With the right poses, lighting and direction you can produce a selection of shots everyone thinks look fab.
A medium telephoto lens
will give you frame-filling shots without making your subject feel uncomfortable because you're too close. You may find your hotshoe flash useful but try using a reflector
first as it may bounce enough light into the scene. If you're working in a studio use umbrellas
to diffuse the glare of the flash.
We've said this time and time again but it's crucial, particularly with women, that you get to know your subject before you photograph them. You need to build trust to make them confident that you can take a flattering photograph and this can only be done through meetings or several conversations on the phone. Remember, trying to find out as much as you can about them during the pre-consultation before the shoot will not only let you spark up conversation but make them feel relaxed too. Discuss location ideas, clothing and find out if they have any particular body issues as if they think they have bad arms, wonky teeth or a face full of blemishes it won't matter how much you disagree they won't believe you. Instead of having a battle,try telling them what does look great and explain how you want to make the most if it in the photographs. When it comes to clothing, what works well will differ from person to person but try to avoid tight items if possible as even on the slimmest of people they won't look great once sat down. White, light t-shirts, however, work well as reflectors and can be great for bouncing extra light onto faces.
Soft, diffused light will soften features and make for a more feminine image. Window light is perfect for this and you can find more information on using and posing in window light in our previous article
You'll find some women need more direction than others but after a while even the most nervous subject will soon start to move and migrate into another pose on their own.
Shooting down on your subject works wonders but never shoot up, unless you have a subject with a particularly thin, structured jaw line, as it will make your subject appear heavier than they are. Women can get away with tilting their head either towards or away from the far shoulder and you should position their hands so you can see their finger edges as this elongates their arms and is very feminine. If you're photographing a full length shot, ask your subject to move one foot forward and turn their shoulders in this direction. This will lengthen and slim their body which will be a popular look with any woman.
When it comes to including backgrounds, as long as it's not overly cluttered and distracting anything goes however, a shallow depth of field will make the subject the focus of the image and really pop out from the blur behind.
You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.