Beauty Shots? Glamour? Style?


Beauty Shots? Glamour?


Q. What makes your pictures different from anyone else?
why is it that the same subject taken with the same cameras at the same point
but different photographers at the same time always look different. is it the
setting on the cameras? the lighting. what is it?


OK,  now this is very subjective so I preface my comments with the statement
that these are opinions and beliefs of mine, your experiences may differ and
that is fine, valid, acceptable and what makes this a diverse planet, if everyone
thought like me, what a wonderful place this would be,  aaahhhhhh…..
what I meant was isn’t it great that not everyone thinks like me and we have
differing viewpoints and ways of seeing the world wink

So what makes my pictures different from anyone else’s ?

Well, lets start with the simple one, vision, and lets end with the hard one,
vision.  Its not a creative vision, its not a technical vision, its just
my vision vs anyone else’s vision.  This is not taking into account whether
you like or dislike my work, its immaterial to the topic and only has bearing
because it may have been what prompted the question, so lets forget the work
itself and talk and discuss generals based on aspects of my work vs contradicting
or differing aspects of others.  First, I shoot warm fairly often, not
always, sometimes its cool, sometimes accurate but look at what I do and prefer
and it tends to lean toward the warmer tones. Why?  well I have one answer
that is not totally correct but will show an aspect of a whole that is quite
telling.  I died, many times actually, don’t ask, but one thing that had
occurred was a over sensitivity of my eyes to light, I don’t like bright light
and it gives me quite a headache if I am in it long.  This has lead me
to wear sunglasses often!  I don’t go out without them, and I easily get
annoyed and dizzy with  any that even slightly distort, but forget that,
lets move on to why I mention it.  I have been wearing sunglasses, often
whatever I like and I replace the lenses with most often a Revo polarized lens,
they tend to have a nice darker version that I like, and I have them cut to
fit most any glasses I wear, they also tend to be quite contrasty, warm and
color enhancing and especially seem to enhance the reds, greens and the extra
contrast seems to boost blues a bit to a deeper color.  I always knew they
did but never gave them much thought, until I picked up a pair of Oakley’s that
I fell in love with on my face!  They are great polarized, shatter proof,
whatever, and I picked them up while out in sunny Beverly Hills, and wore them
everywhere for a week, and was so depressed and miserable.  I finally switch
for a day to my older Revo lens frames and realized the WORLD was bright! 
Sunny! Vibrant! Alive!  and I realized that for over 9 years I have not
seen the world another way, until I put on a pair of Oakleys that have a cool
gray neutral lens to them.  So now that obviously impacts my perception
of the world a tad, and when adjusting and shooting and doing any post work
I want the skin to be what I want to see and remember it being and how it looks
good and wouldn’t you know it, its warm and a tad contrasty!  Strange how
that happens.  Notice people who live in areas that tend to be cold, damp,
dreary, rainy and cloudy and there is a tendency (not all, but many if not most)
to shoot and correct for a slightly muted slightly de saturated cooler tones. 
Its what they see and how they see the world everyday so why wouldn’t it cloud
the way they imagine it to be and make it appear in the end?     

Now that’s only one aspect, but the whole process is based on the same perception
that we all have of ourselves and the world around us.  I see the world
how it is, but don’t like it much that way sad 
so what do I do?  I imagine it to be better, and allow my mind to see it
the way I would prefer it to be!  While rose is not my color of choice
I like my Revo colored glasses as it were hmm 
 Now that said, you will likely see me wearing some of the Oakleys I bought
them in every color and several of each figuring by the time I scratch and destroy
them they will be long discontinued so I have back ups, and love the look, and
sadly the shape makes it harder to have lenses fit into them (but I am working
on pulling some strings) But I can safely say that I still put on my older enhancing
ones when I start to feel a bit depressed, just in case that is part of the

Now, why the hell did I just tell you that and what does it have to do with
taking pictures that look different than anyone else’s?  it is exactly
those little stupid differences, and experiences  that make us different
and cause us to see the world differently, through the lens and not, and it
means that when I shoot I make things look the way I want them to be, and sometimes
its easy, and sometimes its a whole lot of work, but that’s what makes it different,
I am not trying to record history, and show what was there, I don’t care what
was there, I want to show what should have been there in my own little semi
perfect world. 

