44 Photo Tips From The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (Part 5 of 5)

Congratulations! You made it all the way to Part 5.

And now that I think about it, so did I. So congratulations all around!

 

 

 

Page 128

This picture provides a great example of the “S pose” that is popular in most styles of photography that feature women.

Because this pose is typically very flattering to a model’s body, it is commonly used in fashion, glamour, and nude photography.

It’s not difficult to see the “S” shape that created by the model in this shot. Starting at the top of her head, you can trace a line down the center of her body and see that a not-so-subtle “S” shape is created. The tilt of the head to her left, combined with placing the great majority on her weight on her left hip are the two main factors of the “S”. In contrast, her torso and lower left leg are leaning to her right.

When you put it all together, it creates an “S” shape. This pose is very popular in glamour and nude photography because her jutting hip creates a sexy and seductive curve to the body.

Extremely Obvious Suggestion #1: If you’re going for a sexy look, it never hurts to have your model pull down on her bikini bottoms.

 

 

 

 

Pages 130-131

This picture is a great example of the benefits of shooting during “The Magic Hours” (a window of time very close to sunrise or sunset).

At these times the sun is very low in the sky. Because of this, it doesn’t cast harsh and unattractive shadows on the model. It provides a very even type of side-lighting.

In this shot, you can see the sun’s position in the sky by looking at the catchlights in the model’s eyes.

Another benefit of shooting at these times of day is the warm color that the sun will cast on your subjects. This picture clearly shows the warm and healthy glow of the model’s skin that is produced by shooting at these times of day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 158

There’s no such thing in photography as a rule or guideline that works every time. For proof of that, just take a look at this shot.

When working on most glamour shoots, you’ll want to avoid harsh shadows being cast on the model (especially on her face).For the great majority of your shoots, this will be a very reliable guideline. However, as you can see here, there are exceptions to everything.

The tricky part is identifying these exceptions when they occur and taking advantage of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 166

By now you should be able to look at this picture and immediately identify three very important glamour photography techniques being put to good use.

Did you find them? If so, well done. If not, take a look below:

- Good use of the “S” pose.

- Tugging at her swimsuit.

- Up on her toes.

Additionally, in the case of this particular image, the photographer shot from a low angle and used a moderate wide-angle lens. This combination gives the shot a slight distortion that results in the model appearing taller than she actually is (which I’m sure is already pretty tall) and having longer legs than she actually does (which I’m sure are already pretty long).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 168

When in doubt, go to your equipment case and bring out the parrot and the bikini bottoms decorated with tiny bananas.

They work every time.

In reality, this picture is a good example of how a “team” can really help make photographs special.

As I’ve mentioned, most of the shots in this issue are fairly straightforward. From a technical standpoint, there’s really no reason that an amateur (well, a serious amateur) couldn’t get images every bit as good as the ones seen in this issue.

However, the amateur working alone will undoubtedly face some adversity if he’s trying to get the quality of pictures seen in Sports Illustrated.

A significant reason for this is that the amateur doesn’t have access to the amazing “team” that SI puts together.

In addition to the world’s best models, the SI team also includes top wardrobe stylists, extremely talented hair and makeup artists, Art and Creative Directors on set offering input, a variety of very capable assistants, and a million and one other things that the solo photographer shooting alone just can’t match.

In other words, you’re not going to have a parrot in your equipment case.

And while the SI photographer isn’t going to have a parrot on hand either, he’ll have the luxury (and the budget) to get a parrot (or anything else that will add to the shot) delivered to the set almost immediately.

However, there’s no reason to despair. Little details like a parrot on the shoulder of a model will very rarely (never?) be the factor that determines whether a picture “works” or not.

From this series of articles, I hope you’ve learned a bit about the factors that go into making high-quality swimsuit images. And the good news is that the vast majority of these factors are well within the capabilities of any photographer possessing a willing model and a camera with a mid-telephoto lens.

When it comes to the parrot, you’re on your own.

All photos courtesy of Sports Illustrated

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