Shooting Portrait Photos

First when taking a photograph of a person you need to study their face. The face is important to the angle you will shoot from. Though it is a cliche, it is true some people have a better side. This could be in relation to scarring or acne breakouts or even simpler. For instance my left eye is larger than my right by just a bit, and looking head on into the camera will cause a horrible portrait, however if the photographer comes from the right side and angles up a little the light and shadows will help even out the features while keeping the distinctions that make me who I am.

 Lighting Tips For Photography

Shooting portrait photos: Photography requires a few skills to make your prints look professional. One part of making a print professional is lighting. Lighting in photography takes a little planning and understanding of a few techniques. You best subject or object might not turn out that way if the proper light does not help to laminate the area. Below are a few tips on using light for photography.

First you must decide if you will use artificial or sunlight. If you are using sunlight you will rely on the Kelvin scale to determine the temperature of light and therefore the color of light. The color of light is important to maintaining the colors you see around you. For instance the warmer the light the redder the light will be, thus you may need to pick the time you will go out and shoot photographs. Outdoor lighting offers so many different times to take pictures depending on your need. Next a photographer needs to understand the sunís color scale. Pictures tend to lead the viewer towards certain feelings; often softer colors evoke more emotion. So understanding the suns impact on the colors will help you find the correct time of day. The sun evokes blue hues in the morning hours, while closer to noon you will find more neutral colors.

The neutral colors can take away some of the definition you want in your print. Knowing how you want to shot the picture will also help you determine when you wish to take the shot. When using natural light you will need to work with the angle and direction of the sunlight. If the sunlight is broad and diffused you will have softer shadows while the more narrow the light is focused the more shadow you can create. Often at noon when the sun is in mid arc you lose definition of the subject. The subject could look grainy. This is why shadow is used; the shadows can give you more quality to the print if used correctly. This adds to the beauty of your pictures. You can also modify sunlight through certain techniques. Modifying sunlight when taking portraits outdoors requires the use of a background. You may wish for a breath taking landscape that will provide more composition to the photo. You may need to block the sun if it interferes with you or your subjectís sight. You might also bring in a white surface to fill the shadows.

Landscape photography requires less work than usually natural light for portraits. In fact using natural sunlight for landscape photography without modifications can yield you a better photograph. Landscape photography uses nature to provide the light and shadows. This is why you need to understand the light scale and temperature. Time is the most important aspect of using sunlight. To understand natural lighting you need to understand the affects the sun will have at certain times of the day. For instance if you are in a thickly vegetative forest the sunlight will have difficulty streaming in unless it is over head. You will have natural shadows in the forest and remember you can move around your subject to find the best angle with the sun.

Photography is an art that requires techniques and practice. Lighting is a major part of photography, especially when you are using natural light. Sunlight can bring plenty of shadows or take them away depending on the time of day. Knowing the best time to take a photograph depends on the sunís angle. Photography is an interesting hobby and profession when practiced properly will give you plenty of prints for your home and others. Whether you are a professional or a novice photographer, you want to produce some exquisite pictures with the proper lighting. With this in mind, choose your lighting according to your needs and the needs of your subject or object. Your pictures will be delightful with brightness when you use the best lighting situation.



Posing by Not Posing

Portrait photography is considered to probably the hardest of the many specializations in the profession. That moment of positioning a subject in front of that plastic fake background to sit on an uncomfortable chair and make a smile they would never use in any other setting is legionary and not one that you look forward to. And you can tell the subjects, especially the men, are enjoying this about as much as they like going to the dentist.

So how to take some of the teeth out of the process. For some portraits, you cannot get away from the formal seating. But even then, there are ways to relax the subject so the smile you get was one they really wanted to give you. The optimum portrait is one that is not a portrait. If you can get the subject talking about their favorite subject, interacting with someone they like or love and using their sense of humor, that sparkle in their expression and gleam in their eye is absolute portrait gold to you as a photographer. 

Now, you cannot lie to the subject. So if you explain that you are going to be over here working on this stubborn camera, then just gently guide the conversation, they will begin to get used to hearing the shutter to off and seeing the flash but they may be able to not tense up.

Some of the finest couple portraits I have captured happened when I got the couple having a loving chat or mild argument with some teasing and that natural flirtation came out. When you can snap that moment in time, you will have a photograph they will treasure for a lifetime. Obviously, the key to any photograph is to capture the personality and the ìsoulî of your subject. I was photographing a boy scout in his uniform for a very important photograph to the family because the boy had achieved the Eagle rank, which is a high honor. But I knew this kid had lots of personality so I wanted the ìformalî shot but I wanted this kidís heart in it too. So I told him I would be snapping a few shots to test my shutter and I got him talking about boy scouts and camping. As I got him to tell me about the funniest moments he experienced camping, that smile came out and boom, I had my shot. It hangs in my lobby now as one of my finest moments as a photographer. 

If you can get the couple to do the portrait at home, in a restaurant or at some familiar setting, you can get that kind of rapport going much easier. This requires that you, the photographer must be not only a skilled artisan with your camera but somewhat of a politician, a psychologist and a hypnotist all tied up in one. So polish up some good ìcharmî that you will use to ease those personality shots out of your subjects.

And perfect that charm for different personalities. You may need to flirt the smile out of a young girl or tease it out of a child. You may need to get some humor out of that burley construction worker or make an off the cuff crack about a politician to get Mr. Business Man to chuckle. And for the babies, well, they will almost smile for their mommy and almost certainly smile for daddy so use them to the hilt. 

By combining your skills as a photographer with a generous portion of people charm and grace, you will make memorable portraits that will be better than the uncomfortable, stiff looks that so many accept as ok. Your customers will be happier and you will enjoy a pride in your work.


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