Portraiture

Portraiture photography captures images; mostly of humans to emphasize the mood and facial expression of the subject. Came out of portrait painting, portraiture photography can be done anytime, anywhere and is a subject of high demand these days. Portraiture photography is focused on images of people above their neck to bring out the facial expression in their eyes. However, at times the whole body or even the background can be included. Most of professional photographers use portraiture photography in black and white which further adds gleam to the images captured. It is one of the oldest genre of photography as well.

8 Tips for Photographing Men

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Fashion, Featured, lightroom, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait, Portraiture

8 Tips for Photographing Men

When I put my hand up to write an article about photographing men, it didn’t occur to me (until I sat down in front of a blank screen) just how big a topic it actually is. While much could be written about photographing men, from lighting ratios to posing, post-processing and more, there seems to be a drastic imbalance in the amount of material devoted solely to photographing men, as compared to women. A guide to how lighting ratios can differ for men, women and children are covered in the article Lighting Ratios to Make or Break your Portrait, and Tips for Posing Men offers suggestions, along with Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to get you Started with Photographing Men. When it comes to context, men are photographed within the genres of photojournalism, fashion, sports, travel, wedding and family photography, and corporate portraiture to name a few. My primary genre is family photography, and I also shoot corporate portraits. There is a growing demand for more relaxed professional portraits for clients to use on their LinkedIn profiles, professional Facebook pages – even online dating sites. Clients want a portrait that flatters, showcases their personality or perhaps the type of work they do, without looking too corporate. For the purpose of this article, I’ll be talking about photographing men mostly within these two contexts. Tip #1: Include him in the consultation process This tips sits at number one with good reason. One of the most common complaints I hear in portrait photographers’ forums is that of the reluctant father/husband – the guy who turns up to the family portrait session, looking like it’s the last place on earth he wants to be. His crankiness is infectious, and makes your job of capturing all those joyful family connections close to impossible. I confess, it was one of my bugbears also until I realized how often I’d been leaving male partners out of the consultation process altogether. In every grumpy dad case I encountered, I had mistakenly assumed that the women I spoke to during consultation would communicate everything to their partners, and in turn, share with me any concerns their partners had. Following a major light-bulb moment, I started to include men in the process, and it made a world of difference. Turns out, they just want to be heard. The more you engage with a man before the shoot, the more comfortable he will be when you are wielding a camera, and the better the photos you will get. This applies whether you’re photographing a paying client, the guy next door, or your brother. Ask him if he has any features he’s sensitive about. A prominent nose, a double chin, acne scarring and a bit of a tummy are common sensitivities. Allow him to express his insecurities without feeling silly, and reassure him that you can work around these with...

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How to Do a One Light Portrait Setup and Use it as Your Back-up Plan

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Featured, Photography Tips, portrait, Portraiture

How to Do a One Light Portrait Setup and Use it as Your Back-up Plan

When photographing people, every session is different and every subject is different. This leads to a lot of scope when it comes to lighting choices and experimentation. This variety is fantastic, and it’s a large part of why portraiture is such a rewarding pursuit. Unfortunately, with too much experimentation, it is all too possible to end a session with a collection of sub-standard images. Yes, this exactly how to grow and develop as a photographer, but where does that leave your subject? Often enough, this situation means that you’ve gotten what you need from the session, chiefly experience, but the subject is left with less than stellar photos for their time. This isn’t much of a problem if you’ve wrangled your kids to sit for you, or if you have paid someone else to pose for you. If you’ve been paid for this portrait session, however, this becomes problematic and can be devastating to your future efforts. A good way to alleviate this is to always include a technique that you’ve practiced thoroughly. Doing this may not ignite your creative spark, but once it’s done, you can experiment until your heart’s content, while safe in the knowledge that you will still have something usable at the end of the day. This article will give you a simple, yet solid, one light technique that works with strobes, flashguns (speedlights) and even window light. It will work with just about any modifier and suits men, women, children, and other subjects just fine. Equipment Here’s a list of what you need: A light source: Either flash or window light will work. In terms of modifiers, beauty dishes and softboxes are a great starting point. A white reflector: Don’t have a dedicated reflector? A sheet of white poster board or foam core is a perfect and cheap substitute. Set up First, have your subject stand or sit where you need them. If possible, keep them at least five feet from the background. Place your light source directly in front of them, between two and four feet away (60-120cm). Angle the light source (if using flash) so it’s pointing directly at your subject. Watch the shadows falling under their nose and mouth. For this technique, you’re looking to minimize the contrast on your subject’s skin. If the shadows are too long, lower your light source until they are minimized (also make sure you can see the light in their eyes as a catch-light). Place your reflector directly against your subject, and parallel to the ground at waist level. For ease, you can place it on a stool or a card table. If your subject is sitting, just have them hold it across their knees. Because the light source will be so close to your subject, you will need to shoot from directly underneath it. Calculate or meter your exposure and take a test shot....

