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Good glam, bad glam?
Old 02-08-2007, 08:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello campers,
I'm trying to study a number of pictures to learn what seperates good glam from bad glam. Having a good looking woman as a model makes a lot of so so photos worth looking at. And I'm sure one could take pictures of (enter your favorite model's name here) with a p&s and have a great picture. Then there are those of us who could take $20,000.00 worth of equipment, and a model like Tara Patrick, and end up with a load of crap. Another exxample is the recent pictures posted by JimmyD of Tara. JimmyD could have taken just about any girl off the street, seat her where Tara was, and have a good picture.

So, discounting the model for a moment, what is it that makes a good glam photo?

You got to have good lighting, right? But, there a number of shooters here who can take one or two lights and make magic that pops off the paper. So, lets discount the lighting for a bit too.

So, the only things I can think of that are left is composition and lens/settings.

As far as lens and setting go, I've seen good pictures where the dof was very short and very long. I'm sure that a slightly blurred background is better then a background where everthing is in sharp focus, but again, I've seen that this alone doesn't make or break a picture, depends if there is enough seperation between subject and background. So, here, I think focal lenght is really the only thing that might be an issue. This I'm unsure of. But 85mm seems to be favored for head shots, but some like to use 135mm for head shots. Is it due to the so called compression at these lenghts that makes for a better picture? and, as a general rule for any type of shot, either head to full, is longer better?

Composition is the last on my list and I won't go long on this subject, just to say that is seems there are some relationships between posing and composing/framing that work better then others. Non standing, full lenght body shots seem to be the hardest to pull off. And I guess it is because of the space or emptiness in those types of photos that makes them less likely to be good or likeable shots.

Anyone care to pitch in their 5 cents worth?
Thanks
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Re: Good glam, bad glam?
Old 02-08-2007, 09:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Let me see: subtract the model component, subtract the location, subtract lighting and now explain how lens setting and composition make or break a glamour shot...Can't be Done. You left out two critical factors - the photographer's inherent ability and talent - and the rapport between model and photographer.

A great glamour shot is like my mother-in-laws carrot cake. She makes a carrot cake that is a work of art and taste better than anything. She has shared her recipe with me, my wife, my kids and others - no secrets - but no one can produce the same wonderful results. Same with glamour - you can have all the secret recipes and still not be like your idol. But you can be yourself and expand your craft to beyond your best expectations.
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Re: Good glam, bad glam?
Old 02-09-2007, 01:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nakins View Post
You got to have good lighting, right? But, there a number of shooters here who can take one or two lights and make magic that pops off the paper. So, lets discount the lighting for a bit too.
Let's not. If I am reading you right, you seem to feel that "good lighting" is accomplished only with a dozen lights that cost $1K each and an unholy assortment of reflectors, scrims, softboxes, snoots, beauty dishes, etc. Good (expensive) lighting equipment is not the same as good lighting. Good lighting is a lighting design that creates and compliments the feel and the mood of the image that the photographer is trying convey to the viewer. It might be complex. It might be simple. If the lighting is good, but it was done with a pair of 500W quartz halogen shop lights from Home Depot, then the lighting is still good.

Good lighting is the result of vision plus the talent to implement the vision. The tools are secondary.
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Re: Good glam, bad glam?
Old 02-11-2007, 12:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've been to a few workshops and shootouts and have found that with the same model, the same outfit and the same lighting with different photographers you will get different images.

It comes down to your talent in composition and your rapport with the model that makes the difference.

Rick D.
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Re: Good glam, bad glam?
Old 02-12-2007, 02:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nakins View Post
What is it that makes a good glam photo?
A better question is: What is it that makes a good photo?

If you ever find the answer to that, please publish it. Everybody wants to know!

Here are a few traits I've noticed most really good photograpers (that is to say, photgraphers who consistently produce a lot of good photos) have in common. This same list seems to apply regardless of the photographer's specialty (eg. fashion, celebrity, glamour, nature, landscapes, photojournalism, advertising, ... whatever).

