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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Make Up

You don't always need make up to shoot a photo. But, it ALWAYS makes you look better! Men too!

But, even using makeup won't always make you look good if your angles & lighting are poor.

Let me show you several of my duds:

Oh, yeah! Those are horrid!

There are some ways to explain makeup better than others. And, humor is a good way:

How to Trick People Into thinking You're Good Looking:

Then there's this girl, who cheated ALOT by using a contact lens to make her iris look larger:

In Asia there's this craze with large eyeballs, or making at least the iris look larger.

Here's a video from Taiwan:

Altho' I find Taiwanese TV to be childish & immature, I kind of understand why. They grow up with SO much pressure as a child to do and complete so much work, studies, and many kids have gray hairs because of the stress. So, when they become adults they often look for excuses to be childish & silly. It's way over the top for me, tho'. And, I can seriously be funny or silly.

Don't feel bad if you don't understand them. I can understand the Mandarin, but Taiwan people speak Mandarin with an accent, and sound foreign to me. In this video they switch dialects a number of times, so several parts I can't even understand.

Makeup contorting for MEN (Non glamorous):

Again with all things, you'll need to research, and especially do lots and lots of practice!

That means take lots & lots of pictures!

I personally stink at makeup, and I'm still learning. I'm generally allergic to most makeup and I just found out many lipsticks have lead in them.

So, I generally take several pictures, as much as I can. Then, I weed through them until I find the best ones. Most of the really awful photos I delete.

And, then I make a folder on my hard drive of the best ones.

But, it's not JUST for portraits. I do that with EVERYTHING I shoot. I'm also that way with my sketching. Sketch, sketch, sketch!

I like to have a theme, and stick with it for a while, and just focus on that theme, over & over.

As I do it more often, I will notice an improvement from the various photoshoots I do. Just like flipping through a sketchbook!


That's called practicing!


So, having said that, I'm QUITE sure that all those beautiful celebrities out there, are actually just plain ordinary people too.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Few Words on Portraits #2 Webcams

Here are a few of my personal thoughts on Webcams.

When it comes to webcams, don't get a webcam less than $50, otherwise you are wasting your money. You will NOT look good AT ALL.

Always, $50 or above.

I personally, would suggest Logitech.

The Webcams included inside of a Laptop is generally AWFUL, I don;t care whether you are using a Windows/IBM or an Apple, they are just trash!

The reason is because you can't adjust the angle of the camera.

So, even if your laptop came with a cam installed, GET A SEPARATE ONE ANYWAY!

This is pretty important, because some people conduct interviews for a job via webcam now, or give interviews on TV via webcams. This can make or break your 1st impression.

Using your webcam in a way that won't make you look too old, too fat, too dark, or too bright is the trick.

The #1 best suggestion I have for you is to mount your camera on top of your monitor, and angle it down at your face. Keep adjusting the camera until you look good enough in your view of yourself. Generally, you will want to see your jaw line, or jaw bone.

NEVER mount the camera angling upward. This will make you look too fat, in some cases too young, or in others too old.

If you have webcam filters, play with those, and be aware of your lighting. Daytime will be different from Night Time.

Now, here are a few tricks I did with Webcam Photos:

Several people didn't know these were webcam photos. Several also didn't believe they were Webcam photos.

But, they are.

I just adjusted them in Photoshop.

So, there's many things you can do with the right software, if you know what you are doing.

But, You will need to make at least a decent composition first.

So, as you can see, I use my artistic skills with my photography all the time.

A Word on Portraits #1 (Sketching & Photos)

So, as I said, I'm NOT a Pro Photographer. I happen to be a legitimate traditional visual artist, and I have a long list/resume of all those things I do, learned, etc.

So, I'd like to start off with just some simple thoughts on Portraits, starting with my knowledge as a Traditional & Visual artist.

If you've drawn as many sketches as I have in my lifetime, you will start to understand what looks good, and what doesn't. That may also depend upon your culture, and since times change, that can also change.

I personally like to draw human faces in a flattering way, yet make sure it also looks like the person. (Drawing humans takes skill, practice, and finesse.)

