Lighting Techniques for Photographing Model Portfolios
When using a drape with texture, though, be careful not to overlight it; you will lose the detail. This is why I chose a single light source for image The lighting setup for this shot. The main light a small softbox; see chapter 5 was placed at an angle above the model and remained in the same position throughout the series. With the model looking at the camera, the main light is too high in relation to her face. It creates very unattractive shadows. Having the model lift her chin helps, but now the main light is a bit too far to the side.
It still creates some unattractive shadows.
Lighting Techniques for Photographing Model Portfolios by Billy Pegram (Paperback, ) | eBay
This is the final cropped version of the image. The fill light is a secondary light source used to lighten the shadows created by the main light. This is normally placed close to the camera to avoid creating a second set of shadows on the face, which would look unnatural.
Fill light can be be created using any light source electronic flash, studio lights, etc. For some examples of creating fill light with reflectors, see pages 70— To see fill light created with electronic flash, see page These are the kinds of highlights that can be created using accent lights. The hair light is a light, usually a small one, that is placed above and slightly behind the model to add highlights on the hair and help separate her from the background. See images and above for an example. The background light, as the name implies, is used to illuminate the background so that the subject will stand out from it.
When using one background light, it is usually placed on a small stand directly behind the subject blocked from the view of the camera. In other setups—especially when the background needs to be evenly lit—a pair of flanking background lights are used, directed at the background from either side of the set. Accent lights, also called kickers, are extra lights used to add highlights to the sides of the face or body see image This helps draw the eye where you want it and adds a greater feeling of depth in the image. These lights are placed behind and to the side s of the subject, so they catch just the edge of the subject and create brilliant highlights.
As with any backlighting source, you need to be careful not to create lens flare when adding accent lights. The following image series shows both the separate and the combined effect of the individual studio lights. This is only a sample setup; you will develop your own methods and style as you shoot. If you want to learn quickly, shoot your own series of photos with the various lights firing alone. This is a great way to learn about the qualities and purpose of each light, as well as the proper placement of each.
In image below , a barebulb studio strobe was placed as close to the background as possible. A gel see page 83 was also taped around the flash tube to create a warm coloration. However, all is not lost. The author does touch on some useful concepts and discusses how some of his successful images were accomplished by using photos that show the impact of different lighting and the position of the model.
Types of Light Sources — This chapter is a high level overview with sample images of the quality of light that differ light sources will give you. It is clearly geared toward the novice but the sample images provide value to all. Light Modifiers — Like chapters 2 — 4, entire books have been written on light modifiers alone.
Sadly, this chapter simply enumerates the vast selection of light modifiers and in many cases only in the form of a paragraph with no image of the light modifier itself and a sample image. There are sample images and longer discussions of some modifiers like reflectors and gobos with actually quite a few lighting diagrams. The sample images were quite good and the lighting configuration diagrams were very useful, but I was hoping more out of this chapter than what it ultimately delivered on.
Matching the Light to the Image — The title of this chapter has very little to do with the actual content. Now how does that have anything to do with Matching the Light to the Image??? The chapter then proceeds to go through a couple case studies, then a discussion about the different types of modeling images Fashion, Glamour, Lingerie, plus size, etc…. The net result again is useful information especially what differentiates Fashion from Glamour , but it has nothing to do with chapter title.
By this point you start to catch on that the author was probably given an outline of the chapters to write about from the publisher, but he pretty much wrote what he wanted and in many cases tried to stay at least in the ballpark of the chapter title. While his images suggest that he may have intended to stick to the subject, the reality is far different. Creative Techniques — The thing you notice about this chapter versus all of the others is that it is one of the largest and most practical chapters, so you get a sense that this was content of the book Billy Pegram really wanted to write about.
You get into the mind of the artist and see how he thinks and works his magic. This is probably the most accurately named chapter of the book and one that any photographer is sure to enjoy. This is what draws the viewer to the image and forms a connection between the model and the possible client. This connection is vital and can make the dif- ference between success and failure. To establish a connection, I re- mind the model to focus on the lens and "flirt" with the camera.
