Posing big boned people

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by susan_flewelling, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. This next weekend I have a shoot with "big boned people". Just
    wondering if any of you have some good ideas for posing. Both bride
    and groom are about the same height and width. Pictures would be
    appreciated. I think I only have a few ideas and I need to pick up
    some more before the shoot. I seem to have problems with this one
    area. Of course I want them to look their very best. Thanks
  2. I'm no expert but here's my two cents worth... Make the most of elevation, look down on them and have them look up at you (minimises chins and emphasises face). Use the bouquet to your advantage in this shot. Try to be slightly higher than them and avoid shooting uphill towards them at all costs. I tell women to pose with one foot pointing towards the camera and all their weight on their back foot. Rock their hip out and relax. The back shoulder will drop and the body elongates nicely. Try to focus on faces and expression, but get the full length shots too of course. Use trees, columns etc to your advantage, also compositions where they are small in the shot ie. Big wide scenery or building shot with B&G a relatively small feature. These are just some things I thought of quickly, I'm sure others have lots more ideas.
  3. Make sure they keep their chins up. I have also had some success shooting from an
    elevated position. Not much advice, but my two cents nonetheless.
  4. Obviously this bride is tiny but I think the shot would still work, you just need the right place to shoot from.
  5. The above advice is good. In addition, consider the following:

    Use the camera in portrait orientation as much as possible. Tall rectangles provide an
    optical illusion that slims, especially if you include a tall vertical element like a tree or

    Side or rim spill lighting has a slimming effect. Take advantage of that when you can.

    Place the man slightly in front. Beefy guys are okay, beefy brides aren't ... no matter how
    others here will howl about being PC, and how some bigger brides are "comfortable" with
    their size, it not PC, it's BS ; -) When was the last time a "big boned" bride asked you to
    make them look fatter?

    All brides are beautiful, and it's our job to make them look that way.
  6. The single most "thinning" thing you can do in a studio, is to employ "short" lighting techniques. On location at a church or reception hall, this can be done with a 2nd light.(briefly, short light is when the 2/3rds plane of the face away from the lens, has the main light upon it. "Broad" lighting is it's commonly used (and wrongly so) opposite. The only time broad light should be used, is in the rare instances of the need to widen an extremely thin face. (Google Joe Zeltsman or Monte Zucker, both have online portrait tutorials)

    The other basic tricks here are high camera angles(shooting down). Never shoot people straight on, always angle their bodies to your lens. (this simple act makes a body narrower in the frame)

    Use tele lenses, not wides. And alwasy place "her", farther away from the lens than "he". This will make him appear larger in the frame due to his overall size in the frame, and from perspective. Hence, she will appear smaller. And trust me , there isn't a woman on the planet that wants to look bigger than their spouse in their wedding photos.
  7. "And trust me , there isn't a woman on the planet that wants to look bigger than their spouse in their wedding photos."

    Not every woman on the planet subscribes to this sexist view, and not all "big boned" people want to be small and thin.
  8. Jaime, I don't that that statement was sexist. As Dr. Phil would say, "it just is".

    You'd have a heck of a time finding even 5 women in America that didn't think otherwise. We men too, if over weight, all want to be thinner.

    It's not sexist...it's just a trend, right or wrong, it just is.
  9. Are we talking about truly "big boned" or overweight? There are slight differences for posing. For instance, a big boned but well proportioned woman may look good in the "S curve pose", but an overweight woman might not, because her neck/chin or torso area would buldge too much.
  10. Our job as wedding photographers, is to take 3 dimensional forms(people), and create "flattering" 2 dimensional images.

    If my pictures didn't flatter my subjects, I'd be in another line of work.
  11. try not to show 100% of the middle sections. bring a prop for the woman to hold near stomache. bring the dog.
  12. sorry, no big boned wedding/engagement ones, just a xmas one.
  13. Tim. I like that shot. Is that their bulldog or was it a prop you brought in? It works for me.
    Fitting a bulldog into a wedding series would be problematic though.
  14. Jaimie, while your response is probably true with some plus sized women, and quite PC, it
    seems contrary to reality. Weddings are a fantasy in many regards, and while some women
    may say one thing, they may feel another ... at least when it comes to their wedding.

    I think the issue revolves around flattering a woman whatever their proportions, not trying
    to turn a plus sized woman into a anorexic super model.

    Maybe a simple make believe "Focus Group" questionnaire could bring it to light ... Miss,
    would you like your chin to look like a pack of hot dogs? Would you like to look pregnant
    when you aren't? Would you like to be posed so your new husband looks like Toulouse
    Lautrec next to you? Harsh? Maybe. Exaggerated? Certainly. But it makes the point.

    Similarly, I've had Bride's with the physical properties of a pencil and the complexion of a
    cadaver. You have to think hard on these also.
  15. I assume that the term "big boned" is meant to politely imply that the couple is fat (Oh, man, am I going to hear from people about using the "f" word!). The word "fat" is a legitimate adjective and while it doesn't sound as flattering as "big boned," it objectively describes the reality. So, you have a fat couple getting married. Believe me, they didn't wake up one day and suddenly discover that they are "big boned." They know that they take up a lot of room, so you don't have to pussyfoot around the issue, and certainly not with us if you want some accurate feedback. Just use all the great suggestions above to flatter them photographically as people. Don't get too obsessed with trying to transform them or trying to deny their size in your images. That won't serve anyone well. Strive to capture who they are; to capture their spirit and their happiness, as well as their undeniable size.
  16. This is a legit and worthwhile question and shouldn't go too astray with the PC stuff. Yes they all want to look their best or better, and yes, they do know what the scale says, even if their self image is from a few lbs ago (like mine he he), pics have a way of bringing back that little shock of reality, or maybe the person is totally OK with it, but sef-image is not really your issue, nor is it under your control, right?

    In addition to the many fine tips comments already mentioned, try to suggest everything without any additional emphasis, just direct the pose, leave it matter of fact. The same you do for each subject.

    I first heard about the leg forward trick during a wedding I was a guest at. The photog, a thin, slightly opinionated middle aged man explained it wonderfully, but followed it (to the mother of the bride) with "This will take off 10 punds!" OOPS

    I think "Gives a NICE LINE to the dress" is about perfect.

    Since then I notice almost every shot in a fashion book is one leg forward, I never really noticed before.

    chin up or slightly lengthened

    and watch for the squished up arms giving the George Foreman guns look, not being mean, they can be relaxed or lengthened slightly too.

    woman slightly behind, but dont look like you're trying to hide her like that Wilson-Phillips video.
  17. Still want to know if we are talking about big boned or overweight.

    If overweight, there is a big variety of feelings, especially among the women, about their self image. I have seen some overweight brides cry when they see their photos because they are forced to confront the reality of their bodies. Some women are very good at deluding themselves when looking into a mirror. Others are very comfortable with their size. The ones that are usually bring up the topic themselves, but they do appreciate any efforts to make them look as attractive as possible, if no more than you would do for any bride. The ones that aren't usually make some self deprecating remark, which will clue you immediately. Then its up to you to decide how you want to treat the issue, including how much to de-emphasize weight in the photos and possibly how much retouching to do on the images later.
  18. I used to shoot groups of people who were up skiing at our local ski area. Even thin people start to look bulky with their gear on, so here is what we would do. Have them start by standing at a 90 degree angle to you and then have them twist their upper body to face you. It's the ultimate beauty pageant pose but there is a reason why they do it! And, it does slim people down.
    Also be sure to shoot at eye level, at least, or from a higher angle. Be careful to keep you lens at 50mm or else they could come out looking like pin heads (if you go too wide angle).
  19. Thanks to all!!!

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