Portrait Tips

Touched up photo of Alex.There is a long history behind portraits starting before cameras were even invented. Portrait by Albrecht DurerThe painting below is by Albrecht Durer (1471-1528).
 Can you see similarities in the painting compared with photograph of Alex on the right? Both show a traditional pose with the subject's shoulders angled and face in the top third of the frame. 
Portrait Tips: Use the wide angle and tele-photo "zoom" features of your camera.
Photo at 125 mm
Photo at 28mm
Camera lens set to telephoto mode produces a flat, compressed face. Don't take this to the extreme and you'll find it flattering for most portrait shots. Camera lens set to wide-angle mode produces a distorted view. This is usually not used for portraits but can be used to produce interesting results.
Wide angle portrait Portrait before editing
This portrait of Sean used an extreme wide-angle lens. The computer lab setting becomes part of the portrait. Including the background to say something about the subject is typical of an environmental portrait.

This portrait of Alex is a traditional portrait. Only moderate telephoto zoom was used and the background is not distracting. The only flaw is the leaf attacking from the right side of the image. ;-)
Portrait with bright sunLighting is another important factor in portraits. Three of the photographs used soft, diffused lighting and one used lighting in a more aggressive way. Experiment with light in your portraits. Diffused light comes from all directions. You'll find this when your subject is in a shaded area or outside on an overcast day.  The image of Slater (at right) used harsh light from a single source to help define the image.

Cropped eyes Don't forget to experiment. Get in close for your portrait and try shooting from different angles. ;-)
Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 12:12 PM