Photo Critiques Images 198 through 216
This is our classic shooting down. We don't need to shoot down. It's very nineties. It's a nineties way to shoot. We need to come down and open up. This is a beautiful girl, beautiful connection. It's just that whole downwards movement just dates this image incredibly fast. So lower, lower, lower, lower. Think Vanity Fair, not family portrait. Vanity Fair because she's got all the glamour going on. She's got beautiful jewelry and pearls. She's got the frilly, look at those great boots. She's got great jeans and you've just shot down at just, it's a little family portrait. Okay and remember, in 28 days, never once do I shoot down on anybody. I think once when the curvy girls are on the wall, I got above the eye line, but you're talking two or three inches. But this is way above the eye line. This is the one time, horizontally, where cover girl hands do not work, okay? They're too wingy, they've got two triangles poking out. She's tipping down to the left, which doesn't work. So let's ma...
ke a few things clear. And we'll do it with curves, I do it with Jen as well. Jen, come and stand with me. Let's have a look, a little look about hip movement. I'm gonna take my shoes off. Take your shoes off, oh you're in flats anyway. So it's very hard to move your hips when you're in high, big high heel shoes like me. And so what I'm going to do is, I'm gonna come up onto one toe, so you come up on one toe, and then I put my hands onto my waist like this, and I kick my booty out this way, okay? So the idea is that we're shaping our waist. Now, interestingly enough, when you have a curvy body, when you've got boobs and hips, you're trying to create a smaller waist. So you create the hourglass in order to get this beautiful curve into the waist to show movement. When you've got a lean body, she's already got a little waist, so you're trying to give her hips and boobs because we all want the same thing. We want to go out in and out. We're all different sizes and that's fine. But what we want is to create the same shape and that's always to try and create this hourglass. So one of the biggest mistakes that we all make, so kick your booty more toward, that's it, that's it. So it's a sideways movement. Now if you have to go down into a little bit of a squat to get it, it's okay. As long as you're kicking something out and you're getting movement. But the truth is, is the only way you can do it is to bring this foot up so that you can rock out onto that hip and really move it. The biggest mistake everybody makes is they put their hands up and they tilt forward, okay? So never at any time like this shot, you're tilting forward. Now I love your choice of color, especially for her vibrant top. She looks very comfortable in front of the camera. If her hands were down and she was laughing or her hands were on her body, and she was doing this pose, so if she was like this, I would've loved the shot. But I just feel like it's like, and now I'm gonna walk around with my hands on my hips, which a lot of people are doing and it just doesn't work, okay? So watch the tip. We're not teapots, so we don't tip like I'm a little teapot, like this, okay? We kick our booties out, okay? Not our elbows. So as much as you can, either side. (laughs)
Question from UnJohnny, Seattle, what do you recommend to avoid thunder bird hands with elderly women whose hands are sort of clawish? Maybe if you have arthritis, or maybe it's harder for you to have ballet hands and so you naturally just do more of a thunder bird?
I'm not really
Arthritis hands are really ballet.
'Cause arthritis hands aren't like this. Arthritis hands are knuckled. You know what, if you're photographing a woman with old, knuckled hands, show them. They deserve to be there. They're beautiful and show them, you know? I'm never saying hiding hands, I'm just saying make them look good. And if she doesn't like her hands, put them down. Put them down and hide them. People always tell you how they feel about their hands. It's such an interesting part of the body 'cause people will say, "I hate my hands." And, you know, often you get big nail biters or people that think their hands look old. For some reason, they always complain about their hands. But, unless they've got really big, bricky hands, I just take them, I bring them up as often as I can. But if they've got big bricky hands, I just take them out. I take them out because nobody likes big bricky hands anyway.
