Professional Advice On Photo Modeling

by David Jenyns

The head must be considered for photo modeling from two completely different aspects: 1. its general form and 2. its

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specific expression.

First, let us consider the physical form of the head in the completed picture. It is a result, not only of the actual form of the head, but its particular view from the camera.

The least movement of the head produces marked changes in its countless planes. For this reason, complete and mutual understanding must be established between director and model as to the exact position meant by the commonly used terms, full-face, profile and three-quarter head.

Full-face – means a full-faced view of the head. Other terms used are: front-view, full-face angle and full front-view.

Three-quarter head – is called a ¾ turn, ¾ view, ¾ angle, ¾ face, ¾ face position or sometimes a forty-five degree head. These terms are generally applied to all intermediate positions between full-face and profile. However, those who like to split hairs designate the positions between ¾ head and profile as ¼ profile, ½ profile, split profile and 7/8 turn. Those who make this distinction, usually call the position to the front of the ¾ head a 5/8 turn.

Profile – or full side view of the face is also called side position, side view, full profile, full turn, 90 turn, ½, view or ½ face view.

A change from one basic view to another may be accomplished by moving the camera station, but most frequently it is the model who is required to move into position. Since the terms are established in relation to the model’s movement, let us look at the movements that make these positions and subsequent views possible.

THREE BASIC HEAD MOVEMENTS
bring the head into almost any desired position. When the camera is stationary, the model can move to a slight or great degree in three directions. These movements are familiar to all of us. By establishing key terms for these movements when photo modeling, we set the stage for understanding and team work between director and model. The terms are horizontal turn, vertical lift (or drop) and diagonal tilt. These movements may be used singly or in a combination of two, and, perhaps, all three.

The horizontal turn
When the body faces the camera, the head can turn from one shoulder to the other presenting many views: right profile; ¾right view, full face, ¾ left view and left profile. As one shoulder moves away from the camera, some views drop off, while others become possible – such as ¾ back and back-view. These back views are used to display hairstyles, back detail or to draw the viewer’s attention to something other than the face. A horizontal turn of the head may be asked for in two ways by the director. He may say, ‘Turn your head to the right’, or ‘I want your left profile’, both of which requests would bring the left side of the model’s face to the camera’s view.

Vertical lift or drop…
is the upward or downward movement of the tip of the nose on an imaginary line perpendicular to the shoulder track.

Diagonal tilt…
is the slant of the head that puts the chin on one side of this perpendicular line and the top of the head on the other.

The shape of the image is altered by the vertical lift, by the vertical drop and, to a lesser degree, by the horizontal turn. Also, an appearance of ease and interest is added to the face by the tilt.

Head placement can be the basis for exaggerating or normalizing head structure and facial characteristics.

A round face looks oval to the camera in a ¾ view. A long face can look round in full-face view when the chin is lifted.

An unconventional feature, such as a prominent chin or forehead can be minimized by tilting it away from the camera. A receding chin appears normal when it is extended toward the camera. The slightest movement makes a difference!

A good model understands the effect these different positions will have when she is photo modeling.

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