Portrait Photography


Digital SLR, Tamron 70-210mm f-2.8 lens, 1/60 sec at f-2.8

When photographing people you need to show a person's character and style. Try to capture them as they really are. Your subjects must feel comfortable in front of a camera in order for you to create an image that shows the person's true personality. Look for moods or expressions in the face. When photographing in daylight avoid direct sun as it can create shadows or use a reflector to control light. The direction of the light has great influence on the subject. Side lighting gives the best results. Front lighting can flatten features. Look at your subject from different angles to see how you want to photograph them.

Decide on a view point. People with strong expressions are best photographed from a front view while a side view is best for interesting profiles. Always look for distracting backgrounds as they can ruin a picture. Exposure is best calculated by reading off a gray card or an object of medium tone in the same light as your subject (see learning exposure). An incident light meter is also a great tool for measuring light.

In the studio a flash is used the most. Do not use flash on camera as it can create a flat light and cause red eye. You can also use tungsten lighting and studio flash units. Studio flash units have a modeling lamp fitted to the flash head. You don't need to purchase a lot of lights to get good portraits. Most of the time only one light is enough and it can give the best effect. A second light can be used to illuminate the background.

You can purchase different types of backgrounds but a plain one is best as they don't distract the image. Medium telephoto lenses between 85mm to 135mm are great for head and shoulder shots. A wide aperture of f-2 or f-2.8 will blur the background to remove all distractions. Wide angle lenses can create distortion. Use these lenses when photographing a group of people. A 50mm lens can be used at a bit further away otherwise this lens can also create some distortion. For candid shots a longer lens such as a 200mm should be enough. You can also purchase soft focus lenses or filters for creating a romantic portrait.


Smith Victor KT750 3-Light 750-Watt Thrifty Photoflood Kit with Corrugated Carrying Case

Thrifty Kits are designed to fulfill basic lighting requirements at an exceptionally affordable price. Each Thrifty Kit has hand spun reflectors made of high strength aluminum with chemically attached interiors for maximum light dispersion. The outer finish is photographic black baked on enamel. The Raven RS6 telescopes to 6' and the Raven RS8 telescopes to 8'. Each Thrifty Kit comes with a photoflood lamps, sockets and cordsets, a corrugated carrying case for storage and transport and the Imaging with Light Guide.