging or weight gain and her face to appear thin and (one last thing) her feet to appear not too large and her toes to appear perfect in that the size of each toe is slightly smaller that the one before going from the big toe to the pinky toe!  That’s all!   The old saying may be politically incorrect but it still is rooted in a basic true, “no woman can ever be thin enough or rich enough”.  We can’t change one but through corrective lighting and posing techniques we can definitely change the other.  The more you can do to thin down the average client and hide their flaws, the greater your sales will be.

Once you start to pay attention to the flaws of the average client, it brings up the flip side of the same coin.  Many photographers start to question, “in some clients if I am going to hide or disguise all the problem areas, what’s left?”  Basically what these photographers are asking is if you are going to direct the viewer’s eye away from problem areas, where do you direct the viewer’s eye to?  This is a little more difficult, but you can look to woman’s clothing to answer the question for you.  If you have a mature woman doing a portrait for her partner/husband and she is obvious older and maybe, possibly (well we live in America, PROBABLY) overweight.  This means you must hide the obvious areas that show weight gain and aging.  To find out where to direct the eye look at the accents of the clothing the clients brings in.

Have you ever notices that many very large women when buying  a party dress will get something that is very low-cut?  While many feel weight gain makes many parts of the body less attractive, it make the size of the breasts larger and most men will have a hard time not looking at a women showing 6 to 10 inches of cleavage!  Many women find they have gained weight, but still have very beautiful legs and you will find that they choose dresses that are shorter or have a high slit to show off their legs.  These are the obvious areas that you should draw the viewer’s eye to.

Corrective Lighting and Posing give us the skill to create a version of a reality that your client’s ego can handle.  Once you get to this point in your photography you will find that your clients will sing your praises while giving you large sums of money, this is the feedback that really matters!


~ by jeffsmithbooks on May 29, 2010.

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