How to Do Better Glamour Photography
Great example of glamour photography
What is Glamour?
Glamour photography is a relatively new photographic genre. The term was probably coined after the 1960s (Wikipedia) and before then glamour photography was probably better known as pinup photography.
Glamour photography is often confused with fashion photography, both genres are very similar but the latter focuses on the accessories, fashion rather than on the model. However it is very rare that a fashion photograph would not include a beautiful model to enhance the product like glamour photographers may use accessories to highlight the model.
Glamour shots may include semi nudity but the object is to give the appearance of sultriness and sexiness and they are often suggestive, but unlike pornography, they are not meant to arouse. Glamour is about the subject, and nothing else should matter as far as the image is concerned. If full nudity is present in the photographs, then it's not glamour but something else.
The emphasis in glamour is to enhance and showcase a subject's beauty, whether it be a beautiful face or a beautiful body or the rich texture of a product.
Glamour photography involves shooting a posed model in an orchestrated setting. The models are usually females, but males are rapidly growing in popularity. The majority of the markets for glamour photography are in the calendar industry, postcard, magazines, art galleries and book publishers.
Most glamour photographic projects are commercial in nature and in the majority of cases they are commissioned by cosmetic companies, therefore most of the shots involve a showing of the models' face, and the appearance imparted by the new product.
The fashion industry often uses glamour photography for their advertising campaigns, such as the very popular shots of models in underwear that are very commonly displayed on billboards.
Because glamour photography is very commercialized, it is not at all unusual to have the photos retouched or airbrushed to give the appearance of perfection, as if such things existed! Both color and black & white formats are good for glamour, although a growing number of professionals prefer the richness of texture that black & white film offers.
Before breaking into the world of glamour photography, be sure to have an extensive portfolio of your work and be ready to submit work if asked. Glamour photography is one of the best mediums for free lance work.
Ask magazine editors, and publishers for a want list and submission guidelines before you send them anything. For ideas browse through current issues of fashion and glamour publications to more or less get an idea of current trends. It is acceptable to copy trends, and possess but to distinguish yourself you must add your unique view and artistic touch.
Glamour photography is an ever changing and growing field which is constantly looking for fresh and innovative images and can be a very lucrative market.
Glamour photography is best done in the studio with careful attention to detail and lighting conditions to include the use of a professional makeup artist. But nature shots can bring a perspective which cannot be duplicated in the studio. Shots against a sandy beach, lush greenery, a beautiful river not only make the image more stimulating but adds intrigue to the shot as well as romanticism.
Use lighting that brings out texture and creates distinct yet subtle shadows. If working with a model, be sure to allow your model to relax and feel comfortable. Use engaging conversation to facilitate the process. Use poses that do not place the model in awkward positions or are hard to maintain.
The majority of glamour photos are done in the vertical format to include neck, shoulders and torso. Horizontal shots can distract the viewer unless they are closely cropped. Although makeup is almost always used, it must be done so as to make the model appear as natural as possible. Diffused light is required so as not to add strong shadows to the shot but rather add a softer illumination effect.
Backgrounds must be thoughtfully chosen, they must not distract from the subject but rather add to the overall image. Use muted colors as clashing colors and busy backgrounds guide the eye away from the subject. Softening the shot through the use of softening filters, also adds an air of romanticism.
Typical work before the shoot
Glamour is not only reserved for models, products can also be involved, remember the photo of a tall glass of soda with water droplets slowly sliding down the side of the glass?
Made you want to run and grab one. That's an example of product glamour photography.
Weddings provide a perfect venue for glamour shots.
The photographer must be creative and besides the expected shots of the bride in her wedding gown, a series of unusual shots should be included that enhance everything that is beautiful about the bride.
The dress, the preparations, the bride in her lingerie, in front of her mirror while applying makeup, her smile, her eyes etc.
Pre and post church ceremony photos should also be added.
Creativity, an artistic view and persistence are monumental in the world of glamour photography, but for those that persist, a rich and lucrative market awaits.
Beautiful "soft" sample
© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez