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Clothing Designer
veypurr
Posts: 214
Albuquerque, New Mexico, US


In one of Scott Kelby's books he states he likes to shoot crouched to make the models appear taller. I talked to a photographer today who stated he never does this because it makes the model appear wider. He also said that slightly elevated works best because it makes the model appear leaner.

I know that a lot of this is probably dependant on the model and the situation but what are your opinions?
Jan 11 13 04:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kaouthia
Posts: 3,152
Lancaster, England, United Kingdom


My opinion is it depends entirely on the model and the situation. wink

If you're shooting from 3ft away with a 35mm and you're looking up, sure, it'll probably make 'em look wider.

If you're shooting from 20ft away with a 105mm, it'll probably make 'em look taller.
Jan 11 13 04:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B R U N E S C I
Posts: 25,319
Bath, England, United Kingdom


Generally speaking if your camera is below the model's waist then she will look taller.

If you get too close then yes, it can make her legs/hips look big, but if you shoot down you'll probably make her look short.

Shooting down will make her hips look narrower at the expense of making her shoulders and head look bigger and her legs shorter... so you takes your pick really...

These are things to be aware of and able to use if and when they will benefit the pictures. I'm not a fan of "one size fits all" rules when it comes to photography.

However, FWIW, I almost always shoot full or 3/4 length images of a standing model from a crouched, kneeling or sitting position, from anything from 6-20 feet away.



Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano
www.stefanobrunesci.com
Jan 11 13 04:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
J O H N A L L A N
Posts: 9,733
Santa Ana, California, US


-B-R-U-N-E-S-C-I- wrote:
However, FWIW, I almost always shoot full or 3/4 length images of a standing model from a crouched, kneeling or sitting position, anything from 8-15 feet from the model.

Yep - me too - virtually exactly this - It also produces a feel of superiority, which can be good for fashion. Don't get why the OP's photographer friend would think this would make her look wider. Not in my experience.

Jan 11 13 04:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Fotografica Gregor
Posts: 4,065
Alexandria, Virginia, US


FWIW, IMO a standing model should be shot at a level between her knees and her navel.....     

if she's bottom heavy more the upper range

just don't do it when she's sitting down lol
Jan 11 13 04:37 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,180
Salem, Oregon, US


not holding the camera level can distort as can wide angle lenses (especially at the edges of the frame).

shooting from above can definitely make them look shorter.

there are lots of factors to consider. try to do what flatters a particular person the most. if someone has a floppy underchin then shooting up on them may not look that great unless they are turtling.

in general i think extreme angles can be, well, extreme.
Jan 11 13 04:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Clothing Designer
veypurr
Posts: 214
Albuquerque, New Mexico, US


John Allan wrote:

Yep - me too - virtually exactly this - It also produces a feel of superiority, which can be good for fashion. Don't get why the OP's photographer friend would think this would make her look wider. Not in my experience.

That's what I thought! I said "she just has wide hips!" but my Photographer friend insisted that it's because I shot low. I was only slightly crouched not kneeling or sitting.

But I definatley get a lot of posters points that it depends on the model, lens etc.

Jan 11 13 04:59 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,180
Salem, Oregon, US


i had a playboy model tell me to shoot from down low because she had big hips. but curves are why i hired her!

the finished image doesn't lie (unless it has been liquified). see what works best for your shooting. getting too close can distort (but sometimes that's desirable like the super down low shots).

the wife takes BTS shots at our weddings and i'm doing some serious crouching (busted the sole of my shoe last time) when the come down the aisle.

veypurr wrote:
That's what I thought! I said "she just has wide hips!" but my Photographer friend insisted that it's because I shot low. I was only slightly crouched not kneeling or sitting.

Jan 11 13 05:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
fiona Quinn photographe
Posts: 287
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand


I would never shoot looking down on a model it shortens the neck and legs and you can always tell when a full length shot has been shot from too high as its unflattering I would always shoot no higher than the waist of the model. I always shoot from a lower angle with fashion including my beauty work - I have never noticed anyones hips looking bigger but then it depends on the lens used and the pose she is in.
Jan 11 13 05:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Steven A Thompson
Posts: 546
Los Angeles, California, US


I shoot from a wheelchair and so almost all my images are shot from this perspective. I struggle sometimes with very tall models (I actually prefer the short ones) for this reason and in some cases have even built myself a platform to gain a few inches for 6 footers. Also my studio space is not terribly deep' exacerbating the issue.

Take a look at my portfolio and I'm curious to know if you can tell. I can but I'm interested in others opinions (not soliciting critique, mods, just asking technical response with respect to the OP's original question).

