Posing & Lighting; Flattering Your Subject Page 2

Eyeglasses: Distortion And Glare
Unwanted reflections in eyeglasses can be very stressful for those starting out with studio lights. It used to be fairly common for a studio photographer to either physically remove the lenses from frames or substitute glassless frames for a portrait. And it wasn't always just for the sake of reflection. Distortion of the cheek line behind the glass would be fairly evident for those with thick lenses. So without glass in the frames, there are no reflections and no distortion.

But the times and photographic approaches have changed. Rather than think in terms of eliminating distortion in the glass, consider how abnormal the subject would look without the distortion people are accustomed to seeing with that person. Personally, I prefer to keep the distortion for authenticity's sake.


The easiest way to avoid glare in glasses is to have the subject turn slightly away from the primary light source. Remember, the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection, and you don't want your subject's eyeglasses to inadvertently bounce studio lights into the camera lens (#3). Keep in mind, however, that major repositioning may disrupt other elements you want to maintain.


For #4, a gobo was introduced between the main light and the subject (#5) to cast a subtle shadow across the ear, shoulder, and lower part of the jaw. This not only cut down the hot light on the shoulder and ear, but helped give a little of a slimming effect to the face. A gobo (short for "go between"), also called a flag, is just an object placed between the subject and light source to modify the light. In this case, it was placed at the end of a stand-mounted LiteDisc Holder and adjusted to cut down the light in the area where it was too strong (#5).


For the next shot, I had the subject turn into the main light for narrow lighting. The glasses were tilted downward, thus raising the arms up slightly on the sides of the face. Note that this usually only works for a fairly straight-on shot where the person has some hair to cover the frames at the ears (#6).


Additionally, the main and fill lights were raised slightly to help prevent the reflections from showing up in his glasses. Just keep in mind that the higher you position the main light, the more you risk adversely affecting the light modeling on the face.

Other Factors
Here are some key facial features to look out for:
· Subject has a crooked smile. Ask your subject to smile while looking straight on into the camera and for ¾ views. Look to see if the smile is uneven or appears more flattering from a particular angle or head tilt. If the smile rises higher on one side, your results will likely be better if your subject tilts that side down, which will minimize the appearance of unevenness.

· Subject's teeth/gums are less than perfect. Some teeth flaws can be concealed by shooting at certain angles, or by having your subject give "closed-mouth" smiles. If excessive gums show during a full smile, try coaching your subject to give more of a partial smile.

· Be cognizant of receding hairlines or of a hairstyle that photographs better from one side. If the optimal angle of the hairstyle conflicts with the optimal angle of the smile, for example, you may want to restyle the hair.

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