• Please use real names.

    Greetings to all who have registered to OPF and those guests taking a look around. Please use real names. Registrations with fictitious names will not be processed. REAL NAMES ONLY will be processed

    Firstname Lastname

    Register

    We are a courteous and supportive community. No need to hide behind an alia. If you have a genuine need for privacy/secrecy then let me know!
  • Welcome to the new site. Here's a thread about the update where you can post your feedback, ask questions or spot those nasty bugs!

Question: A thread titled “ Lighting for ugly people”

Will Thompson

Well-known member
I believe it was a good post but a moron moderator on a different forum locked the thread after 4 good replys.

I think this is a great subject for discussion.

Comments please, The starting post below:

For those with a lot of studio experience with “challenging” clients, what techniques do you employ to bring the best out of them?

for lighting I was thinking the less shadows the better, so avoiding the beauty dish and going for the largest softest light possible with almost as much fill?
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Will,

You have presented us with an unparalleled challenge with immense but unmeasurable legal risks.

We’d need examples of what you consider, “ugly“. However then we’d need consent of those folk we show.

We can’t have other people shown under that heading of “ugly” without getting sued.

First I would suggest that you come up with a term other than “ugly” as that is judge mental and legally fraught with risk.

You would seriously need to provide a a certificate of liability insurance in which OPF and myself were named held harmless.

I would insist on a minimum of $10,000,000 coverage per picture as well as a “hold harmless” back up by you and your wife, personally for at least $2,000,000 .

Even, then, the thread would have to be moderated.

I would have to then get backup insurance to cover us after your insurance is exhausted and approval from a legal consultant that OPF was then sufficiently protected as I cannot act here as my own lawyer!

I would not seek to censor what you write. I am just trying to show you the sort of legal preparation one might need!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Without any required legal opinion, it might be feasible to use public figures who have far less legal protection under the law!
But if you have some other rock solid-scheme for safety from you first, I would be entire

Asher
 
Asher has a very valid point.
A discussion on lighting/posing techniques for challenging faces would IMO be a safer way to handle things.

It is something that will vary depending on what features of the client make them challenging.
Poor lighting & posture can create the appearance of things like double chins that are not normally there for that subject.
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
We can’t have other people shown under that heading of “ugly” without getting sued.
Asher, pardon me for being sarcastic, but I feel this discussion is related to the other thread about that naked woman... So, please tell me: in the wonderful USA, nobody can call me ugly under penalty of law, but if I go around naked so that there is no doubt about the matter, this is protected free speech?
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Asher, pardon me for being sarcastic, but I feel this discussion is related to the other thread about that naked woman... So, please tell me: in the wonderful USA, nobody can call me ugly under penalty of law, but if I go around naked so that there is no doubt about the matter, this is protected free speech?
Jérôme,

Of course, Jérôme, from your safe perspective, you are able to look at both subjects one after the other, dispassionately and see the immense irony, as neither directly effects you!

For those faced with on going police brutality, the girls frightening off the police no doubt saved injuries.

However, Will’s wish to detail “ugly“ people carries the imminent financial risk to only myself, as publisher. In many jurisdictions, perhaps not in Germany, folk can claim for supposed damages to their reputations if mocked and or debased in a publication. Note right now that “Sussexes” are currently suing various publications, exactly for that.

Again, it’s likely little risk for others here, as unfairly, I am, as publisher, to lawyers, the first identifiable target.

In the first action, however, the principal fact is ongoing brutality by police was stopped.

In this odd case, Will Thompson’s proposed labeling of certain people, “ugly”, (presumably without their consent), is just based on his personal whim, without any significant public good to justify its severe risk in money, time and resources by myself!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Will,

It’s only the dark highly subjective and insulting word, “ugly” that is objectionable.
Thick lips or a long curved nose or facial scars may be noble and culturally proud markers of a self-identified cultural or racial group, but odd to some other foreign communities.

The challenge is always of presentation. Frida Kahlo’s meeting eyebrows are the final touch of elegance in her facial presentation.

