Thursday, April 12, 2007

Portrait Photography - Part 2


Truly good people pictures seldom happen all by themselves. They take planning. Even casual-looking people pictures are often planned. Some planning is purely technical, such as selecting equipment and lighting. Other planning may include choosing your subject's clothing, hairstyle, pose, and setting.

The hallmark of a portrait is that you take control and leave little to chance. Will a portrait simply be a flattering likeness or a glimpse into your subject's personality? When you know what you want to achieve, everything else should work toward that end: the setting, the clothing, the props, the pose, the lighting, the composition, and so on.
Consider these tips:

Use soft, diffused lighting—such as cloudy-day lighting or indirect window light—to reveal your subject's features in a flattering way.
Keep the background simple to avoid distracting elements, but make it relevant to the portrayal of your subject.

Move in close for an above-the-waist or head-and-shoulders composition; for a less traditional approach, move back to show the entire figure.
Position your camera at or slightly below your subject's eye level.
Pay particular attention to the position of hands and the angle of the head. In a portrait, hands and head can easily look awkward.

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