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I am a tall blonde girl with freckles and my boyfriend is Asian mostly the same height as me. We are an odd couple and we look odd together but I would love to know if you have any tips on helping us look better or less odd in photos together?

We have been dating for 6 months and we still don't have a good photo of us together... it's getting sad.

Kind regards Aleries

  • You might ammend this with a note as to what kind of camera you have, and a small photo captioned to indicate what you want different. I assumed you meant freckeled (ginger) vs swarthy complection. – JDługosz Mar 2 '15 at 3:38
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    It would help if you could explain what you feel to be odd. You mention that your height isn't mismatched, and the only other things you discuss are hair, complexion, and race — things which don't make you an odd couple on their own in 2015 (I hope!) – Please Read My Profile Mar 2 '15 at 10:22
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Why do you think you're an odd couple? Simply because you're tall and blond, and he's Asian?

If that's your definition of odd, then any photo is going to look odd to you I suppose, since you two are going to look blond and Asian.

If you think your height makes you look odd, there are a number of poses (sitting for example) which would make that fact less obvious.

But maybe you're just self-conscious about looking "odd" and so you're uncomfortable when having pictures taken. Most people don't like having their pictures taken, and aren't very happy with most of the results.

I'd suggest you get a good friend who can spend some time with you, get you relaxed and comfortable, and bring out your personalities. Maybe take photos while doing something you both enjoy, so the setting is more natural, and less awkward and posed.

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  • My previous answer apparently came across as a little too lighthearted and was deleted, but I was basically trying to make the same point about poses, and finding a physical setting and spatial relationship to each other that doesn't accentuate the things you find "odd". – junkyardsparkle Mar 2 '15 at 2:52
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Setting up flashes for a party, it takes adjusting to get an even illumination across the area where people might stand 5 across. With two people and 1 light, it's less problematic but still can get uneven. Besides differing distance, turning to a different angle to the light can cause differences.

So use that on purpose. If you are facing forward at 12 o'clock, with boyfriend on right (3 o'clock), put the flash at o'clock. With a soft source up close, the distance to the light will be significantly different for each of you. The point is that the source is close so falls off— window light won't do that.

With more kit, you could get a piece of gausy material to cast shadows, feathered in. Actually, outside with dappled light I will use a card to make sure a dapple lies over the face. You could use a full shadow on your face and a diffuser semi-shadow over his, and all the lighting differences caused by the tree leaves would hide any intentional exposure difference.

Meanwhile, something I've not followed up on is noticing (via rawdigger) that one color channel is much brighter than the others. Using a gel over the flash could cut that back and give me 1.5 or even 2 additional stops of lattitude.

If a good range of values is capured for both skintones, you can bring them together in photoshop. There is much more available then the in-camera jpeg!

Look at photos and determine how many value levels (stops) are between your two skintones. Post that, and maybe get more specific advice, or at least a rough idea what kimd of approach might work.

There's always spray-tan.

BTW, my wife is Chinese and I'm a blue-eyed Pole, in ancesstory. Not as extreme as a red-head, but I know where you are coming from.

On the other hand...

I reciently took a picture of us before going out to a black-tie event, and I had no problem capturing the entire tonal range of my tuxedo, showing details in both black coat and white shirt. I needed a little care to get an image that would show up on a common user's screen or tablet, and sacrificed some detail in the process — I don't need every thread to show up, just show the differences in black on black features.

I used cfl bulbs meant for still lifes, and too dim really for this, but it's just an improved available-light shot. The only issue was getting enough light for an exposure without motion blur or depth blur — nothing special to address the extreme range other than to check the histogram to ensure it's not under exposed so all the darks are present. More generally make sure the whole histogram fits and is not cut off at either end.

extreme range, no problem

So maybe you just need

  • a better camera (is it a dSLR or mirrorless that shoots RAW images?), or
  • skills in "developing" the RAW data. This camera has a now-typical 14-bit A-to-D, which is only one stop short of counting every single photon.
  • an optimal (rather than just salvageable) exposure.
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