How to Photograph A Pronounced Nose—Portrait Tips from Lindsay Adler

February 18, 2014

By Laura Brauer

With just a few short days left till WPPI, I wanted to share an example of the kind of in-depth and useful information you’ll learn this year at WPPI. Real world tips, and great takeaways guaranteed to help you take your shooting skills to the next step.

Lindsay Adler is one of our esteemed teachers, and has a busy schedule with us this year, leading several classes as well as serving as one of our judges in the Print Competition. You can see her at WPPI-U, and in her platform presentation on March 5th from 8:30-10:00 AM, “How to Flatter Anyone, No Really, Anyone.

As a way to get us pumped, she’s sharing a little about what she’ll be teaching this year—a tip every photographer shooting portraits of any kind can use: Tips for photographing a pronounced nose. 

Take it away, Lindsay…

As a fashion photographer, many people believe that I only photograph ‘perfect beauty’ as our society has defined it. In reality, however, most of my paying clients are from this standard and are professional athletes, singers and performers. My job is to use the tools in my photographic tool box to help them look their best and make them shine.

In my WPPI presentation, I will provide you the tools needed to flatter features that are traditionally considered more difficult by photographers, including pronounced nose, pronounced forehead, plus size, double chin, oily skin and more. I will provide you tools to help reduce any perceived ‘weakness’ and instead play up and individual’s strength and beauty.

Let’s take a look at one key example for someone with a longer than the ‘average’ nose. If this is a feature a subject is concerned about, it is not your job to ‘Photoshop it’ smaller, but instead use photographic tools—including lens choice, posing and lighting—to reduce its appearance in the photograph.

Lens choice: Select a longer lens with MORE compression. This will make the nose appear shorter and less pronounced. If typically with portraits you shoot between 70mm-85mm full frame, you might instead consider 200mm in this instance.

Pose: Keep the subject’s face most straight toward the camera. The face to profile or turned too far to the side will draw attention to the length of her nose. A face toward the camera will generally be more flattering.

Lighting: Be sure to avoid lighting that draws unnecessary attention to the length of the nose through shadows. The light should be more centered on the subject’s face and lower in angle. Long shadows will work against you when photographing subjects with this feature.

One of the reasons it’s important to educate yourself as a photographer is so that you’re able to provide the tools and techniques necessary for any subject. My class with give you confidence to photograph all shapes, sizes and challenging features!