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Published: Sunday, 5/16/2004

Tips for the subject

Posing for a photograph? Consider these points before and during the session:

Dress for success. Wear something that always makes you feel terrific. And it may be a cliche, but dark clothes do slim the figure. If your choice is between a garment that's a little snug and one that's a little loose, go with the looser choice. You'll feel less self-conscious, a key to a great picture.

Mirror, mirror. Check your makeup and hair - before the shooting starts. You do not want to find the spinach on your teeth afterward.

Don't be a square. Angle yourself slightly away from the camera for a flattering effect.

Inner light. Think of something that makes you laugh or feel happy during the photo session. You act silly for ten seconds: the photo is forever.

Share the love. Being photographed with someone else? Put an arm around him or her, or even just place a hand on the shoulder. Touching conveys warmth.

Are you the photographer? Here a few ways to make your shots of people even better:

Bring the funny. Tell a joke or funny story as you set up and shoot the frame. Humor makes for natural expressions, not plastic smiles.

Focus on faces. Most photos of people should not be full-length shots.

Take it to another level. Try standing on a chair and shooting down at adults. Or hunkering down on the ground with children or pets.

Action! If it's possible, get your subjects to do something, or even look at something. People look more natural when they're occupied.

Once is not enough. People relax once they hear the shutter click, so if you can get a second shot quickly, the results should be good. And with the advent of digital cameras, this is cheaper to do than ever.

Look at the light. The light in the late afternoon and early morning is beautiful - but most graduation ceremonies, and many weddings, take place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the harshest light of the day. (Not only is it unflattering, but it makes people squint.)

For outside events, put your subject under a tree or in another shadow. If you're inside, put your subject at a window to take advantage of the diffused light.


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