Monday, October 25, 2010

Kimono Photography Tips

If you want to take a photo of yourself in your favorite kimono coordinate, how can you make your pictures look better? Here are a few general and kimono-specific photography tips for your next time in front of a camera. :)

1. Lighting - Good lighting can really increase the quality of a photo, and bad lighting can destroy it. Even if you have a point-and-click camera, you can still take advantage of good lighting situations by shooting either in the early morning or late afternoon (when the sun is not directly overhead and making harsh shadows), on overcast days (when light is soft and diffused), or near windows and natural light if you're inside.

2. Composition - There are whole books written on this, but a couple of basic tips are try not to cut any limbs off at the joints, and leave enough "breathing" room around yourself or the subject so the focal point/person doesn't seem crammed into the photo.

3. Hips In! - This sounds like some kind of fight move... Anyway, while this is a personal opinion, I say in general don't stand with your hip stuck out, as people often like to pose in Western clothing, unless you're going for something over-the-top and funky. The effect is usually that you put your kimono on crooked because it's trying to follow the line of your hips and ends up looking uneven across the bottom. Stand straight up for a cleaner line.

4. Straightforward? - Standing straight on into the camera, especially in all the layers kimono adds, can make you seem much bigger than you actually are. Turn slightly to one side or the other for a more natural silhouette.

5. Garage Door of Doom - I coined this phrase when talking about Goth outfit shots back in the day. (A super-cool, super-Goth outfit worn by some hot super-Goth posing super-Gothically loses just a bit of its visual punch when the photo was taken in front of a beige garage door.) Basically it means take the time to find a background that will add positively to the theme of the image, or at least be neutral.

Like bad lighting, distracting or ill-fitting backgrounds can detract from the overall photo. You don't need a koi pond and bonsai garden behind you, but at least go for a plain wall or set of trees.

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