Cloudy Day Portraiture
Jul06

Cloudy Day Portraiture

“I’ve never taken a photograph of someone and created a persona, I’ve just discovered what was already there.” ― Anthony Farrimond There are all kinds of cloudy days, especially this time of year when there is always a threat (but never the rain) of a thundershower late in the afternoon. Then there are the heavy overcast lighting conditions that produce what I like to call “muddy light” that I seldom encounter in Colorado...

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Making Halloween Portraits
Oct31

Making Halloween Portraits

One of my favorite tips this time of year is to ask subjects to bring their Halloween costumes to a shoot. As adults they don’t get a chance to wear them more than just once and lets you create the kind of images that are fun to make. And when they’re dressed up, the subject seems to get more involved in the session. In addition to getting a chance to create some great images that you can add to your portfolio, you also get to...

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Lighting is in the Eye of the Beholder
Oct06

Lighting is in the Eye of the Beholder

All the ingredients for outdoor portraits are easy to find: You need are a subject, camera and  light but like any good recipe it’s how these components are prepared that goes into cooking up a delicious portrait. Light has four basic elements: quality, quantity, color, and direction. If there’s any secret at all about shooting with natural light, it’s learning to see the range of shadows and highlights that occur within a scene....

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Here’s to Hair, Hats and Better Portraits
Aug27

Here’s to Hair, Hats and Better Portraits

One of the best pieces of advice that I ever received from another photographer was one provided by the late Leon Kennamer. Whenever he would start a portrait session with a new client the first thing he would do is make a Polaroid test shot of the subject and then hand it to them asking “how do you like your hair?” And the truth boys and girls, is that if a subject doesn’t like the way their hair looks they’re not going to like the...

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Using Doorways as Props
Aug20

Using Doorways as Props

OK, I’ll confess, 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, it’s my obsession—provide a natural frame around the subject and add interest to the portrait. And rustic doorways are even better because they have mode character and offer a hard-edged contrast with the soft-edged subject. D is for Doorway. Above the model places both her hands on the...

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Two Photographers, One Model, One Location
Oct23

Two Photographers, One Model, One Location

Joe’s Version: OK, I’ll confess, 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 because it’s my obsession—provide a natural frame around the subject and add interest to the portrait. The image at left was captured with a Canon EOS 50D with 85mm f/1.8 lens. I often shoot a sequence of images—and you should too—not just one and hope for the best....

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Outdoor Portrait Techniques: Backlighting
May20

Outdoor Portrait Techniques: Backlighting

One of my favorite techniques for outdoor portraiture is using backlighting to produce highlights on the subject’s hair and, depending on the scene, maybe blow out the background to create a pseudo high-key effect. Want to try it? The next time you photograph somebody outdoors, place them in the kind of position you normally use with the sun shining onto their face but instead of making a photograph turn her around. Right away the...

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