I have loved the iconic classic pin ups for as long as I can remember, but as a plus sized girl I never seriously thought about participating in pin up photography. In recent years I have found the Rockabilly community and in it I have discovered the wonderful body-positive pin up movement. You can see some of my favorite plus sized pin ups here. So I decided that I wanted to see what it was like to become a pin up. Having a model in the family, I was already familiar with pin up photographers in my area, but it’s a good idea to do a little research before choosing your photographer. I will post about picking the perfect photographer later. I opted for the fabulous Marilee Caruso Photography (who I definitely recommend if you are in the California Bay Area!)
Becoming a pin up was a big process! I chose a military themed shoot to honor the “birth” of the pin up girl who was ripped from the pages of magazines and hung on the walls in bunkers and military camps during the first world war. The photographer had a large array of costume options, but I decided to use a dress from my own collection (which ensured it would fit me). Marilee did my make up and hair. She taught me some great tips to getting a pin up perfect face – some of which I have yet to master, but are still crazy helpful! If you have the opportunity for a professional to do your make up, go for it! Be sure to talk them up too so you know exactly what they are doing. Getting ready for the shoot took the majority of my time at the studio. The actual photo shoot went really quickly, but we managed to get a ton of photos with lots of fun poses.
Pin Up Tip #1
Know your vowels!
One of the great tips Marilee gave me was how to get the perfect cheesecake facial expression; saying your vowels. I had lots of “AH”s and “OH”s and “OOH”s. Making these vowels in an exaggerated way helps to produce those cute pin up facial expressions without the “duck face” issue that plagues girls these days. In the photo above I was saying a big “E”.
Pin Up Tip #2
Bend and Twist!
I also learned some wonderful tips to posing like a pin up. You’ll notice that most pin ups are not standing perfectly upright. They are often twisted and bent to accentuate their curves. Marilee helped me to find some great poses that worked with my figure. Bending forward slightly helps to hide the belly and makes “the girls” look bigger! What a wonderful tip!!!
Pin Up Tip #3
Work the Angles
Another great posing tip is to pay attention to where you are pointing your body. Straight on poses tend to make you look a little wider or blocky. True profile shots can distort your figure. But directing your hips diagonally (not full profile) while your shoulders face the camera at a more direct angle helps to slim the figure.
Tips like this are extremely helpful in making any girl a pin up girl (along with a little photoshopping….).