I ask the model to imagine she is placing her face on the film or, today, the digital image sensor! ABOVE— If the eyes are the most important feature of the photograph, position the model in such a way as to truly emphasize their beauty. When shooting for a makeup artist, using a closed-eye shot is mandatory. Inexperienced models often stare at the camera in a "deer in the headlights" manner. To avoid this, I suggest the model periodically look away, then return her focus to the camera in order to maintain a fresh, spontaneous look.
If the head is at an angle I don't want to lose, I'll instruct the model to simply lower her eyes, then slowly raise them to the camera. Beginning models also tend to look to the photogra- pher or stylist rather than connecting with the camera lens. It is nec- essary to remind them that they need to connect with the person viewing the photograph down the road, not those in attendance at the shoot.
Another technique that works well is humor. Some of the most spontaneous ex- pressions I've ever captured have been the result of some goofy com- ment. Be careful, though; this only works if the photographer has developed a comfortable, communicative relationship with the model.
A talented makeup artist can be a photographer's best friend. Most commercial shoots involve the use of false eyelashes to enhance the model's eyes. LIPS Lips are second in importance only to the eyes. For better lips, don't use only one lip color. This creates a cartoon-like, flat look. A good The eyes can be used to force the viewer to Look at certain areas of the page. Notice how the direction of the models gaze in this image draws your eyes to the white text at the top right of the page.
Then, she will add a darker color from about a quarter of the way out from the middle of the lip to the corner. The look is then com- pleted with the addition of a lighter, reflective color on the middle of the lip. By using multiple colors, one can get beautiful shaping, as well as moist-looking and more appealing lips.
A slight separation of the Lips wiU give the model a pleasant, unforced expression and wiU soften the jawLine. TeU the model to open her Lips just enough to feeL the air break over her bottom Lip. Have her re-create some of these positions. The use of a candy cane heLped the modeL pose her Lips perfectLy for the shot. When training a beginning model, have them use their hands to cover everything except their lips, then give them words to demon- strate, using only their lips — happiness, anger, pride, softness, etc.
This way they see the importance and use of lips to create the intended mood. Direct the model to open her mouth so that she can just slightly feel the air across her lips. This will make the lips appear larger. It will also relax the jaw, since she cannot clench her jaw with her lips slightly open.
An experienced model can counterfeit a gen- uine emotion, but often the photographer must assist her to make it happen. This is accomplished by creating a situation or an atmosphere that will evoke a "natural" expression. When a model is struggling with expression, direct her to use words to both help create expression and draw her concentration away from her struggle.
I often use "hot. First, in saying the word, the mouth will take four shapes. If the photographer is quick, at least one of these will photograph well. Also, this word tends to make the model giggle, further relaxing her. Another word I have used is "true. Sometimes a model gets really nervous and her upper lip may stiffen and quiver. When this happens, I will ask the model to say, "al- falfa. The list to the right details just of few of the many facial expressions you can work on creating with your models. Posing for Different Genres The age of the model is one determining fac- tor in the type of work she is best suited for.
These will help you to determine the markets in which she is most likely to obtain work and, therefore, the types of images and poses you should use in her portfolio. The model's age will help you to deter- mine whether her portfolio should be directed to- i ward a local, regional, or international market. Models who are over twenty- one also tend to be limited to local and regional work. This is because most major high-fashion agencies are hesitant to in- vest their time, effort, and money in a model who has a "limited shelf life.
Of course, there are commercial and talent- oriented markets in which over- twenty- one models are considered very desirable. A "talent" is someone who specializes in acting roles, such as in television commercials or as a spokesmodel for a particular company. Be prepared to offer these market possibilities as an alternative for the prospective model who happens to be a bit older. Shorter models are limited to more com- mercially oriented work and specialty modeling, such as hand work, fit a model that designers hire to fit clothing on during the design process , lingerie, swimwear, hair, and beauty modeling where the products [such as makeup, jewelry, or hair care products] require fa- cial beauty.
Taller models have a much broader market. Here your own personal "eye" will deter- mine whether or not it is worthwhile to work with the potential model.
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Styles and preferred looks change as often as hemlines. What was unacceptable two years ago is in demand now. It is the photogra- pher's responsibility to stay informed of the current "looks. Once you have determined the market in which your client wants to seek work, you can begin thinking about how to create images that will help her reach that goal. Keep in mind that these are only TaiLoring a models portfolio images to the market for which she is best suited wiU en- hance her chance of finding employment.
