Lets Discuss Portraiture


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jdredd

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Mar 30, 2006
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#1
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.
 

mattlock

Senior Member
Feb 28, 2004
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www.superhyperreal.com
#2
first you criticize people for being gadget geeks then you give tips on technical aspects of photography?
that's only one step above being a gadget geek leh
 

jdredd

New Member
Mar 30, 2006
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#3
some other general pointers ....

A good portrait should have at least one aspect of the subjects personality or attitude. These character traits might not be revealed at first, so its important to always communicate with a subject and watch their mannerisms, reactions, expressions and body language.

Try and build rapport with your subject to put them at east in your presence. This will make them more relaxed and natural.

Sometimes your best picture is your first picture, and sometimes it’s the last exposure you make. If the subject is in position, relatively-comfortable and you are ready to shoot, there is usually no reason not to begin right away.

Decide by talking and checking, whether its better to get the subject to smile or not. If a person doesnt like to smile, then its better not to make them, because otherwise the picture will come out forced.

Personally, i quite like black and white portraits. So consider whether you want to shoot in B&W, or color, or shoot color and then change to B&W later.

Control. The photographer should always have control of the subject. So its good to prepare for the shoot in advance, and be confident in approaching the subject.

Are you going to shoot the person, or their surroundings. If you are going to shoot the person, the they must be the main subject matter and not the surroundings. THe photo must then be composed to show mood, personality and character so that something about the person can be leartn from looking at the picture.
 

Artosoft

Senior Member
Aug 31, 2005
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Tanjong Katong
#4
A good portraiture for me is when I and the subject like that photo... Plus friends or families like it.

Regards,
Arto.
 

_espn_

Deregistered
Jul 5, 2006
3,539
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Planet Nikon
#7
I only know, shoot more, talk later.

For the best portraits in town, look for Zeckson Chow :thumbsup:

For the worst ones... hmm heng I don't do portraits, else lao kwee.
 

_espn_

Deregistered
Jul 5, 2006
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Planet Nikon
#9
agape01 said:
Actually, it is easier to look inside espn's old threads to see whether he got post shots of portraiture or not.
What old threads? I've just joined only for a week, and all my posts are in the equipment sub-forum :dunno:
 

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