You know this is a classic example of how I do my normal wall recline. It doesn't like very sharp, but that might be my screen. The shoulder's dropped. It could've been a little more 45 angle, meaning the photographer could've stepped around a step. But just watch this belly line. Remember, the whole point about getting space at the back, is that you have room to walk the belly in. Because in order to push the space away from the back to create this space, we need to push the belly forward. But if we're going to push the belly forward, nobody's gonna buy it if they feel like they're all belly. And secondly, if you're going to go through the trouble to push your belly forward, make this hole bigger so it makes her waist look smaller. You can do that by stepping around 45. But other than that, you nailed this pose in terms of it being a recline down the wall. 45 to the wall, just step around yourself. Okay, passport photo, smiling. Alright? Middle crop, center crop, too low, no shoulders, no direction. We've seen this three or four times today, passport shot smiling. Pull back, give me a shoulder. Lift up nice and tall. We don't throw the chin back and laugh. Okay, make sure it is up, forward and down, fluttering, leading toward the front shoulder line. Little bit of a problem here. This is very similar to the wall shot where we lollipopped a very lean body. She's little, this girl and she's lean, I can tell the length of her body. It's shot too high, which makes her head look too big for her body. If her elbow was extended out to the edge of her knee and it was shot lower, which would lengthen her body, then this would've looked a lot more fashion. You're so close in this one. You're just not quite there. You've just come up a little high and lollipopped her. If you'd have shot this on a 35, or on a 24- on a zoom that has a slight wide, then I suggest you pull back a little bit more, or if you haven't, just watch how high you are. You're obviously above her eye line. If her shoulder was working and you were lower, and you were lengthening her body, it was exactly the same as how I just posed Nicky on the bar stool. Okay, epically wrong on the before shot, okay? 'Cause she looks like she's gonna hit you. And then in your after shot, she looks like she's gonna hit you again. Alright, so don't fold the arms. That body language, 45 degrees is me turned away from you, looking at you like this. Alright, not cool. That's not good body language, okay? The before shot is a beauty image, like this. Chin up, hands by your sides, even smile, clean beauty image, okay? And then the after shot, beautifully styled, no connection to the front chin. Beautiful dress and then that look. That look's terrifying. Okay, soften through your expressions. Soften them through their eyes. Soften them through their mouth. Make them work for it. A little bit of retouching to the face on this one. But essentially, if I took away the expression because I don't like it, you've done a really good job of capturing this image. You know, her shoulder's sitting in there in beautiful light if she turned her face towards me and had a smile, you would have nailed it. Incredible, incredible light all over her, nice and soft. She is really green, yellow. That could be, again, my screen. What I don't like about it is that it's just a little bit too of a passport shot with 45 degree shoulders. Again, this is an old way of shooting portrait. It's a close-cropped, 10, 15, 20 years ago, we used to shoot headshots like this. Nowadays, the crop is top of the head, pulled back, straight on, asymmetrical, shoot lower, fashion this up. This is a beautiful girl and it is a beautifully lit shot. If it was shot a little bit more fashion or a little bit more square with asymmetry you would've completely nailed the shot. This is too old school with new values, if you know what I mean. Alright, one of the biggest hurdles you're going to have is this here, okay? Is your backgrounds. Now you can extend your backgrounds in Photoshop. That's something I've been teaching for a long time over this last year in all of my workshops. You could've extended that or you could've cropped it out. You'd be better extending it. The one thing you could've done is turned her 45 and then walked around her one step and shot her back down the wall. You would've done two things. You would've flattered her body more, but you would've given the opportunity for her bum to go away from the camera. And when you give the opportunity for her booty to go back, she would've dominated with her face. All of the light in this image is hitting this area here. So the first thing I want to do is look down at her cleavage. And you need to darken that and push that away. You want her body line to be floating away on her image but not the main focus of it. It's close, but you need to just tip back a little bit more on the back foot, okay? So more on the back foot, hips away from you, shoulder away from you a little bit more, and instead of shooting down the wall, just come around and then shoot down on your tip angle a little bit more. For on 28 Days, when I'm shooting all of the girls in the corner, so I'm shooting any girl on the wall, Nicola and Sally, Andrea and Tamara, when I'm shooting all of them, I'm shooting just above the eye line, hips pushed back, tipped down just ever so slightly so I'm not above them, I'm just tilting my camera down, which