CHUCK ARLUND BLOG » living one weekend closer to death

The art of the camera position – Submissive or Empowering?

I just took a trip to the gallery this afternoon and one of the things I like to look at is the portraiture.

I used to have a job where I shot CEO head-shots and environmental portraits. One of the first thing my boss told me was. “Never photograph them above the eye, always below.” Why? Because then the photograph has power over the viewer or  the photo appears to be looking down or at the person looking at it.

What image is more powerful looking? Which is weak?

This holds true of most formal portraiture throughout the ages. Pull out a One Dollar bill and look and see if George is looking at you.

George is looking at us.

To illustrate this, I did a search for “Famous Portrait Paintings” This is a screenshot. Take a look at how many of them are from the perspective or position just underneath the eye. Usually the ones from above, the subject is not looking at the viewer but away.

Screenshot of Google search for Famous Portrait Paintings

Many of these paintings are from the perspective of underneath the eye level. One that comes to attention is Vincent Van Gogh, this is painted from above eye level, looking down on him. To me he seems frail or on guard.

This is a method I like to use when photographing. I like the subject to have power rather than be shown as a submissive.

A few examples from a couple of recent sessions.

CedFebruary 12, 2011 - 1:02 am

Really true, in paintings, cinema, photography, and in life.

Nichole FetterleyFebruary 13, 2011 - 9:53 am

Fabulous images!!!

BazFebruary 13, 2011 - 9:55 am

Awesome post Chuck. Great photographs as always.

TeriFebruary 13, 2011 - 9:59 am

Looking at the CEO photos… each one on it’s own would be perfectly fine for his photo, until you see them all together, it is amazing what moving just a little bit will do for the “image”. I will have to start doing some side to side comparing.

Chris ChenFebruary 13, 2011 - 9:59 am

Awesome Chuck!!!! I can wait for the video. It was awesome meeting you at Mystic 6!!!!

Christy steadmanFebruary 13, 2011 - 10:05 am

Would love to learn off camera flash!! I need to attend a workshop and this would really help me get a start!

Hope to see you in Vegas!

Brooke KellyFebruary 13, 2011 - 10:11 am

I especially love the shot of Laurenne. Love your stuff, Chuck.

Charleton ChurchillFebruary 13, 2011 - 10:14 am

Amazing concept Chuckie. You can really sense the emotion just by a slight perspective adjustment. Thanks for the research.

DanielFebruary 13, 2011 - 10:16 am

Never really thought of it but did some looking at political photo ads and it appears to be a consistent theme.

TimFebruary 13, 2011 - 10:39 am

I love the lighting and camera angles! Nice references to artists in history who have used a lower angle in paintings and other mediums to show power.

Brilliant post. It’s amazing how such a simple, psychological trick can make an enormous difference.

PhillippaJune 1, 2011 - 4:30 pm

I had never thought about camera height in relation to subject quite in this way. Thanks for the insight.

On being visual – Born into it or can it be acquired?

Snow Brush Creek

It’s after midnight in NYC and that is really all that matters.

I have had many discussions about if you are born with the visual gift or if it can be learned. The reason I bring this up is, because of the digital revolution and photography being so accessible to anyone are the technical aspects of photography as important as they used to be?

My gal is an artist, she was always good a art. Drawing, painting, makeup, hair… She is very visual and is always amazing me with her talent. My sister on the other hand is not so much. She LOVES taking photos though. I might be the photographer but my sis is the chick that clicks. She always has her camera ready to go and because of that I have numerous snapshots of my life. I am not knocking that. I love the snapshot. My sis will see something and recognize that it might be unique, but always says. “I wish you would have been here to photograph that.” Her photo would look like an Ebay image, and she knows it.

My wife on the other hand loves her iPhone. It has a camera with a Polaroid app that she thinks is cute. She likes to take photos only with her iPhone because of the ease of it. Before the iPhone she was not really a picture taker.

First she has a unique way of seeing light and she does these amazing self portraits all the time. She did something the other day that kind of made me step back and ponder the question about knowing the dynamics of photography. What I’m talking about is, exposure and general composition, how to focus, depth of field. All the stuff you learn in photo school.

One of the numerous complaints I hear from professional photographers is: There are to many photographers. LOL.  And then the attitude and ego starts to come out. There is always some kid that is making, yes I said MAKING, really great images, and they probably don’t know a aperture from a hole in a board. (photo people will really get this).

So the question is: Are some people just born with the “eye”. And if so, is a camera just a tool for them to show their vision as is a pencil or a paintbrush?

Here are a few photos that my wife shot recently with her iPhone and the “shake it photo” and “tilt shift generator” apps.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

TeriFebruary 13, 2011 - 10:05 am

I think both… you can have the eye and not the technical ability and not be able to learn and/or apply it or you can have the technical ability and have to learn what will look good. What makes a photographer great from the get go is someone who has both!

CoQUETTISh – Sexy Fashion Magazine

I jump into boudoir and decided to make a magazine to showcase some of the work. First, I don’t love the term boudoir, not sure why but it congers up thoughts of bad 80’s glamour photography. I mean the term means old fashioned dressing room or to pout. Hmmmm. Anyway.

Coquettis – yep a lipstick color or something like that. But it means: a woman who likes to win the attention or admiration of men but does not have serious feelings for them. Love that. LOVE.

It also can mean a coy smile. Now, I realize that the term boudoir is not going anywhere and I can embrace that. I just want to be the rebel I guess.