Recently I've experimented with using a tilt-shift (PC-E 45 f/2.8 Nikkor) to gain a bit of "height" just as you might in architecture. The effect is slight, but one starting to see some benefits.
Jan 11 13 05:10 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AJScalzitti
Posts: 12,201
Atlanta, Georgia, US


I find shooting below the eye line slightly give height and works best, unless I am shooting a heavy set person.  Then looking slimmer may be more important then looking short.
Jan 11 13 05:13 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jay Pegg
Posts: 6,269
Kansas City, Missouri, US


I generally shoot from waist level, certainly for fashion images. I try to aim for center body mass whilst shooting, as it were. Plus it means I can be in a chair or have my camera on a tripod which saves the wear and tear on my arms.
Jan 11 13 05:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jerry Nemeth
Posts: 26,750
Dearborn, Michigan, US


I shoot from all positions.
Jan 11 13 05:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,180
Salem, Oregon, US


with an articulating LCD (or even a wide viewing angle LCD like our fuji) you can hold the camera above your head and still see what you're doing.

Steven A Thompson wrote:
I shoot from a wheelchair and so almost all my images are shot from this perspective. I struggle sometimes with very tall models (I actually prefer the short ones) for this reason and in some cases have even built myself a platform to gain a few inches for 6 footers. Also my studio space is not terribly deep' exacerbating the issue.

Jan 11 13 05:26 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AVD AlphaDuctions
Posts: 10,522
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada


I have a low love seat at one end of the studio.  When I get lazy or tired (or when I was dying of cancer for a bit) I shoot from love seat.  its like crouching but with zero cost.   That way I get to do a big finish by ... standing up!   or running up stairs to shoot from the gallery.
Jan 11 13 05:28 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Hero Foto
Posts: 878
Phoenix, Arizona, US


Jan 11 13 05:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MKPhoto
Posts: 5,664
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


I never look down at a woman wink

For full body shots, most often sitting cross legged on the ground, unless high point of view or headshot perspective is called for.
Jan 11 13 06:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Vector One Photography
Posts: 2,589
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US


Unless there is a problem that needs to be corrected I shoot from down low. I purchased tile setter knee pads from Home Depot to protect me knees when I shoot fashion. Unless the shot is to sell shoes or stockings I never use a wide angle for fashion. Using a wide angle shouldn't widen the hips as it elongates what is closest, not widens what is in the middle. If you are at mid body height and too close it may widen.
Jan 11 13 06:34 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Four-Eleven Productions
Posts: 739
Fircrest, Washington, US


I like to shoot at the level that I'm trying to emphasize. If I'm accentuating the breasts, I'll shoot at chest level.
Jan 11 13 06:50 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Guss W
Posts: 10,572
Clearwater, Florida, US


I suspect Kelby was thinking of people that should be photographed full-length, not those that shouldn't be.  Yes, it depends on the subject.  For routine family photography, most of the time you'll find yourself thinking, "How can I hide those hips."
Jan 11 13 07:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
sgnr photo
Posts: 254
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


veypurr wrote:
In one of Scott Kelby's books he states he likes to shoot crouched to make the models appear taller. I talked to a photographer today who stated he never does this because it makes the model appear wider. He also said that slightly elevated works best because it makes the model appear leaner.

I know that a lot of this is probably dependant on the model and the situation but what are your opinions?

In almost every shoot I do, I'll have at least 1 or two poses shot from way up close, and way down low with a wide-ish angle lens (24 or 28mm) to get that larger than life look. The right pose can go a long way to counter any barrel distortion you might get from shooting really low and up close, as well as give a less "hippy" look.

Jan 11 13 07:03 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Rich Burroughs
Posts: 3,257
Portland, Oregon, US


John Allan wrote:

Yep - me too - virtually exactly this - It also produces a feel of superiority, which can be good for fashion. Don't get why the OP's photographer friend would think this would make her look wider. Not in my experience.

It definitely can make someone look wider. Low angle shots can be extremely unflattering if they're not shot well. Using a shorter lens, up too close, etc.

Of course high angle shots can make people look weird too.

Jan 11 13 07:10 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Rich Burroughs
Posts: 3,257
Portland, Oregon, US


Vector One Photography wrote:
Unless there is a problem that needs to be corrected I shoot from down low. I purchased tile setter knee pads from Home Depot to protect me knees when I shoot fashion. Unless the shot is to sell shoes or stockings I never use a wide angle for fashion. Using a wide angle shouldn't widen the hips as it elongates what is closest, not widens what is in the middle. If you are at mid body height and too close it may widen.

The OP didn't mention hips. It's the legs I'd be concerned about.

Jan 11 13 07:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Lars R Peterson
Posts: 1,068
Seattle, Washington, US


Shoot skinny girls from navel or below.

