Important Questions in Photography: Where is the Subject Looking?

photography

The eyes are a very captivating part of any portrait. When onlookers see that they are looking at something, they will be curious as to what it is. So how does where they are looking impact the picture?

Where they are looking in the photo can make a difference as to how it’s viewed or received.

Here are a few examples of this:

If a child is looking at a plate of cookies, the viewer may be pulled into a sense of longing, and the cookies would ultimately become the focus of anyone who saw it.

If you saw two people looking at each other, you would get the sense that they were in a relationship or that they were close with one another.

If you saw there was only one person in the photo, and they were looking away from the camera, then the onlookers might want to know what it is they are looking at.

Looking Away From the Camera

You can either choose to have an object in the shot that the subject is looking at, or you can choose to leave that off screen. Both of these options will give a different emotional meaning, so consider this when creating the shot.

Also, if you chose to have an object within the shot, it will most likely become the focus of the shot. If you’re looking to highlight the person, then you might want to leave the other objects out.

Looking At the Camera

When your subject is looking straight at the camera, there isn’t really a choice but to focus on them!

Be aware that having such a direct gaze can be somewhat strong and has the ability to create tension. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but something to keep in mind when creating the shot.

Take a moment before posing to consider where the subject is looking, and what sort of effect this might have on the shot.
 

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Headshot Tips For Actors

actor headshot

An acting career is challenging, no matter how you look at it; and there are certain tips and techniques that aspiring actors should know, to make the road to success a bit smoother. Too many actors fail in the area of having a professional looking portfolio. They rely on basic family photos and selfies to do the trick. But when you are in front of a reputable agent, you will need to have headshots that are polished and refined. But how do you know where to go, or how to prepare?

First things first, find a professional headshot photographer. Ask people in the business for suggestions and then check the photographer’s references. After you find the right photographer, follow these highly effective suggestions to take your best headshot pictures.

1.    Don’t overdress or wear too much makeup

A great headshot should look like you, not your doppelganger. Agents needs to see what you really look like in a natural setting. Of course, you don’t want to roll out of bed and head to the photo studio, but you want to look as natural as possible.

2.    Get plenty of rest and a full night’s sleep

The best way to look great naturally, is to be well rested. Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before, and preferably, the week before. Partying before a photo shoot is never a good idea. But if you must, beware of consuming too many alcoholic beverages, as they dehydrate you, which can make your skin look dull, and leave you feeling tired.

3.    Practice photo taking at home

Just as you do with all those selfies you post on Twitter; practice makes perfect. Stand in front of your mirror at home and practice your smile and facial expressions. It is best to know what works before you get to the photographer’s studio.

4.    Let the photographer know what kind of photos you need

Communicate clearly with your photographer and let him/her know exactly what you need and how you are intending to use the photos. A professional will then be able to guide you as to the best poses, backgrounds, lighting, etc.

5.    The color black is often the best option

Dress simply and comfortably for your photos. You will want to avoid clothing that you will have to fuss with, like drooping shirt straps, ill-fitting bras, or clothing too small or excessively tight. Avoid wearing white, unless you have a colorful tank top or camisole underneath. A white shirt can drown you out in a photo. Black is usually the best option. A black dress shirt, dress, or jumpsuit, makes your face, eyes, and skin coloring, stand out.

And most importantly, go into the photo shoot with a great attitude. If you are feeling ill, disappointed, angry at someone, or just plain old “out of it”, it is best to reschedule your appointment.
 

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What NOT to Do With Your Headshot or LinkedIn Profile

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Whether its getting your picture taken professionally or just choosing a picture for your LinkedIn, there are a lot of ways that a picture could go wrong and give potential employers the wrong idea.