If a model doesn't fit in the category she wants to work in, a great portfolio and a lot of deter- mination can still help to make it happen. As you read through the details that follow on the different sub- genres of model photography, examine the images carefully. Think back to the posing techniques we have looked at in the previous chap- ters and consider how these different strategies are used to create a pose that is harmonious with the intent of the image.
Ad agencies or manufacturers who are trying to sell a spe- cific product or service create this market. This is a lucrative area of work because of the high-profile usage of the image and the availabil- ity of exclusive contracts. These ads can define a product's reputation. LEFT— When working for a client, the art di- rector or ad agency wiU usually present the photographer with a storyboard or layout of the photos needed.
Lighting Techniques for Model Photography : An Illustrated Guide
Because commercial print work is very product oriented, it gener- ally requires a different type of model than normally used for fashion- oriented ads. Instead, the product is the star. Com- mercial print work may also include using body-part models, such as those who specialize in hand modeling.
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In commercial print work, remember that neither the backgrounds, the models, nor any other objects can obscure or overpower the prod- uct. In commercial print, the product is the star and the viewer's eye must be directed to it. When working for a client, the art director or ad agency will usually present the photographer with a storyboard or layout of the photos needed. Rarely does the photographer have the freedom to create his own shot, but rather is responsible to re-create the layout as presented.
Therefore, his main responsibility is to set the lighting and create the mood directed by the art director. Fashion print gener- ally utilizes the typical fashion model — a tall, thin, beautiful person. However, there is a trend toward using "real" people, including plus- size models see pages , in mainstream fashion print. For the commercial photographer, however, the term is used to describe any work that emphasizes the beauty of the human body.
Some glamour shots may be useful in the beauty industry for the promotion of commercial products. Another opportunity for the pub- lication of glamour photography is in the finer adult magazines; on selected web sites; and for calendars, posters, and other retail products. Tastefiil nudity has become acceptable, as long as it is subtle and sexy, rather than tacky or risque.
As a result, the typical subject used in glamour photography has shifted from the busty, blatantly sexy, bottle-blond to the beautiful, perfectly proportioned woman with a sexy, girl-next-door look. Proof of this is the fact that the more so- phisticated men's magazines have become very celebrity driven, fea- turing tastefully glamorous images of many of today's supermodels and Hollywood stars.
Commercial lingerie photography must be exquisite and beautiful but not sexual. If the shot becomes sexual, you are no longer selling the lingerie — you have crossed over into glamour and are showcasing the beauty of the model. The advertisers will determine the focus of the shoot. Sometimes, they want each photo to detail a particular garment. For example, a client may request that the photograph concentrate on the strap of a bra, the underwire, or an especially beautiful strip of lace.
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Sometimes, they simply want to invoke a feeling of romance, excitement, or glam- our. Some clients request more catalog-type photos; some allow the photographer more of an outlet for his personal creativity. As with swimwear models see page 97 , models for lingerie shoots are generally shorter with more curves than the typical high- fashion model. The highest-paid plus-size models are nor- mally sizes 12, 14, or When working with plus -size models, there are two ways to approach the session. The first approach is to use every technique in the book to visually slim the model.
This could include exaggerated posing, specialized lighting, and the use of image -editing software in postproduction. Other want to create more of a mood in their ad- vertisements right. Sometimes, they simply want to invoke a feeling of romance. She can even wear multiple bras to reduce her bust size, or throw her hips dramat- ically off angle to slim this area.
Leaving much of the body in shadow or reducing the separation between the subject and the background can also produce a slimming effect. These exaggerated techniques are normally used only when pho- tographing portfolio images for a model who is concerned about her PLus-size modeLs are finding more and more work today, as clients and advertising agen- cies expand the use of 'VeaL people'' in their images. In this case, the model should be photographed using the same methods as you would use with any other model. No special techniques, posing or otherwise, are necessary.
Today, clients and advertising agencies are expanding the use of "real people" in their advertisements, so this is often the scenario you encounter. It aU depends on the trends the mag- azine wants to showcase or explore. These pages promote a general trend or idea rather than a specific product. When creating this type of work, the editors and pho- tographers are responsible to the style and outlook of the magazine rather than to the manufacturer of a garment or product. They try to create a look that will become the next trend.
