Getting a fashion look

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by john_ashby|2, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. I did a studio shoot this week, and I'm going for a "high fashion" sort of look. I'll attach a picture from the session. I'm hoping for some suggestions on how to do my post production, but I'm doing another shoot in a few weeks, so I'm open for any comments on my lighting, compostion, make-up, etc. The image is basically right out of the camera with minimal processing from raw to jpeg and slight sharpening.
    Thanks in advance
  2. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I think the armpit is a problem, long before you get to anything else. It looks like something it isn't. Posing should be watched more closely.
  3. Wow. I thought the armpit was a problem, but I didn't quite see it that way. I could make a coment about how "high fashion" wouldn't be an inappropriate place for a subliminal sex message. At least it's not too hard to fix in photoshop. How can you watch the posing so closely though when you're shooting though? There's so many things going on at once.
  4. Here's another pic from the shoot.
  5. Evening John, I'm going to just go through the blunt business of what I see here. Starting in the center I think the strongest point is a pretty face, good light, eyes have light so they sparkle some, that all pretty much works. Now going out, I really don't care for the rest. The hair really bugs me. I know I would have spent time fussing over the part in the hair and the way the hair lays down, and it's not so appealing right behind the part, kind of going off the opposite way. Hair over the shoulders, in this case I think I would have just let it follow it's lines and let it stay as natural as possible and avoid the over shoulder. That would be a future project. I think the lens is too short, shoulder too prominant, head too small, bare shoulders are tricky, the arm angle is awkward causing much creasing and undesireable ripples in the armpit area. When you shoot a bare shoulder and give it so much dominance in the frame it takes away from the face. So one thing you can play with is have her lean toward her back hand/arm, leave her shoulder directly in front with hand on hip, this will give you a basic angle that works. Her whole body angle is awkward, this could be the hips, or the way the legs and feet are positioned, regardless of sitting or standing. Overall I think get rid of the bare shoulder and work with a sleeve, save that for another session. If you want to see this cleaned up just crop the shot just above the arm crease and crop the head right at the first curve of the hair part. As far as the bust goes, it's awkward because of the whole body angle and where the body weight is distributed, have her turn out a bit to the left giving a little flatter front view, again the lens selection plays a part here in presenting the bust, but again I find the hair over the left chest area distracting to the overall shape. If this were me I would shoot with about 85mm on dx body and 180mm if I had room. I would also shoot at a higher angle. Sorry for this long response but there really are details that need attention here, and for me to just say oh nice stuff would be cheating you out of a proper learning dialogue. Best shooting to you and enjoy every click on your next session.
  6. Dave, thanks for taking the time to go into so much detail. It is very helpful, I thought I had a lot of good images from the shoot, but I see those same mistakes repeated in most of them. I was looking at the overall position of the hair but as is obvious, I didn't really look at it with much detail while I was shooting. I was mainly concentrating on the posing and composition for this shoot. When reviewing my pictures, I find I'm constantly overwhelmed by the amount of detail that needs to be considered.
    I see what you're saying about cropping the image, but the images from this shoot have a minimum resolution requirement and that crop is well below it. I suppose next time I should take some tight images of the model's face just in case.
    I do get a lot of people saying "oh nice stuff", and it doesn't really help as far as improving. I'll attach a pic where I think I did a lot better with the hair and shoulder. I was trying to get a nice triangular composition here.
  7. Hi John, first off, don't look at them as "mistakes". They're just details and adjustments. We look for the details, figure out more about them and adjust them. Your second shot is pretty nice, but, I would adjust a few simple things. First again, a longer lens. For me there is too much prominance of the shoulder. Next I would shoot from a bit higher up and have her raise her chin some, this will separate the shoulder and chin line a bit and reduce some of the lines in the neck. In your bottom shot, I think lose the bra strap, longer lens, shoot higher raise the chin and it is good to go. BTW, I have draws of old shots I pick to shreds and wonder "what was I thinking" ha-ha. I was lucky that I worked with several top notch portrait shooters over the years and they would pound my work until I wanted to shrink, then we'd go for beer. Those were the days!
  8. As usual, comments are focused on minutia as opposed to overall approach. You immediately went to a broad lite look - which illuminates all the issues mentioned above: shoulder and arm, cheeks etc. In high fashion - it's what you don't light that makes the shot interesting. At it's most basic - have you chosen a lite scheme that compliments the subject and creates visual excitement and tension? Perhaps a study to the work that appeals to you and assessment of the type, strength, direction, modification of the sources would yield greater success.