213E7FDE-1120-4C9C-8382-FAC1662438D9.jpeg


Guillermo Kalho: Frida



64B47A58-6ACE-4BD8-9119-079CFCB46C5E.jpeg


Frida Kalho: Self-Portrait

But such a famous mark of beauty that worked for Frida so well, doesn’t have the same authority here in Los Angeles.

Remarkably, woman from all cultures seem to go to Remarkable effort in eyebrow grooming, to have no such date-blocking, (even residual traces), of “uni-brow” in their online photographs.

So what we might consider beautiful in one person, others might instinctively turn away from as cringe worthy to their own culture-speciated expectations of “beauty”!

To avoid this challenge, and do the best job for clients and models, we need to determine how the subjects wish to view themselves, as we can tame or constrain, magnify or minimize features by lighting quality and distribution as well as perspective. In addition we can attend to any particular characteristics such as skin flaws to be de-emphasized or even hidden. I one totally replaced the skin of a trumpeter stricken with total facial pustular acne by cloning all the new skin texture from a femaLe violinist in the same orchestra and no one discovered my falsity!

One can, however design titles that cover the faces you find so challenging such as those with certain features like prominent or rosacea nose, lines around the eyes, very prominent jaw etc or combinations of these characteristics as technical challenges requested to be addressed by family or clients.

@Will Thompson: So, Will, consider a new thread on dealing with client requests to adapt to certain facial features.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I asked for discussion NOT photos!
Sure, but in a photography forum, likely as not pictures will be posted to clarify some issue and how to deal with it. We must always expect pictures when asking such Technical questions as most folk will have no motivation to have a strict “no example pictures“, text only “discussion”.

What constitutes ugly is not addressed by any known single lighting solution as The nature of “ugly” is diverse, hard to quantify and elusive! So without examples such as a huge chin or large nostrils we have no ideas what we need to ameliorate.

Asher
 

James Lemon

Well-known member
Ideally, fill lighting should appear to be non-existent. Shadowless, non-specular, and certainly non-directional. Like outdoors on a completely overcast day, or on a bright day in deep shade.

Learning what portrait lighting is, and what it does, begins at the other end. It begins by becoming aware how certain groupings of highlight and shadow patterns bring out the three dimensional quality and shape and form of a subject’s facial features.

http://blog.kitfphoto.com/Zeltsman/chapter-12.html
 
Last edited:

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Think about it!
I haven’t a clue since I have no idea what feature might be considered ugly that needs lighting to control to some unknown undeclared standard.

Are you claiming that your offered lighting solves such personal particular facial particulars! How is that possible when we neither no the issue we are tackling not the extent that the clients subjective feelings need to be mollified.

Asher
 

James Lemon

Well-known member
I haven’t a clue since I have no idea what feature might be considered ugly that needs lighting to control to some unknown undeclared standard.

Are you claiming that your offered lighting solves such personal particular facial particulars! How is that possible when we neither no the issue we are tackling not the extent that the clients subjective feelings need to be mollified.

Asher
Learning what portrait lighting is, and what it does, begins at the other end. It begins by becoming aware how certain groupings of highlight and shadow patterns bring out the three dimensional quality and shape and form of a subject’s facial features.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Learning what portrait lighting is, and what it does, begins at the other end. It begins by becoming aware how certain groupings of highlight and shadow patterns bring out the three dimensional quality and shape and form of a subject’s facial features.
No issue with that, James! We presume only to start with that knowledge mastered.

But that’s not Will’s “quest”, he wants to use the word “ugly” here as it was banned on Dpreview when the moderators finally discovered his active, lively and popular following.

I delight in seeing discussion on advanced lighting solutions to clients insecurities or pride in unusual features of the face.

However, it cannot be under the banner of “ugly”!

Asher
 

James Lemon

Well-known member
No issue with that, James! We presume only to start with that knowledge mastered.

But that’s not Will’s “quest”, he wants to use the word “ugly” here as it was banned on Dpreview when the moderators finally discovered his active, lively and popular following.

I delight in seeing discussion on advanced lighting solutions to clients insecurities or pride in unusual features of the face.