This is the most prestigious and glamorous work for a fashion pho- tographer — but not the most lucrative. This is because editorial work is wonder fill for building a photographer's reputation and for gather- ing those all-important tear sheets. Since magazines know that edi- torial tear sheets are career builders, they pay less money. These images don't require as much con- straint as advertising worlc for specific clients, so the editors are free to experiment with new faces, new ideas, and sometimes even new pho- tographers.
The most slick and prestigious magazines, however, tend to stay with established photographers for their editorial pages — artists who have proven themselves able to create dramatic, edgy photos. These ads gen- erally require less structured, more active shots that generate excite- ment for the product and for the sport. When shooting for these kinds of clients, I usually prefer to go on location, rather than shooting in the studio. A local gym, basketball or tennis court, or high- school football field will give the photographer opportunities for action shots not available in most studios.
If the model whose portfolio you are shooting seems particularly muscular or otherwise well-suited for this kind of work, take a field trip with some sports gear and athletic wear, then experiment with active, high- energy poses. EditoriaL images can be career buUders. As a result, they typicaLLy pay Less than advertis- ing work. These ads generally require less structured, more active shots. CATALOG Catalog work refers to the images used in a retailer's catalog, mail- order brochures, flyers, and other materials that are used to sell spe- cific merchandise. The main objective of these images is to present garments or other merchandise in a straightforward, very detailed manner.
This work doesn't carry the status of editorial or advertising print photography, but it can form the backbone of a photographer's income. For this type of work, models are selected based on their look. The idea is transference. In the section on feet that appears on pages , we looked Catalog work is designed to display the gar- ments or other products that the retailer is offering for sale.
These are often used in catalog shots, where you have three models in a shot and each is posed in one of the three basic foot positions. While catalog shoots don't carry the status of editorial or maga- zine ads, the current trend in this genre is actually toward more ex- citing, artistic, and interesting poses. Of course, you must still stay within the needs of the specific client.
Picturesque beach Locations are common in swimwear images. The very nature of this market demands exotic beauty. In this genre, the line between fashion and glamour softens. As such, the models for this line of work tend to be more curvaceous than those seen in straight fashion pho- tography. Swimwear models can also be shorter than fashion models. The bottom line in this market is transference — the general public wants to feel that if they buy this swimsuit, they too will be hot, sexy, and beautiful.
Without changing the basic pose, you can make the shot sexier by hav- ing the model push down her swimwear bot- toms as Low as she is comfortable with. Generally, the only swimwear shots created in the studio are the line sheets that are used to present a designer's collection directly to the buyers for department stores and other retailers.
A current trend when shooting swimwear not specifically for cata- log purposes is to have the model push down her swimwear bottoms as low as she is comfortable with. Visually, this adds a couple inches to the length of a model's waist, making her appear thinner in the tummy area. This gives the client more pos- sible usage for the photographs. You should also pay particular attention to any special zippers, strings, buttons, pockets, or design features. RIGHT — Unless you're photographing a line catalog, it is not normally viable to shoot swimwear indoors.
However, swimwear can be used as an accessory when creating a poster-type shot. The use of dramatic light- ing combined with a dramatic pose can be very effective. In poster shots, the poses — and the models — usually look assertive, even confrontational. In this particular image, the emphasis is on the model's fit- ness, so her eyes are looking off camera. Many models find ample work in fields where they are called on for their beautifiil hands, legs, feet, hair, or other re- markable features. If you spot something unique about your model, consider designing an image to showcase it.
I noticed how beautiful this models Legs are, so we booked a special session to emphasize them in some images for her portfolio. Here, notice the beautiful toe point, the structure of her caLf, and how slender her Legs appear. Less than a month after this photo was placed in her portfolio she was booked for a com- mercial leg shoot. She wanted the shot to have an element of dance, yet not be sexual. Here are some of the images from the shoot. Beginning models have a tendency to spread their fin- gers.
This creates Lines that draw the viewer's eyes and change the flow of the photo. However, it does show her rear and profile to an advantage, which was a bonus. This photo is not usable; there is too much tension in the hands and the naiLs are push- ing wrinkles into the face. The hands should frame the face without placing pressure on the skin. The placement of the hand in this photo- graph is standard for many portrait photog- raphers.