Here are some ways that your epic-headshots can turn into an epic-failure:

  • Blurry Pictures: No matter what the situation, it just spells amateur.
  • Bad Lighting: Shadows may do well to make some people look mysterious… but this is neither the time nor the place.
  • Tacky Backgrounds: Hellooooooooooo 1980’s!
  • Odd Things Taking Place in the Background: …is that seriously someone doing a shot in the background?
  • Anything That Resembles Facebook Trends: This includes cropping out your friend, holding your chi-poo, or your baby. Some other no-no’s include: messy backgrounds, significant others, and selfies.
  • The “I’m Clearly Drunk” Photo: No further explanation needed.
  • The Action Shot: That picture of you conquering an oversized rock isn’t going to speak well for your risk-taking.
  • The Cubicle Action Shot: We all have phones in our cubicles; so unfortunately working the landline isn’t bound to impress many people.
  • Iffy Black and White: As a disclaimer, it should be said that these can work well for you- if done right. But if you’re using your 1-megapixel camera from 2004, then you probably won’t get it to come out the way you saw it in your mind.
  • The Dwight Schrute Look: You’re allowed to smile in business pictures and relax! Don’t be such a stiff that you tell everyone in one look that you’re that guy that no one wants to talk to!
  • I’m Kind of a Big Deal: Keep the events and talks for your resume- it can rub people the wrong way when they see that podium (made of rich mahogany) in the picture.
  • Group Pictures: This is definitely out as a headshot option, but people should know who they are looking for when they see your LinedIn, as well.
  • The Over-Glamour Shot: Yes, you want to look nice- no doubt! But you certainly have the ability to over do it, as well.

Even if you don’t have a professional headshot yet, these lifesaving tips will help you help you get ahead in the business world with just a glance!
 

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Building a Modeling Portfolio

modeling portfolio

If you are aspiring to be a model, one of the most important assets is your portfolio. You will want to aim for quality, not quantity. How do you go about assembling your portfolio? Follow these tips in order to wow modeling agents.

Preparing for a Shoot

The first thing you need to do is get professional pictures taken, if you haven’t already. If you’re not sure who to go with, make some calls and get a feel for the people you could potentially be working with.

Hire a professional makeup artist. This is another time you will want to do some shopping around based on your style or budget, but this is one area you will not want to gloss over.

Take a look through magazines, clothes catalogues, and online to find poses you like. Make sure you practice in front of a mirror. Get another person’s opinion- preferably someone you trust that will give you their honest opinion.

Consider what looks or outfits you’re going for. There should be about three outfits and they should cover a wide variety of styles. Along this same line of thought, keep your hair, skin and nails in good condition. These small details will matter! Keep well groomed, and spend a little extra on haircuts and manicures if necessary.

Take a few extra minutes to inspect your clothes. Are there stains? Are they super wrinkled? Make sure they too are in top shape. Can you say close up?

Two days before the shoot, call the photographer and make sure everything is still on schedule.  The day before however will be all about you. Make sure you eat, sleep, and drink well to make sure you’re looking radiant from the inside out!

Tip: uses skin and facial products you already know that work for your skin type. Nothing would be worse than having a rash the day of your shoot!

At the Shoot

Enjoy yourself! The more you can relax and have a good time, the more that will translate into your pictures.

Make sure your photographer understands what looks and attitudes you’re going for. If you’re stuck, ask for their advice.

After the Shoot

Send thank you notes to your photographer and makeup artist.

Once you have your photos, take a look and sort out the ones that came out better. If you have five that came out great- stop there! This would be much better than having 15 that were just “ok.”

Assembling Your Portfolio

Buy a folder or hardcover book to put the photos in. You want something that will not only look professional, but will protect your pictures from getting damaged. Sort the pictures out based on how you want to be portrayed as a model. You may have to try a few combinations before you find the right one.

As you continue to do more modeling work, keep updating your portfolio. If you have friends who are aspiring to become photographers, work out an agreement to model for them- so long as you can use the pictures in the portfolio.

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Whitening Your Teeth for Portraits

white teethGorgeous white bright teeth are not just the concern of Hollywood stars anymore. Everyone desires to have a photo-ready smile when taking portraits and creating portfolios. Teeth are the first thing noticed in a photograph, and yellowing teeth can turn a successful photo shoot into a nightmare.

For many people however, professional teeth whitening is simply too much of a stretch for their budget. Instead there are effective teeth whitening methods that can be done at home. Here are two of the easiest and most convenient methods to try.

Whitening Toothpastes or Gels

One option is to shop for ADA (American Dental Association) approved whitening toothpastes or gels. Brush your teeth as usual with a small toothbrush, for at least two minutes. Rinse and spit out the excess paste or gel. This method requires you to continue this process, twice a day, for approximately 12-14 days. Read the instructions on the product to be certain you are using the correct and most effective procedure. This method also requires occasional, but continual use.