What makes up more of my magic, the camera of the post production work?

That would depend on the day, the hour, the mood and the goal.  The real
answer is again the vision, the vision to use what ever is needed to get to
what I am happy with at the end, and what achieves the desired result! 
And more important the vision to see what is there that cannot be changed and
realize what can be done to work with or enhance it to accentuate it and hide
it in ways that are in my mind most appealing to me, and hopefully the final
viewer.  Now that can never be universal, and while I want to keep my actual
work out of it I will say that some people seem to like it, on a given day I
may or may not hate it and in any case I am probably bored by it, and there
are some who find it unappealing, some who find it boring and unimaginative,
and many who say its overly commercial and not true art. 
God I hope so!  Since I am not an artist, but rather a photographer who
makes images that sell products and gets companies to pay me lots of money for
that ability.  So to that end, I tend to go on the assumption and often
mention it at pretalks with new clients, that I am assuming they are looking
at hiring me because they either like what I do and how I see things or they
believe what I do and how I see things will work well for them to sell their
products!  either way I don’t care, but it gives me the general mid comfort
level that says that if I do what I feel will look good to me in the way that
helps get the point across to the consumers it is more likely that they will
either agree with my taste or agree with my vision for the purposes of marketing
that product.  That’s comforting to an extent. 

So to answer your question more directly, its both.  Someday’s I need the
camera and very little post work to get the perfect shot because the model the
lighting, the location or lack of one the make up they style the emotion is
all perfect and only enhancements are needed.  And someday’s a lot is just
NOT RIGHT! and it takes a lot of work to fix it in lighting, in styling, and
in post production to highlight what was good and hide what was in need of being

How do you take a glamour shot?

Well I am going to go on a limb and say when you say glamour shot you mean a
beauty shot as opposed to the alternate description of a sexy girl posed often
to showcase many of her sexy attributes off for the benefit of male viewer ship. 
So how do I shoot a beauty shot?  Well with over 3000 models shot that
I know of and an average of 3 or more shots and looks each I can say I have
that many ways I have likely done it.  But what is most often in common
is that I am to an extent a control freak and I shoot beauty like still life. 
this is for all shots but goes 98.6% more for shots with shadows and directional
lighting that is carving and sculpting the contours of a face.  WOW that
sounds like really cool!  big_smile 
sadly, I am more of a visual person when it comes to this and I place a model
where she will be and place the lights with whatever modifiers and most often
grids on them and start to move them into positions where they add light and
take away the shadows that are there.  I do that pretty quick and just
make it look good, if I move it to the right and she does not look better, I
move if more and see if that helped, if not I move it back to the left or up
and down and generally in a few seconds somewhere looks better than not or else
I move it away and don’t use it there wink 
than once the basics are set up with the model facing where I will be, I get
where I should be and point through a lens and look at her and start to have
her move into the best position for the light and see how it reacts with the
shape and contour of her face, and if needed move the lights a tad to get them
just right.  Than we start!  That generally should take on a typical
6-7 light setup about 4 minutes or so if the lights are on stands in the area,
longer if they are in the truck and the truck is outside down the block and
you have to send someone to go get them, I found that out a few times sad 
and now I do it often when the model is a real hottie  wink 
 But back to the shoot!  now that the light is good and the model
is basically where she should be and I am ready to go I get focus on the eye
(generally the front one to me and allow the rear to go soft, this is controlled
by the amount of light and F-stop used to create the depth of field I find best
or acceptable)  and I start having the model tilt ever so slightly and
talk to her about how amazing I am and how great I can make
even her look with enough post work yikes 
but that just does not seem to get the best response all the time  go figure? 
So I than have to change approach and talk to her about what’s happening in
the world according to her age/location/background upbringing  which generally
means Paris Hilton and Britney Spears gossip, and what they think of the agency
they are with and what campaigns they have done and who is hot and who is not
and who they shot with whose name they can remember, and all the while I have
them tilting where its needed and using some humor, and some questions I get
the expression and responses needed from them.  Luckily that only takes
say an average of 3-5 minutes before it looks like I think I got it!  not
that much cause if I don’t have it by then she is either my future ex to be
or something is not working and I have to start all over rethinking the lighting
or something and so far I have not had to rethink the lighting much smile 
Why not?  because while they are in make up and hair I spend the time I
should be getting the lights ready and set up, talking to the models and hanging
out and staring, in a not so awkward, but rather like I am really paying attention
to all this they are saying about how cool the new blackberry crunch cereal
they wished they could eat if they were not a model who has to lose weight,
kind of way smile 
and that time let me figure out how many flaws they have and what they are and
what the hell am I going to do with the hair to cover that face and still make
it appear a ad for face cream sad 
Love you girls!   