    Remember, the shoulder and forarm are almost twice as large as the head and face. you cope with this through effective posing to de-emphasize this issues, lense choice, lite direction et al. Get it?
  9. John,
    I agree with the others, but I thought I would throw in make-up. For high fashion (actually, even for any portrait) I would have her emphasize her eyes more. More mascara -- top and bottom eyelids -- eyeliner (a little under her eyes, too) and a little eyeshadow. You want her eyes to stand out. Her blush looks nice and she sometimes gets a nice shine (specular highlights) on her lips. You may want her to try a bit darker lipstick or lipgloss. I hope you will post some of your next shoot in this forum, so I can see how she looks.
    You have really nice skin tones and catch lights. Your background in nicely neutral. Like was said, you just have minor adjustments to make. The more you shoot and critique your photographs, the better you get.
  10. Actually Gary I think the answers are based on helping John work within the lighting scheme he already chose. If he's comfortable with broad light for now, as Scavullo often used, then he needs to focus on the indicated minutia to work within that light. A lot of "high fashion" is lit with full foward light from camera position that a model can walk through from any position. If you want to make suggestions about other lighting schemes, why don't you be more specific and take the time to explain exactly what you would have done rather than worry about my/our minutia.
  11. Only one opinion, but fashion photography is generally of interest to those buying/selling clothes.
    The type of shot shown,if cropped and improved, might be used to illustrate make-up but there is much more opportunity in the clothes market.I would have thought " high fashion" refers to this.
  12. Dave, we photograph with light - we design with shadows. I'm not going to write a book on light design and execution. If the lighting is insufficient for "fashion" then it is what it is.
    The big picture, no pun intended, is to understand the impact that the nature of the light has upon the scene. Broad lite is a perfectly wonderful look when well executed. To offer countless band aids to solve problems that shouldn't have occurred in the first place does little to help.
    These photos are lovely, as is the young lady, but they are portraits - not fashion. As Alan points out - where is the emphasis on the fashion? We're selling a look - style - lifestyle and clothing. The photographer is duty bound to advance this/his perspective - make his/her statement and that transcends refining details until the larger issues have been accomplished.
    Much to much energy is wasted on complimenting failed attempts at unsuccessful looks that retard the growth and understanding on the craft. Yes, retard the growth, John has made decisions that a year he will make differently - based upon experience and success and failure. When requested, and we were, it is only fitting to be honest and save John as much of that year as possible.
  13. And John needs to work efficiently in the light scheme he created. He can add hats, scarfs, eyeware, jewelry, hooded shirts or rainware, purses, watches i-pods and pens and pencils later.
  14. Gary, my effort was to use lighting that would show everything in a flattering way. I don't want to use shadow to conceal other issues that I should do better like poor posing, badly placed hair, etc. I was going for butterfly lighting, and if you think I executed it poorly, I'd be happy to hear specifically why, things I can use to improve my technique. At this point, for me, I feel I need to refine the details before I can sell a look.
    Mark, I am planning to try working with a make-up artist in a little while. I still want to do a bit more practice with lighting and composition first. I also want to try some full body shots. I think I've come a long way since the pics you critiqued for me last fall. Besides improving my lighting technique, the biggest difference is being more comfortable and confident directing the models though that is still the hardest part for me. I'd be happy to post some images from my next shoot here.
    Alan, you're right in general, but what I'm trying to create here is "high-fashion" style shots that show off the model not the accessories. By "high-fashion" style, I mean the lighting, composition, and over-all look of the pictures, but not the commercial nature.
    Dave, thanks for your comments, it's what I need. I have plenty of older shots to pick apart, including my portfolio ones on here (which I really need to replace). That's one reason that even though I am very happy with this shoot right now, I'm not overly sensitive to harsh comments here, I hope the work I do in 6 months will be as much better than these as these are than my older ones. I really did enjoy every click here, as I improve I'm having more and more fun.
    I need to have some deliverable prints for Wednesday, is there anything I should do in post besides minor stuff like cleaning stray hair. I've seen a suggestion of stronger sharpening on the eyes, a little blur on the rest?
    Thank you everyone for commenting.
  15. I'm not sure if it's better to bump this thread or start a new one. I did another shoot this week, and I tried to keep in mind some of the advice from this thread, and trying to make the model look more comfortable and naturally posed. Here's one of the pics from the session. This time (hopefully) the makeup is a lot better. I also have some more distant shots to show off her fashion, but I think they lose impact.
    So, is this better or worse than the last shoot? :)

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