However, it is unacceptable for fashion and beauty clients because it is too masculine. The hand is nearly as large as the face and commands too much attention. With the weight on the hand, the photo- graph also fails to communicate the grace and elegance of Ciana's face.
To do this, I could not pose her any other way but straight to the camera. The following images show some of the problems you might en- counter when photographing such a session. Ciana has learned from experience to avoid unflattering poses; she photographed these only for the purpose of this demonstration. However, for this particu- lar client, the shoulder, breasts, and area under the right shoulder strap demand too much attention; they draw the viewer's eye away from the model's hair. Identify what makes her unique, and then enhance those fea- tures.
In this case, Ciana's shoulders and chest draw the viewer's eyes away from the symmetry of her beau- tiful face, neckline, and hairstyle. LEFT— This photo is cropped too tight for use by the client. Also, it is not the most flattering crop for Ciana's face. It could be an effective photograph if you wanted to draw the viewer's attention to something on the facing page.
Because of the diminishing light, we had a very brief time to shoot. Fortunately, Janeen was aware of her body and was naturally a good poser. As a result, we were able to get many good shots. Notice the beautiful use of her hands, the natural curves of her body, the varia- tions in facial expressions, and the beautiful head positions. If she is slender, you can be much more forgiving on the pos- ing. This makes it easier to encourage the model to show the full range of her personality. Try to show that the model can communicate her vibrant personality without distracting the viewer from the product being sold; the demand for models with this ability is huge.
These photographs make a statement about the models ability to show a wide range of movement and personality. She is slen- der and fit— and can be quite spontaneous. The ability to be upbeat and still maintain a commercial value to the photograph is very marketable. When clients view a model's portfolio, they are more likely to hire her if the photos reveal her personality and reflect her enjoyment of her craft.
Lexie's vibrant personality makes a photo session fun— and this is most assuredly a bonus. Many clients want to create a socially en- tertaining and sexy marketing tool without being overtly sexual. The photographs are girly cute, and fun. When creating this style of image, the model must understand how to pose her body. More importantly, she must have the self-confidence to act silly. Monique was asked to jump up, create movement in her hair, point her toes, and twist her upper body back toward the camera— aU at the same time. Most often, it takes many attempts to capture the desired results with a shot Like this.
Even if the photograph is not successful at first, though, it creates the mood neces- sary for the model to feeL comfortable. If you can get a model preoccupied with movement, she wiU normally relax and start posing naturally. Monique was asked to pose on her knees and lift off with her thighs. This helps create a thin thigh. Whenever possible, have the model's weight resting on parts of the body that are hidden from the camera — in this case, her left thigh.
She was also asked to present her chest to the camera. This position visually slims her thighs. Normally, the model should not have her hand near her face and with such a wide profile. However, it works here because it looks like a natural placement of the hand for a cute, shy position. In the top and right images, notice that Monique has turned her hips away from the camera. This causes her waist to appear much thinner. They are presented in no par- ticular order, but each will help to facilitate the learning process. This will help you to determine the kinds of im- ages they are looking for.
This will show you where the model sees herself and identify her goals. Using photos from magazines, ask her to compile a collection of both headshots and full- length images that she would like to see in her portfolio — shots where she could see herself replacing the model. This will serve two pur- poses. First, it will show you where the model sees herself and iden- tify her goals. Second, it will provide you a handy reference guide when posing the images you create for her real portfolio. The construction of the mock portfolio is rarely a one -step process.
I have found that the model's first grouping is often based on wishful thinking and media hype. It takes a bit of gentle guidance to teach a beginning model to look at herself realistically and develop a usefiil mock portfolio. However, this is absolutely necessary before pro- ceeding with the development of her actual book.
When our team hairstylist, makeup artist, and photographer goes over a model's completed mock portfolio, we narrow down the images to a few looks. Then, we start planning her photo session and coordi- nating the clothing for each specific shot. The mock portfolio acts as a reference guide during this process. Once you have been photographing models for a while, you can also use this mock portfolio to show the model what look you are try- ing to achieve in each shot.
A model's job is to sell a product, article It takes a bit of guidance to teach a beginning model to look at herself realistically. In the photo sessions for her portfolio, how- ever, the model is the product. Therefore, the photographer and his team, along with the model, must coordinate all of their efforts to promote her particular assets. Many agencies would rather see snapshots than poor- quality professional photos. If you are not totally confident in your ability to pro- duce top -quality images, be fair to the model and take a pass on the job while you continue your training.
