Sunday, October 25, 2009

Photography: Normalizing the Differences

"But you know, he can't carry you across the threshold.."

"Shaddduppp, Dad."

Love comes in all shapes and sizes. I know that firsthand, seeing as I am both two inches taller and several inches wider than my husband-to-be.

When we first started dating, I was extremely self-conscious. We didn't look like the ideal "couple" (taller, larger man and smaller woman), and it was hard to break from my depressing self-image. But time wore on, and I stopped thinking about our spatial differences. Sak was Sak and Penga was Penga and silly things like weight and size didn't matter.

Until this:

Our first engagement shots (courtesy of my mother), taken the day after the proposal (at gorgeous Mount Hermon in Santa Cruz).

Suddenly, I swam back to the shallow end. The giant arm, the large pink-purple body, the fact that poor Sak can't even get his arm across my waist...

"Omigoooshhhh I CANNOT be the giant white whale in all our wedding pictures!" I start groaning and squealing about several thousand dollars worth of lifetime whale reminders, while Sak pokes at one of the rolls on my stummy. Not helpful!

Well, a few things happened after that initial freak-out:

1) I calmed down. I am not a whale, I just look like one compared to Sak. If he were the standard of normal-sized, well, I'd have to weigh less than 90 pounds.
2) I decided to start a wellness-regimen. Diet and exercise, but nothing too extreme.
3) I researched.

Truly, honestly, folks. Cameras can make you look bigger than you actually are. And they can also make you smaller, if you play your cards right.

And to pictorially prove my point:

A) High-in-the-Sky (for bigger bottoms)
For more emphasis on your top half, and less on the stomach and bottom. Also works like a charm for removing any hint of a bloated look. And I just love shots of the bride and groom looking up towards the glorious future!

B) Down-to-the-Low (for bigger tops)
This one is a bit riskier, but if you are triangle shaped like I am, it could help make the hips look larger and the shoulders look smaller.

B) Model-Arm
You've all seen it done on red-carpets and cat-walks - lift that arm! Any arm pressed flat against the skin is going to appear larger, no matter how muscular they might be before hand.

C) Groom-Blocker
Got something to hide? Whether it be extra width, or the dreaded wedding-dress stain, use your man to cover it up!

D) Run Away
A simple rule of perspective - things further away look smaller. Why not stand a foot or so behind everyone else? But be careful with this one. Too much difference and you might become too small for it to look natural!

E) Tilt-a-Bride

Turn sideways a little. Again, a catwalk and red-carpet pose. Don't face the camera head-on. And don't slouch.

F) Lover-of-Levels
Use some stairs to fix a height difference. Or sit down, where you're more likely to be eye-to-eye. And if that fails, try the down-on-the-floor shot. (only in a clean place, don't ruin the dress!)

G) Post-Op
When all else fails, photoshop! Creative cropping can cut a flabby arm straight out of the picture. Or if you're really good, you can blur or paint unwanted areas away for good! Though unfortunately, I think this particular picture may be a bit more work than its worth.

Now, I know I'll be happy even if I do end up looking a bit whalish, but it doesn't hurt to have the camera work in my favor, right? That said, now on the list of things to ask potential photgraphers -

"What techniques do you use to minimize size differences between bride and groom?"

Anyone else getting the picture-squeamies? What's your tips and tricks for getting the best possible shot?

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, great tips. Adam and I actually look like a good fit for each other (more than one person think he looks like he could be my brother!) but I have a hard time getting a good angle for photos. And that arm tip is priceless: I hate my arms in sleeveless shirts! That's going to be critical for me on wedding day for photos. Thanks for the tips!