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Posing big boned people

Susan Flewelling , Feb 22, 2006; 02:29 a.m.

This next weekend I have a shoot with "big boned people". Just wondering if any of you have some good ideas for posing. Both bride and groom are about the same height and width. Pictures would be appreciated. I think I only have a few ideas and I need to pick up some more before the shoot. I seem to have problems with this one area. Of course I want them to look their very best. Thanks everyone.


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Nicola Inglis - Hamilton, New Zealand , Feb 22, 2006; 03:23 a.m.

I'm no expert but here's my two cents worth...

Make the most of elevation, look down on them and have them look up at you (minimises chins and emphasises face). Use the bouquet to your advantage in this shot.

Try to be slightly higher than them and avoid shooting uphill towards them at all costs.

I tell women to pose with one foot pointing towards the camera and all their weight on their back foot. Rock their hip out and relax. The back shoulder will drop and the body elongates nicely.

Try to focus on faces and expression, but get the full length shots too of course.

Use trees, columns etc to your advantage, also compositions where they are small in the shot ie. Big wide scenery or building shot with B&G a relatively small feature.

These are just some things I thought of quickly, I'm sure others have lots more ideas.

Concentrating on faces

Matthew Kane - Denver, CO , Feb 22, 2006; 03:24 a.m.

Make sure they keep their chins up. I have also had some success shooting from an elevated position. Not much advice, but my two cents nonetheless.

Nicola Inglis - Hamilton, New Zealand , Feb 22, 2006; 03:37 a.m.

Obviously this bride is tiny but I think the shot would still work, you just need the right place to shoot from.

It's also a great cleavage shot ;-)

Marc Williams , Feb 22, 2006; 06:47 a.m.

The above advice is good. In addition, consider the following:

Use the camera in portrait orientation as much as possible. Tall rectangles provide an optical illusion that slims, especially if you include a tall vertical element like a tree or column.

Side or rim spill lighting has a slimming effect. Take advantage of that when you can.

Place the man slightly in front. Beefy guys are okay, beefy brides aren't ... no matter how others here will howl about being PC, and how some bigger brides are "comfortable" with their size, it not PC, it's BS ; -) When was the last time a "big boned" bride asked you to make them look fatter?

All brides are beautiful, and it's our job to make them look that way.

Steve Levine , Feb 22, 2006; 07:40 a.m.

The single most "thinning" thing you can do in a studio, is to employ "short" lighting techniques. On location at a church or reception hall, this can be done with a 2nd light.(briefly, short light is when the 2/3rds plane of the face away from the lens, has the main light upon it. "Broad" lighting is it's commonly used (and wrongly so) opposite. The only time broad light should be used, is in the rare instances of the need to widen an extremely thin face. (Google Joe Zeltsman or Monte Zucker, both have online portrait tutorials)

The other basic tricks here are high camera angles(shooting down). Never shoot people straight on, always angle their bodies to your lens. (this simple act makes a body narrower in the frame)

Use tele lenses, not wides. And alwasy place "her", farther away from the lens than "he". This will make him appear larger in the frame due to his overall size in the frame, and from perspective. Hence, she will appear smaller. And trust me , there isn't a woman on the planet that wants to look bigger than their spouse in their wedding photos.

Jaimie Blue - Asheville, NC , Feb 22, 2006; 12:12 p.m.

"And trust me , there isn't a woman on the planet that wants to look bigger than their spouse in their wedding photos."

Not every woman on the planet subscribes to this sexist view, and not all "big boned" people want to be small and thin.

Dan Lovell - Orange County, California , Feb 22, 2006; 12:55 p.m.

Jaime, I don't that that statement was sexist. As Dr. Phil would say, "it just is".

You'd have a heck of a time finding even 5 women in America that didn't think otherwise. We men too, if over weight, all want to be thinner.

It's not sexist...it's just a trend, right or wrong, it just is.

Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Feb 22, 2006; 04:04 p.m.

Are we talking about truly "big boned" or overweight? There are slight differences for posing. For instance, a big boned but well proportioned woman may look good in the "S curve pose", but an overweight woman might not, because her neck/chin or torso area would buldge too much.

Steve Levine , Feb 22, 2006; 05:52 p.m.

Our job as wedding photographers, is to take 3 dimensional forms(people), and create "flattering" 2 dimensional images.

If my pictures didn't flatter my subjects, I'd be in another line of work.

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