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  #1  
Old August 13th, 2009, 10:56 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Default Senior Portraits

I've been browsing online looking at senior portraits. A lot of studios are pushing "edgy" although I can't define what that means beyond moving away from the traditional smiling poses. I'm sympathetic to that because I hate the phony smile that so often looks like a death rictus. In fact, I don't like to shoot smiles unless the model is smiling for a reason other than an impending shutter click.

I've noticed a lot of unusual settings (alleys, fields, crumbling buildings) which I'm less sympathetic to but that's my personal bias. I prefer to see the model and nothing but the model, but again, that's personal style only. I'm also seeing many images that are atilt. I've used this myself intentionally with landscapes (I have one sunset I particularly like that's at a 45 degree angle). I was wondering how others feel about this with portraiture?

Does it really add anything or is it just an attempt to be different? Is there any artistic value to tilting portraits (that have no obvious justification for the tilt)?
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  #2  
Old August 13th, 2009, 06:18 PM
Kathy Rappaport Kathy Rappaport is offline
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Default Like Platform Shoes

Tilting is like platform shoes. They go in and out of style. Tilts are fashionable but in my opinion over done.

For seniors, it is a fashion shoot - trendy, urban locations are in fashion for these. They can be simple or elaborate. Textures and rugged backgrounds are common. Lots of vector art too.

Gee, when I did them, we put on a cap and gown and had 10 minutes in a studio. Personally, I treat them just like an environmental portrait session, but get to know the subject so you can encompass some personal things into them.
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  #3  
Old August 14th, 2009, 04:19 PM
Mike Shimwell Mike Shimwell is offline
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In the UK we have innumerable 'art' portrait studios that all produce the same image, regardless of client. One year it's blown white backgrounds and bright cheery colours and smiles, next it's crumbly buildings with a sepia or mono overlay or soft light layer and tilt. In fairness theya re delviering what the clients want, though some fairly hard sell is evident, but I think that Kathy's comment about taking the time to get to know the client is often missed and probably the most important part.

Sorry to sound so grumpy about it - as in the earlier discussion about 'fine art photography' the 'art' label is a selling tool not a description of the work Nothing wrong with that provided you're up front about it and the client understands.

Mike
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Old January 12th, 2010, 05:25 AM
Christoph Grabmayr Christoph Grabmayr is offline
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The traditional senior portrait very often looks like a full lenght passport photo, although nowadays you are not allowed to smile on your passport picture anymore. And often they are assembly line jobs, or at least they look like that.

"Edgy" probably means more in line with current photographic styles as seen by the subjects of the senior portraits in magazines for this demographic (fashion, music and people). The purpose is to sell more pics. The "edgy" picture is the one the subject identifies more with, as an expression of identity and/or aspirations.

Christoph
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  #5  
Old January 14th, 2010, 10:48 PM
ErikJonas ErikJonas is offline
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There is a clear differance between a senior picture and one thats a model portfolio image...I do not shoot senior pictures....To me any tilted image always looks cheesy....Kind of like hmmm i'm not a good enough photographer to get a good image but maybe if i tilt it that will look cool and they wont notice the images is not all that good....

Edgy....Its just how the times are i mean come on look at how many young teen girls are posting videos on youtube dancing around in a thong or flashing as much of their chest as they can get away with...

If i was to shoot a senior picture i'd not do it edgy....Model stuff swimsuit whatever yes and a lot of teen models are doing as such but a senior picture is completely differant. Thats just how i feel.

Tell the girl these are pictures you want to send to family like gramma...Gramma is not going to want pictures of her being sexy nor would most dads....
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  #6  
Old January 15th, 2010, 01:24 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikJonas View Post
There is a clear differance between a senior picture and one thats a model portfolio image...I do not shoot senior pictures....To me any tilted image always looks cheesy....Kind of like hmmm i'm not a good enough photographer to get a good image but maybe if i tilt it that will look cool and they wont notice the images is not all that good....
Erik,

This is a mistake in thinking. There's nothing bad about tilting. In fact it can be effective in composition. I must admit I used it in composing a picture of lines of kids playing cello in a Suzuki class.

One should avoid universals like tilting is cheesy. So can using high contrast, rich supersaturated colors, B&W with sepia tone, sunsets and more.

Asher
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  #7  
Old January 18th, 2010, 08:50 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Good points, everyone. Thanks.
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  #8  
Old February 16th, 2010, 10:17 AM
Ben Jones Ben Jones is offline
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Some tilting in some senior images can be effective, but I feel it is way overdone by lots of newbie image makers. It is the old "if a little bit is good, a lot will be better" thinking. When I tilt an image I like to hide the fact that it is tilted so the image looks to the viewer as dynamic not unsettling.

I actually had a bride hire me to shoot her wedding because my sample album didn't have any tilted images in it! She said she checked out two other photographer's albums prior to mine and said when she saw the first album she thought that maybe the image maker had some sort of a problem holding the camera straight, but when the second guy had all "crooked images" (her words) she decided that it must be the lastest photography fad, and she decided she didn't want the latest fad in her once in a lifetime wedding album.

Ben
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  #9  
Old February 16th, 2010, 11:00 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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I understand her point. I have a few tilted images from a few years ago (one a sunset) but it does seem to be nothing more than "fashionable" in some. That said, at times a tilt can be a wonderful addition to a portrait.
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