Teeth Whitening Strips

Teeth whitening strips should also be ADA approved. Read the ingredients to make sure they don’t contain chlorine dioxide. This could damage your tooth enamel. Teeth whitening strips should be made of polyethylene, and can be easily found at most drugstores and supermarkets.

The product will contain two whitening strips; one for your lower set of teeth, the other for your upper teeth. The strips are lined with gel so that they adhere to your teeth. Some strips must be peeled off and others will naturally dissolve. Remember to rinse well after using. Read your instructions to see how long you will need to repeat this process. With most quality strips, your results will last anywhere from 4-6 months.

The best results come from following the directions. For any teeth whitening product you choose, it is imperative that you read the ingredients and the directions, so that you achieve the best whitening results without damaging your tooth enamel.
 

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Getting the Perfect Headshot

headshotNot only actors and models require headshots. Corporate executives are using them to put a face to their companies or their brands.  So capturing the perfect image, one which really represents who the person is, is the goal of every headshot photographer.

Consider doing a little research before you choose a photographer who specializes in doing headshots. Look at portfolios, and talk to others who have used them before making your decision.

When the day comes there are a few steps you should follow.

If the subject is a performer, casual clothes will do, but an executive might wear a suit or some clothes that represent the company. Clothes should not be busy or ornate. You do not want to take away from the face.

Finding a good location is crucial. Most headshots are taken in the photographer’s studio where there is a plain wall or background that will not interfere with highlighting the face. If you must shoot outside be sure the background is not too busy.

Lighting is very important. If indoors use a hairlight for more depth, and if outdoors make sure the light is diffused. You don’t want there to be any shadows across the face.

When choosing equipment, a 90mm lens is probably best as wide angle and mis angle lenses can sometimes distort the face. You want a headshot that is in sharp focus.

For the ladies, make sure that any makeup used is as natural as possible and only enhances the face without changing the look of it. You want the subject to look like themselves.

The eyes are the windows to the soul. Make sure that the expression on your subject’s face truly represents him/her, and creates the impression desired.

If you are a performer you might wish to include a video of yourself.

Headshots tell a potential client or employer who you are, and so they should reflect you. In this case less is more, and the simpler your headshot, the more it will say about you.

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How to Choose the Right Backdrop for Your Photoshoot

Photography Backdrop

A picture is worth a thousand words, but you also want it to look like a million dollars. One of the ways to make sure your photos turn out like you want is to make sure you are selecting the correct backdrop. You want to select the best one for the story you want the picture to tell. Most experienced photographers will know what you need and will help you make these decisions.

Below we have compiled a few of the favorites and the applications they would suit the best. This doesn’t mean these are the only ways they can be used; it is simply the most popular choice for that particular backdrop.

  1. Canvas- These backdrops hold up unbelievably well to use and can lend themselves to more situations than you could imagine. Because of the weight of these backdrops they don’t tend to crease or cause shadowing. This is great for a professional looking photo or portrait.
  2. Seamless Paper- These backdrops can come in many different colors and provide a very vivid backdrop. This can make the subject of the picture seem more modern and stand out against a colorful background. The only hard thing about this is you don’t want to match your backdrop, make sure to choose a color that will compliment your outfit, skin tone, hair color, and eye color and NOT your backdrop!
  3. Muslin- this is extremely soft fabric and also versatile like the canvas. This should be used to make a more romantic shoot or warm and inviting shoot. It would be great for a newborn baby or even softer senior portraits.

When it comes to your photos with Beau Bumpas Photography, you will find that whether you use canvas, paper, muslin, or even the outdoors as your backdrop, you will love the outcome and how well they showcase your personality.

Juicy Photos

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Hi friends! I wanted to throw out a few of my juicing tips for everyone who’s been messaging me about my new juicing adventure. I swear I haven’t felt so healthy and spiritually connected in my entire life! With my busy shooting schedule staying healthy is my top priority.

A few months ago I was having issues with my energy level, my skin looked taxed and I just wasn’t feeling good overall. I would work out everyday and eat balanced meals, however I wasn’t seeing any progress…basically I felt like crap.  In June my good friend gave me her Jack La Lanne juicer to try out. It has completely changed my life!

