Simple tricks for quick attractive portraits!
#1 Look for the Light
With any photography finding the direction of light is #1 job.
Weather it is the the sun, a window or a lamp, turning face into the light is a nice choice.
Photographer can move around subject seeing the different shadow to light areas to get several different looks.
Another is to have light behind, but then you need to light the face with a reflector, a light or flash, this gives a nice halo effect giving nice separation between subject and background.
The direction of light will determine placement of subject in relationship to photographer, this is always #1
#2 Get closer
A general rule is to fill the frame. Not to worry if you don’t have the top of their head or end of pony tail in the frame, we know it is there
#3 Find a non-distracting or simple background
Getting close helps when you have an ugly background.
I like making the background go so out of focus it is just muted blending colors.
Always watch for the exit sign or pole coming out of someone head!
#4 camera aspect
Try shooting Portrait style (images that are higher than wider), Since people are taller than they are wide this aspect is a good choice for portraits.
While Landscape aspect images, (wider than high) are good for great vistas and Landscapes!
The landscape format is good for groups, or head and shoulders shots or to include interesting or relevant background background of the shot.
#5 Camera Level
Having the camera height level to the subject’s eyes is a good rule of thumb, consistently creating attractive portraits.
Which means with kids and pets, get down!
Shooting from slightly above is good to make eye look bigger and more open, as a bonus any double chin disappears.
Shooting a full length portrait from below will make someone look taller.
#6 Simple pose
having subject positioned at 45 degrees with face turned to camera, a general rule will give a nice look, without looking “Too Posed”
#7 Basics to Avoid
Shoulders square on the camera, if you can see 2 ears, make a change.
Avoid feet being pointed to camera, any change will help
Have hands do something, cross them, put on hips, thumbs in pockets, hold something anything is better than ape arms
Avoid having shoulder pointing to camera
Men look stronger in wider stance
Women will have more shape if knees are close or crossed
When shooting more than one person, try to keep eyes at different heights, not in a straight line.
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Here is my 1st image taken in 2013.
I needed a picture for “Southern Exposure” magazine,
and it had to be taken on January 1.
I just couldn’t think of an interesting idea …… until I woke up New Years Day!
Got my neighbor to model and we made the 1st image of a series “The Absurd Life of the Unicorn Wilda” that goes with the series “The Absurd Life of Henri, the Horse Head” which I have been doing for a few months.
So I get Sandie, a Latex Unicorn Head and a long piece of tuille and a Canon camera converted to Color Infrared and went out on our dock and waited for a breeze!
We got lucky! The first time out this image won 1st place in Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery ‘s “ALL WOMEN 2013” Photography section and 3rd place over all!!
WITH 909 entries from; Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Columbia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, UK & 36 US states.
AND will be published in next months “SOUTHERN EXPOSURE” Magazine!
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Hints for taking Great Holiday Party pictures
1. Get your camera ready, full battery, empty memory card and extra memory cards
2. Flash, use only if you really have to, try the no flash or night time camera setting or, if you, can bounce flash off ceiling. Or party outside!
3. Take pictures while decorating, food making, gift wrapping, table settings, the tree, ornaments and gifts, special ornaments, the whole room before the party starts and of course the kid tantrums! Show everything at it’s best before everyone descends on your party! This is a good time to Experiment with your camera,use new settings, different camera modes; a slow shutter speed to give blur to motion; a low Fstop (or use the flower mode) for depth of field, to have just a small area in focus with background in a nice moody blur; Use just candle light or christmas tree lights or outside lights
Photo#1 Mom Corrine’s picture of Rowyn with Santa
Photo#2,3,4,5 by photography student Sloan Millstien
4. The Mandatory Group Photo! I like a big sofa, seat the grandparents & old aunts, than fit in between, pile on and put in front on kids, add presents, pets. Everyone else sits on and stands behind sofa. Have people on the ends lean in towards the center and the back row people lean forward. Photo #6; in my family groups, I will photoshop family that could not be there into the picture, makes it fun, only as the years go by we can’t remember who really was there!
