Window light portraits, Part I – Shooting parallel to window


Natural light photography - Window Light portrait tips For many portraits, nothing beats the natural beauty of window light. The larger the light source in relation to the subject, the softer the light, so directional window light can can create beautifully lit, soft portraits that bring out great looking skin tones and display a seemingly perfect balance between shadows and highlights. There are several ways to use window light for portraits, providing varying lighting pattern for different 'looks', in this tip I'm going to be covering shooting parallel to the window. This type of light provides directional light for a slightly more dramatic look. About the window Avoid sunshine streaming in through the window, as it will ruin the portrait. Choose a north facing window (or south if you live in the southern hemisphere!), or a cloudy day. If it's a large window, sometimes there can be too much light, that might be fine, but you'd have to experiment. You can also draw the curtains or close blinds to get a more dramatic portrait. Subject positioning The closer your subject is to the window, the stronger the contrast between light and shadow on their face, generally speaking about 4 feet (just over a metre) is fine. As your subject moves further into the room, the light will be flatter and less dramatic. The angle of the light should be from above, so if the window isn't very high, or you have a tall subject, sit them down. Your subject should either look slightly off-camera towards the window, or look at the camera but with their face turned slightly towards the window (this will provide [...]

Window light portraits, Part I – Shooting parallel to window2017-10-10T15:43:56+01:00

Miscellaneous individual and group posing tips – Part I


Expression over Perfection You can set up the best poses with fantastic lighting in a gorgeous location, but the photos can be ruined by poor facial expressions. Expressions are everything, without a great expression, nothing works. Try telling a 4 year old child to smile, you'd be wasting your time, unless you particularly wanted a false, cheesy smile!! In order to get great, natural expressions, you need to build a relationship with your subjects, talk to them beforehand and throughout the session, praise them when it's good and ignore the bad. Develop a rapport with them and be genuinely interested in what they have to say. It’s important that you relax, keep the conversation light, be yourself, and allow the connection to develop naturally. With children it's all about play, running, jumping, anything goes, and then you're much more likely to get great expressions, like in the above photo. Seated poses can sometimes be easier The more you show of your subjects, the harder it is to pose them naturally, so sometimes it's easier to sit them down. In the above photo, the couple are turned sideways, that's always a good start, the husband has his back to the tree with his legs apart and the wife is sitting between his legs. I asked her not to sit down flat on her bum, but instead to roll onto her hip, that avoids her lower area 'squishing out' (that's a photography technical term!!). Also notice the way her arm is draped over her loving husband's knee, which shows the contact and relationship between them. Use different angles We see the world from [...]

Miscellaneous individual and group posing tips – Part I2017-05-29T16:22:15+01:00

Posing tips for men – full length poses


Posing tips - some relaxed poses for men As I said in the previous post, unless they're given instruction or are well-practised, it's quite difficult for someone to just stand in an open space and look perfectly relaxed. So when you ask someone to stand a few feet away so that you can take a photo of them, quite often they'll stand as you see Ben in the above left-side photo, a bit tense and flat-footed. But most people like to lean on things, especially men, so one easy way around this is find a wall, a post, a pillar, a fence.. anything that your subject can lean against. As you can see from the above photo, Ben looks a lot more relaxed and natural looking when leaning against a post. Notice also his crossed legs and hands in pockets. [do action="tl-linktonatlightdoc"] [/do] Here's another one leaning against the post, turned sideways this time, and one leg up on the post. By the way, hands in the pockets look best with either the thumbs out or just the thumbs in. Putting the whole hand in could be misconstrued as erm.. playing with something ;-). Here's one of my wedding photos where I took the opportunity to get the men to lean on the pillars. And finally in these posing tips for men, one of my studio photos, notice how i've tried to stand people in different ways, and even in different directions, I prefer that to having them all stand in the same way. Most of the men are leaning on the wall, feet crossed so that they looked relaxed, and arms sometimes [...]

Posing tips for men – full length poses2017-05-29T16:22:16+01:00

Posing tips for women – the full length ‘Model’ pose


Posing tips - A more flattering pose for full length female photos Unless they're given instruction or are well-practised, it's quite difficult for someone to just stand in an open space and look perfectly relaxed. So when you ask anyone to stand a few feet away so that you can take a photo of them, quite often they'll stand as you see in the above left-side photo, a bit tense and flat-footed. In this posing tip, I'll show you a pose for women that you will have seen many times before, I call it the Model Pose, as you see it all the time when models stop to have their photos taken, for example, on the red carpet at awards ceremonies etc... Here's how it looks:- Standing in this way puts the body into a lovely shape, for example notice that one shoulder is higher than the other, so even if you're just taking a 3/4 length photo, it's still a good pose to use as the upper body will still look much nicer than when standing flat footed straight on to the camera. It's a perfect natural pose for most women as it doesn't look forced or un-natural. Here's how to do it, oh and by the way, this is strictly for women. Men, don't try standing like this unless you particularly want to look effeminate! Turn your subject to the side about 30-45 degrees, this will immediately slim her down as her hips will look narrower. By the way if there is better light in one direction or the other, turn her towards that light. Tell her to put nearly all her [...]

Posing tips for women – the full length ‘Model’ pose2021-12-02T10:33:30+00:00

Distorted portraits when using wide angle lenses


Avoid distortion when taking portraits using wide angle lenses Generally speaking it's best to avoid using a wide angle lens or the wide end of the focal range, otherwise you could end up with distorted portraits. Assuming you're using a prosumer DSLR camera, it's best to stick to the 35mm -> 80mm range. The magnification of a 35mm lens closely replicates what we see looking through our own eyes.However, most portrait photographers prefer to use 50mm or 85mm lenses, this allows them to stand further from the subject and so slightly flatten the perspective. This is not to say wide angle lenses cannot be used for portraiture. The unique properties of wide angle lenses can be exploited to create eye-catching and dynamic portraits that stand out among more conventional ones. [do action="tl-linktonatlightdoc"] [/do] When using a wide angle lens up close, objects closer to the lens will appear relatively bigger than they actually are, so for example the nose will appear to be larger, while the ears and sometimes the eyes will appear smaller. These distortions mean wide angle lenses are inappropriate for most serious portrait studies. However, there are certain types of portraits that can use the distortion to great effect. My son Adam (he doesn't really have a huge head!) For instance, the caricature effect created by a wide angle lens can be quite humorous, and for this reason it is not uncommon to see wide angle portraits of comedians. If you are planning to take a wide angle portrait it is important to make the effect look as deliberate as possible, otherwise it will simply seem as if you have made a mistake. One way to [...]

Distorted portraits when using wide angle lenses2017-05-29T16:22:16+01:00
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