When I was in New York last month, I smiled twice at a familiar face in the subway before I realized I knew that face belonged to Michele Hicks from The Shield. Then fastidiously avoiding further eye contact, when I see people I think I actually know, and I really only know their faces because they are famous. This is kind of embarrassing, but a situation I suspect in which other people also find themselves. Who I didn't recognize was Michael Chiklis on the cover of Improper Bostonian, also of The Shield, the great actor with a giant head. And here he is, looking handsome and with a noggin that is nearly unrecognizable. Now, that’s some wicked good short lighting. Kudos to Andrew Stiles for this Improper Bostonian cover portrait.
The right approach to light can dramatically change our visual perception of volume of an object. His head isn’t any smaller, but it looks smaller. How can we use this on the fly? Posing with shadows to minimize the shapes you want to minimize and with light to emphasize area you want to emphasize. A shadow can knock down the visual size of an object, whether it’s the giant dome of Vic Mackey, or a size large bottom.
Like an expert make up artist, we can use light and contouring to make people look their best. Or their worst. But I think people prefer to see themselves at their best.
Send in your own examples!