changes the whole perspective of a woman's body. Also, when you're on the wall, don't crop to the left side. Give me some space on the wall. As soon as you put some space to her right, leading into the image, she instantly drops out and it looks fantastic. So, close, and I love the red. Red always looks strong in photographs. Okay, just be careful here because she's standing in a very simple pose. It's not a particularly fashion crop. It's just straight up and down. You've got the whole body in there. She does have a very light makeup on and it just looks very passport shot again. Okay, how could we have made this look a little bit more punchy and fashion? I think you could've put a little more contrast in it. I think the highlights are sitting high and your lows are low, but I would have liked to have seen a little bit more of a relaxed expression because this is just kind of classic, it's very straight up and down and it's not making me feel wow at all. But, essentially all the fundamentals are there. You know, she's connected, she's got a little bit of a smile. It's kind of boring. I'm kinda bored. So I want to know why. Could I have pulled her hair forward and blown it with a fan? Could I have given her a little more oomph in her body? Could I have pumped a filter in there? Or pumped a bit of contrast in there to make it a bit more fashion and tried a few more crops? Could I have maybe worked her body a little bit more? But it's just very straight up and down. Nice smile, pretty frock, you know. And it doesn't make me kinda go, ooh. Okay this is a beautiful shot, very well executed holding the elbows. We hadn't see a lot of that today and it's something that I've always taught, something that's really, really popular. But I feel like her shoulder's working beautifully. I just feel like her expression's just a little open eyed. If you'd drop down those eyes just a little bit, I would've loved it. Everything else about this works. You've got a good back line on the body, you've got a good lean line on the wall. Maybe you're too far to the right. If you stepped this way and had the space to the left hand side. Be aware, always have the space going behind somebody, not in front of them. If you have space going in front of them, they're going to walk into it. If you have space behind them, they're not moving. Makes a really big difference. Try and move from left to right and see if you can tell the difference when you're practicing this week. Really well executed shot, in the sense that it's exactly how I like to do this, elbows back. Three things wrong with this shot. One, it's shot down, okay? Two, is you've got a dark green dress, a redhead, a dark brown background and a massive white flower. Which doesn't belong in there. This shot would've looked way better without that flower. That gold belt was enough. Remember Coco Chanel? Coco Chanel said, "Get ready to go out for the evening. "Walk up to the mirror and take one thing off." It was always one thing too many. Take one thing off. That redhead has already got green eyes, the green eyes complement the dress. The red hair's complemented by the gold belt, it's neutral background. Get rid of the white flower. It would've worked so much better for you. It is shot too high. The chin is sitting too high. And at the end of the day, she's doing this. Okay? I don't believe her expression. I think it's a little bit startled. I would rather see her chin down a little bit more and a little bit more like this. Okay? So it's just a little bit up. But you almost had this because it's such a beautifully arranged shot in the sense that dress is amazing, she's a beautiful girl. It's just that white flower, it's too powerful for me. Okay, I don't know where this is clear cut, but it looks like it is, okay. So it's over flashed, it's clear cut. It's cropped too high. It looks like it's shot somewhere else with flash and then colored in in the background so I don't know what was going on here or what you're trying to do there. If you're looking at expression, you've done good with the eyes, you've done good with the mouth, you've done really good with the shoulder but you've got a long way to go in how you're lighting your images. So I don't know whether you're trying to shoot flash and dropping that background, it looks like a really clear cut line around her. So just bring it right down 'cause whatever you're doing, there's too much of it. Okay, I've got a one, two, three. So let's look at what works. This is cropped too high, so I would've had a little bit more on the body. This works in the sense that you've got his expression, but she's got a, ew don't touch me, look on her face. Okay, this one here's holding the belly, so I'm hoping she's pregnant. If she's not pregnant, then you've broken two golden rules. One is that all hands are on the belly and if they're meant to be there, then that's good. If she is pregnant or announcing a pregnancy, then that's fine. The second is her arms are on the outside of his. He's actually doing a really good expression there. I like this, but the problem is, that she's turned too side on to him, so she's away from him, which means she can't bring her face back. So she's too into the camera there and he's bringing his face forward, but if they were both 45s, so if you turned her towards the camera more and his arms are on the outside he would have more opportunity to engage her. You've