1. Vision: they know exactly what they want to produce. They can put it in words, and they can tell you before they press the shutter.

2. Technical expertise appropriate to their vision.

3. Visual literacy. (This is my term, I don't really know what other people call it). This includes things like composition, psychological aspects, 'seeing' light. Much like a writer needs to be literate or a mathematician needs to be numerically literate, so does a photographer or visual artist need to be visually literate.

4. Attention to detail. They see the 'tree growing out of the back of the head' and all those other finicky details and do something about them before they take the picture. 'Fixing it later in PhotoShop' is just an excuse for laziness and laziness is the source of most medicrity (or worse). Besides, the finicky detail you don't fix may obscure some other more serious problem.

5. Disassociation. I don't know how to describe this. But here's the feeling. You have a really good image in your viewfinder. You're really excited about it. Everything screams YYYEEEEESSSS!!!!!! But still you can disassociate your ego enough to ask "so how can I improve it?", admit that it can be improved and go back to 4 above.

6. They only show their best work.

Those are some of my personal observations. I'm sure there are others who can add to them.

Les Howard
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Re: Good glam, bad glam?
Old 02-12-2007, 03:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LesHoward View Post
4. Attention to detail. They see the 'tree growing out of the back of the head' and all those other finicky details and do something about them before they take the picture. 'Fixing it later in PhotoShop' is just an excuse for laziness and laziness is the source of most medicrity (or worse). Besides, the finicky detail you don't fix may obscure some other more serious problem.
This one gets me, because I'd rather take a few seconds/minutes/hours and get it as close to perfect when the shutter goes off than spend a few hours perfecting it in post processing.

It is laziness to not compose a photo correctly, but you wind up with more work in the end. :? (Where are my emoticons?)
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Re: Good glam, bad glam?
Old 02-12-2007, 07:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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To start out with, you said.

"Let's not. If I am reading you right, you seem to feel that "good lighting" is accomplished only with a dozen lights that cost $1K each and an unholy assortment of reflectors, scrims, softboxes, snoots, beauty dishes, etc. Good (expensive) lighting equipment is not the same as good lighting."

I never said one had to have a dozen lights to have good lighting. If I lead you to that conclusion, then forgive me. I meant the opposite. I meant that there are a number of examples here on G1 where only one or two lights were used to create a great photo. I agree with you completely when you say..

"Good lighting is a lighting design that creates and compliments the feel and the mood of the image that the photographer is trying convey to the viewer. It might be complex. It might be simple. If the lighting is good, but it was done with a pair of 500W quartz halogen shop lights from Home Depot, then the lighting is still good.

Good lighting is the result of vision plus the talent to implement the vision. The tools are secondary."

Yes, the photo has to be lit properly, regardless of how many lights or kind of light. Maybe "discount" was the wrong word to use in my original post. Poor lighting doesn't make for great photos (in general). Now, someone probably has an example where the lighting wasn't great or perfect but the subject matter made it a great photo. Good lighting is a key element in a good photo. That is a given. What I was try to get at was what are the other key elements of a great photo other than good lighting and a great looking model.
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Re: Good glam, bad glam?
Old 02-12-2007, 07:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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As I had replied to antoher post in this thread, I must say that I went about my question wrong. I did not mean that the model wasn't important, nor the lighting. Depending on the type of picture, the model may be the most important thing, maybe. I was seeking to find what the key elements were. You brought up location, talent and rapport. Location (or "the background") is something I've given a lot of thought to, for various shots. Rapport, I need to work on that. Talent? I guess you all will be the judge of that once I have something worth posting. Thanks for your reply.
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Re: Good glam, bad glam?
Old 02-12-2007, 07:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply. I don't know if I have any talent or not. Rapport, that will probably be my weakest area. Thanks for pointing that out.
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Re: Good glam, bad glam?
Old 02-12-2007, 07:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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These are great. They cover a lot of ground, but I'll be asking myself what I lack in these areas and try to find ways to improve. Finding out the right questions is a large part of finding the right answers. Thanks for your reply.
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