Friday, 25 March 2011

Portrait Photography Tips

To avoid blank facial expressions, make sure they know when you are taking the photo, say something like cheese, smile or 1, 2, 3.

Props can be a great way of bringing out someone’s character.

Focus lock on the eyes re-compose the portrait so the eyes are off centre. Rule of 3rds.

Posing. Posed shots hardly ever look natural. Take your time and wait for the person to relax and pose themselves. Sometimes a bit of direction is required.

Groups. By taking more than one image at a time, if someone blinks or looks not quite right then swap their eyes, face or head from another image on the PC.

Eyes. One catch light is more natural looking. Additional catch lights can be removed on the PC.

Most things photography wise have been done to death, except yours friends and family. So snap away.

Relax and gain trust of your subject by simply chatting before taking pictures.

Eyes. Try to have the same amount of white of the eye visible on each side.

When photographing someones portrait, focus on the eyes.

Make people look good. You can choose a coloured background to match their eyes.

Create a dreamy look by over exposing the portrait.

Formal group portraits. The informal shots just before and after the "formal" shot is to be taken can be fun and show peoples character more.

Flash & ISO. In low light conditions a low ISO will make the background darker and give harsh portrait lighting.

Flash & ISO. In low light conditions a high ISO will make the background lighter and make a more natural picture.

No flash & ISO. In low light conditions a high ISO means a faster shutter speed that can reduce the chances of a blurred image.

Reflectors can be used to bounce light back. Great for backlit portraits.

Although we should focus on the eyes re-compose the portrait so the eyes are off centre and two thirds towards to top of the frame.

Fill in flash. Outdoors in daylight you can use flash to lighten a backlit portrait. Just force on the flash.

Overexpose a portrait by 1 stop to make skin tones brighter.

For more naturally lit portraits, if the camera is held vertically and the flash is to one side of the lens, make sure it is on top.

A large aperture or small F number is great for blurred backgrounds in portraits.

A small aperture or large F number is great for adding depth of field to landscapes.

A reflector can help remove shadow like fill in flash but is less harsh and more controllable.

Make your subject standout by bluring the background.

When getting in close, use telephoto to flatter your subject.

Portrait, no flash & ISO. In low light conditions a high ISO means a faster shutter speed that can reduce the chances of a blurred image.

It could be better to have a low quality blur free  picture that a high quality blurred snap.

Portrait. To avoid the “Tin Soldier” look, turn the body.

Spectacle wearers. Position yourself, the glasses or the flash to avoid unwanted direct flash reflections.

Soles of the feet are not sexy.

Make people look good. This can be done before and after the photo has been taken. With clever camera angles, height and direction to the model, long legs can look longer, a looking up stretched neck can reduce a double chin. On the PC, spots, blemishes and wrinkles can be removed or reduced.

Tripod. Great for reference point for you and your group when you have stepped forward to make composition adjustments.

Any white surface like a white panelled door can be used as a white back drop, put a flash on it.

High key lighting is generally better for children and older women.

Low key can be great for showing men’s character lines.

Bounce flash. Direct flash can produce harsh flat lighting with unnatural shadows. Indoor natural day light with or without artificial lights will produce a more natural picture but could give low light problems. Bounce flash has a more natural feel.
Fill in flash. Outdoors in daylight you can use flash to add a catchlight to eyes so they don't look dead but have a sparkle.

A reflector can be anything, a white card, silver car windscreen blind or a pop up camera reflector. A white reflector will be more natural, gold more warming while silver will have the brightest reflection it will also look the coldest.

If needed, teeth can be cleaned to avoid extra work on the PC.

Eyes. Ambient light will affect the size of pupil. Too much light and the pupil will be too small. Too dim and the pupil will be too big. The pupil should be half the size of the iris.

Hands. Women with large manly hands. The back of the hand is fine for men but for women to be more flattering, the hand can be turned to show only the inside or outside edge of the hand.