Shoot average girls between navel and clavicle.

Shoot fat girls from high above.

And, shoot ugly girls from behind.
Jan 11 13 07:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B R U N E S C I
Posts: 25,319
Bath, England, United Kingdom


Lars R Peterson wrote:
And, shoot ugly girls from behind.

lol

And of course, if a model is only 5'7" you can always lie on the floor to get that little extra bit of height! wink

https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/ … 4653_n.jpg (18+)


Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

Jan 11 13 07:16 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Laura UnBound
Posts: 26,985
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Never in my life have I seen a photo of anyone or anything that was shot down on that looks "leaner" than it really is.

Everyone looks fat and stubby when you shoot down on them...unless theyre laying down and youre shooting at an angle that would be equivalent to if they were standing up.




If youre shooting from a models feet directly up at her, yeah youre going to distort her in unflattering ways. Typically, despite the fact that Im already only 5 feet tall, I still sit on the ground to shoot. Doesnt always make the short girls look like giants, but its never made anybody look worse
Jan 11 13 07:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Select Models
Posts: 35,300
Upland, California, US


Shooting Crouched vs Elevated

Try both... shoot from above...

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120929/01/5066b7b456f85.jpg

and below... wink

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/110124/14/4d3e03d4d2e71.jpg
Jan 11 13 10:37 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,361
Seattle, Washington, US


http://smallshopstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Richard-Avedon-Donyale-Luna-1966.jpg
Jan 11 13 11:36 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Neil Snape
Posts: 9,439
Paris, Île-de-France, France


Scott is not a reference in model photography.

Crouched can look very nice as it's been used on many covers for fashion for decades. Edit okay the photographer shoots from low not the model.

It is quite impressive but risky to do so with any other than a fashion model that is slender and tall, with long legs.

Try some and you will find out what works and why. My friend James Ogilvy in Toronto usually has his avi set to a very well done crouch position.

Edit: read this wrong. What you say in the OP is for me wrong. I shoot from low as I like it, and I have 20' ceilings.  It rarely works shooting from higher, if anything it would be for the hair I would do that. Not too low that the girl looks down the barrel of a shot gun with nose hairs and all.

In the end a long shot with a telephoto lens makes little difference. When in close with a wide angle your perspective changes quickly. Those who dare sometimes win, yet failure is the higher return rate of that risk.
Jan 11 13 11:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Neil Snape
Posts: 9,439
Paris, Île-de-France, France


Mark Laubenheimer wrote:
http://smallshopstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Richard-Avedon-Donyale-Luna-1966.jpg

That is gorgeous, is that Scavullo or Avedon?

Never mind when saved to the desktop it's marked Avedon.

Jan 12 13 12:01 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SoCo n Lime
Posts: 3,283
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom


the person being photographed and the end result your going for will dictate where and what lens you shoot with

you would approach different body types in different ways and its not all in the lens choice or placement of shot (high, low or more common middle). you position the model and direct the model relative to their body type, height and proportions aswel. you can also take into consideration the tricks and tips of the trade like wearing certain types and items of clothing and things like shoes with heels can put shape into legs and so on
Jan 12 13 12:54 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Raoul Isidro Images
Posts: 5,930
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


I shoot at chest level of the model for full body shots, as de facto, unless gearing for effect or theme shots.

Regardless of height of both model and photographer, shooting chest level is a good guide to start with.

A 6'4" photographer would have to kneel for a 5'2" barefoot model.

A 5'4" photographer would have to tip toe for a 6'7" tall model.

It's not about slouching, bending, or kneeling... it's about the propel level to take the picture.

.
Jan 12 13 01:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Daniel LaHaie
Posts: 21
Portland, Oregon, US


A majority of my photos are shot from floor level with a 24-70 zoom. I like the look... To each their own. smile
Jan 12 13 02:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Barely StL
Posts: 754
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


-B-R-U-N-E-S-C-I- wrote:
Generally speaking if your camera is below the model's waist then she will look taller.

If you get too close then yes, it can make her legs/hips look big, but if you shoot down you'll probably make her look short.

Shooting down will make her hips look narrower at the expense of making her shoulders and head look bigger and her legs shorter... so you takes your pick really...

These are things to be aware of and able to use if and when they will benefit the pictures. I'm not a fan of "one size fits all" rules when it comes to photography.

However, FWIW, I almost always shoot full or 3/4 length images of a standing model from a crouched, kneeling or sitting position, from anything from 6-20 feet away.



Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano
www.stefanobrunesci.com

+1

It depends on the model, the pose and to some extent the wardrobe. When shooting full-lengths I'm usually sitting on an adjustable stool with casters (so I don't to pick it up and move it) or on the floor from a distance of about 15-18 feet.

