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  1. #1
    BradS's Avatar
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    How to deal with a women's insecurity about her body?

    Portrait and wedding photographers: How do you deal with a woman's insecurity or, self consciousness about her body. You know what I'm talking about, how do you get her to relax and not worry about whether her backside looks too big or her tummy isn't flat enough, etc...

    On the technical side, how do you pose and light a beautiful young lady who thinks her her legs are too short and her thighs and gluteus maximus are too big?

  2. #2

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    I have no advice what so ever I just thought the title was funny. My answer. The same way you deal with a pissed off rattler, back away slowly and then run like hell.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  3. #3
    eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    I have no advice what so ever I just thought the title was funny. My answer. The same way you deal with a pissed off rattler, back away slowly and then run like hell.
    Same here:
    "Do you think I gained weight?"
    "Do these pants make me look ...?"
    "Didn't these shorts look better like a month ago?"
    "Do you think I should cut my hair?"
    There is never an answer to these and others like it. Cause if you answered, there's always "well, why didn't you tell me the shorts are too tight" or "why didn't you tell me my hair was.." or .... uggh.
    But if you were getting paid to take pictures, just start saying, from the beginning "you look great in that outfit" as soon as you see people.

  4. #4

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    Tell them you'll fix it in photoshop! These self conscious complaints will never end. I've never understood it and never accepted it from them. Everyone is different yet the same so when posing them you ask them into your pose then talk with them for a bit so that they relax into it and make what ever physical adjustments that makes the pose confortable for them. then start working the shot through verbal direction for straightening a line or correcting posture.
    Lighting and camera heigth go a long to solving most unsightly issues. But to explain those here would be really tough. Get a light and a sitter and practice seeing without a camera. Then add a second light to problem solve. Use the first light for direction then the second as an erasure. as you direct the sitter, either move the lights with the adjusting pose or move the sitter in a way to take advantage of the existing light direction.
    Hope this helps but I promise again, " this will always exist" give them the confidence in you to solve the issues then keep them in mind as you work your way through the session but don't allow it to ruin the plan.
    Stop trying to get into my mind, There is nothing there!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomassauerwein
    But to explain those here would be really tough.
    Any chance of an article series here on Apug?
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

    blog
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  6. #6
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    How to deal with a woman't insecurity about her body?? Oy...

    As a woman with a few curves (thanks to two babies). Ok...ok... I may have had a few curves before the babies arrived...

    All I can say is, not easy to deal with! Make a few light hearted jokes, ask her about her day, get her talking about her passions and interests, anything to get her mind off her problem hips, butt, thighs or tummy. If you really make an effort to get to know your subject, they will start to relax, and feel less self concious. (This, I think, is true of anyone you are photographing for a portrait.) I would worry less about the technical side, and more about the relationship you form with the subject, and take your time.

    Failing that... make sure her hips are the farthest thing from the lens! Oh, and diffusion filters, and "glamour" light can be a big help, too!! Too bad they don't make "tinner thighs" filters!

    Good luck.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Moore
    Any chance of an article series here on Apug?
    That would be a lot of fun. I'd really like to do that, but in writing? I think face to face it would be really easy definately in classroom situation I've had no problem talking about and showing how these these simple things work. To write it down needs some real thought. How about a MAYBE!
    Stop trying to get into my mind, There is nothing there!

  8. #8
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    As others have said, and this applies to any kind of subject and not just nudes.

    Talk and interact with them, so that their mind is not, six feet away from themselves, looking back at themselves.

    For the same reason that you cannot properly drive a car and talk on the phone at the same times, we cannot be involved in conversation and looking at ourselves with our mind eye at the same time. Our brain can only concentrate on one thing at a time.

    You want the subject reacting to you and the conversation and not thinking about how big her butt is.

    And keep it fun.


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  9. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Switch positions

    One of my favorite tricks when shooting a portrait is to have the subject switch positions with me - for most people the view through the finder/on the ground glass is sufficiently different from what they are used to as to get them interested in the process, and to distract them from thinking about how they look.

    Then again, maybe when they see how I appear through the camera, they realize how much better looking they are

    This doesn't work, by the way, if your subject is a photographer themselves.

    P.S. this definitely wouldn't apply if I was shooting a nude!

  10. #10
    BradS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne Revy
    How to deal with a woman't insecurity about her body?? Oy...

    As a woman with a few curves (thanks to two babies). Ok...ok... I may have had a few curves before the babies arrived...

    All I can say is, not easy to deal with! Make a few light hearted jokes, ask her about her day, get her talking about her passions and interests, anything to get her mind off her problem hips, butt, thighs or tummy. If you really make an effort to get to know your subject, they will start to relax, and feel less self concious. (This, I think, is true of anyone you are photographing for a portrait.) I would worry less about the technical side, and more about the relationship you form with the subject, and take your time.

    Failing that... make sure her hips are the farthest thing from the lens! Oh, and diffusion filters, and "glamour" light can be a big help, too!! Too bad they don't make "tinner thighs" filters!

    Good luck.
    Suzzane, Thanks for adding your perspective. I was hoping this would not be an all male conversation. Luckily, We were able to keep the whole session fun and light hearted. I kept trying to get her to "extend your torso" and "relax your shoulders". I made a few photos on her front porch just to break the ice and she was just so nervous and self conscious. She went back inside and had a shot of amaretto...OY! Anyway, it went ok. I made every possible technical mistake in the book but, I think we got at least one good one (I hope! ).


    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing
    One of my favorite tricks when shooting a portrait is to have the subject switch positions with me - for most people the view through the finder/on the ground glass is sufficiently different from what they are used to as to get them interested in the process, and to distract them from thinking about how they look.

    Then again, maybe when they see how I appear through the camera, they realize how much better looking they are

    I actually tried this when the 4x5 was out. One look and she shrieked, "You're up-side-down!". I posed and talked her through the process of making a photo of me!

    "After a while, your brain just gets used to it", I said.
    Last edited by BradS; 03-19-2008 at 11:25 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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