Ep 82 How to photograph plus-size models


How do you photograph plus-size model in the most flattering light, poses and situations?

In this episode, Gina and Valerie discuss the best lenses to use, how to use light effectively, which poses are the true winners in this situation and much more.

#ginachallenge #curvelove

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Show notes

Listener Question

“I am a boy of 17. I have my own studio. 2 strobes. I have 100% support from my family to pursue photography as a career.


I need to know what is the future of this field as a person’s source of income?
I have deep interest in fashion and portrait photography and I follow your works

But I don’t want to do marriages /ceremonies/ programs etc. I want to do pure fashion and portraiture.

From India, Trinath”

Gina and Valerie give the answer in this episode.

How to photograph plus-size models

This week’s topic is in response to a listener question from Jessica from Los Alamos, NM, United States. Jessica is a very active member of the Gold Community

“I have another suggestion for the podcast. Gina Milicia and Valerie Khoo. My sister is getting married in the next couple months. She has asked me to do the pictures. Her and her fiancé are heavier set people. So my question is about posing heavier people to help them look flattering. Not just wedding photos but portraits also.”

Fashion trends in modelling

Tess Holliday: Meet the world’s biggest plus-sized super model leading the body positivity movement

Plus Size Modelling Poses Are Challenged

Amy Schumer gets real for Pirelli calendar

1. Lens Choice

  • Wide vs long the skinny lens
  • 85mm and higher flattens the features and give the face a slightly broader, fuller look.
  • 50mm is how people actually look
  • 35mm will make face appear narrower
  • 24mm and less starts to give cartoon look or bubble head, particularly when you get too close
  • Placing your model in the middle of the frame gives the full benefit from the skinny lens
  • On the downside wide lenses can give a slight barrel distortion to the body so that’s why fashion shooters prefer longer lenses
  • Distortion can be fixed by in lightroom and photoshop

2. Scale

  • How large or small a person looks is all a matter of scale
  • Photograph a plus size model tightly cropped will give the illusion of making them look smaller
  • Cropping into the body can make the body appear box like or square
  • Cropping along the arms will give the illusion of smaller arms

3. Lighting

Short vs broad

Two really important factors to consider when lighting your models are:

  • Which side of their face to place the shadow and
  • Whether to photograph into the shadow side of the face or the highlight side of the face or square on.

Photographing someone from the shadow side is called short lighting. Photographing from the highlight side is called broad lighting.

Short lighting gives the optical illusion that a face is narrower than it appears. This lighting style is really flattering for most faces and my go-to technique for most situations.

Broad lighting tends to make people’s faces appear wider than they really are. Many inexperienced photographers shoot into the highlight side of the face unintentionally.
The effects are quite subtle to the untrained eye but once you see the difference in practice it’s like night and day.

Beauty lighting
Placing the light above the face creates a shadow under the chin and helps to sculpt and define the face

4. Poses

  • The Kim Kardashian pose
  • Thigh gap- push your butt back
  • Whatever is closest to camera looks bigger, further away looks smaller
  • Give shape
  • Elongate the body
  • Show waist
  • Hands on hips give the illusion of a smaller waist (Sue Bryce)
  • Lean forward slightly
  • Shoot from a lower angle (shooting from above is old fashioned)

5. Shooting groups

  • Put the larger person in the middle and overlap with other models
  • If you have a model that is small vs plus size pose the smaller model square on and the larger model side on
  • Bring the smaller model forward and larger model back

6. Clothes

  • Ensure garments are well fitted
  • Not too tight or baggy
  • Cover problem areas like arms
  • Fitted clothes look better than baggy that tends to look boxy.
  • Long necklaces and certain necklines give the illusion of looking taller and thinner

#ginachallenge #curvelove

How to direct and pose like a pro

About Gina

About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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