Portrait Wednesdays: Back to the Sixties
Oct04

Portrait Wednesdays: Back to the Sixties

In the book, One Face Fifty Ways by YouTubers Imogen Dyer and Mark Wilkinson demonstrate lighting, posing and other portrait techniques to capture the many looks and moods of a single person. This is similar to the approach Gary Bernstein used with Kay Sutton York in their 1988 book, Burning Gold, that I mentioned last week. With Wordy Wednesdays running for many years I thought it was time for a change and inspired by Burning Gold...

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Why Available Light?
May05

Why Available Light?

“Available light? To some photographers it means using “every light that’s available” while to others, like myself, it means using only or mostly the light that’s available within a scene. One of the most traditional forms of available light used for portraits is window light. This image was captured using only the light from a narrow window in my living room. The model was posed midway between the window at camera left and my sofa at...

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Working with Props & Backgrounds
Apr28

Working with Props & Backgrounds

“I take photographs with love, so I try to make them art objects. But I make them for myself first and foremost – that is important”— Jacques-Henri Lartigue They may not be the subject of the portrait but the right prop and background will not only enhance a photograph, they can improve your image with your clients. But you need to light it appropriately. In a portrait of a child sitting on a Victorian bench in a environment...

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Two Photographers, One Model, One Location
Mar13

Two Photographers, One Model, One Location

A great photographer once advised me to work with as few light control devices as possible. I try to do that because the less time spent working with my gear, the more time I can spend putting my subject at ease. If you give me a doorway I’ll use it as a prop. Doorways give subjects something to do with their hands as well as—I think anyway—provide a natural frame around the subject adding interest to the portrait. Image wascaptured...

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Using Soft Focus or Blur for Portraits
Jan12

Using Soft Focus or Blur for Portraits

When it comes to portraiture, you don’t always want tack sharp photographs. Blur and selective blur, when applied to an otherwise ordinary photograph can create a mood that fits an impression of the subject more than the reality but sometimes the distinction between  blur and soft focus gets confused, so let’s take a look at their differences. Blur: Blur can be caused by camera or subject motion and can be accidentally or deliberately...

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A Few Basic Portrait Posing Tips
Apr28

A Few Basic Portrait Posing Tips

One of the most important elements in creating saleable portraits is knowing how to pose your subjects. You may be able to photograph a beautiful woman but if her pose is awkward, clumsy, or just unattractive, it will reduce your ability to sell prints. And because often you’ll often be working with people that have not been photographed since their wedding or senior portraits, it’s important to develop an understanding of posing...

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Tips for Better Outdoor Portraits
May30

Tips for Better Outdoor Portraits

When working with a portrait subject—indoors or outdoors—I like to measure the light on both sides of a person’s face to determine the lighting ratio. There are all kinds of rules of thumb telling you what the ideal ratio is but Renaissance painters used a technique called chiaroscuro that featured ratios that would make some studio photographer’s hair stand on end but created art that has transcended the centuries. The “right” ratio...

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