Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Portrait Photography Tips

Portrait Photography Tips

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Portrait Photography Tips

Posted: 16 Jul 2013 04:24 PM PDT

Final Reminder: Only 1 day left! in the deal on: Basic Lighting for Portrait Photography

Portraiture can be very rewarding. It’s a chance to show the best side (literally) of someone, and create a photo that communicates something unique.

The first rule of good portraiture is LOOK at your subject. This sounds obvious but take a browse through all the shots you have of your family and friends and see if they don’t have a sameness about them. Head and shoulders, passport photos, awkward poses, uncomfortable expressions, blank looks, embarrassed smiles…?

"Untitled Portrait" captured by Igor Umansky

“Untitled Portrait” captured by Igor Umansky (Click Image to Find Photographer)

Each person has some unique quality that deserves photographing. It doesn’t have to be perfect skin, a remodeled nose, pouting mouth, stunning eyes. But it should be some quality that best communicates the person’s individuality.

Sound daunting? It isn’t if you follow some basic tips.

Don’t use direct flash. Flash is light at its most boring. On rare occasions it can really lift a shot into dazzling life, but most of the time using available light is better. Flash tends to give a bland look and the fact of the flash going off takes away any intimate atmosphere you may have created.

Use a telephoto lens. 105-135mm is best. Wide angle is a big no-no.

Pick the person’s ‘best side’. People really do have one. Get one shoulder turned towards the camera so one side is favored a little. Try the pose the other way and figure out which is best.

Photo captured by ToMa

Photo captured by ToMa (Click Image to Find Photographer)

Dress your subject up if possible. If this is a semi-formal portrait you can have some say in the clothes. Solid, dark or light colors work best. Stripes checks, swirls, and patterns confuse the viewer’s eye. Bold colors can overwhelm the skin tones. A vee or scoop neck is better than a round neck. For a man or older woman, cover the shoulders, for a young woman leave them bare.

Try to use the available light to good effect. Position the person where the light is soft and coming mainly from one direction. This can give a moody feel and usually gets the eyes more attention.

You can use a reflector on the shadowed side to ‘bounce the light’ if the contrast between highlight and shadow is too strong. You can make a simple reflector using aluminum foil on a sheet of cardboard.

Let the person sit down. This helps them to relax and helps you to be able to direct them more easily.

Direct the person. In portraiture, you’re dealing with minor movements and shifts of position and angle. Try to shoot slightly above the person to make the eyes open more. Lower the shoulder closest to the camera, get the head straight or at an engaging angle. Lower the chin a little.

Some people look best when they smile and some don’t. You can get more interesting expressions and nuances without a smile. Tell the person to think of something they like doing. This will bring up subtle lights in the eyes and shifts in the mouth lines.

Compose vertically. Turn the camera on its side. A portrait usually includes the head and upper torso and sometimes the hands. These work best in a vertical format. Horizontal framing leaves you with wide open spaces either side of the subject that can detract from the feel of the shot.

posing a portrait subject

“Blue Prelude” captured by Mel (Click Image to See More From Mel)

If the hands are in the shot, take a good look at them. Hands can look ugly or awkward. A lightly closed fist is usually neutral. Let the hands rest on a knee or in the lap and see what you have. Crop them out later if they don’t work.

If you’re shooting candid portraits the same tips apply but in these shots you have to move around to get the best angle.

About the Author
Lance is not very good at writing about himself in the third person. He is an ex-patriot Australian living in Taiwan running a business consulting company. He writes about Portrait Photography Tips (link down currently). His grasp of the Chinese language ranges from poor to laughable and in most circumstances his actual use of the Chinese language results in laughter.

For Further Training, Ending Soon:

Lighting can be one of the most challenging aspects of photography, but something every photographer should strive to learn more about, no matter what their skill level. This new eBook is designed to lead you on a path of learning by doing using realistic example images. We were able to arrange 25% off for our readers which ends in 1 day, simply use the voucher code PICTURECORRECT at checkout.

It can be found here: Basic Lighting for Portrait Photography

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How to Use Gobos in Portrait Photography (Video)

Posted: 16 Jul 2013 12:54 PM PDT

Gobo [goh-boh] noun – In photography, any object that goes between your subject and your light source. Gobos are commonly used to cast different patterns of light onto your subject. Popular gobos include grids and window blinds, but can be anything that interrupts the natural pattern of light. This video tutorial will show you how to use gobos in portrait photography:

When using gobos, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Shadow Harshness - This is determined by two things: The distance between your gobo and your light, and the distance between your subject and the gobo. The further away the light is from the gobos, the harsher the shadow, and vice versa. The opposite applies for the subject and gobo’s distance. The closer they are, they harsher the shadow, the further away, the softer.
  • Obscuring Shadows - Make sure that your shadows are not obscuring any important part of your subject like the model’s eyes, or a piece of jewelry if that’s what you want to stand out.
  • Gobo Design and Shape - The design and shape of the gobo will determine what kind of pattern it creates on your subject. Where the gobo is placed will also affect the pattern. A tight grid patter will appear as such if it is far away from your light source and close to your subject. But if it is placed close to the light source, it will appear as more of a soft blend of brighter and darker spots.
  • Gobos Opacity - Many of the things you will use will probably be 100% opaque, but translucent objects can create unique looks on your subject too, especially if they are colored.
gobo light shadow portrait

Anything can be used as a gobo: a plant, chair, grid, window shutter, etc.

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How Tough Are Canon Lenses? (Video)

Posted: 16 Jul 2013 11:40 AM PDT

If you’re like most photographers on a budget, you’re instinctively protective of your camera lenses. They seem so delicate. They are meticulously cleaned with air blowers and special microfiber cloths. They are gently placed into padded camera bags. But is all this doting really necessary? Exactly how much abuse can lenses take?

One photographer with a non-functioning Canon 50mm f/1.8 II camera lens decided to experiment with the strength of the lens. Here’s his attempt at breaking the glass:

The 50mm f/1.8 lens is wildly popular, thanks to its affordable price tag, wide aperture, and sharp focus. Despite its low cost, Canon doesn’t seem to scrimp on the glass’s durability.

This particular video demonstrates that Canon’s glass is fairly strong, even in a relatively inexpensive lens. Similar videos can be found with varying effort and intensity going into smashing the lens, but all seem to show that it takes a bit of work to break the Nifty Fifty’s glass (Via Petapixel).


So, do you really need to be so careful with your gear? Maybe not, but you probably shouldn’t try this at home.

Go to full article: How Tough Are Canon Lenses? (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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