To some photographers, photographing large people seems a more daunting task than usual. And it’s not, really. Any body type, shape and size has techniques to optimise some features and minimise others.
The first thing to acknowledge here is that large people know that they’re large. As with any body type (skinny included) their body image may cause them to believe that their either larger or smaller than they are. You can tastefully discuss body image with them clients which is something I may be inclined to do with any type of person. Understanding how a client feels about their body is always a great thing to know. And if they’ve scheduled a photo session, they’re probably already pretty confident people.
As a society, we try to find ways to make people look smaller and we think that smaller = more attractive, but this doesn’t need to be our primary focus when shooting large people. Making them appear comfortable? Now that’s important. And I agree, laying on the ground is usually a no-go. Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful:
- Use a telephoto lens or the longest zoom that you have. This will compress the shot and keep it from suffering from widening distortion. Experiment with the distortion correction in Photoshop to see if there’s any barreling that you don’t notice on first inspection.
- Don’t shoot from a low angle.
- You can shoot from higher up looking down, but beware that this is a way overused tactic for photographing larger people so throw in lots of other types of framing, not just this one.
- You can use one subject’s body to shield another (if one is lighter than the other)
- Obviously, you have the option of not photographing their whole body. Try different varieties of head-and-shoulders shots, but beware that they may feel that you’re saying that they’re unattractive if you don’t also provide them with body shots. Your job is to photograph them like you would anyone else so don’t think you’re doing them a favour by completely ignoring their entire body.
- In a post of mine this week on posing families, try the ‘huddle’ and ’squeeze in’ poses which eliminates full body shots.
Thanks so much for reading and share your tips below!