Whether you’re the person behind the camera or the subject of it, understanding how to look good in a photograph is essential. You, as the photographer, can help to direct a model or even the Japanese tourists who have asked you to photograph them posing in front of a homeless person, and make them look better. Sure there are people out there who look as though they’d been carved out of stone by Michelangelo: with a jaw line cut by a diamond, and a smile that, “launched a thousand ships.” People like these, as well as make me sick, can somehow manage to turn even that halo of the third world, the fluorescent tube, into a beauty dish. Yet, even they often benefit from direction.
We’ve spoken before about Peter Hurley and the witchcraft he conjures to make his headshots so famous, and he does us all a kindness in detailing the recipe for this potion (see one such example at the foot of the article). It’s exceptionally broken down and learning how he directs his subjects is such a bonus. Also worth mentioning is his Headshot DVD. On the other side of the camera is where we’ll be drawing inspiration and expertise from today. Ruth Crilly is a seasoned fashion model, writer, and now a YouTube sensation.
[REWIND: Small Adjustment, Big Impact: The Secret to a Strong Headshot by Peter Hurley]
There’s a one-upmanship in model-dom that would leave a Olympian breathless with envy, and a resume like hers does just that. She’s graced editorials of Elle, Vogue, Glamour, Grazia, Cosmopolitan and the like, and has made a video giving practical, hard earned advice, on looking good in photos. She speaks about getting comfortable with the camera, how to do that, and gives animated examples of what to, and not, to do.
Interesting to note is Crilly’s candor and willingness to be frank, and her willingness to look ‘bad’ in the video. It’s compelling, and makes her compelling. She notes that today, it’s very difficult to stay away from the camera with social media being what it has become, and everyone having a camera in some form at their fingertips. I was pleasantly surprised at the content Crilly puts out, and her experience lends real credibility to that content.
I especially love how quickly she addresses that elephant in the room: practice. Most people find it narcissistic, or difficult even, to practice in front of the camera; to find how they look best. She essentially just says, get over it and take a little time to do it and benefit forever. I utterly agree. I also like that she explains how subtle changes can make all the difference. Such as how lifting your head can elongate the face and neck, adjusting the features to be more attractive.
I would urge everyone to watch the video and make at least one takeaway from it. Also, keep up with Ruth. She’s still modeling, and her tips are very relevant. She continually puts out great content, albeit generally geared to women regarding beauty tips etc, but still much of what she has on tap is relevant to photographers. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and of course her site.