And don’t forget getting the gifts being used or worn, new dress or new bike in action
6 Family traditions, lighting, reading, baking cookies with the kids, matching PJ’s, Don’t miss the little things! capture those little family traditions that make the holiday special to you.
7. Set up a Photo Station, simple background, a sheet or/and some decorations, have 2 simple lights set at 45 degrees on left and right side, photograph people as they come in. Then leave a simple camera on a tripod for guests to use or they can use their own cameras to do their own pictures during the party. Leave a few props, santa hats, xmas lights, white poster board cut out hearts, candy canes, hammers, whatever.
This is easy and fun at any party, shots are great, funny but be warned … they can get pretty crazy
8. Time-lapse Party, set up a camera or even computer, I have a very simple Time Lapse Camera, position in a good spot in the corner of the room or over the dinning table, have it capture a shot every 5 minutes for the length of party, create interesting series of pictures!
9. After Shots! of the mess! Mess=Fun. Hopefully you have a before picture from the same position!
10. SHOW off your work in a book organize the best of those images into a photo book, they are so easy to do and are such a reasonable cost. I use Blurb.com
MOST IMPORTANT!! Print them! don’t let your kids be some of the lost generation, who’s every moment was photographed and left on a computer that crashed
PhotographyDegrees.org has put together a very good article highlighting One Hundred Must-See Sites for Photographers.
You can view it here: http://photographydegrees.org/must-see.
It is a great list that showcases resources useful for both amateur and professional photographers.
Some sites on this list offer excellent tips and tutorials, while others are simply quality personal and professional photography sites.
With the tinyest effert todays photographers can be exposed to so much that is being done around the world, I am happy this is my time!
Really, how did people learn before the internet?
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“Valley Overlook, North Wales” from my latest series
Even though I was in Wales to photograph a family, whenever the sun peaked out I would turn around or stop the car to capture some of the most impressive landscapes.
Lucky to get about 12 nice images, guess in a week the sun came out 12 times!
And this one, was just awarded Honorable Mention in the Countryside Exhibit at Light Space Time Gallery!
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Here is a simple basic shoot, needing only a bendable model, black backdrop and a single overhead 3x4 softbox.
it helped that the model and I both have yoga backgrounds and I had prepared a shot sheet of the positions I had in mind.
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Being in North Wales made me, a people photographer, turn around or stop the car …. whenever the sun peaked though, to capture my surroundings!
A special kind of timeless green beauty
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Another fun pose, lay the long haired girl at the end of the table with her head hanging down.
Only need long haired girl and black background with studio or natural window light.
Note this is very hard on the neck, I have someone supporting her head until I am in position to shot and she is told as soon as is becomes a strain for her, to say so and we quickly support her neck again.
Catherine, receptionist at Palm Beach Photographic Centre came in one day with red tips on her hair …… giving me the idea to do this.
The interesting thing is I wire the frame on both ends so it can be hung to be Falling or Rising!
In post process, black out any areas and stretch hair longer
Here we are using the pose at my lecture at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre
Another easy fun pose, black cloth needed and a table for the girl to lay on with hair falling off. For this did not brush hair straight, to get those random lines ….. or maybe I forgot! either way it works! Again just using the available window light.
Just need to make sure the black material is behind all of the hair and lines of the face, in Post process it is a simple paint out of the light areas and rotate image
Another fun shot with interesting results!
Trick shots can be so simple, while producing memorable results.
This is one of my favs, any time I have a girl with long hair I love to use this……..better yet 2 girls with long hair!
So simple, it is almost embarrassing! Only thing needed was a black piece of material, girls put on black tops, we moved some furniture, arranged the hair, natural window light from the hair side was only lighting. The i just stand above them, and try to get them Not the laugh!
Simple and fun with amazing results! my kind of work!
And the same pose being used in a lecture i did this summer at the Palm beach Photographic Centre!
Here another time with dark hair, I used white background.
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