PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : Daily Distractions: Making The Shot Count

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Daily Distractions: Making The Shot Count
Ahem ! Attention please… everyone…? If we can get focused for just a moment – we can look forward to 2007 being our most ‘distracting’ ever. We’re getting tons of well-intended reader submissions for our Daily Distractions, but sadly most land in the reject bin – because the pictures (not the ladies) look terrible. Guys: Any lady can be sock-worthy if you just follow a few simple guidelines…



A digital camera in the hands of a sweaty-palmed sock-hungry Herb Ritts wannabe can be a dangerous thing. So before you pull the trigger, take a few moments to set up the shot to make it count, and do yourself and all PEZ-Readers proud. Here’s how to take the best pics…



Whoooaa big shooter! Any large group of hotties can be downright intimidating. And like everything, there’s a right way, and a wrong way to ask beautiful women for their photo… Be sincere, direct, and polite – because a willing subject is worth their weight in … Pez Socks.


Server stats, readers emails, and actual comments confirm that men and women alike love to check in for a daily dose of a smiling cutie. Sure we’ve had the odd voice of disapproval over the months, but these are far (and I mean FAR) outweighed by the emails we get that simply say “I Love the Distractions!” (And anyway – if you don’t like it, don’t look at it!)



We admit, Chilean babes look hot in any light, but technically
this pic has too much sunlight – see those harsh shadows hiding their faces? Solution – get in close enough to use your flash (even in sunlight), and hope your high-school Spanish doesn’t fail you.



Why Distractions?
As David St. Hubbins says – “Why Not?”
… But if I need to explain why I enjoy looking a hot babes, then as my father used to tell me: “you’re talking to the wrong end of the horse.” Anyone who’s a reader of these pages knows you need not check your sense of humor at the door, but in case you do we’re ready to rubber-chicken slap you upside the head with ours.



A nice full body shot here – but try to concentrate long enough
to get their feet in the frame.



Seasoned PEZ-fans know we offer the very cool PEZ-Socks by DeFeet for published Distracting submissions. Now, how a pair of socks could actually be better than the thrill and satisfaction of photographing a beautiful girl is almost beyond us – except that we’re talking PEZ-socks here, but as more of you venture forth to capture the beautiful women of cycling for the good all PEZ-kind, we think it’s time to share some basic tips to using your camera most effectively.



Lesson here: a scenic background can make a hot babe even hotter. But once again the flash would have added some nice light to her face. Guys – remember – the real ‘money shot’ is one your girl is proud of too!


Any picture worth taking is worth taking well, so we’ve compiled a list of do’s, don’ts, and comments from some pro-photogs to speed you along to photgraphc excellence – and hopefully a pair of your very own PEZ socks by DeFeet!

If you intend to embarrass yourself by asking an outta your league uber-babe some and complete stranger if you can take her picture, the least you can do is impress her by taking a good photo!



• The ‘Group Shot’ has many benefits – most based around the basic premise of more of a good thing is better than less of it.
• LOSE THE SHADES: Women’s eyes tell the story – so don’t hide ‘em behind shades – the women whose eyes you see are the ones you looked at first here…
• And while you’re at it: NO BIKE HELMETS either please – it makes ‘em look like us… and nobody wants that.




I remember this shot well – Tour03, Toulouse, baking hot. This girl was French, or Spanish or Basque, she didn’t understand a word I said, but my media pass and camera did the trick. If I’d been thinking clearly though, I would have positioned her in the shade and used my flash, or had her stand with her back to the sun and used my flash to eliminate the bright spot on her forehead. Note the 3/4 body shot.


The APPROACH – Getting Off On The Right Foot
A lot of readers are sending us spy-pics of ladies shot from afar. Usually, since these ladies don’t’ know they’re picture is being taken, are busy moving around, doing things that are just not conducive to a good pic. We’re all going to be better off – really – if you just get in there and ask for her permission. Here’s how…

Ed Smith took a ton of great shots from the Tour de Georgia, and batted 1000 on photo requests:
“The women associated with events are pretty polished and used to having their pictures taken so no problem. When approaching a “non-event” subject, I just asked if they wanted to be a distraction, explained the site and mentioned that cyclists like Hincapie and Lance regularly read PEZ and check out the distraction section. When just walking up to pretty girls, I prefer to approach a couple, usually the boyfriend or husband is pretty eager to show off his wife/girlfriend and I ask if they are familiar with your site and the guy usually says yeah and we just go from there.”


Try A Different Angle

• Hold your camera up high and shoot down on your subject – it’s a flattering angle that captures head to toe beauty.


What NOT TO DO
Sadly – here’s a classic example of a hugely missed opportunity – but a great learning example for us all. Upon close inspection this Spanish lady is gorgeous… but due to several ‘operator errors’ by the photog, we’ll never be able to appreciate her true beauty. I couldn’t even fix it in photoshop….



