Photography and crossdressing seem to eventually go together. Here are some basics to make your tg photos more rewarding. Buy a camera with a self-timer or remote control for the shutter. Going digital seems to be the best way to go today. Feedback is instant, there is no waste of bad photo's and the quality can be very good depending on one's budget. A 2-megapixal camera is as good as film for 8x10 enlargements and far more than is needed for the web or e-mail. Cameras are now common with 8 to 20 megapixals. Be sure the camera can be mounted on a tripod.
A tripod is the only other required equipment. Without a self-timer and tripod, one will need another individual to take the shots.
Of course, if the camera is digital, it would be helpful to have a computer and color printer. To go first class, get a CD burner to store the photo's on CD's.
Now we are almost set for TG Portrait (loosely defined) Photography 101, but first clothing and makeup. For photographs, makeup should be more dramatic than normal daytime makeup and less dramatic than stage makeup. The lighting you will use will most likely be available lighting or flash and will not be so bright as to neutralize heavy stage makeup, so don't go too heavy. Neither should you go too light, because photo's are two-dimensional and therefore extra contouring can be used as long as it is blended well and there are no sharp color changes. By using different shades of foundation, a more feminine appearance can be achieved. In the photograph, the shading of foundation just appears as shadows on the face, so use contouring to create the face you want. In real life, a person is three-dimensional, and it is much more difficult, if not impossible, to get away with drastic contouring without being noticed.
Placement of the tripod:
Do not place the tripod too close to your subject (you). There will be less distortion if the camera is more in telescopic mode as opposed to wide angle. In wide angle mode, everything closer to the camera will appear larger. So if you want to look like an elephant, stick that camera right in front of your nose and put on the widest angle.
Placing the camera at about your eye height will make your height appear normal. To appear shorter, place the camera slightly higher.
I usually prefer vertical shots (portrait as opposed to landscape), especially when the subject is standing, to eliminate nonessential subject matter.
One other item that can be helpful is a full-length mirror, available in any discount store for $6-10. Set the mirror up behind the tripod, and it will be helpful in establishing your pose. If you have a camera with a flip viewing screen, even better.
Try taking facial photo's from several different angles. Then study them to determine whether or not a particular angle is better for your face. Do the same with your body: straight on, 3/4 left, full left, right, over the shoulder, etc. Check out your other features as well. Do you look better smiling, or not, with your arms out of view, turned sideways, legs crossed, straight together, etc.?
Many factors will depend on what you are wearing. If you have a lot of hair on your arms, you may want to wear long sleeves or maybe place your arms in a position that does not emphasize them in the photo, or turn your arm so the underside, where there is probably less hair, shows in the photo. If you have a hairy armpit, you may want to consider keeping your arm down, etc.
Flash photography brings with it...the shadow! Unfortunately, with shots as described above, "the shadow" will show up in most photo's when the flash is used. By this, I mean the full length shadow that travels down one side of your body in the photo, like an aura, and this is especially prevalent in a vertical shot. This is not necessarily bad--in fact, sometimes "the shadow" can add to a photograph by defining a shape--but for facial portraits, it is usually preferable not to have a shadow.
One way to minimize the shadow is to pick a dark background. Another is to have more space between the background and the subject. Speaking of backgrounds, what is this "sheet over the door" setup I see so often in the tg pages? Is this to hide the door or what? It doesn't add any appeal to the photo, so leave it off. Best backgrounds are natural. If you can get outside to take daytime photo's, the lighting doesn't require a flash, although a fill-in flash can soften an overly-contrasted face. Also, be careful of sunlight and shadows outside, but I am getting way ahead of myself, so let's go back in.
Well, I think I have enough basics to get started, so next time we will go through some of these steps and point out some of the above techniques with the use of photo's, and add some new ones.
Now get out and have some fun.
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