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Photographing Challenging Features

Lesson 10 of 39

Round Face Considerations

Lindsay Adler

Photographing Challenging Features

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

10. Round Face Considerations

Lesson Info

Round Face Considerations

Okay guys, so in this section we're going to talk about the face. So, different face types, or different facial features and considerations you have there. So, this is what the class is going to be structured like. I have considerations you have for the pose, and by pose, you can pose the face. Meaning dangle the face, the chin up and down, for example. Camera angle, lens choice, lighting, retouching, and other. So, it's basically what you had seen in the beginning slide of all of the tools that we have as photographers, to flatter or to accidentally not flatter somebody. So, it's the things you've got to check off in your head. Not every one of these will apply to every different challenging feature that we're talking about, but in the end, every single thing we cover today will have one of these slides. And then later on, it's not that you like, someone walks in and you're like, "Aw, big forehead, okay, lets go look at this," but it's one of these things that you should be able to re...

ference and check back, so that you have a list of the tools available to you. Alright, so everything we're going to do in this first section is the face, and then later on, we're going to do the body, as well as glasses, as well as skin, and skin textures. Just to give you kinda an idea of the flow. Alright, so to get this started, we're going to, I'm going to go through your considerations, and then I'm going to show you. So, I'm going to read this, bring out the subject, demo some of these things. I'm going to show you bad, so you can understand and identify, and the reason I'll say this is if you're looking at one of your photos and it's looking like the bad example, you go, "Okay, I'm doing one of these things incorrectly." And then I'll show you the better or the best, okay? Also, understand, your photos could look much better than my good. I'm not doing styling here, like it's not like I have the clothing, or the background, or hair, or particularly narrow depth of field, right? This is just your before afters of like the technical elements of this. Alright, so let's talk through round face. Someone with a very, very round face. The first consideration you would have is you'd want the head at an angle to camera instead of straight on, which for the most part... One back up thing, everything I'm saying is a there might be an exception for the person, right? But this is for the most part. Alright, so anyway, for the round face, somebody with a very round head, if you pose them straight on towards camera. It's here's the circle, but if you can turn the head to the side, either direction. It doesn't need to be all the way to the side, but to the side just a bit, it makes it look more like an oval shape, so it narrows it just a little bit. So, that's the first part. The next thing will be is if somebody has a rounder head, and they have their chin back a little bit, especially even if they have a little bit of a jaw line. If they pull their chin back, it often gives them a double chin, which actually will round this out, which makes the head even rounder. So, the rule is that they stick their chin out and that tightens everything, defines the jaw, and then down just a little bit. So, if this is the camera this way, turn the subject a little bit to the side, stick their chin out, and down a tiny bit, okay? So that is going to be your posing considerations. The next one is going to be camera angle. Typically, if somebody, and you don't... Like think of the person's face, I'm not even saying think of their face. Think of somebody if there's a circle in front of their face and you don't want it to look like a circle anymore. If you don't want it to look like a circle anymore, you turn it to the side and it looks more like an oval. Same thing is if you've got a circle in front of their face, don't want it to look like a complete circle, you either get higher or lower camera angle, and then also make it look more like an oval or a different shape. If you, for the most part, you usually want just a little bit higher camera angle, because the little bit of a higher camera angle will make the eyes look a little bit bigger. The reason I say higher or lower, there might be the exception where somebody has a really large forehead, and then the higher camera angle would change that. For the most part, I'm generalizing here. Please nobody judge me, I'm generalizing, okay. For the most part, people with a rounder face, their probably more likely to have the double chin. So, that's why I'm saying most likely you usually want to get to the higher angle. It's usually not the problematic with the larger forehead, but the exception would be maybe a gentleman with a larger, rounder face who also has a little bit of balding. Then you want to be careful with that higher camera angle. Make sense? Okay. So the next part down would be lens choice. The biggest thing is don't use a wide angle lens real close, and I'm not talking like 24 millimeters. I'm not saying that, but you might not want to be even at like, you know, 70. Maybe