A continuous dialog is essential. This ensure that everyone is working to- ward the same goal. Be positive in all suggestions you give to your models. If you need to shift gears, saying something like, "Enough! We need to try some- thing else," is only going to shatter her confidence. Instead, try say- ing, "That was great. Let's shoot a few more images like this, then change the mood. No negative message was communicated, so you've left the model feeling positive and ready to work with you on the next look.
If your model is struggling, try asking her to imagine herself play- ing a character. The best models are not just beautiful, they are also versatile. The ability to get into a character is a very useful asset for a model to possess. You will also need a great deal of photographic knowledge to prepare yourself for all the demands of lighting, posing, etc. You'll need to become knowledge- able about makeup, hair, and clothing styles, plus you'll have to learn to work with and instruct people.
All this knowledge needs to be gained before starting out as a fashion photographer. If you start shooting as a fashion photographer before you have gained the ex- pertise needed, you can easily blow an assignment and give yourself a poor reputation. Therefore, I recommend that you get started as a portrait photog- rapher, where you can practice your skills in a controlled lighting en- vironment and learn how to quickly establish a rapport with people.
The portrait specialist, however, can use the same style, or combination of styles, for many sessions — or even for years. This can be a great asset when you are getting started, since it allows you to become comfortable with the photography process and working with your subjects without the constant pressure to produce a totally unique image every time. Practice your skills in a controlled environment and learn to establish a rapport with people. Many fashion specialists may have shooting tendencies e. This versatility is what allows the fashion business to change rapidly and go in entirely different di- rections each season.
As you become comfortable with the process of creating portraits, therefore, you should not become complacent. It is important that you challenge yourself to design and execute self- assignments that will teach you additional lighting techniques and fashion styles. Develop your own style slowly, and don't accept clients or jobs you are not totally comfortable in handling.
As you progress, you can de- velop a team of hair dressers, makeup artists, and clothing stylists to give you the best-possible chance of creating great images. Ask a model to imagine different scenarios to create a mood. For example, pre- tend to be shampooing her hair under a tropical waterfall. Also, don't dis- count the possibilities offered by fun and flat-out funny images.
These can create a lasting impression on the model's prospective clients. I love helping models build the confidence they need to be at their best on cam- era. I do this by focusing on their strengths and getting them pumped up about the shoot. I also use stories to make it clear to them that being in front of a camera Fashion photography is always evolving, and photographers must be able to adapt quickly to each client's needs. Notice how much humor is used in TV commercials. One of my favorite stories is about a Sports Illustmud swimsuit photogra- pher who shot forty-thousand pictures on location to get sixty for print — and that was with a full makeup and hair crew, photographic as- sistants, and professional models!
Not every photo has to be perfect. In a portfolio session or on a glamour shoot, it also helps to re- mind your models that no one will see the photo before them — so if they hate an image, they can choose not to use it. Of course, this is not true for professional shoots, where models normally won't see the photos until they are published. Constant reinforcement of a positive nature is very important throughout the whole shooting process. Many models wait to hear positive feedback before they proceed to the next pose. For example, if the model is looking for work in Asia or Europe, try to include some photos that couldn't be made there because they include features that are unique to your area.
This could mean including characteristic architecture or landscapes, or any- thing else you can dream up. Backgrounds can be as simple as white seamless paper or as com- plex as a crowded city street. They can be classic or contemporary, subtle or bold. But whatever type of background you choose, be sure to use poses and clothing that either match its character a woman in a stylish suit on a busy city street or contrast with it wildly a woman in a formal gown in the desert.
Most of all, the background should flatter the model and be used in such a way that it doesn't compete with her for attention. If a back- ground seems distracting, try throwing it out of focus by posing the model farther away from it. The clothes you finally decide on should be ones that are not too trendy. Clothes like these will look dated quickly and require more photographs be taken.
Once a model is well established, she can add more trendy items to her portfolio. For the amateur model, try to accomplish a few basic shots: Try to show the model's beauty with a clean and fresh look instead of a highly stylized one. Athletic images usuaUy make the most sense when shot against outdoor backgrounds.