The Art of Photographing Women

Trevor's picture

This week we're going to focus on photographing women! What, you might ask, is the difference between taking a good photo of a man and a woman? The answer is nothing really, except if you want to make the picture softer for a woman and stronger for a man, to make him appear more masculine. This is the secret of advertising photography, particularly when it comes to cosmetics. Clients spend hundred of thousands of pounds getting the image just right, because it has been proven time and time again that a good ‘sexy' image sells anything, from clothing to insurance. But for cosmetics the skin has to be flawless, so programmes such as Portrait Professional are used to make it as smooth as possible.

But what if you want to create a stronger image, to create the idea of power? The answer often lies in (a) taking the picture in black and white and (b) boosting the contrast using a program such as Adobe Photoshop. In this instance the girl (her name is Ivana) is a model and I was taking pictures for my portfolio. Having taken a series of softer images, I decided towards the end of the shoot to go the other way. By this time Ivana was feeling very relaxed and confident, particularly as during the course of the day I showed her all the photos we had done so she could monitor her ‘performance'. For this picture I set my camera, a canon EOS 5D Mk1, to b&w. Then, on the computer, I cropped the image to eliminate unwanted background, and boosted the contrast of the mid-tones to create what I think you will agree is a powerful image (shown above), much better than the original (below). But to me what matters most is that Ivana loved it and the picture is now on her boyfriend's mantelpiece!


Original Photo

The original photo of Ivana before I retouched it on the computer.

Trevor is a professional fashion photographer who is writing a series of guest blogs for us, giving tips on how you can take better photos. Click here to see the rest of his posts.


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