Let’s be honest. Sometimes we head out to a photo shoot and our head isn’t really there. We are just there to shoot, be done and go home. We forget some of the basic skills of a photographer when it comes to making people look their best, or, maybe we just don’t know. One of those skills is knowing about angles. Knowing which angles to shoot from is a huge asset to your business. Why? Because it means that when your clients see their photos, they will be thrilled with them and part of that will be because you helped position them and photograph them at angles that were flattering. Nobody wants to be photographed from below. Nobody. You don’t ever want to be looking up someone’s chin or nose when taking photos! It sounds wrong and it looks even worse.
* Below if a perfect example of how I did it wrong and what I did to correct the problem. In the first image, I was in front of the couple and I felt it made her look too wide. No woman wants to look wide. So all I did was simply take a few steps to my left and had them look over at me. They didn’t move their bodies, they only had to move their head. Bam! Much better photo and both of them loved the second image. (They never saw the first one.)
* And this is a photo of that same couple, 2 years later. She lost a lot of weight and wanted to be able to update their photos. Now even though she weighed less, that doesn’t mean how she was standing or the angle I shot at didn’t matter. By having them turned just a bit, it flatters both of them and creates a nicer image to look at. If they were both standing so that their bodies were straight and not angled, any extra weight would be more noticeable.
* I have found that some of my best shots come when I am at the same level as my clients. If I have children or a family that is sitting down on my quilt, I am known for kicking off my shoes and laying down to get that shot. When you are right down there at their level, seeing them where they see you, it will change everything.
* I had a Saturday full of mini sessions this weekend and one thing I noticed several times is moms and their chin. Somewhere in time, in some land, a rumor was spread that we should all raise our chin very high and it would eliminate any sort of double chin. Nope. Doesn’t work. Instead, have your clients lower their chin just a bit and bring it forward. I promise, this makes a huge difference.
* You will notice in any photo I post that has a senior or a woman, she is not standing straight on looking at the camera (and yes, I did just do a long scroll through my fanpage to check!). Why? Because it isn’t flattering. The shoulders are the widest part of our body, so when a woman faces the camera without turning her body at all, it draws attention to that area. Personally, I wouldn’t want that. So have your ladies stand at a 45 degree angle and bend one knee. Or have them turn towards you, drop the shoulder closest to you, arch the back a bit and raise up the other shoulder. They can put their hands on their waist, put their thumbs in their pocket, grab their jean jacket…so many options. It may sound like a lot, but it’s not. It looks great and it’s easy to do.
* I do a lot of shots involving hands when I have senior sessions. When you use the arms and hands towards the face, that will naturally draw the eye exactly where I want it to go. Straight to the subject’s face. There are so many different set ups you can do so it’s great to see what different angle you can create and learn which are the most flattering. But be careful-I’ve learned through trial and error that my market does not have any interest in purchasing senior images where the girls look like super models and their arms are doing unnatural bends over their head. So I keep it natural and fun.
I hope you’ve been inspired and are ready to go out and remember that angles really do matter! It’s up to you to make your client look their best. You can’t make someone lose weight overnight, but you can position them in a way that flatters their body type and helps them feel good about themselves in photos.
Amy Phipps is the photographer behind On the Phippside Photography, located in Stockton, California. Amy has been married for 21 years and has 4 children. When she’s not trying to decide between which of her 43 black shirts to wear, you can probably find her sipping on a Dr. Pepper and walking around any day of the year in flip flops.
Visit her website.