However, it cannot be under the banner of “ugly”!

Asher
The OP is asking about lighting .
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Ideally, fill lighting should appear to be non-existent. Shadowless, non-specular, and certainly non-directional. Like outdoors on a completely overcast day, or on a bright day in deep shade.

Learning what portrait lighting is, and what it does, begins at the other end. It begins by becoming aware how certain groupings of highlight and shadow patterns bring out the three dimensional quality and shape and form of a subject’s facial features.

http://blog.kitfphoto.com/Zeltsman/chapter-12.html
James,

This is an excellent link. I am still reading it. It’s an entire detailed book. It provides a great basis for working with portraits. His advice to expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights was for film.

I haven’t found any references to gross features yet!

Still this could very well form a basis for approaching the challenge of photographing those with unusual features nor expected in our cultural standards of beauty!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
James,

I read carefully your recommended chapter and it’s a good start to building a reliable rock solid system for portraits.

It allows for perfect exposure of shadows and blacks and several repeatable variations highlights and in contrast.

Although it represents 30 years of professional portraits with color negative film, it should work for digital photography too. I intend to try to adapt my existing studio to his disciplined methodology.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
James,

Not a word about “Ugly” folk, but likely no, more than a few were a formidable challenge.

It might be that the position of the head, the strength of the key light and position of the camera are the main tools in dealing with challenging features once we have set the Nai light for the shadows.

Asher
 

James Lemon

Well-known member
James,

I read carefully your recommended chapter and it’s a good start to building a reliable rock solid system for portraits.

It allows for perfect exposure of shadows and blacks and several repeatable variations highlights and in contrast.

Although it represents 30 years of professional portraits with color negative film, it should work for digital photography too. I intend to try to adapt my existing studio to his disciplined methodology.

Asher
A worthwhile endeavor for sure. I think you will be well rewarded and pleasantly surprised if you follow through!
 

Tom dinning

Registrant*
Such is the manner of boredom when I am drawn into a conversation on OPF where sides are taken based not on fact but opinion which, inevitably, will lead to quotes, links, insecurities, possibly a threat or two and a long drawn out discussion ending no where.
So here’s my opinion for all its worthlessness.

Will Thompson would definitely get into a fight at the Humpty Doo Pub. There’s a lot of ugly people out there on any day. On occasion, they might have their photo taken for a wedding, funeral, mug shot, selfie with breasts showing or target practice.
No special lighting required.

Which gives rise to deeper meaning. Why do we take portraits? For a likeness? For an un-likeness?

Some consideration might now be given to self-perception, body image, expectations, down right lying, and deception.

Babies are always cute, right, no matter what the light. Not so, I protest. Exposure to some infants has provided me with images that would wake me at night.

would I dare say that my wife is anything but beautiful? Often. She knows I want something if I do and it won’t be sex.

Is ambivalence a necessary quality for some people. Seeing a vagina in traffic might be sufficient to stop a police cordon but to a gynaecologist it’s just another day at the office. Might I pause here and reflect on the aesthetic qualities of a vagina? I’ve only seen a couple of real ones under poor lighting and they seemed functional enough but certainly not noteworthy of a commission.

as for faces, we wear the one we have, unless we live in Noosa or Beverly Hills where faces change with the seasons and the draw of a scalpel. This seems to be an adequate solution to any lighting problem.

I am reminded at this moment of the girlfriend of Gerry Seinfeld who looked less than he desired when exposed to certain lighting configurations. For him, the solution was to leave the lights on when having sex.

as for tact, in private it’s certainly acceptable to describe someone as ugly as long as there is agreement on usage and application. But to e press such opinions in public should be limited to buildings, dogs, coal mines and public display of current dress styles.

this threat is not about lighting, it’s about ones perception of aesthetics. Disgusting lighting is appropriate. Discussion the variances of beauty is also appropriate but one should look in the mirror before throwing adjectives around.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Tom,

Happy to read your comments and suggestions for more parsimoniously using this adjective, “ugly”.

