7 Steps for Making A Perfect Profile
- Pick the wider side of the face: Examine and select the wider side of the subject’s face to shoot unless there is a conflict with the hair line. The hair-part should be away from the camera, especially if the hair is receding high on the forehead.
- Rotate the head either front or back to the camera: Turn, twist or tilt the face until you see the tip of the far eyelash. This eyelash barely shows and no part of that eye should be visible.
- Orient the body, front or back: Relate the profile to the front or back of the body. The back is primarily used for the profile. Use the front of the body only if you want the detail of the dress or other front bodice feature to show. Lean the front shoulder slightly forward. Elevate the head for a stretchy, elongated look.
- Follow the line of the face, neck and shoulder: There must be a clean, smooth, arm, shoulder, neck and face line; not sharp in and out, but smoothly flowing up from body to face and around the head to the back of the subject. On a woman, remove any hanging hair from behind the far side of the head. When using hands in a photo, a flat hand is not good; always bend the hand. Tilt the camera to emphasize the diagonal line, the strength.
- Illuminate: Utilize the garlic light as the main light, not accent, to light the face (casting down the center of the face to emphasize the profile. The eye towards the camera should always be lit and gleaming, or it will become a dead eye. Adjust the fill light in such a way that it’s going to be transparent but not too transparent as the subject is still visible. (The garlic light gives a sharp angle of reflectance.) Hair light should be adjusted to highlight the hair softly but uniformly. To highlight the nose for more nose light, focus the garlic light more directly on the back side of the face and use a go-between (go-bo) screen to prevent the garlic light from reaching the camera lens.
- Lower the camera angle: A lower camera angle gives height and dignity to the subject. Adjust the level as needed to compensate for special features of the subject.
- Expression: For the most effective expression, have the subject look out of the corner of the eye towards the front side of the camera without moving the head to be able to see the eyeball so the eye does not become dead. Most expression comes from a gleaming eye (with the light highlighting it properly) and from the proper mouth line. A serious mouth is used 99.5 percent of the time. However, on a naturally frowny, downcast mouth, an ever-so-slight smile, without opening the mouth, may be necessary. But never have the subject open his mouth.
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