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Fashion Photography Portraits | Recreating The Work Of An Icon With The Icon Watching (David Bailey)

Posted by on Apr 17, 2016 in Fashion, Featured, Photography Tips, portrait, Portraiture

Fashion Photography Portraits | Recreating The Work Of An Icon With The Icon Watching (David Bailey)

John Rankin, otherwise known by his photographic working name, Rankin, is a rather wildly successful portrait and fashion photographer. He’s shot some of the biggest names for the biggest names in many genres. Names like David Gandy and Heidi Klum in fashion; Daniel Craig and Monica Bellucci in film; Rafa Nadal and Ronaldo in sport; and Katy Perry and Kieth Richards in music. His talent and client lists are populated as such that you’d imagine that whether on a yacht party during the Monaco Grand Prix, or the after party at the Oscars or fashion shows, you could throw a rock and you’re bound to hit 6 or 7 people he’s shot. 

In the noisy overpopulated photographic world in which we reside, he’s one that rises above the noise to a place of focus, and it’s hard to imagine there’s anyone he would find intimidating to work with, but there are – people like David Bailey. In 2009, Rankin released a documentary for BBC called Seven Photographs That Changed Fashion, where he recreated iconic images as tribute to the original greats; Photographers like Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, and David Bailey. For those into beauty and fashion, you’ll no doubt be acquainted with these names because they are the ones that have set the tone and standard for us all, and working with any one of them is a bucket-list item even for Rankin. In the video herein, Rankin plucks an image from Bailey’s files and tries to recreate it using the same camera, a similar model, and setting, and with Bailey Present. Bailey is known to be quite a presence. He actually lives round the corner from my family and I’m too cowardly to go and ask even to borrow sugar, so I cannot imagine the pressure of having to recreate an iconic Bailey shot in front of the man himself. It’s actually a brilliant piece of film though if you’re into fashion and portraiture. You get a behind the scenes look at how photographers like this hold themselves, how they interact with their subjects, what tools they use, and if you pay attention to the precise verbiage they use, how they actually think about the craft and their own work. It’s marvelous really, that we can get a glimpse into something like this. It’s also refreshing to see that Bailey is forthcoming with the information about the shot, about how it was created, and why. He informs Rankin, and the viewer, that it was shot on a Rolleiflex, with a continuous light source, a plain background, no hair stylist or MUA, and not even a fan to blow the hair. The hair, he said, was blown up just using a piece of white board. [REWIND: BEAUTY & FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY | THE SPECIFICS THAT DIVIDE THE GREAT FROM THE MEDIOCRE] If you know Bailey and his work,...

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Huge Savings On Canon & Nikon Full Frame DSLRs & 50% Off Memory Cards (Deal Dash)

Posted by on Apr 16, 2016 in Astrophotography, canon, Fashion, Featured, lightroom, macro, nikon, Photography Tips, portrait, Portraiture

Huge Savings On Canon & Nikon Full Frame DSLRs & 50% Off Memory Cards (Deal Dash)

If you’re reading this you’re aware that in our field, gear matters, and you’d have to have a bank balance bigger than your bank account number for you to acquire all you likely would want when the whim takes you. However, if you keep your ear to the ground like we do, you come about the best photography deals currently on the market, and within our Deal Dashes, we share them with you: Canon CANON 5D MK III The venerable 5D’s third iteration comes from a lineage whose reputation precedes it, and is loved and used the world over. If you’re in the market it’s $300 off the normal price sitting at $2,499, and can get that here. However, in addition to that you can get this bundle for $2,749 with rebate that includes: Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR Camera Body Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 Lens Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash Canon PIXMA PRO-100 Professional Photo Inkjet Printer Lowepro Nova Sport 17L AW Shoulder Bag, Slate Gray Sandisk Extreme 32GB microSDHC Class 10 UHS-I Memory Card That’s quite a rounded kit, and not around for long. Get it here while still available. CANON 7D MK II With a 20MP refined APS-C sensor with dual pixel AF, the 7D MK II quickly became an item to get for many pros and enthusiasts. It’s got a rugged shutter designed for 200,000 actuations, a whopping 65 point AF system, and full 1080p at 60FPS. It’s one of the really attractive offerings from Canon and now is $300 less than normal sitting at $1,499 and even bundled with Lightroom. Get it here. Canon 70D We recently featured a Star Wars desert shoot (see here) which has received international attention and the entire shoot was done on a 70D, proving again that it’s a capable, dependable higher-end APS-C DSLR and right now can be had for $999. It’s unlikely this price will drop further anytime in the near future, and it’s a great buy. Get it here. NikoN (Still Offering HUGE SALES ON FX CAMERAS) D610 The Nikon D610 is the Nikon ‘entry’ full frame camera, and is probably one of the best buys for those wanting to get into full frame since it came out. It is, in fact, my workhorse of choice, and despite the agility and speed of it’s big brother the D750, the D610 remains a staple for many pro photographers, and coming in now at $1,296, a cool $700 less than typical list, it’s an exceptional buy. You can see our full review here, and get yours here. NIKON D810 The D810 is one of the most accomplished cameras to come to market in recent memory, with wide adoption from wedding photographers, fashion photographers, portrait shooters, architectural and the rest. There’s a reason for that: With 36MP, no optical low pass filter, 51 point AF system and in...