something just a little bit, tiny bit longer. It might just make someone's cheeks pop out a little bit, because the wider angle lens closer may do that. By the way, there are very successful portrait photographers who use wider angle lenses for portraits all the time. They key is you don't put the face with the features near the edge of the frame. You're seeing the distortion at the edge of the frame, and also they're not framing up here. If you're shooting with a 35 millimeter here, you'll see distortion. If you're shooting a 35 millimeter where they're centered a little bit further back, you're not going to notice it, and you can actually use the distortion to your advantage. So just know, not saying there's a right or wrong lens choice but really wide, really close is going to be wrong for this face type. Okay, next one will be lighting. The wrong, like the wrong way to do it, saying this loosely, is if their head is straight on towards camera, lit in the front and filled from below, 'cause then it's just a big circle, and everything is lit from side to side. If you would like to narrow the face, it might be enough just to turn the head to the side a little. That might be enough, I mean it'd be totally fine. Maybe you're feeling like it's still looking a little round or you'd like to narrow the face. Maybe it looks a little bit heavier and you want to make it look a little narrower, then you can use some shadow. So when I'm photographing curvier women with rounder faces, let's say that I do want them straight on towards camera 'cause I want it to be a strong shot. I don't want them to look like their shying away, like I want it to be strong, which I do a lot in my photographs, but the face is looking a little bit wide. Instead of lighting them flat to the front, I move the light off to the side, because that creates shadow and the shadow narrows what we're seeing for the face. So, you can narrow just a little bit if I bring the light over here, it's putting shadow here, and you can go as extreme as you want. I mean, you could go to the point of short light. So, if that's the camera, light coming from behind, shadow side of the face towards the camera. That's when it's going to look it's narrowest. Like if you want to push it to an extreme, most I can do is turn them to the side, and short light. Chin out and down, higher camera angle. These are kind of the tools that we have, okay. Using shadows to sculpt, great, retouching. At the retouching part of this, I keep things very, very, very subtle as I said, because if you change the shape of their face, they'll know. There's actually somebody who shot me, and it's interesting, because I know they changed the shape of my face, they liquified it. I just don't know what, and I'm trying to figure out (audience laughing) what they thought was wrong. I swear, I was looking at this yesterday, 'cause I'm like, "Okay, what did they see "in my photo that they didn't like "that they changed it, because I know it's not me. "Like I know it's not, but I don't know what it is." Anyway, so for somebody with a rounder face, what I usually do, is that it's not that I narrow the face. I usually just bring it in a little here, 'cause it makes the look of the cheek bones stand out a little bit. So, I'm talking like I tuck it here just a little bit, and so instead of being a a real circle, it just gives them a little bit more definition. Everybody's face is going to be different, it depends. So we'll take a look at some of those things later. And then the other thing that I do is I do contouring. Contouring the face for makeup is something that I would do before hand, and what that means, is with foundation where we paint highlights is on the top of the cheeks, center of the forehead, and sometimes on the chin and the nose. Basically anything that we want to make it appear closer to the camera, you paint highlights with makeup. And then anything you want to be further from camera, more defined, underneath the cheeks, for example, underneath the jaw line. However, we can do this in retouching, and so I've got a lot of tutorials that I've done here on doing this. I'll probably show a little bit of it later, but you can paint highlights and shadows. In other words, it won't just like look like a big round flat face. You add dimension by painting those highlights and shadows. So, let's say stylistically, you love really flat, like even soft light, and that's your jam. Like that's what you do, and you don't want to move the light because that's your style, like this is what you do. So, at that point then you say, "Okay, "well the tools that I have for the round face "is I turn the head to the side, chin out and down, "and then I contour with makeup "to give a little bit more shape." And then you can also contour and post. So my point is, you don't have to do all of these, you can do some of them. The last one also depends on the individual, is people that have a really round, wide face, sometimes they'll have the hair that kind of cups around the face a little bit, 'cause the hair cuts in on the perceived width of the face, or it could even just be on one side where they have the part. If you turn them to this side, and you have it cover just a little bit, it cuts the size, the roundness that the face appears to be.

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