Different photography takes different skills. Sports photography may need fast shutter speeds or knowledge of the sports involved. Wedding photography may require the photographer to know how to take intimate shots unobtrusively or to pose people but still make it seem natural.
Photographing women and girls is another skill entirely. This area could cover fashion, portfolios, and portraiture. Women’s photography differs from male shots in many ways. The media and modern trends have led to unrealistic expectations of females and achieving the desired results for the subject can be daunting.
Why is it more challenging to photograph women than men?
The explanation for this is that it generally isn’t. Many people don’t relish having their image snapped. In this modern world people put too much pressure on themselves and while men may say they don’t like photos, women face more criticism.
Much of the time this criticism comes from themselves. Women will admit what they don’t like about themselves. Women judge themselves and critique their body image much more than men would. When taking photos it is good to know this as it can be used to both of your advantages.
1) Get to know your model or subject
If someone has asked you to take photos of them then have an initial discussion. Find out what she doesn’t like about photos in general if anything. You may find then that she will tell you what she doesn’t feel happy about in her appearance. Make mental notes but don’t dwell too long on this area. This is just about reassurance about the shoot and letting her know you are there to make it as comfortable as possible.
2) Posing correctly
When you take a shot you will probably know that the nearest thing to the camera looks bigger than the furthest. This works with people too. The daintiest person could appear to have Mike Tyson’s fist if one arm was extended straight towards the camera.
When shooting females never take the shot straight on. It is always more flattering to take it at an angle. This reduces the size of the shoulders and accentuates other areas such as the jawline, breasts, and vertical flow of the body.
If your model has her weight on the back leg this can help hips to look smaller. Another method is to bend a knee forcing the hips to shift angle, this means the shoulders naturally move to give a flattering pose.
3) Get your angles right
In sports photography, you can take a shot from the ground up of an athlete and make them look majestic and imposing. This won’t achieve the same outcome when trying to take the perfect portrait of a woman. Taking a shot from an unusual angle causes an extreme look. You might want this when shooting a footballer celebrating at the corner flag but not in this situation.
Shooting a female from below will make the jaw and chin look large, the legs ridiculously long, and hide one of the best features; the eyes. A shot from slightly above, not on a step ladder, can be flattering.
4) Create space between her arms and her body
If your model has her arms dangling straight down it creates a wider sense of her body. It can reduce her width in general but also show off the curves in a slimmer woman.
5) Accentuate hip size
You can also try the opposite of above and not leave any space between her body and arms. In this case, though you want your model to have her arms across her body or maybe use one hand to support her chin. This shows the hips better when sitting as normally they will be hidden in this pose.
As above, if standing, use an angle to achieve a flattering look. This works for both sitting and standing positions. A proper 45-degree angle can show off the curve in the back but if sitting you can try the torso and head face on with the hips and legs swung slightly to one side.
6) Experiment with the way she angles her head
Sometimes the slightest changes can alter a photograph. Just a tilt of the head or a change in angle tells a different story. There are several options for girls and just a head tilted back slightly and looking straight at the camera can scream confidence and attitude.
7) Editing the images after
This can be a tricky area and it may be one to even discuss with your model. Generally, it is probably best to concentrate on small problem areas such as pimples and the odd wrinkle. If you start flattening body areas and changing her appearance she may not be as thankful as you imagine. You can use one of many photo editors for this and all you need is just a few features. A good photo should be able to be enjoyed but not look like a completely different person. Stay away from filters and just touch up the temporary imperfections.
Hopefully, these tips will serve you well when taking photos of females and as your experience grows you will learn your own techniques and the best approaches to get great shots.