Useful Photography Tip #165: How to Make a Thick Chin Look More Flattering

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I’ve got a major problem that I’m very self-conscious about: my chin. Sure, body positivity is a thing–except if you’re a business owner that has to look fleek most of the time is super young and is often known for being stylish *cough* *me*.

The beard often helps with the look of what I’m calling a thick chin/neck. It’s something lots of folks are conscious about and sometimes don’t want to be portrayed in a not flattering way. Peter Hurley tells us to stick the chin out a bit. Indeed it works–to a certain point.

The way that you can take this further is to also position yourself at either eye level or a bit above your portrait subject’s eye level. On top of that (no pun intended) tell them that after sticking their chin out a bit, to also bring the chin down just a bit by bringing down the entire head. Don’t just tilt the head–quite literally shift it down a tad. Imagine a turtle sticking its head out of its shell and then bringing its head down a bit.

Additionally, also try not to lower your jaw any bit because it can create more of a look that blends your jaw right into your neck.

Give it a try! You’ll end up with more flattering photos.

3 Reasons Every Photographer Should Take Self Portraits

Peter Hurley

Editor’s Note: This is a syndicated blog post from creativeLive. It, and the images in this post are being used with permission.

Every time renowned portrait photographer Peter Hurley takes a photo of himself, he learns more about how he looks. He sets his equipment up, using a self-timer, and is always surprised by what he sees. Whether it’s the tilt of his mouth or a feature he didn’t know was there, his self-portraits always reveal something about himself he wouldn’t ordinarily notice.

“That’s what a photographer’s job is,” Peter said. “You have to be the mirror.”

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Photographer Peter Hurley on the Importance of Self Portraits

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 12.38.34 PM

Photographer Peter Hurley is without a doubt the king of headshots, and his biggest skill that every photographer needs has nothing to do with what’s in his camera bag. It has to do with his personality skills and how he deals with people. So when he talked on creativeLive recently about the importance of self-portraiture, he was actually making a very big point that will probably go over the heads of so many photographers.

If you’re a budding portrait photographer, what you’re saying may not make sense immediately, but the experienced veterans will probably agree.

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Peter Hurley on Why Good Headshots Need to Have SHABANG!

Screenshot taken from the video

Screenshot taken from the video

Photographer Peter Hurley needs no introduction as a headshot and portrait photographer; and it’s always interesting to listen to his stories. For example, why does he say SHABANG during portrait sessions? Peter talks about it in the video after the jump and explains that it’s in reaction to a feeling that you get when you capture the perfect headshot from someone.

On a deeper level, he talks about not settling for mediocre images and instead getting the ones that elicit an emotion out of someone and creating images that move people. That’s what we should aspire to create.

“My inner artist wants to look at my screen and see a killer picture.” says Hurley.

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How 8 Famous Photographers Have Changed Over the Past Year


All images used with permission from the respective photographers.

A year can change someone, especially if you’re a goal-driven photographer always trying to make progress. Every year, each photographers tries to make changes that move them forward, but some do better than others.

We talked eight of the top photographers in the world about how they progressed and what they did that made a difference.

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Photographer Joel Grimes Shows You How Effective Reflectors Are

Video thumbnail for youtube video Photographer Joel Grimes Shows You How Effective Reflectors Are - The Phoblographer

They have to be the most underused and overlooked light modifiers out there, but reflectors are also some of the most useful that every photographer should include in their kit. They come in many different shapes, sizes and colors to help you accomplish exactly what you need to do. Adding reflectors are also often a much better alternative to filling in shadows than slowing down your shutter speed is.

Photographer Joel Grimes recently did a video with Westcott featuring their Rapid Box (which we weren’t the biggest fans of) and showing us how a single light positioned above and in front of a model can illuminate them very well but can leave shadows under their chin–which can sometimes make the model look not as flattering depending on the situation. In the one presented in the video, it isn’t that terrible at all.

However, Joel also adds a reflector to the show and shows us a comparison between the two–and effectively demonstrates how the shadows are mostly eliminated.

What’s also important though is the model’s stance and pose. If you look at her during one of the side shots, you can see a bit of Peter Hurley’s influence in the way she sticks the chin out.

Joel’s video with Westcott on how reflectors kill shadows is after the jump.

Via ISO 1200

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Peter Hurley on Taking 10 Pounds off of a Headshot Subject

Video thumbnail for youtube video Peter Hurley on Taking 10 Pounds off of a Headshot Subject - The Phoblographer

Peter Hurley is without a doubt an incredible photographer–and the magic is all in his technique. He recently did a class with creativeLive on shooting better headshots, and of course he brought with him his signature techniques. Hurley says that if you want to talk 10 pounds off of a subject in their headshot, you need to work with their jawline. It has to do with imagining that there is a hook in your head, straightening up, and putting more distance between your earlobes and shoulders. Then you need to bring your neck forward and out. This thins the jawline.

But after that, you need to find a sense of connection with the person and get an emotion out of them to capture and to create a beautiful photograph.

Hurley’s video tutorial is after the jump.

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The Basics of Getting Better Headshots

Pro Tip: Despite the fact that we all love bokeh, don't ever let it get in the way of good composition and an even better vision for the end result.

Pro Tip: Despite the fact that we all love bokeh, don’t ever let it get in the way of good composition and an even better vision for the end result. Model: Grace Morales

When working with actors, you’ll typically need to shoot a certain type of headshot. But there are many other folks that want headshots: business people, musicians, etc. The most important thing to do with them is also one of the most basic human instincts: communicate. The key to better headshots and happy clients comes with having an open sense of communication and a better understanding to help both of you deliver the product that is needed.

Gear comes last when doing headshots. But it’s also got a bit of importance.

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Sample Photos: Peter Hurley’s Pre-Alpha LED Studio Light

At Photo Plus 2012, the crew over at F-Stoppers and famous headshot photographer Peter Hurley threw a large party. At one point, Peter told me about a prototype constant LED light that he’s working on to get the results that he wants. Peter’s story sounded like those of many photographers and creatives that were sick of not getting what they want; and so pursued their own route (story of my life, and the creation of this site.) The light I saw is a Pre-Alpha configuration and may have a dimming switch. But this single light was able to illuminate an entire room in Hurley’s studio. And holy crap was it beautiful.

Here are some sample images shot with the light illuminating subjects like myself, photographer Zack Arias, Eye-Fi creator Ziv Gillat, and more. All images were shot with the Fujifilm X Pro 1 in aperture priority, auto white balance, and with no editing except for sharpening in post. If I were to do professional work with this light, I obviously would have also done manual white balancing and other tweaks in post-production.

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