With 3/4 length photos, more often than not I'm either sitting on the stool or crouched. Shooting from the waist up, I'm usually crouched with the lens somewhere near the model's chin or neck level. For headshots most often I'm crouched with the lens a few inches below the model's eye level.

Jan 12 13 02:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mark Harris Photography
Posts: 490
Edison, New Jersey, US


Jerry Nemeth wrote:
I shoot from all positions.

1

From above: 18  http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/31064516 18
From below: 18  http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/31064417 18
And in between: 18  http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/30454509 18

I have had llamas comment on how much I move around during a session :-)

Jan 12 13 05:47 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Loki Studio
Posts: 2,877
Royal Oak, Michigan, US


Shooting from a lower angle for full length shots is the easiest technique to make a model appear taller.  Yes-you have to balance the view with the models width, but using longer lenses will minimize that concern.

Any photographer who says that they "never" shoot from a lower angle is really missing out.
Jan 12 13 06:10 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Fisher
Posts: 1,805
Miami Beach, Florida, US


http://www.johnfisher.com/images/1lauren3387fs.jpg

When shooting llamas full length, get the camera no higher than knee level (crouching or getting down to one knee won't cut it). Shooting three quarter (model from the knees up), keep the camera at the level of her head (you can stand up). This makes the head look normal, and the waist and especially the hips smaller in proportion to the bust.

http://www.johnfisher.com/images/1alexa1467fs.jpg

All of this gets affected more dramatically with short lenses, long lens significantly reduce the effect. I still lay down shooting full length with a 70-200 zoom. (With a short lens the legs can get real long but the feet appear big! See first picture in this post.) I have always had a platform in my studios so the llama is slightly (18") elevated when I'm shooting full length.

http://www.johnfisher.com/images/katjasittingonstage.jpg

Fashion is art (or at least where art meets commerce), so you can shoot from any position as long as you know what effect it will give you (and you want that effect). Glamour is more craft, so you have to follow the rules more closely. If you crouch or kneel (which puts the camera at approximately waist level) and shoot full length, the waist and hips being closest to the camera will appear large, the upper torso and legs will be shortened (shoot from the llama's waist level with a short or standard lens, and you get what I call the Nicki Minaj effect. Woof.)

And now you know why we prefer long lenses for beauty. What's the closest thing to the lens? The nose. The longer the lens, the more properly proportioned the nose is. This is why most people say they don't look good in pictures. Their friends have point and shoots with a normal (50 mm) lens. When the take a head shot the nose looks like large potato.

We have two eyes, so we see height, width, and depth. The camera has one eye, so it takes everything in the back, and everything in the front and compresses it into a single plane. This exaggerates the up and down compression of moving the camera from an elevated position to ground level. Again long lenses reduce (but do not eliminate) this effect.

John
--
John Fisher
900 West Avenue, Suite 633
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
305 534-9322
http://www.johnfisher.com
Jan 12 13 07:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Fisher
Posts: 1,805
Miami Beach, Florida, US


DP, Sorry.
Jan 12 13 07:24 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Neil Snape
Posts: 9,439
Paris, Île-de-France, France


John Fisher wrote:
Fashion is art (or at least where art meets commerce), so you can shoot from any position as long as you know what effect it will give you (and you want that effect).

And know you know why we prefer long lenses for beauty. What's the closest thing to the lens? The nose. The longer the lens, the more properly proportioned the nose is. This is why most people say they don't look good in pictures. Their friends have point and shoots with a normal (50 mm) lens. When the take a head shot the nose looks like large potato.

As you said art meets commerce , it is by far safer to do beauty with a longer lens.
Yet the risk of making more volume by using a closer perspective adds a real feeling of depth in the 2D compression we are obliged to use.

Irving Penn never described his images in terms, yet it is obvious that the unique character was a visual in which you can enter into it's space ugly or beautiful.

Jan 12 13 07:29 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
RedwoodForest
Posts: 307
Portland, Oregon, US


Fotografica Gregor wrote:
FWIW, IMO a standing model should be shot at a level between her knees and her navel.....     

if she's bottom heavy more the upper range

just don't do it when she's sitting down lol

Check out a few of my photos.

It should be evident after a few moments, which were shot elevated ... and I mean elevated ... like from 8 ft. to 12 ft. high, on a ladder. I use two orchard ladders to shoot at a substantial downward angle sometimes.

Other times, straight on. Others, upward. The ultra wide angle shot with the knee highs is a fairly hefty upward angle.

Jan 12 13 08:10 pm  Link  Quote 
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