But, there are also ways to photograph a person to make them look TOTALLY different than they look in real life. Think about that for a moment! ;)

The most popular thing, including my own preference, is to find an angle that flatters a person's face. If you don't know how to do that, I would say shoot lots & lots of Photos, until you start to figure out which angles look best. Ha! But, the easiest No-Brainer trick you can do is to draw or photograph from an angle that shows there person's jaw line.


Well, in this day and age, people like to look slimmer, NOT CHUBBY. So, the angle that best pronounces are person's jawline, makes the best view. That is generally angling DOWN on a person's face. (Not angling from below the face, nor strait on.)

So, that's THE TRICK.
Try it. You'll see what I mean.

I also prefer the jawline to look more pronounced as to see the shape of the bone. I think it shows more of the character of the person. No one, these days, likes a double chin photo. They just don't.

Here are just a few examples of my human sketches. I have so many, just not all online:

However, if you look at old antique photos, you will notice this was unpopular because plump, roundness, and baby fat faces were considered attractive. That's something to REALLY keep in mind, if you are doing antique inspired photos or sketches. OK?

Model Portriat Phill by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

20 Min Pose Feb 12th by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

20-30 Min Charcoal Pastel by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

MC Echer Portarit 1999 Pastel by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Self Portrait With Dragon Spir by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Lovers' Atraction July 2006 by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

35 min Hongkong Lady July 2006 by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

35 min Tibeten Lady July 2006 by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

To Ensnare a Bride 01 by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

So, if you've ever watched the film "Titanic" there is a scene in which 1 of the main characters sketches the other, and he instructs her to angle her head/face down. That's because it just looks better.

This same principle applies to Photography.

So, this also can be true for a number of camera tricks.

So, I'll give you some examples.

Since I'm a woman, meaning a female human, I regularly go through a monthly cycle, based on the hormones of my reproductive system. This generally causes me to have up to 2 times per month when I get EXTREMELY bloated. I HATE this! It's uncomfortable, I can't have sugars, and I need to watch out for my salt/sodium intake. I can't have ANY MSG, and going to the beach, just breathing the salty air, makes me plump up. It's VERY painful, it hurts my skin, and clothes hurt me. All this, and I also still exercise.

So, I'm already overweight. But, I'm NOT fat enough to wear Plus Sizes. So, In a month's time, I can fluctuate from a number of clothing sizes, and I'm very self conscious of this.

Generally, if I'm too plump, I shy away from photos... and drink water, and take Kelp/Iodine supplements.

Also, If I shoot my photos, I photograph myself from a more flattering angle.

I can use a hand held camera in a style called "Spontaneous Self Portraits", like so.

Or, I can use a Tripod. Now, take notice, I angled downward on my face. (Even tho' when I shot these back in October 2011, I'd actually lost quite a bit of weight doing hardcore yoga. But, I still was chubby.)

I tend to like the handheld spontaneous portraits, because I'm holding the lens close to my face. This causes the look of my face to warp. I just REALLY like this, because it can accentuate my stronger features, like my prominent nose, or my chin semi-cleft.

Yes, I'm strange like that. Ha!

So, yes, those are some of my tricks!

What? You didn't ACTUALLY think I was a beautiful woman did you?
It's just make-up & camera tricks! Ha!

Did you notice the differences in the photos? Notice the angles?
Notice how different I look?
This same principle can work for ANY camera, webcam, cellphone cam, etc.

Now, to be fare NONE of these photos are touched up. NO Photoshopping, no airbrushing. None of that.

But, I can do that also, if I chose to.

There is actually so much I could say on this subject. I will continue writing more blogs, maybe 1 or 2 more.

But, before I end this blog post, let me give you a suggestion:

Suppose you, or a chubby friend of yours wants a nice flattering photo... What do you do?

Well, the way I see it, nobody really looks all that bad, we just mostly hate looking too round, especially the double chin thing.

So, if you'd REALLY like to have a nice photo taken of a plumper person, and one they will like, and not shy away from showing on Facebook, or online, my best recommendation is THIS:

* Go to a building that has a stair well.
* Have your friend sit somewhere at the bottom of the stairwell.
* Have your friend look up at you. (remember the jaw line?)
* Then shoot several photos to see which works better. Some people look better smiling, where as others look better with a strait face.

