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Friday, November 4, 2011

Find the "Hero" of your image

Model: Emilyne MUA: Heather Shelton
Many photographers both amateur and professional alike tend to shoot images of gorgeous people, or should I say people that are deemed beautiful by today's western culture and society.  Travel back in time 150 years and you'll hardly find that that a size 4 was considered to be attractive.  I am not stating that a there is anything wrong being a size 4 or size 24, but I'm rather leading this post to making a point about photographing fashion.
What makes a photograph fit in the genre of fashion?  Is it the outfit, pose, or model?
More after the jump

 When I first started to explore the photography medium, I always found confusion in deciding what niche my images of people fit in to.  Whenever I shared them over the net on site such as Deviantart, Flickr, etc. I had problems relating to where they exactly belonged.  Sure I loved the image as I was posting it for the potential masses to view, but the confounding battle of where the hell to put it seemed to be a grey area.
Model: Emilyne MUA: Heather Shelton

So what did I do?  I started to research other photographers work.  I studied issues of Vogue, Elle, etc.  I can't recall how many times I got weird looks from people when I was found reading these type of magazines.  After all, if you saw a obese bearded man hovering over the magazine rack reading an issue of InStyle or Cosmo, wouldn't you be a bit freaked out?
During my escapade of listening to Tyra Banks rant on America's Top Model, I started notice something.  That Fashion photography isn't necessarily just about the clothes.

Model: Emilyne MUA: Heather Shelton

Photography 101 teaches us that Beauty photography is about the model and Fashion Photography is about the clothes.  I believe in nutshell this holds some truth at a basic level, but I think it goes deeper.
I had the opportunity to watch one of the many great free streaming workshops from Creative Live last month.  It featured re known photographer Matthew Jordan Smith.  He gave an amazing three day presentation on beauty and fashion photography that included the technical and zen sides of the subjects.  He continually mentioned an analogy which asks us to find the "hero" in the photograph.  Is this the model, the makeup, the clothes, the accessories?  The hero of a photograph should be the item, person, or object that draws viewers attention and fits the theme of the shoot while adhering to the client's brand. The hero could be anything from the necklace she's wearing, to the wardrobe, to the model themselves. Remember, the company or client who hired you did so because they want to see your take on what you come up with in representing and showcasing their product or brand.

Model: Emilyne MUA: Heather Shelton

Regardless of what you believe in what you define as fashion photography or beauty photography. If you can take anything away from this post, it's that you need to find the hero of your subject, theme, and overall concept. When we fail to define the hero of our work, it leads to confusion and an unsettling feeling in our subconscious thoughts that can cause the viewer not to comprehend what the point and theme of the image was to begin with. Your images need to have a conclusion, and ending, purpose with a concept that follows a specific theme and arrives a specific point to where the viewer can say "this is what this photograph is and this is what it's selling."
Model: Emilyne MUA: Heather Shelton

In other news, the lack of posting is been due to the fact I've been working on a feature-length film over the past month. It's called Lust of the Vampire Girls and it has been a thrill working on set again with a group of amazing local talent. The next post will highlight some of lighting setups I did as well as some of the behind-the-scenes photos of this amazing film, which will premiere next year.  I take pride in being a cinematographer as much as I do being a still photographer.  Stay tuned and thanks for all the support,
Big B.