I had a chance to shoot with Trailer Choir lead singer Crystal Hoyt recently. I decided to do this in the Coquettish style. I think she loved them. It also gave me a chance to work with Celeb stylist Abby Franklin again and best of all, my wife Kristina was able to get away from MAC and do the makeup. I love when I can work with her.

So here are a few images from the shoot in the Coquettish style.


These are from Kristina’s iPhone. Love the iPhone camera.:)

Declan LanghamJune 10, 2011 - 6:50 am

Hey regarding your CoQUETTIsh magazine I was wondering if it is available to purchase or if this was just a once off magazine you created for a client?

Thanks
Declan Langham

ChuckieJuly 10, 2011 - 7:56 am

It’s just a thought right now.

[…] Wallpaper [caption align="alignnone" width="1920" caption="Julia Crown Blue Sexy Dress"][/caption][caption align="alignnone" width="1920" caption="Julia Crown Blue Sexy Dress"][/caption] ulia Crown Blue Sexy Dress" […]

Shooting a Parasuco Jean Ad – Using multiple lights

Hey everyone, here is a tutorial for having a model laying on the ground and using multiple lights.

Equipment used:

Parasuco Jean Ad

This image was photographed in a small apartment. A green fuzzy rug was used as the backdrop.
The model is actually laying on an angle to elevate her head to make her look more natural. See illustration 1

illustration 01

The Ringflash was positioned from the point of view as a main light-source so that the shadow under her nose would be a nice loop/flat just to her right..

The Beauty dish is pointed towards the celling of the apartment providing a nice full coverage of the scene

The 580 is positioned at her feet on the opposite side from the main lights. This is also pointed at the wall providing a slight rim and additional light source to illuminate the bottom of the scene where there was some falloff.

I also was using a medium silver reflector at the base of the shot just for additional added fill.

The main light (beauty dish) was metered at f/13 the Ringflash was metered at f/11 – not much difference but enough to give her face slight definition

The 580 was there to give a little fill to the back side. The jeans were really getting dark without it.

Light Diagram - illustration 02

Short video illustration the shoot.


And a bad photo of the billboard in Berlin

Matt KuhlFebruary 14, 2011 - 2:07 pm

sweet set up and capture! Were you using the 5d for this one?

ChuckieMarch 10, 2011 - 10:43 am

Yes, Good Ole 5D (original)

Where Has Chuck Gone?

Hey everyone. It’s update time for ya. I have moved to Kansas City with high hopes of reaching NYC sometime next year. I will still be in Nashville about once a month as I continue to be associated with Southlight Salon.

It seems as if I have not had much of a chance to blog at all. This Winter has been filled with teaching and presentations. I spoke at Mystic 6 and a special thank you to Walter van Dusen for inviting me. I met some absolutely wonderful people and photographers. My eventual trek to NYC will now be filled with a lot of new friends.

From Mystic I journeyed south to San Antonio and the Digital Wedding Forum convention that piggybacks Imaging USA. Jeff Caplan, thank you so much for having me this year. Jeff is the one who gave me my first platform speaking class. Thank you. The DWF convention is crazy as they all are.

Next up is Afterdark Education in Vegas! They piggyback WPPI. Please go check out the Afterdark website if you are interested in a totally unique way of learning photography. It is geared towards the professional portrait photographer but wedding and commercial photographers can get a lot out of it also.

PROMO CODE!!! for $50 off registration use code “ARL” for Afterdark in Las Vegas. Feb 16-18th I can not say enough about how totally cool Afterdark is and how you learn. It is all hands on. Tons of equipment to play with and no photo egos. Everyone helps each other.  The business ideas and marketing I have learned from Afterdark is helping me launch full force in a new city.

Ok? I hope to see you there.


A photo to make this interesting:

Crystal Hoyt

This was a recent shoot for Country Star, Crystal Hoyt. I am getting involved in the boudoir community and honing my style a bit.

So, where else have I been? The whole move was a big deal and took a lot of time and to be honest is still a headache. Our place is still for sale in Nashville. Can’t wait till I’m rid of it. Then at the first of the year my blog crashed. Totally. Thankfully it was backed up but it took a lot of phone calls to Go Daddy to get it up and running. It still is not exactly as it was but I’m just glad that the content for the most part is still here.  For what it is worth, Go Daddy does have some amazing customer service. So hopefully I’m back up and running.

I’d love to hear some topics you would like me to post about. I have a hard time coming up with stuff sometimes. I’m not much of a typer, I’m more of a talker.:)Speaking of. I am thinking about doing some SKYPE style training. Where we can have a camera on location with me and I can interact with you from one computer to the other.

How does that sound? No idea what to charge for this… I’m going to do a few for free just to get the kinks out and figure out what to do. Leave a comment and let me know what you think?

So for those of yo who have stuck with me, thank you.

Until next time.

Chuck

Melanie - M Photography OttawaJanuary 31, 2011 - 8:19 am

Chuck! I’ll ginea pig on the skype thing…LOVED meeting you at Mystic and I am both wedding and boudoir…would love to talk technique and processing. Love the latest post..love!

ChuckieJanuary 31, 2011 - 1:28 pm

Melanie, cool I’ll let you know

Kevin DeibertFebruary 17, 2011 - 11:35 am

I’d be interested in this. Please use my email as contact info. Would love to be able to take a class from the confines of my home…..however limiting the scenario would be.
Best,
K

ChuckieMarch 10, 2011 - 10:42 am

Kevin, Will do.