Was reading a photography forum talking about natural light (typically a north facing window or outdoors) and natural looks (as opposed to heavily made up – typically in fashion photos). Here is the response I posted there – and I thought I’d share it on my own site so you know a bit more about what I feel is important:
What I tell people is that I create an image that looks the way people would remember them – not what the camera necessarily captures, which can be an exaggeration of certain elements, for better or worse (usually worse.)
There was an interesting study done recently that showed people in videos and stills of the same person from the same video. The person in the video was consistently judged more attractive than the person in the still photo. Same lighting, expression, situation, clothing. The researcher explained that when you seen in motion (in video or in life) people pay attention to how you express yourself, the look in your eye, etc, etc. Not the blemish on your chin or the wrinkles around your eyes – but that is what typical photos bring out.
I don’t eliminate permanent features like crows feet or moles but I do reduce them to how I perceive the person when they walk in.
The researcher also commented that his study was a great example of why a good portrait photographer is worth the money because its not easy to make a good likeness of a person in still image.
I use studio flash in 80 per cent of my photography because I want to shape the light to bring out the best features and minimize the other features. I have nothing against natural light photography – it can be fantastic with the right location, but I also think a lot of photographers aren’t able to use flash and make excuses rather than understanding it and making the choice to use natural light.
As for makeup – most women use it anyways so make it work right for the camera. For guys I have blotting papers to minimize shine (something you really don’t notice in real life even if its there – another exaggeration of cameras.)