In my last article for Adorama ALC, I gave you the first 5 tips for how to flatter your subject in portraits.
Here are the next 5:
6. Give Them A Minute!
If you know you want to take photographs of someone spontaneously, give them a minute first! Let them check their hair, smooth back any strays, check their teeth in the mirror, or let her apply a bit of lipstick. Sometimes just a moment of prep before the camera comes out can boost a person's confidence about being photographed by about a billion percent.
7. Frame Them Well.
A human being is a piece of art, so why would you frame them by surrounding them with cluttered countertops or drab backgrounds? Keep an eye out for anything else in the frame, keeping in mind that if the point is to show off your subject, you want to get rid of distracting things in the shot that might take away from how good they look. Clean backgrounds can really emphasize a great subject.
8. Arm Them Well.
Arms are one of those body parts that can looks dramatically smaller or larger based on how they are posed with the body and where they appear in the frame. If you are looking to thin the arms, the simplest rule of thumb is to have someone pretend they are holding a pencil under her arm - this small act of holding the arm slightly away from the body prevents that unflattering large-arm look and often further defines muscle in the arm. Another thing to keep in mind is where you position someone in the frame. If you're shooting with a wide angle lens, for instance, know that anyone positioned on the edge of the frame - like on the outside of a group photo - will appear a bit wider, especially around the arms.
9. "Chin Out and Slightly Down".
If you ever watch a model pose, this is second nature - jutting the head forward a bit, to better define the jawline, and tilting the chin down a bit, to make the eyes appear larger and to further emphasize the cheeks from a more natural angle. This can even apply when the head is thrown back a bit, as it can be a very small shift from that angle, too. Share these words of wisdom with your subject and see what a difference it makes. Just beware jutting the head too far out and the chin too far down. ( The word Slightly is there for a reason.) But this one move can make a huge difference in minimizing any perceived flaws around the chin, especially.
10. Tell Them How Good They Look Like You Mean It.
There are few things more that make posing for a photograph more difficult than doing so with either no feedback or, worse, criticism. Keep reminding your subject of just how good they look until they believe it. The photographs, and their gratitude, will be worth it.