Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Tips for Portrait Photography & Posing

The portrait market demand reaches enormous levels especially when the requirement is almost every household across the globe in every civilized country. Think about this from another angle - you could target every building and what is more exciting is that repeat business is almost incalculable. Parents love to have family portraits but some like to have it done annually as the children grow. Then they most often like to have a portrait of each child in addition to that. The opportunities become endless.

When it comes to portrait digital photography and photography poses or shall we say, posing for portrait photography, there are many differentials and some of them aren’t obvious. It’s true that while your active organising portrait photography posing with your subject that many new posing ideas will come to mind but you will still need to know the rudimentary basics. Any studio posing will require posing techniques which will vary from posing the female model, baby portrait poses, family portrait poses, wedding photography poses, and even senior portrait poses. They all vary in their portrait pose requirements.

Photography poses are very strenuous on the model or subject as well and there is usually a photography posing guide or a model posing guide that can help your understanding with these areas. Fatigue and restlessness must be considered at long shoots for instance while models are posing for portraits. I recently saw an article that was a guide to posing the female body; however it was too focussed on the one aspect and left little room for photography posing of other types.

The rest of this article offers some posing tips for a photography pose in general and is compiled to stimulate your interest in portrait posing because once you have the basics, your portrait posing skills will compound with each new sitting. To photograph a pose and make it look natural and interesting is what your goal should be with posing. Remember not to treat portrait poses lightly and you will get much better at this skill in a short space of time.

Portrait photography is also a photography business that can be initiated from home. Often only requiring modest photography equipment , you’ll only need several pieces of cloth (backdrop), a camera, some good lenses, two or maybe three lights and let’s not forget the tripod. In addition to the equipment being modest by any ones standards, it is all reasonably lightweight and easy to handle should you need to work outdoors.

The most important rule to remember is that it is a portrait, not necessarily of just the head, but the person, or group is the focal part of the picture, so it is important to take the photograph without any extraneous clutter. Because you will always be dealing with people with whom you have to maintain control, not as a tyrant, but you have to guide your subjects. Therefore a certain degree of self-confidence is necessary. If you are taking a formal portrait of a group of children it is necessary for you as the photographer to ensure that none of the children are making faces.

This brings us to posing. Many photographers underate this essential requirement because posing will make or break your portraiture. There is much value in learning to guide people through various poses. Posing has an ongoing education requirement depending on age, gender, culture, promotion, product, and emotion needed for each piece of art etc. It is such an important and extensive subject that I’ve provided you with this downloadable guide which I think you should take seriously - Make Camera Friendly Posing Happen!

When you have signed up a person for a photographic portrait take a few extra shots, and offer them as wallet or purse photographs at a smaller fee. You already have started the business, capitalise on it, few people can resist the feeling that they have got “something for nothing”. This may seem a waste of time; they can be important additives for your portfolio.

Portrait photography has undergone many changes of style since the introduction of the formal portrait. The modern emphasis is to bring out each individual’s personality. Top glamour models are paid enormous fees to express a distinctive personality, but to bring that aspect forward in your subject is as much about people skills as camera techniques. It is imperative to be able to create a rapport with your subject to bring out the expressions that display their personality. Anyone over the age of two can pose for the camera, with a vacuous expression, but the secret of saleable portrait photography is capturing more than the pose. To be a really good portrait photographer you have to be able to connect with people, if you have not got these skills, then it is better that you concentrate on some other type of photography-perhaps underwater photography if you want to be more active and adventurous

If you want to flatter your subject, you’ll probably want to minimize their nose. Stand about twelve feet from your subject, so that their nose isn’t significantly closer to you than the rest of the face. However, at such a large distance from the camera, if you want to fill the frame with just your subject’s face, then you need a high magnification lens. Typical “portrait” lenses are therefore between 90 and 135 millimeters long when you are using a 35mm camera.

Whilst a lot of portrait photography is completed inside a studio, the prospect of natural light can be very flattering. This can be achieved inside by positioning your subject in front of a window. Environmental portraiture presents different challenges. These portraits are best enlarged, otherwise the subject’s face gets lost in the background. Slow film and the use of a tripod; help to keep your images sharp. There are a number of professional photographers who argue that a portrait is not shown to it’s best advantage when it is clinically sharp and they use a filter, but with modern digital cameras, you can make an adjustment in Photoshop at a later time. However if you are using a digital camera you will achieve the best results with a camera with a true single lens reflex.

Natural light or umbrella lighting can achieve soft lighting; both of these reduce shadows and show the face in a “better more attractive light”. However there is another type of portrait photography, which is high impact photography. This is a very dramatic type of portrait photography, which uses very strong light with a high contrast of tonal color. This technique is more effective indoors, as it is achieved by controlling light, and there is too much light to control out of doors. Position your subject at different angles to the light, from one side, or from underneath. This lengthens the shadows, rather than muting them, and gives a distinctly dramatic effect. You can achieve this in varying degrees, but if the light source is placed at 90 degrees to the face, it will throw the whole of the opposite side of the face in shadow. If you are using a digital camera you can also manipulate the contrast later to achieve a more dramatic effect.

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