Tina Fey on Photo Shoots and Photoshop

I recently finished listening to "Bossypants" by Tina Fey on audio book.  It was pretty hilarious, although sometimes she was flat out ranting.  Overall, though, I enjoyed it.  There was one particularly hilarious chapter about photo shoots and photoshop that I thought I would share parts of.  I'm quoting only bits and pieces, because there's lots of rambling and pieces about glamorous studios that definitely don't apply to me!

Amazing, Gorgeous, Not Like That

"People sometimes ask me, 'What's it like to do photo shoots for magazines?' 'Do you enjoy that kind of thing?' Let me be completely honest here. Publicity and press junkets are just part of the job.  Your work is what you really care about because your work is your craft and your craft is your art and photo shoots are THE FUNNEST!"


"...There are different types of fancy photographers.  Some are big, fun personalities like Marlo Testino, who once told me, 'Lift your chin, darling, you are not eighteen.' I enjoyed his honesty.  Also, I'm pretty sure he says that to models who are nineteen.

Some photographers plan out every detail of the shot, then plug you into it.  For example, with Annie Liebovitz, you might have advance fittings for several custom Tinkerbell costumes.  On the day of the shoot, Annie will pick one of the costumes, then obsucre it with a large harness.  Afterward she'll remove the harness with Photoshop, change the color of the costume, and shrink you down to the size of a pea anyway.

There are the nonchalant 'cool guy' photographers who shoot for Rolling Stone or GQ.  Watch out for these guys, because their offhand manner can trick you and the next thing you know, you're posing with your pants off.  Or worse, with your shoes off."

For the record, I love barefoot but I will never talk you into taking your clothes off in a photo shoot:) Unless of course, you are under 1.5 years old or so.


"Posing for a successful glamour portrait is very simple.  Start with the basics.  Turn sideways.  Lean back against a wall.  Move your chin forward to elongate your neck.  Relax your shoulders.  Make angles wherever possible.  If you're over twenty-four, smile at all times.  Keep your arms slightly away from your sides so as not to smuch them and make them look larger.  Suck your stomach up and in, and wrap your buttocks toward the back, Pilates-style.  Be yourself.  When you look into the lens, imagine you are looking at a dear friend, but not a friend who would laugh at you for jutting out your chin whil arching your back against a fake wall...If a bout of "creepy face" sets in, the trick is to look away from the camera between shots and turn back only when necessary.  This also limits how much of your soul the camera can steal.

The posing guide is hilarious.  I normally start each of my photo shoots stating that I'm not going to do any major posing. I might make a few suggestions or tell you if something looks a little weird, but how can you POSSIBLY look your best being in such an awkward pose???!

Dealing with What is Being Said to You

"Most photographers have some kind of verbal patter going on when they shoot: 'Great. Turn to me. Big smile. Less shark eyes. Have fun with it. Not like that.'

Some photographers are compulsively effusive. 'Beautiful. Amazing. Gorgeous! Ugh, so gorgeous!' they yell at shutter speed.  If you are anything less than insane, you will realize this is not sincere.  It's hard to take because it's more positive feedback than you've received in your entire life thrown at you in fifteen seconds.  It would be like going jogging while someone rode next to you in a slow-moving care, yelling, 'Yes! You are Carl Lewis! You're breaking a world record right now.  Amazing! You are fast. You're going very fast, yes!'"

Lets hope I don't do any of these things! I like to carry on normal, friendly conversation during my photo shoots. I like to get to know you and help you relax.  If I ever catch myself saying ANY of these things, I belive I'll re-think my career.


"We have now entered the debate over America's most serious and pressing issue: Photoshop...Photoshop is like makeup.  When it's done well it looks great, and when it's overdone you look...crazy...Unfortunately, most peole don't do it well.  I find, the fancier the fashion magazine is the worse the Photoshop.  It's as if they are already so disgusted that a human has to be in the clothes, they can't stop erasing human features.

Conversion to black and white.

"If you're going to expend energy being mad about Photoshop, you'll also have to be mad about earrings.  No one's ears ar that sparkly! They shouldn't have to be! You'll have to get mad about oil paintings - those people didn't really look like that! I for one am furious that people are allowed ot turn sideways in photographs!  Why can't we accept a woman's full width? I won't rest until people are only allowed to be photographed facing front under a flourescent light."

"Feminists do the best Photoshop because they leave the meat on your bones.  They don't change your size or your skin color.  They leave in your disgusting knuckles, but they may take out some armpit stubble.  Not because they're denying its existence, but because they understand that it's okay to make a photo look as if you were caught on your best day in the best light."

Vintage Tones and Texture.

"At least with Photoshop you don't really have to alter your body.  It's better than all these disgusting injectibles and implants.  Isn't it better to have a computer do it to your picture than to have a doctor do it to your face?"

Just reading this chapter makes me SOOO happy that I don't approach photography anything like this.  Except maybe the part about how feminists do photoshop.  Does that make me a feminist? Nope, don't think so.  I think it's crazy to try to make someone be who they aren't.  Sure, that can feel glamorous but I'd rather take photographs that portray who you truly are!  For fun, I've included some examples of how I use photoshop.

Ok, so this post was long but I hope you got a laugh out of it!  Just gives us some perspective on the wide variety of approaches to photography.

Getting rid of bumps, bruises, scratches, scars, and boogers.
 For more of Christine's lifestyle portraits and fine art prints, click here.

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