When I was in medical school, (almost a lifetime ago), one of the teachers had facial scars and was tough to look at. It turned out that he was the kindest man. He had no free pass to socializing of a woman who turns heads or a handsome nifty-dressed charming and witty dandy! He had to be honestly human, helpful and kind and everyone learned to trust him and he never let us down.

it taught me a lot about faces. I remember from Shakespeare, “What a goodly outside falsehood hath!”

Fast forward many decades, I was shooting in the Beverly Hills Farmer’s market and after photographing a cute young couple, the lady Baker put her hand over her face and confided in me, “You wouldn’t want to choose me, one click and your lens would break, I’m so bad looking, haha!”

So I patted her on the shoulder and said, “That’s the laugh I want to capture. Your face will go along for the ride fine!”

She said, “No way, I’m old, look at the moles on my lip and my fat neck.“

I said, “Give me just one chance, the clouds are giving the best light and I will make faces to keep you smiling”

She gave a thumbs up and I shot without flash and showed her the screen. She was stunned and welled with tears.

Nothing mean-folk would call “ugly” was hidden, but the picture showed a beautiful, radiant and queen of her flourishing bakery.

That’s why I have objected to Will’s heading, “Ugly”!

We have to learn to see people and get past the superficial visible wrappings.

But I must admit, I fail miserably when the wrappings are on a young flirty smiling friendly female. But even then, I insist on spending 90% of paid time with models listening to know what they care about, what makes them happy or sad and what they stand for. Often they ask, “When do we shoot pictures? You know I am paid from the time I arrive!”

I say, “When I have some minimal idea of who I am working with, beyond a distractingly beautiful woman!”

Years back, I spoke by phone to Richard Learoyd, (an outstanding portraitist in England whose work I admire), and he told me that he never discusses with his models their private life. So I know, my “interviewing ritual“ is not actually necessary for exceptional photography.

Still, I feel less exploitative when I know something the human being in the model I am working with!

Asher
 

James Lemon

Well-known member
Tom,

Happy to read your comments and suggestions for more parsimoniously using this adjective, “ugly”.

When I was in medical school, (almost a lifetime ago), one of the teachers had facial scars and was tough to look at. It turned out that he was the kindest man. He had no free pass to socializing of a woman who turns heads or a handsome nifty-dressed charming and witty dandy! He had to be honestly human, helpful and kind and everyone learned to trust him and he never let us down.

it taught me a lot about faces. I remember from Shakespeare, “What a goodly outside falsehood hath!”

Fast forward many decades, I was shooting in the Beverly Hills Farmer’s market and after photographing a cute young couple, the lady Baker put her hand over her face and confided in me, “You wouldn’t want to choose me, one click and your lens would break, I’m so bad looking, haha!”

So I patted her on the shoulder and said, “That’s the laugh I want to capture. Your face will go along for the ride fine!”

She said, “No way, I’m old, look at the moles on my lip and my fat neck.“

I said, “Give me just one chance, the clouds are giving the best light and I will make faces to keep you smiling”

She gave a thumbs up and I shot without flash and showed her the screen. She was stunned and welled with tears.

Nothing mean-folk would call “ugly” was hidden, but the picture showed a beautiful, radiant and queen of her flourishing bakery.

That’s why I have objected to Will’s heading, “Ugly”!

We have to learn to see people and get past the superficial visible wrappings.

But I must admit, I fail miserably when the wrappings are on a young flirty smiling friendly female. But even then, I insist on spending 90% of paid time with models listening to know what they care about, what makes them happy or sad and what they stand for. Often they ask, “When do we shoot pictures? You know I am paid from the time I arrive!”

I say, “When I have some minimal idea of who I am working with, beyond a distractingly beautiful woman!”

Years back, I spoke by phone to Richard Learoyd, (an outstanding portraitist in England whose work I admire), and he told me that he never discusses with his models their private life. So I know, my “interviewing ritual“ is not actually necessary for exceptional photography.

Still, I feel less exploitative when I know something the human being in the model I am working with!

Asher
A good model goes a long way! I like to show all of the character of a persons features, but with today's technology one can smooth skin or whatever but not a real depiction of the person.
 
Top