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5 Ways Your Lightroom Editing Is Ruining Your Images

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in canon, Featured, lightroom, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait, Portraiture

5 Ways Your Lightroom Editing Is Ruining Your Images

Lightroom is a fantastic program for editing your photos. However, it is so easy to ruin your images through over-editing, and I see it done time and time again. You’d think that these mistakes are solely the domain of the amateur, but I often see these sins committed at the hands of photographers who are not. Putting our stamp on an image is fine, but here are 5 mistakes you need to avoid. The Hammer That Is The Contrast Slider Shooting in raw, as you should be doing, can leave a fairly flat image upon import into Lightroom. The temptation, therefore, is to grab that contrast slider and, with great enthusiasm, begin to drag it over to the right. In itself, there is nothing wrong with the contrast slider, however, when compared to Curves, the control it provides is more comparable to a sledgehammer. Drag it too far over to the right and you’ll be crushing your blacks, blowing out highlights, producing unflattering skin tones and increasing saturation. Some of those effects may be something you want but, in my opinion, doing them all with one slider is a recipe for disaster. [REWIND: LIGHTROOM VS PHOTOSHOP FOR REMOVING BLEMISHES] In the image below I ramped up the contrast slider and, hopefully you’ll agree, it ruined the photo. I prefer to use Curves and the sliders within Tone to bring the contrast of my image to a level I desire. It always depends on what I shoot / am editing, but with portraits, I begin using the SLR Lounge Preset System, then tweak the Tone and Curves Sliders if necessary. Photo by Max Bridge Portrait Photographer . Canon 5D Mk II, Sigma 85mm f1.4, 1/500, f3.5, ISO 200 Personal style always plays a large role when editing. I won’t sit here and say, “you’re wrong to do X,” if you like the result, who am I to say otherwise? All I can say is that I like my editing to compliment my subject and, usually, excessive use of the contrast slider is not a good idea. Use with caution. Clarity, The Brother Of Contrast Using Lightroom to edit your photos, especially as an amateur, is quite a liberating experience. The user interface is so easy to get your head around, and what may seem like magic, is be achieved by the drag of a slider. Clarity, is one of those magic sliders that people, normally the less experienced, fall into over-using. You use it on one or two images and think “that looks great!”. From then on it rears its head in every photo you produce. Clarity increases the midtone contrast, meaning, excessive use won’t generally blow out your highlights or clip your blacks. But what actually resides in the midtones? That will be different for every image and subject, and in the case of portraiture you’re quite likely to...

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Review: Lastolite 6×4 Foot Panelite Collapsible Reflector with Translucent Diffuser

Posted by on Apr 13, 2016 in Featured, Photography Tips, portrait, Portraiture

Review: Lastolite 6×4 Foot Panelite Collapsible Reflector with Translucent Diffuser

How many times have you heard that there are certain times of day you shouldn’t photograph people? For example, at midday in harsh sunlight. The logic is pretty sound. Direct, hard light can lead to unflattering shadows and ultra high contrast, which can result in unsatisfactory portraiture. However, if you follow this advice blindly, and only wait for the golden hours each day, you’re missing out on an enormous amount of time that could be spent photographing people. There are several options to combat this problem, but one of the easiest and most effective, is a piece of gear called a diffusion panel. What is a diffusion panel? At its most basic, a diffusion panel is a piece of translucent material that allows harsh direct light to pass through it, so it effectively becomes a light source of its own. This softens the light and can allow you to obtain great, flattering, natural light portraits, in unfavorable conditions. There are many types of diffusion panels available ranging from very small, handheld ones, to giant ones that are many meters across and require dedicated stands. When size matters Small diffusion panels are useful, and if you happen to have a 5-in-1 reflector, you probably already have one. These are indispensable for still-life and tabletop work; however, in terms of portraiture, their small size often limits them to closely cropped images and headshots. This is where the Lastolite Panelite Reflector comes in. At 6×4 feet (1.8m x 1.2m) it’s large enough to cover enough area for full length portraits. At $128 retail, its price also means that it isn’t way out of reach for the serious portrait photographer. Putting it through its paces To test it out, I took the Lastolite Panelite Reflector out on location, at mid-afternoon on clear days. The sun was low at this point, but still very harsh, and the high contrast would have been difficult, if not impossible, to manage without a modifier. By Diffusing the sun back lighting the scene, you can even out the exposure of the highlights and shadows which is far more pleasing for portraits. On the left, the bottom half of the image is shaded by the diffuser. You can see the two stop difference in exposure. In the image on the right, you can see how the hard directional sunlight has been softened (note that more exposure was needed overall so the background was also brightened in the process). Apart from the unflattering shadows in the left hand image, the direct sun made it painful for the model to look into the camera. With the diffusion panel (right image), her eyes were shielded from the harsh light. In the left hand image, the extreme contrast from the back lighting made exposing for the rest of the image a nightmare. By diffusing the back light, the exposure was evened out, but...

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