Skip to main content

Photographing Challenging Features

Lesson 7 of 39

Demo and Shoot: Analyzing the Face

Lindsay Adler

Photographing Challenging Features

Lindsay Adler

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

7. Demo and Shoot: Analyzing the Face

Lesson Info

Demo and Shoot: Analyzing the Face

Do you want to come out let's all meet you. How are you doing? (applause) All right, Mike. Hi, Mike. I have to greet you real briefly but thank you for being my subject. We are going to demo what we were just talking about. Those kind of core things you can see in action. Can I bring it a little bit farther forward? I was telling John, the light that I have in my studio is half this size. It's huge, it makes me feel really small. If you want to come take a seat right there? I'm going to start kind of from the beginning of what we were talking about. By the way, I do recommend, if you're shooting, that you use modeling lights in your studio because it helps you see what the light is actually doing. Can we make it centered to begin with, on his face? And point straight on to me. One of the first things that we were talking about is figuring out what side of the face somebody prefers. And then I had a checklist of things. You know you volunteered for this, right? (laughing) okay, just...

checking. I hope this wasn't surprising you or anything. So taking the look at the size of his face, I'm gonna take a picture and we're just gonna go through that checklist. And then in the end, I'm just gonna ask him. Which is fine. Let me switch. I'm gonna do closeups to begin with. It's on high-speed sync, I don't want that. And John, did you meter this or anything yet? Nope. Okay, puttin' it. We're gonna be good. This is not a lighting class but-- This is a guess, only a guess. I'm gonna take a guess and I'm hoping to thoroughly impress you all. (laughing) Close, it's a little hot, a little bit bright but not bad. I was close. Right? Not bad. It's a little bright. Okay, let me take one more. Okay, one more. And now. Now can you do me a favor, stay exactly where you are and just turn your head to your right? Good and look your eyes back at me. Great and do the same things head to your left. All right, great. So let's take a look at my loaded shots. I'm gonna look at the first shot, straight on first. Okay, I'm looking, this side of his face is slightly more upturned. Maybe the brow bone is a little bit but his eyes are even. There's not one eye that's droopier or brow bone. So that's really even. And the other major thing would be if you're looking straight on, you see that his nose is uneven. But when I switch it from side to side, can you go to those other sides? And switch to the other one. When you're turned to the side, you can't tell that. So my point would be and he's my asymmetrical feature subject is you don't notice that he's not symmetrical unless he's straight on. So just don't face him straight on towards the camera. So as I'm looking at this, okay, go ahead. I'm looking at the jaw line. Could you do it one more time? Do it again. His jaw is a little bit more defined on this side, I would say. And I turned his head to the extremes. I don't need to pose him to do left to right like this. I could just be a little tilt. So I would probably say you're right-hand side of your face which is this left, I would say, which one do you like better? So he turns this way. Remember what we said before? Most people like the left-hand side of their face. Yeah. (laughing) I could say, when you take a selfie, where do you turn your head? Probably this way. See. But notice nobody cares. I once told a photographer, they're like, oh my God, you'd ask? And I'm like, well, I don't care. They know which way they look good. Let me just shoot real quick, I'm gonna have you turn your body to your right just a tiny bit. Just like that stick your chin out just a little bit more. Oh, that was real intense, that was good. And then chin back toward me a teeny bit. Okay, right? Flattering, jaw line looks nice. He looks happy and you can't tell anything is asymmetrical. So my point is, those are the things to go through for a checklist. Next part of this, I'm gonna have you face me straight on again. Next thing I'm analyzing, is the angles, up and down. For the most part, I don't really mess too much with this, the chin up and down, unless I think they have a very large forehead or very small chin or large chin, one of the two. I don't think I've ever seen small forehead. Maybe I have. But that's not one of the things we're doing. (laughing) Did you just point at yourself? I have a small forehead. See I told you. (audience chattering and laughing) She says she has a three-head not a forehead. (laughing) I just think it's so funny because I would never in a million years say that about you. But anyway, see what I'm saying, people have got their thing. For figuring out the angles, looking at him, so he doesn't have a large forehead. He doesn't have a large chin. But people that are usually thinning up here or bald, that's what they're often worried about. So what I don't do is I don't say, okay, I want his eyes to look bigger. One of the ways to make someone's eyes look bigger is either for them to bring their chin our and down, because when they stick their chin out and down, it brings the eyes closer, or I get higher. When I do either of those, it brings his forehead slash the top of his head closer to the camera. So stick your chin out and down just a little bit. Chin up a little. And now sit up a little bit taller, great, stick your chin out towards me. And chin down just a little. What was my crop on that one? Let's see. So there's just a little bit more attention in the first one. Where you had more connection with his eyes in the second. And you're drawn less to the top of his head. So this is our checklist there.

Class Description

Photographers are tasked with flattering every subject that steps in front of their lens. Typically, those subjects are everyday people, not professional models. This can mean working with some challenging features along with varying degrees of confidence. Canon Explorer of Light and well-known fashion photographer Lindsay Adler walks through understanding the face and body as well as the photographic tools available to you make your clients best side shine. These features could range from a pronounced nose, large forehead, glasses, asymmetrical features, or defined wrinkles. In this course Lindsay will walk you through: 

  • How to analyze a face and draw attention to the strengths within it 
  • Posing and lighting techniques for challenging facial features 
  • Posing and lighting techniques for the skin and body 
  • Retouching tips for skin, glasses or discolored teeth 
This course will cover many challenging features and show you how posing, camera angles, lens choice and lighting can work together to help you have confidence in every shoot.


Sharma Shari

This class was amazing! It was great seeing a demo class with real people. As a wedding photographer that specializes in offbeat/non traditional couples, it is always good to see how I can enhance all my clients beautiful features, and make them feel their best and confident when I am taking their photos!

a Creativelive Student

I was so excited to get the chance to learn from Lindsay live, and this course did not disappoint! The techniques she shared were insightful and straightforward. I felt like seeing them on different subjects throughout the day really helped to cement the concepts and grow my photography tools to bring out the best in those I'm photographing. I'm not a studio photographer, but the ideas apply in natural light as well.

maria manolaros

Great class! Impressive amount of tips on posing, lighting and photoshop techniques , a real good no nonsense approach by superb teacher. Numerous amounts of thumbs ups