That’s what friends are for…

| Nov 27, 2006
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DSCN2064m.JPGLast Tuesday, I got together with a couple of friends for an afternoon of picture taking, videotaping, (more on that later), and socializing.  For one afternoon, we simply got dressed up and took pictures throughout the house.

A relatively simple activity, but one with far reaching consequences.  For instance, I hadn’t seen my friend Talia in a really long time, so it gave us an opportunity to catch up.  Emma just finished an extreme makeover on her home, (and it’s gorgeous!), and wanted to see what areas worked best for photos.

For me, I got a lot of pictures I’m happy with.  I don’t look bad at all, and that makes me feel good.  Really good.   And positive self-esteem keeps getting harder and harder to come by as the years go by.

What’s the secret to good pictures?  All I know is it helps tremendously to have someone with a good eye behind the camera.  It’s one thing to use the self-timer and take pictures of oneself, but it’s a whole different world with someone else as your photographer.

They can help you with posing, and light, and all the little details that make up a good shot: is your hair looking good?  Is a bra strap showing?  Can you suck in your gut a bit more?  What is the best angle for the head?   Are you standing in front of a plant and it looks like you have leaves growing out of your ears?  All important parts of composition that you just can’t get when you’re taking pictures by yourself.

When I pose, I tend to rely on the same few poses, over and over and over again.  I’m so comfortable with them that it’s second nature to sit a certain way, or smile another way.  But with Talia and Emma holding the camera, they made me try new poses and new expressions, and I’m quite happy I listened.    (What worked for me when I was 27 years old and 180lbs, doesn’t always work now that I’m 35 and 220lbs.)

But even more important than the photos is the camraderie.  Spending an afternoon with friends with no worries?  That’s priceless.

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About the Author ()

Ronnie Rho has been writing for Transgender Forum since May of 1999. One of these days, she'll get it right. She's been described as the "world's most famous recluse," but only by people who don't know her very well. She is unmarried, and lives in Cincinnati.

Comments (3)

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  1. Teri Taylor says:

    I enjoyed reading this. Particularly about the comraderie of good friends. That touches me!

  2. melissak says:

    Good idea if your friends have a good camera eye. Watching out for plants out of ears, the bra strap, are all good tips. To get a good eye, learn not to keep looking right in the subjects eyes like we do when we are talking to someone. You are not talking to them, you are taking their picture. You have to look over the “whole” picture before you take the shot. You can’t do that if you are drowning in the languid pools of their blue eyes.

    Another good tip is the rule of thirds. If you hold your camera in portrait view (verticle rectangle) imagine the viewfinder is divided into thirds by two horizontal lines. Then frame your subject so their eyes are on the top line. One third of the picture will be above their eyes, and two thirds below. This gives a pleasing arrangment. What ever you do, no matter how great the eye shadow and mascara, avoid putting peoples eyes dead center in the picture.

    The rule of thirds works for landscape view (horizontal rectangle) too. If you have a lanscape put the horizon line on the top line so 1/3 is sky, 2/3 is land. If you have people standing around but their eyes on the top line and you get a good torso to head balance even if you cut off their feet.

    The rule of thirds is a simplified version of the “Golden Ratio” or “Golden Rectangle” which goes back to the Greeks who used ratios in much of their architecture. This golden ration can be found in many naturally occuring plant and animal growth patterns too. It is the basis of the pentagram, and was a part of the Pythagoreans beliefs.

    There is also an old but amusing Disney short cartoon on it called “Donald Duck in Mathemagic Land.” Worth watching if you ever come across it. (Who says I wasted my youth watching cartoons!)