Sometimes, I read all the threads on this forum, and I can't but help get the impression that this isn't so much a photography forum, as it is a gadget geeks paradise. Even in the photo galleries section, genuine criticism is rare, and more often than not, its found amongst a myriad of "nice shot" , "great picture" and my perennial favourite... "nose bleed".
Anyway, enough of a rant. I thought it would be a good idea to start a discussion on one of the more popular genres here, that is portraiture. So anyone who has comments, on what they think makes a good portrait, or do's and don't for portraits, or favourite poses, or some technical tips for studio or outdoor shoots etc etc etc, please come in.
If you can illustrate something with a picture, that will be even better. It's trite, but a picture does speak a thousand words.
So, to get the ball rolling, these are the things I have learnt in my short time studying this subject.
1. Watch your DOF with large aperture lenses. Its always a big temptation to open up. I remember first time a tried a 1.2, I shot permanently at 1.2. But a lot of pictures had one eye in focus, and one eye out of focus.
2. Before you even think about composition, get your exposure right. Whilst exposure can easily be corrected, its so much better to get it right in camera. What i used to do, was take a shot, and fiddle all over the place with exposure i.e adjust aperture, shutter and ISO. bracket up, bracket down. Since shooting with some of the pros here, i finally stumbled on a more efficient technique. What I do is to find the ballpark exposure for a certain picture. Say F4, 1/100th. Ill then shoot one at 1/50th, and then increase shutter speed and shoot at intervals 1/25th of a second (or thereabouts). The advantage of going from slow to fast, is it just involves turning the control knob in one direction, rather than up and down etc. That way, ill get maybe 4 or 5 shots for one pose, but ill be pretty sure to have nailed one good exposure.
3. Composition. For me, the big mistake i used to make was too much head room. This stemmed from using the centre AF point and using that to focus on the eyes. So now, I use a corner AF point, and make sure to compose the shot carefully before shooting so there isnt much headroom.
more to come, thats all i can think of off the top of my head.