Photographing Twins Tips

Kenneth Hoffman, a retired photographer, has written an interesting article on how you can take better photos of twins;

Photographing Twins

Photographing Twin

Capturing a portrait of twins compared to one person is more than twice as difficult. For a good comparison while retaining individual characteristics, all eyes must be focused at one point. There is a tendency to place the twins on a bench which unfortunately puts them both at the same height. This produces a static look and may lead the viewer to place false emphasis on minor height differences. Many methods can be used to place the twins at different heights. The ideal configuration is one in which the chin of the lower subject is even with the eyes of the upper subject.

Many methods can be used to attain this height difference. A small (four inch) riser can be placed under one subject or one subject can be standing. A small chair for one subject and the floor for the second satisfies the composition for a full length portrait. Teens to adults can be photographed one in an arm chair and one on the arm. Some sporty poses have one kneeling on one knee and the other sitting back on his heels. The aim is to make a diagonal of a line drawn between the faces. This has the effect of a more dynamic and energetic composition.

For twins portraits that have a priority to compare faces, it is important to make sure that the turn of the faces is identical. If the differences in facial characteristics is important, the body angle and head angle may be slightly different. Many more exposures should be taken in order to insure there are enough good poses. Blinks, off looks and bad expressions have to be discarded.

Triplets portraiture follow the same rules with the addition of the third subject. A constant flow of conversation is helpful in keeping the triplet’s attention on the photographer. Make sure no two heads are in the same plane and that all three heads are the same distance from the camera. This is to minimize any effects of foreshortening. A longer than normal telephoto lens can be used to help in this department. If identical clothing is worn, extra attention should be placed in arranging the clothing for a neat effect. Inevitably, comparisons will be made. Facial expressions that are on the moderate side will help create a nicer twins portrait. Buddy pictures are ideal for twins. Arms around shoulders, leaning on one another and interaction shots (reading, gaming) play up the closeness of twins. Be sure to have twice as much fun!

Submitted by Kenneth Hoffman –
Originally posted: 21.02.07

One Response to “Photographing Twins Tips”

  1. Steven Pam says:

    Interesting article Kenneth, thanks.

    I’m not sure I agree with all of your ‘rules’ for photographig twins (different heights, diagonal lines, etc). I find that the best people photographs often come from more spontaneous shooting.

    And thanks to the advent of digital, a spontaneous style of shooting no longer carries the risks it used to (i.e. you didn’t get the shot!).

    However I think your suggestions would probably still be of great use to beginners. Once they are confident and getting good results working with the ‘rules’ you have suggested, they would be well advised to experiment a little more.


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