Today I put together a few of my favorite juicing tips and solutions.

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The Juicer

The Jack La Lanne is relatively inexpensive juicer and pretty powerful. It’s less powerful than some, but much safer to clean because the blade isn’t really sharp. It’s also easy to clean.

The Produce

Carrots, green apples, cucumbers and celery make great bases. After you have that you can also add things that add a lot of vitamins or color like leafy greens, beets and other fruits. My favorite flavor additions are mint leaves and fresh ginger. 

Favorite Recipe: fresh orange juice + ginger, green apple + collard greens + cucumber, pineapple + cucumber and pomegranate + pineapple + coconut milk.

How to shoot your own Corporate Headshot

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If you chose to shoot your own executive portrait or corporate headshot, here are a few tips to help you get started. First, Ask yourself a few questions:
  • What kind of background do I need or want for my headshot?
  • Should I use a professional DSLR camera or can I use a point & shoot?
  • What kind of wardrobe or outfit should I chose?
I would highly suggest shooting your executive/corporate headshot outside if possible if you’re using a point & shoot camera.
Using a point & shoot on a white or grey background tends to always make the final image look FLAT and boring. Your main goal is to make yourself appear 3 dimensional…it’s more appealing to the eye. When shooting your headshot outside using natural light be sure to have your co-worker or photographer shoot you in an areas that has even lighting. I typically find an area where the background is lush and shaded. Try to avoid hotspots from the sun on your face or clothes. I usually shoot natural light images under park bridges and doorways using the awesome effect called tunnel lighting. Shoot your subject in a doorway in direct sunlight lighting makes them glow. It’s really cool.
Should I use a professional DSLR camera or can I use a point & shoot?
If you cannot find or use a DSLR camera…the best consumer point & shoot would be the canon powershot s3is. You can get an nice depth of field in two ways: Max zoom or macro mode. When you go to 12x zoom and using f/3.5…you get a very nice narrow depth of field.
How should I angle my camera?
Where you place your camera makes a huge difference in how you will appear in your final image.
A high camera angle will emphasize the face more than body. This might be a good idea if you are a heavier set person. This will make you appear SLIMMER in the final image.
A lower camera angle will make a person look taller and powerful. However, this is not a very flattering angle for most people. If you’re shooting a group of people…always position the camera at eye level so none gets distorted or look unproportioned.
For a single person headshot position the camera slightly above eye level. It give the face a nice shape in the final image.
What kind of wardrobe or outfit is appropriate for my corporate headshot?
I would suggest wearing a tailored collard shirt or blouse. Blues, greens, and reds are my personal favorite color options for women. For men, a simple white shirt with a bold tie is always nice. Stay away from loud colors such as oranges or poke dots…they tend to be very reflective and distracting.

Tips for Choosing a Modeling Agency

modeling agenciesWhen you are looking to get into modeling, it is so important that you find and agency that you trust, can work with, and can deliver you quality work. But how do you do that when there are so many choices? Here are some tips to help you out with that.

 

If you have narrowed down your list, go over each agreement for each company carefully. A lawyer might be helpful here because the language can be confusing at times, and you do not want any surprises later.

 

Do any agencies need a payment up front? A professional modeling agency will make an investment in you, not the other way around. They will take care of the photos, portfolio, traveling and styling.

 

Compare agencies to see what the payment options are like. Some will offer models more than others, and some will even offer an advance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in May of 2010, the average hourly wage for a model was $20.46. However, some top models make far more than that. Do your research to get the best offer!

 

Make sure you check to see if the modeling agency is listed with the Better Business Bureau. They will keep grades for members and this can help you make your decision. It is a guideline though, so it doesn’t have to make your decision for you. If they are not a member or have negative reports, just keep this in mind while making our decision.

 

Ask for a list of past and current models that have worked for the agency. See where they are now and how much the agency has helped them to gage what kind of assistance you might receive, as well. Some agencies will have high profile models whereas others will not.

 

Some agencies will offer training and guidance for new models- see if the agency you’re considering will. Having the proper skills is what will help you land better modeling jobs.

 

These things are going to play crucial roles in your job as a model- so make sure you’re armed with knowledge before you find yourself with an agency that just isn’t right for you.