* Be sure to take your lighting into account.

* Also, the more flights of stairs, the more you can experiment.

I'm Not a Pro Photographer, I'm Just an Artist

Well, to start off with, I need to be REALLY honest.

I'm NOT any kind of special, gorgeous woman. I'm just a plain woman, in my early 30s. I'm chubby, I have a kid, I still have maternity scars, and even tho' I've tried for years to do something about my weight, it's been a problem. However, I DO verifiabley have QUITE a lot of muscle. But, whatever.

So, now that I've gotten THAT out of the way, I'm going to have to just dash & bash your ideas of whatever you think I am. I'm NOT sexy, either. Seriously.

I am NOT a Pro Photographer. Sorry, I'm NOT.

I am a visual artist.

I have a Degree in Computer Animation, an education in Graphic Art (including Design), I'm educate in Fine arts, Media arts, Film/video including production 7 editing. And, I have a brief resume for it. I also worked briefly in the American Comic book industry.

To put it bluntly, I like art, and I especially love visuals.

Now, I do view photography as an art form.

While I was in college, all the traditional artists scoffed at Photo students, with the snide remarks like "they just point and click".

I, however, am NOT of this opinion. Capturing a photo is capturing a moment in time forever. So, there is a right and a wrong way to do it.

I just like BETTER looking pictures. If given the choice of having photos which look bad, OK, or good, I would choose good. Taking photos of my cherished events, memories, or vacations, to me would logically be so much better to capture the fleeting moments forever with quality.

And, yet, having said that, I've taken fairly decent photos WITHOUT a Pro camera.

To me, I use the same techniques and styles as I used for my artwork, whether it were. portraits (which I have drawn countless in my lifetime), landscapes (for which I have painted quite a number of), scenes, moods, color, or black and white. I just know what I like. But, everyone has their own likes, dislikes, and styles (if they've even developed a style yet).

I also have a preference for Adobe Photoshop. But, since I currently live in poverty, I ONLY can use Photoshop 6.0. Oh, well, better than nothing.

I have noticed that a number of visual artists, eventually take an interest in ameture Photography. However, I ALSO noticed that traditional (or digital) artists often have TOTALLY different opinions of what make a great photo. I notice that several pro photographers HATE lens flares, and use filters or tricks to get rid of them, where visual artists tend to LOVE them. Prop photographers often don;t like glare, where as visual artists like it for several situations.

So, whatever, I just do whatever I like. You do what you like.

If you were familiar with my artwork, my color styles, my compositions, you will notice my photography is often totally similar!:

I like brilliant colors, back lit scenes, lots of shine things and reflective objects, soft blurs and fog, or high contrasting black & whites.

To give you an example of what I mean, I will show some of my artwork, and compare it to my photography:

My stylized artwork

Apis Bull of Memphis Warm Colo by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Sword Baring Vixen by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Sekhmet Mystic by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Descending Gryphon COLOR by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Festival Stage Belly Dancer by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Black UniGryphon Backside by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Black UniGryphon Design 01 by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Now, compare some of my photography:

New England Pink Foliage 02 by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Autumn Beauty by ~BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

New England Pink Foliage 01 by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Catching Myself In Sunlight by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Glare 02 by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Sunkissed Maples 01 HDR by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Summer Trees 02 HDR by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

My Christmas Ball by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

What The Fog 24 by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Beams of Apollo 04

Webb Memorial Park Shoreline 05

Hopefully, if you're a keen visual person you'll have caught that. They are very similar. It's my style. It's what I like.

But, if you missed how thunderously obvious it was, I'll explain.:

I tend to like back lit figures/subjects, glowy lights, often colored. I like glare, high saturated colors, high contrasts, or soft blurs & foggy moods. I notice also (which I don't have an example of to show) but, I tend to photograph landscapes exactly the same way I like to hand paint them.

Sorry, but I only have a digital painted landscape to show:

Background Study Sea Sky Moon by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

Black Unicorn in the Mists by *BlackUniGryphon on deviantART

My hand painted landscapes are much nicer. I just don't think I have them anymore.

I will blog about my portraits later.