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Fix That Bad Expression

When I’m photographing groups for publication, invariably the person in charge wants to include every possible warm body in the photograph. I carefully explain that picturing 37 people in a two-column newspaper photo means that each person’s face will probably end up in print roughly the size of a halftone dot. With only two or three people in the photo, each person will appear large, lifelike, and recognizable for their moment of fame. Moreover, publications prefer tight, intimate photos over those that appear to be documentation for the most recent reunion of the Royal Air Force.

Of course, the real reason for limiting the number of people in a publicity photo is that the more people pictured, the greater the chance that one of them will have one or more eyes closed or some horrid facial expression. Case in point is the photo shown in Figure 15.1. The young man has just received an autographed photo from the author of the Harry Potter book series, but he looks like he’s swallowed a lemon. Figure 15.2 shows him in a better mood, but the little girl really looked better in the first photo. This is no problem for the Photocomposition Brigade. We can do a simple head transplant.


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