got really good expression down here and their cheeks are together, which is connected. This doesn't look connected to me. I feel like he is into her and she's pulling back. Although I love her shoulder. And you've got really good lines here and you've opened them up, which works. I probably, if you had gotten this crop here, with cheeks together and those expressions, you would've absolutely nailed it, so I really hope that you did. Okay, what I want is for you to push the chin forward. When the chin comes forward, I want you to work the front shoulder. And if you've got hands in there, that's the sort of thing you critique. Hourglass takes us down to the taper, then we have body language, asymmetry, connection, focus. Okay, you have good connection in the eyes, but you're missing just about everything else. And again, okay we've got a gratuitous hand. We've gotta work that shoulder forward, but you've gotta give me that expression. It's not there and it is cropped too high. Okay? Really important. Okay, classic cover girl shot that sells. The leanest one we've seen today because all of our others have been a little bit curvy. This works because she's not high and up in the waist, she's sitting low. That dress is absolutely perfect. Good cleavage, great connection through the eyes. The only thing I could possibly fault in this image is it's straight up the center. Just slightly asymmetrical, you would've nailed it. Or a little bit more shape in the hips, just to take it out from being straight up and down. But that's just a simple, beautifully executed cover girl. Well done. You know, I like this shot. This works for me. That hand is very strong down in the front and it could've been side on, it wasn't. But that's okay. We've got the back of the hand. On my screen here, it looks very dark. So the hand looks very big and white. And if it was turned this way, but age appropriate posing, beautiful expression, hand on the cheek. You know, these girls at this age look so good lying on their tummies, with their feet up. You could've done that on this ottoman. It's a little short ottoman anyway, but this really works. If that hand was just turned a little bit more sideways, it would've been perfect. So that's a really good job. We got any questions? I just feel like I'm hearing the sound of my own voice here.
Yeah, no, you're just rockin' it, Sue. Aka Nauli, I'm not really sure how to pronounce her name, asked, how do you crop full body shots? And they've asked this question quite a few times.
Yeah, I haven't seen too many of those from you.
I just one, two, three, four, five in the composition. Five is to the top of the knee.
So I don't do full body. Who buys full body shots? Brides, in a big bridal dress. And full body work boudoir if they've got the whole kit and caboodle on, and they've got great legs and all that and lying down, but glamour, fashion? Nah. Yeah, very few covers will you see that are cropped full body. Very few, and they have to be pretty amazing shot to take your attention. Because it stops being about the face.
I love this shot. I love this shot because what I love about it is it's just so simply executed. It's good makeup, good hair. I would've liked a little bit more work on the shoulder, so the shoulder could've been just working to the chin a little wee bit more. And she could've had a couple of better expressions. Sure, maybe they were. But in terms of how that works, I mean, that's a really simple, clean shot. Easy to advertise with, easy to market with. Alright, so what we have to watch is the side on and the 45. So, Jen, come out here. This is a really good one for you. Because this is such a beautiful model. Turn that way, Jen. And do exactly what she's doing. So put your hands up on that hips there and just give me up on to this toe, and kicking your booty back so that there's an arch in your back here, but lean back. So she's leaning back. So her first mistake is she's leaning back. Second mistake is she's side on to the camera like that so I can just see the one boob from the front. Okay, so what I want to do always is open my bodies up. So I either open them up this way, and drop this hand down like this. Or I just, soft elbows it, yeah. That and I just open the bodies up. And I start to move the bodies around but very rarely if I'm shooting low like this, would I have their hands on their hips leaning back because those arms just look blocky and side on. But she's a beautiful girl, great red hair and I like how it's all working and I like the smile. It just looks like her belly's poking out and it looks like it's there, sitting in that pose and that hand is very dominant. So, I would've loved to have seen her simply drop this hand down and open her front shoulder up to the camera this way. And then forward and down with the chin this way and connected that way to the camera because then I would've got this really cool sideways movement. Put a gap in here, I would've got that beautiful, sort of corset movement in and open up to both boobs and then seen the breast line. Drop the front shoulder and then you could've moved her body around. So just watch that completely side on pose. It's a very difficult pose. Also, when you blur your eyes and look at that image, looks like a big white triangle. You know, you can just see that white hook that's going in there and you can't see much else in terms of body shape. Thanks, Jen.
