Most photographers don’t use light to sculpt people, but rather they use light to get the right exposure. They think, “Here’s a family under a shady tree, they’ll be dark so I should add a flash or a reflector to get a better exposure.”
They then set up a reflector in some random place or they turn on their flash, most times sitting on their camera. If the flash is on a stand, it’s set in a haphazard place or at an angle that someone sometime told them was the right angle to put a light.
To see if it’s right, they shoot and look at the back of their camera, and do that over and over until they like the exposure on their camera’s LCD screen. But because they didn’t use light correctly or properly expose (because an LCD screen is not a meter), they have to do work in post-production, usually washing out the faces in Photoshop.
So how do we work differently? We very specifically light people in such a way that they look better. We light people that they look great before retouching, before editing, before any enhancement or adjustment.
We should use the optical illusion of photography being flat to our favor, rather than to our detriment. Automatically, photographs will flatten people unless we understand how to make it work in our favor. When people look flat, they will look thicker and appear heavier.
No woman wants to look heavier, so we must instead light people on purpose in such a way that they look smaller.
These steps are simple, yet it really takes years to make them a habit. However if you understand them and particularly use them on purpose on every shoot, your images will immediately begin to soar.
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