After all that is done, you should have some real nice shots and at least one
will have an angle with a glint in the eye, and come hither but not to hither
almost a smile if you make me laugh but I a not gonna smile cause this is glamour
look!  And that is the one that gets chosen by me and I retouch it to be
as close to perfect as I can get it in under 5 minutes and that is what the
AD or CD sees first.   Then after the WOW-A-THON is over I let them
see all the rest of the un retouched shots to look through and make themselves
feel better thinking they are choosing the shot even though they will agree
with my choice if for no other reason because the image of a perfect flawless
face is making it hard for any of the others to really compete with and sort
of clouds the decision making process a bit smile 

Why is it that the same subject taken with the same cameras at the same
point but different photographers at the same time always look different. is
it the setting on the cameras? the lighting. what is it?

That’s a damn good question!  The obvious answer is that one has better
taste than the other, just kidding.  its quite likely both have bad taste

But the reality is, if you have not figured it out by now, that both people
are seeing the world and the subject differently, they are even internalizing
the directions if given differently so say to both shoot a sexy shot and both
think different things are sexy both will approach it differently.  Lets
say you have someone who is very tall and one who is very short, they may immediately
move to a position that gets the models head to fit what they like, and that
may be that one likes a model and face that is angled up so they can check out
the nasal cavities verifying that she is not a snorer, and that is very appealing
to one who is a light sleeper.  while the other may prefer the model to
tilt her head down as though looking down on her from above and he may like….. 
oh never mind that,  but you get the idea, they will both be looking through
the lens and directing the model (if they do that at all) into a position that
accentuates what they like to see.  Same goes for the lens selection, and
lighting.  One may love brightly lit shots the other dark and moody images,
one may like big noses so they can see clearly up in there and wide angle lenses
work great to accentuate that look and feel when up close and personal, the
other may like the intimacy that a longer lens brings with it by giving that
flattering perspective and bringing them within the comfort zone of model that
only one who they are intimate with ever gets to be in.  So that would
be more than enough to get the shots to be very different, but still its what
they ask for and what they express and how they make the model feel by what
they say and how they say it, it all gets a reaction and a variation on the
expressions she makes and how readily she makes them for you as a photographer
when you want her too. 

Personality  of you as a photographer and her as a model all play a part,
and since the truth of it all is you can’t rely on hers you better be able to
adapt your to whatever works to get the shots done well. 

hope that helps a bit, if not I will be selling a page of three lighting setups
guaranteed to make everyone look really, really amazing every time!  Look
for it               soon wink


©Stephen Eastwood 2008

what makes up more of your magic the camera or retouching/post production?

& how do you take a glamour shot?

About photographers1

Stephen Eastwood Fashion and Beauty Photographer and Retoucher based in NY/LA/Ft. Worth TX Current Canon Explorer of Light.
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3 Responses to Beauty Shots? Glamour? Style?

  1. Pingback: Stephen Eastwood | Photography » Accurate and Good Colors and Skin Tones

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