Question from Tatiana. How do you act in a situation if a client is quite difficult in posing and gets tired really fast when it's difficult to get a relaxed face or look in the eyes or posing, et cetera? Do you have a go to that you do when people are difficult? Or do you just keep working with them?
You know, at the end of the day, it's really hard because I take control and I want to be assertive. I want to be assertive and take control of them so that they feel comfortable but at the same time, I know that the power comes in being assertive but also being, maybe, positive reinforcement really helps. So, I can get really short when I'm shooting, I can get grumpy, you know, if I feel out of my comfort zone and my clients got that nervous laughter or something, I can snap them out of it really quickly because I can get quite short with them. Like stop, mouth closed. Like I can be quite like that. And the thing is is it works sometimes, but I know when they feel really, I was really uncomfortable and I get it. I get they're uncomfortable but mostly they just want you to take control. So there's a fine line there. But, this is something that somebody came up to me in San Francisco, Sabrina did and she said, you know the best gift you gave me was good girl. She said because I feel like sweetie, darling, gorgeous is not my personality. And when you said, good girl, and so you were like, lift up nice and tall, work your shoulder, chin down, good girl. She said, I started to use that and I feel like that positive reinforcement is stronger than any compliment I could give them. And when I say good girl, they really respond to it. So I think it's really, really important. Listen, I feel like now with the critiques, I'm at 217, I'm being repetitive. For the next 82 people who have lined up on this, or 84 people that are lined up that I didn't get to, I would've loved to have got through all of them. I feel like I am repeating the same thing over and over again. I am going to go to the critique website in the next three days, 'cause I'm going to leave it up for a whole week. And I'm going to go through and personally put my critique into all 300 images. I am going to monitor the top ten. I am going to blog the top ten images at the end of the week. I really want this critique website to be a consistent website. I want it to be able to be something that people are loading images up to every week. And that every week there's holding a new set of images for seven images, sorry, seven days. I would like more public and photographers to be weighing in on this critique so we're looking at the standard and really watching our standard. This is not about just getting a pat on the back. This is looking at where you went wrong. Sometimes I think it's so hard to be a critic for your own work. Some of the images that I have loved my whole life, images that I've photographed that I think I've done such an exceptional job on, get a hundred likes on Facebook. Other images can get 2,000 likes on Facebook. I always wonder why. I know when I'm connected to a client and their story, I feel very differently about an image and how it translates to perfect strangers. I love that if you put on this critique that you can get the feedback on where you're going wrong. What happens if you critique four images in a month and you find out that the connection is down on every single one of them. That you can get a printout report of your critique so that people can see where you're critiquing and how you're critiquing it. So, come back to this website if you didn't get through all 300 in the next seven days. See if you can put your critique in the critique and finish it off. And then I can monitor what everybody else is thinking. I think you're all doing an exceptional job. You were so brave to put yourself out there. I feel like that was one of the best things you could've done. Did you see consistency of what everybody was doing wrong? I see a lot of inconsistency with Photoshop. So I can do more Photoshop videos for you online. And I see a lot of inconsistency with body language and hands. To me, the expression was excellent. There was a lot of stuff that I'd like to see more of. A lot more images I've seen go on InBedWithSue that I didn't see today that I'd like to see more of. And I think now that you've opened up this critique and you've seen this website, you'll be braver to put images in over the next few months and we'll work together on getting you up to a very high standard. I am currently creating a website that is going to launch an international marketing campaign to selected glamour and beauty photographers around the world. I need to tell the women of the world that glamour photography is back. Woo hoo! I've told photographers. I've spent the last eighteen months training you. Now I'm gonna tell the rest of the world that it's back and I need you to be at a level where I can shout you out all around the world and say, look at these people and look at what they did 'cause it's so awesome and it's something I just dreamed my whole life of. (laughs) Can't believe how excited I am. So I'm creating videos and stories and documentaries and interviews of women of all ages that are going through this transformation and how beautiful it is and how awesome my job is and I wanna throw that out to the world and I'm not gonna do it until you guys are kicking some butt. So get in there, practice. Do your critique. Make yourselves better. Earn money, build a business model. Enjoy this. Give this service to the world 'cause that's what it's all about. (laughs)