1. Framing: Don’t cut her off at major joints – like her waist – it makes her look funny and we’re left wondering ’what happened to the rest of her’. Choose one of these simple crops: face/ head, head & shoulders, torso, 3/4 body, or full body.
2. More Framing: when showing something of interest in the background like the Eiffel Tower, place her on one side and it on the other side of the frame. I would crop out the fountain on the right as it distracts from the distraction.
3. Lighting: bright days can be tricky – see how her face is in shadow – that’s bad. So turn on the flash, and angle her so more natural light falls where you want it.
4. Resolution: The low quality resolution suggests this was shot on a camera-phone – major No no! I’ve yet to see a decent pic taken on a phone, maybe that’s why they’re called ‘phones’ and not ‘cameras’. Use a REAL CAMERA!
5. Fill The Frame: A lot of pics would work if they were just closer – so when in doubt, fill the frame with your subject.


May I Please…?
Dave Aldersebaes began the “Roadside Dave” craze at the ’04 Tour de Georgia – and has had some experience with asking permission: “Ah, the ladies. Sometimes so beautiful you just want to clandestinely snap the pic and move on, but rest assured, drop a media nugget in their ear, and they’re usually game. Women love to be complimented on their beauty, especially when put in a sincere manner. Mention both and you should get any gal to smile pretty for the camera. ‘I’d like to send your picture into PezCycling News, they do a gallery of beautiful women in and around cycling, and I think you’d be perfect. May I take your picture?’

They’ll say, at the very least “What’s the picture for?”, giving you another opportunity to invoke the name of Pez, and to clarify your intentions.” ( – and played right – even get her number.)

Of course we’re all on the honour system, so the PezCycling name must only be used for good – never for evil.



Note the neutral background – it lets your eye rest easy on the subjects. The last thing we want is to be distracted from your Distraction.


LIGHT IT UP – USE YOUR FLASH!
If the sun is out: flash or a reflector is a must. The brighter the outside light, the greater the need for fill flash, because you’ll need to eliminate the shadows cast across your subject’s face. If the sun is bright try to find a dark background, like vegetation, leafy trees, team truck…


MAKE HER COMFORTABLE!
Women from 3 years to 90 years old, will be more relaxed, comfortable and appreciative of efforts to make them look good and it will be evident in the final photo. A few thoughts that may be obvious but are worth mentioning.
- Avoid direct sunlight in the face it makes them subject squint.
- Avoid reflective surfaces in the background: windows, chrome, shinny painted surfaces, water.
- Watch for obstacles like signs, posts that would appear like and added appendage or a cluttered background.
- No sunglasses unless up on the head. If the subject is wearing eyeglasses I ask if I can adjust or change the angle of the glass to eliminate reflection and 98% of the time the person asks if it would be better without the glasses. I never directly ask anyone to remove their glasses.
- If the subject has a necklace on, I ask them to reposition the clasp behind the neck.



This is a great shot, on sooo many levels – beautiful lady, clean neutral background, interesting angle, and zoiks! – check out that dress! The only problem is finding poster size for the back of your bedroom door.


WATCH THE BACKGROUND
Your digicam is probably at least a 3 megapixel unit, so you can capture lots of resolution- which is good. Just don’t waste picture space on background junk that will be cropped out anyway – . So get in close – fill your frame with the subject – and make sure she’s in there from head to toe. Then, look at what you can see going on around them – what’s in the background that might be distracting (– in a bad way!). We’ll decide how to crop the best photo.


For instance:

Great example of stuff to watch our for – mini-me’s walking into your subject’s head, road signs stuck through her neck, chainlink fence, and too much shade on her face… yuck, yuck, and yuck.


REPEAT AFTER ME
Always shoot at least 2 pics of the subject – in case she blinks or something, and always use your flash for at least one of them.



The Group Shot: It’s often easier to ask for, and usually offers something for everyone. (Again – nice uncluttered background and flash on.)



Sure these ladies are sexy, athletic and friendly- but imagine how much better this pic would be without the helmets and glasses obscuring their outer beauty. Lesson here: Lose the lids and shades!



A pretty smile, good lighting, and even a blurred background to set focus clearly on our subject… this shot has it all.



GO FORTH AND PHOTOGRAPH
Maybe a lot of info to take in at one time, but follow these tips and you could be up to your neck in PEZ-socks! (figuratively of course). But seriously, this world will be a better place when we start taking better pictures of each other. There’s enough doom gloom and crap out there already, but you’ll always find a refreshing escape is right here at PEZCycling News, that hopefully reminds you what life’s really about.

Now smile for the camera…




 

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