It’s your job as the photographer to make your subjects look their best, and one of the first steps to making this happen consistently is knowing how to find a person’s “good side” for portraits. It is possible, and photographer Joe Edelman explains how in this short video.
The video starts with a touch of cognitive psychology, explaining the somewhat-common knowledge that the left side of a person’s face tends to show more emotion. This is also the side we look at first, and the side most people in research studies judge to be more aesthetically pleasing.
But that’s not the end of it. Edelman takes you beyond the science, using his years of experience to unpack the research he shares at the beginning in the context of professional portrait photography. His tips ultimately revolve around one thing: creating balance and symmetry.
Look for the asymmetry in your subject’s face while you’re chatting with them to break the ice. Specifically, look to see which eye is bigger. Then, angle that side of the face away from the lens. This will help make both sides of the face look even.
Edelman goes on to discuss a few other tips, but they all boil down to chasing symmetry. Use perspective, hair styling, make-up, and lighting to give the illusion of a symmetrical face and you should end up with better results every time.
Check out the full video up top to hear the explanation in full… and then run to your mirror make sure you’ve got your own “good side” figured out.