Photography UNIT Seven
Terms in this set (34)
Pictures of individuals in which their face and expression are the primary focus.
In fact, portraits often are more natural looking if they are not posed at all. We also think of portraits as being taken in studios with professional lighting. While many portraits are taken in these circumstances, you can also create portraits in many other locations.
The right light can create a beautiful portrait of a person. The wrong light can create harsh shadows and leave the individual looking two-dimensional and flat.
Some ways to arrange artificial light for a portrait, but what should you do if you don't have that option?
The answer is that you can use natural lighting. For example, a large north facing window will mimic a softbox.
The best light
The best light for portraits is often soft and off camera, so look for alternatives to the camera flash. An overcast day outdoors or a shady area protected from direct sunlight can also be a good option. Keep in mind that you can use a reflector to help direct light onto the person's face.
Shallow depth of field
Depending on the photograph, you may want to use a shallow depth of field. This will softly blur the background of the photograph and make the person the center of attention. This is particularly useful if you have a background that is less than ideal or if it has distracting elements in it.
Shallow depth of field 2
When using a shallow depth of field, you will want to get closer to your subject as well. They don't have to be in the center of the photograph or completely fill the frame, but you will want to minimize the background.
Different ways to do a portrait
If you capture some aspect of a person's personality or character that people remember, you may not need to include a clear representation of the person's face. For example, you may photograph a person jumping or twirling.
What the person should be doing
Having an individual do something, even if it's reading a book or playing a game of cards, will often put the subject more at ease. This can give you a much more natural photograph that also gives you more depth in terms of the person's interests and personality.
Likewise, you can also introduce a prop of some kind to create interest in the photo or show off a person's interest. For example, you might photograph a young boy with a soccer ball to illustrate his interest in the sport.
You can also add props that will position the person, if you are taking a more formal photograph. For example, you might place a pedestal in the photograph for the person to prop her elbows on or you might include an interesting chair for the person to sit on.
The key to Props
The key to using props is to make sure that they enhance the photograph, rather than draw attention away from the person. When working with props, ask yourself whether the props help to tell a story, whether they clash with the subject of the photo, or whether they add to the photo.
In some cases, it may be helpful to put your camera on the continuous shooting or burst mode. This will allow you to take a number of pictures quickly. When you work with children, pets, or other subjects that may move quickly, this can save the day and get you some good photographs.
Don't always have the person smiling
While a smiling portrait can be a beautiful thing, don't forget that there are a multitude of other emotions and expressions that you can capture. You might try taking some serious or somber photographs, for example. When children or adults are engaged in an activity, you may also get expressions of concentration and pensiveness.
Break the Rules
Sometimes you may find that the best photographs are those that break the rules of composition wide open, and sometimes you may find that staying within the rules is your best bet.
How to Break the Rules
Try holding your camera at an angle for a fun feel or focusing on one part of a person, such as their hands or eyes. Sometimes it may work to front- or backlight the individual or to add some movement to the photograph. Try taking photographs from a higher perspective than your subject, or take some while you are both low to the ground.
What to do when photographing kids
In many cases, you'll want to use a shallow depth of field so that the background is a bit blurred. You may want to use the aperture priority setting on your camera, if you have that setting.
Photographing Kids part 2
However, you'll also need to pay attention to the shutter speed setting. Kids often move around, and a long exposure will blur their movements. If the shutter speed is too low, you'll need to adjust the aperture so that the photograph doesn't come out too dark or light.
Photographing kids, turning off the flash
Turning off your camera's flash also generally benefits the photograph, and you may wish to use the continuous shooting or burst setting to allow you to take photographs quickly.
Photographing kids, think about location
When taking photographs of children, it is a good idea to give some thought to location. While some photographs can be taken in studios, you can also create fun and interesting photographs in some unexpected locations.
Get down to ground level when photographing kids
One of the keys to getting good photographs of children is to get down on their level. Getting down on the floor to take the photograph or finding another way to be at eye level can change the feel of the photograph.
Kids, candid shots
At some point, you'll have to make the decision about whether to pose the child or use candid shots. With younger children, you'll often find that candid shots bring more natural results. Let children do something that they enjoy and take pictures of them while they are engaged.
How to take candid shots of kids
You may try playing a game with the children while you photograph them (such as "Simon Says") or giving them a favorite activity to do. You can also ask the children to do funny things or have a contest to see who can pull the funniest face.
Tips for taking pictures of kids
Be prepared. Photograph moods. Focus on the eyes. Go abstract. Include other people in the photograph.
Photographing groups of people
Before gathering everyone together for that group photograph, it is important to prepare for it. Thus, it will help to prepare as much possible before you arrange the photograph. Some of the planning can even take place before the event. You might visit the location and note where the group shot could happen, what the lighting might be like, and how you might arrange the group in the space chosen.
Plan your group photograph
One way to increase your chances is to plan a good time for the photograph. However, for planned group pictures, finding that key time can help ensure that you'll have better moods and more to work with.
Planing the location for group photographs
Planning the location can also help you eliminate any distractions that might be present in the shot. The location for the group shot can also enhance or detract from a photograph.
Tips for group photographs
Take more than one photograph. Think about the light. Have someone help you. Try to get in close. Use a tripod to help keep the camera steady.
How to pose for formal photographs
One way to start is to arrange individuals at about a 45-degree angle to the camera. By having the individuals stand at an angle, you can fit more of them into the photograph. It will also help individuals look slimmer than if they were standing straight to the camera.
How to pose seven or eight people
If you have more than seven or eight people, you'll want to consider putting the individuals on different levels. You might have some individuals sitting on chairs and others standing behind them.
Photographing large groups
If you have a larger group, you might also want some people sitting on the ground in front. To help keep everyone's faces visible to the camera, consider using stairs or other layered locations to arrange larger groups.
Large group Pictures
If you have a large group, but don't have stairs or an area like bleachers, it may be helpful to stand on a ladder or other elevated area yourself. Then you can have everyone look up. This will help get everyone in the picture and eliminate any double chins at the same time.
Arranging formal people
Generally, you'll want taller members in the back of the group and you'll want to place individuals of importance at the center.It is also a good idea to keep the group from getting too "deep." It can be harder to keep everyone in focus if the group is stretched out too much away from the camera.
Get creative with photos
For example, you may want to take photographs of the group as they are coming together and starting to arrange themselves. This can be a more natural look than the formal, posed arrangement that you'll end with. Have the group do some crazy poses at the spur of the moment to lighten things up and get a more creative shot.