More photo no-nos
I’m on a roll here, kids. Since I critiqued unfortunate butt shots earlier, now I’m moving on to another potential photo disaster — the awkward screen grab face.
A little photo 101: When producers shoot videos, they of course will want stills to post on their sites, on FetLife, Tumblr, etc. to advertise their work. There are two ways to attain photos — one, you shoot stills between/after the video scenes, and two, you get “screen grabs” from the videos. With a variety of software available — some of it free — one can play a video, freeze the action, and capture what’s on the screen as a still shot.
There are advantages to both methods. Obviously, a still shot is more posed and perfect and the participants can tweak it to achieve the right look. But there is an immediacy and authenticity to screen grabs, capturing the action in ways that a posed shot simply can’t.
HOWEVER: screen grabs also capture the people mid-sentence, mid-grimace, mid-scream, whatever. And the face can be frozen into something that looks utterly ridiculous. When taking screen grabs, the grabber should consider all aspects of the photo — the position, the action, and yes, the facial expression. But alas, oftentimes the latter is ignored, as evidenced by the plethora of screen grabs I found of Yours Truly out there.
Yup, this time, I’m featuring my own self in the Bad Picture Examples. Enjoy.
My first example is a comparison between a good screen grab and a bad one. This is from the DVD box of Spanking Epics’ “Trouble in Carson’s Gap,” with Keith Jones:
You can tell this is a screen grab, not a posed shot — my hair is messed up, I’m not looking at the camera, but it has a wonderful sense of immediacy. However, in yesterday’s search, I found this little gem. Same scene.
What the hell? I look stoned! Who looked at this and thought it was a good screen grab?
While we’re on Spanking Epics, here’s a shot from “The Reckoning.” Keith looks fine. But what the hell am I doing?? Neck exercises?
This next one made it very clear to me that someone is out there trying to make me look stupid. Here’s a grab of me, with Devlin O’Neill, in Shadow Lane’s “Stand Corrected.” WTF is this face about? (sorry, lousy picture quality, but even a good resolution couldn’t save this)
Who put this up, dammit??? I look like a chicken trying to lay a square egg.
And finally, a comparison between a well-taken still and a poor screen grab. This is one of my favorite photos from Pandora Blake’s Dreams of Spanking, “The Workaholic,” with Paul Kennedy:
If I do say so myself, how perfect is this? I’ve got my classic “righteous indignation” face on, Paul is giving me a deliciously toppy scowl, the hairbrush is in action, our body positioning is spot on. This picture makes me happy.
But then, there’s this floating around out there — why, I don’t know:
Why? WHY? Instead of looking pained and furious, I look like I was just force-fed cottage cheese. At least this one is an equal opportunity insult, since Paul looks kinda goofy too. 😀
What’s the message here? Please, people — producers, videographers, amateurs who love screen captures — choose your end product wisely. A piece of footage will have literally hundreds of screens you can grab as a still. Make the extra effort to freeze the shots where everyone looks good… rather than making us look stunned, stoned, stuporous, or like mouth-breathing morons. OK? Sheesh.
Have a great weekend, y’all.