Casting Calls / Pageants & Contests / SecondLife / SL Modeling Tips/Tricks

SL Modeling – Tips on Portraits

When it comes to trying out for contests and pageants, your portrait will most likely be your first qualifier so to make it your best, here is a list of simple tips to follow.

Please note that everyone has different styles for making artistic portraits and that these tips are for competitive portraits. The objective for the competitive portraits is to appear confident and to show your full beauty.

  1. Eyes on the prize. Keep your eyes forward to the viewer. It establishes a connection instead of looking wayward and distracted. A slight offset from the viewer can be okay but it is recommended for the body to be turned into the same direction.
  2. Straighten up. Keep your body at a relatively straight and relaxed position. You can be tilted slightly but do not overdue it. You do not want to look like you have motion sickness nor give it to the viewer. Do not try to cram as much of your body into the photo by folding yourself into the picture as this follows in with the next rule.
  3. Close enough but not too close! A solid portrait is from shoulders and up. You do not want to have your full chest in the shot since the focus is on your face, not your chest, so the armpits is a good baseline to follow up from. Get too close and the viewer will want to back away from sheer proximity.
  4. Back to the back. You should never show your back in a portrait. Keep your body forward whether it be straight on to the camera or to the side slightly at no more than a 45 degree angle. You want to be relaxed, not strained into a twisted position.
  5. Crop the top. In some cases, you don’t need to see your full head of hair so you can crop off a little from the top to emphasis your face better, especially if you have a very high topped hair style. Never crop into your natural hairline. If you have bangs covering your hairline, imagine where that hairline would be and stay above it.
  6. Clear it up. You want your face seen so keep it clear of accessories and lots of stray hairs. Too many accessories will make it appear as though you are shying behind them. Never hide a single eye as well, even under hair.
  7. Keep it real. Your skin and hair colors should not be many shades darker or lighter than what your picture appears. The real you is what will be chosen so try not to edit so much that the portrait is indistinguishable from the real avatar. Avoid using sepia or other tone filters.
  8. Simplify backdrops. Keep what is behind you as simple as possible so the attention remains on you and you only. There is no shame in using a solid backdrop if you cannot find a suitable one instead. Make sure the backdrop’s color(s) match with your avatar and style.
  9. Check your attachments. Make sure your dangling attachments, such as earrings, flow with gravity. Even if your head is tilting only slightly, adjust them to stay true with gravity.
  10. Hair coloring. Keep your eyebrows, hair bases and hair consistent in color or as natural as possible. Nothing looks more awkward than a platinum blonde with a brown hair base and black eyebrows.
  11. Center of attention. The rule of thirds in photography does not need to be applied in portraits. Though it is best to be as centered as possible, you can be offset slightly as long as your body is turned towards the middle. Turning away from the middle might show that you do not want to be the star of the show.
  12. Zooming properly. When you zoom in under SL’s default zoom, you will see a fish-eye lens effect. To correct this, use CTLR+0 approximately four to eight times to get your avatar’s real shape. This will level out your avatar’s facial structure to its true form. To revert back to the default zoom, use CTRL+9 and to get an exaggerated fish-eye lens effect, use CTLR+8.
  13. Easy blurs. Blurring the backdrop can look nice if it is done properly. Never blur the face but around it. Blurring on the hair wisps is fine but avoid the majority of the hair’s “body”. And be sure to not blur too much or it will look too offset from the rest of the picture.
  14. Dim the lights. Use a neutral lighting that best compliments the true color of your skin. Too bright and you will look washed out and pale. Too dark and you will look desaturated and dim. Do not use harsh windlights as most will create ugly highlights around your cheekbones and reveal the nose indentions.
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9 thoughts on “SL Modeling – Tips on Portraits

  1. Thank you for the detailed explanation and tips.
    I would also like to know how to register as a model in sl. what are the steps? is there some place i can send the portrait after i make one?

    • Thankfully there isn’t one single source that models come from. There are various schools that teach the basics in styling, mechanics on the runway, body shape, etc. And there are agencies that host the shows, contests and magazine issues. With these two, you have the opportunity to connect with designers for modeling jobs. Some designers host open house casting opportunities for trained and untrained avatars. It’s best to have some sort of schooling before heading into one of those, even if it’s private, because you’ll at least know how it’s run, what they’re looking for and won’t get too disappointed if you don’t make it.

      • Thank you for the quick response. I really appreciate it. I would love to be a model in sl. I made a new sl avatar for modeling and worked on my shape for couple of weeks. I also bought few good quality skins. I am learning photography from Strawberry Singh’s tutorials and i own Photoshop CC for editing. Would it be ok if I send you my portrait for feedback inworld when I am done? Do you run a modeling school? If not, can you please recommend few good schools? How much does it cost to get model training? Thank you for being so nice and helpful.

      • Keep in mind always that modeling in SL is considered an expensive hobby. Unless you have a second job for supplemental Linden income, it’s very hard to work without dipping into real life funds. Many people go into it thinking it’s a glamorous life with designers giving you free stuff all the time when that’s hardly the case. Like with any hobby, it takes hard work and dedication.

        I do not run a modeling school but the best place to get a free taste of what modeling classes are like is from Model’s Workshop. http://modelsworkshop.wordpress.com/ There’s so many modeling schools out there that it’s best to get opinions from many other models than just one. You’ll be able to meet a lot of them at Model’s Workshop. Prices vary from each school but it’s the quality you’ll want to look for rather than the price and higher prices doesn’t always mean better teachers. They usually have one to two classes per week but very few have flexible schedules for those with inconsistent hours in real life. At the end of the course, you’ll have a graduation show which in most cases is your final exam.

        If you want to get more into photography for blogging, there’s a fairly new inworld photography school called Visioniare by Nariko. http://narikookawa.wordpress.com/

        I’m still currently out from home so I cannot log in normally into SL due to the wifi but I’d be happy to see what you can do. I use a non-graphic client called METAbolt when I’m away but I should be able to see inventoried textures and profile pictures.

      • Thanks for taking the time to reply. There is enough content on those websites to keep me busy and help me prep.
        Now I understand modeling is an expensive hobby. I don’t have any Linden income and I’ve already spent a lot on skins, hair and accessories.
        I really appreciate your advice. Thank you for maintaining this blog and sharing your experience. You are the best.

  2. Pingback: SL Modeling – Tips on Portraits | My Reflections

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