Momma Told Me: The Importance Of Angles- You Don't Have To Be A Model To Photograph Well

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Importance Of Angles- You Don't Have To Be A Model To Photograph Well

**** This post is in no way sponsored. All content, including photos, are copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2013.
Momma Told Me: The camera adds 10 pounds.

Okay, I'll do it- I'll be the brave one to show off my 'camera face.' It simply had to be done.

It's not uncommon for people to compliment my photos, whether they be candid selfies or drool worthy foodie shots. I've even been told, from certain photos, that I look like I could be a model. Ha! Sometimes I get the impression that there are a whole slew of bloggers, and women in general who have a negative body image simply because they do not understand how to capture their 'good side' on camera. But the simple truth is, you don't need to have a DSLR, or any professional training to instantly change your personal photos from flab to fab. The two above photos were taken mere seconds apart this morning. There are absolutely no camera 'tricks' or photo editing done to either camera. Both are me.
Don't believe me? Noone wants to see themselves inflated like a party decoration, but it's a simple fact that your camera angle can make or break your photo, and your confidence. I've been shooting myself for 5 years now for the blog and other social media endeavors- I have no grand delusion that I'm a model, but I do know my angles matter. For a while I've kept my mouth shut when friends and family pull out their phones and cameras to take candid or group shots- time after time, my 'selfies' turning out far better than those of other photographers. But the truth is, this simple understanding, of angles, can be applied for a single person shoot or an entire group.

It's simple folks, if you shoot from below a person's chin you are instantly adding 20-30lbs to their image. If you shoot slightly angled, but at face level, you will still be adding weight, but get a more accurate impression of your subject. Shoot with the camera just above a person's head, and angled down for the most flattering photos, with minimal subject distortion.
If you shoot a living subject often, it's especially helpful to learn their best angle. Once you've nailed down perspective (above, not from below!), you can begin to familiarize yourself with that persons face and bone structure. For a long time in the modeling industry a symmetrical face was the most sought after. Today, this is still true, but photographers worldwide are also embracing the beautiful imperfections. Maybe your nose has a little tilt to the left, or you have a mole under your right eye. Find what makes you stand out and try to incorporate that into your angles. At the same time, if you have a weak eye, or your lip tends to curl down in one corner, be mindful of working the opposite angle for close ups.
Lighting for personal photos can also be a big one- You don't have to have a lighting station and backdrop in your home to get good, clear, photos of a human subject. Low lighting, indoors, will yield the blurriest photos for standard cameras. This softer lighting, and blurred effect make work for certain shots, but certainly not for styling and beauty posts. If you absolutely have to shoot indoors, take photos near a window with partially obstructed light (ie: blinds half cracked). Pose off to the side of the direct light so you still get a glow and focus, without having your colors and texture washed out. My favorite times to shoot, indoors or out, are just around 8 AM, or 3PM (times vary by season, of course.) When the sun is just over the horizon, or just falling past high sky.
Nearly always you will achieve the best, and most natural shots, outdoors. I take 99% of my human photos outdoors. Usually under a tree which helps break up the direct light, though it's important to be mindful that this can cause shadows if the sun is directly above. Never shoot in direct sun- utilize awnings, trees, and shadows to capture the lighting without the direct light- this is called indirect natural lighting. Standing in the dun with no shading or break up of the light will wash out your photo and cause dramatic shadows. I'll be back soon with some food photography tips, in the mean time, pick up that camera and head on out!

What Daughter Says: The camera rarely adds the weight, the photographer does. Take smart shots for model-worthy photos!

14 comments:

  1. This is genius! Thanks so much for the tips!!!

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  2. Such a fantastic post!! Thanks for showing the comparisons of light, too. I absolutely hate taking selfies exactly for this reason, I can never get the angle quite right. My chin doesn't need any inflation, that's for sure!

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  3. Very helpful post. I never know what to do to get a decent picture. Thank you.

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  4. This post was so helpful to me. My particular favorite is when you take a shot a particular angle and one body part looks really big (like a leg or arm) because it's closer to the camera.

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  5. I learned so much from this post! I can't wait to try some of this self photo tips with my next post. thanks!

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  6. Nice tips. My cousin always takes amazing selfies. I'll give it a try.

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  7. These are so great! I'll have to keep them in mind when I take more pictures.

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  8. Fantastic tips - and you are right. Everyone can take a good photo. It's just a matter of where the camera is pointed.

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  9. Love this post! It's so true that angles and lighting are key to great photography - especially on the blog. I have to say my blog photos have changed a lot over the years, as I learned all the different ways to perfect a pic. - Katy

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  10. So true- it takes very little knowledge to know how to start making great pictures

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  11. Very, very true...so on point! These are some of the very first things the agency & photographers taught me when I was modeling in my teens. Even the models in magazines use angles to get the right shot that flatters them the best for shape & lighting! Great tips!

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  12. this is a wonderful post with great tips! Its so important to learn about angels and lighting when photgrpahing

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  13. Thank you for the photography tips. I'll keep them in mind next time I'm shooting photos.

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