Photography Portrait

Portrait Photography – Skin, Love It Or Leave It Behind?

Today’s photo tip is all about including skin in your portrait photography.

In fact, since portrait photography generally involves the area from the chest and upwards, the skin problem mostly concerns bare arms and low cropped bodices.

Here’s a golden rule you should put in your notebook now … “In a photo – any photo is not just a portrait – the eye is immediately drawn to the lightest area.”

Now consider a typical portrait, it has a background that is usually darker than the head being photographed. So, that makes the skin of the face, arms and chest the lightest area.

How to Shoot Beautiful Portraits

With all the skin catching the eye, viewers eyes bounce all over the place!

BTW – in high key portraits, in our minds the background disappears. Focus shifts to the subject – and the skin is still the lightest area.

In a portrait, you want all the focus to be on the face – nothing else! But, all that skin pulls the eye away. Not to mention that the arms generally drop in and out of the photo frame and will draw the eye completely out of the photo.

In other words, you could imagine ending up with a portrait where no one is actually seeing the face!

The Fundamentals

An added negative is that as we get older we put on some extra weight. For many women, weight appears on the arms first. Nobody wants a portrait that makes them look fat.

“But”, I can hear you say, “all fashion magazines show all the top models posing in skimpy clothes and showing A LOT of skin!”

They’re being photographed by top photographers, so what’s up?

Keep in mind that fashion photography and portrait photography serve very different purposes.

In portrait photography, we want the attention to be focused on the face. Then, if the viewer can describe the clothes being worn, we have failed.

In fashion photography we want attention focused on fashion! If no one can identify the model, that’s actually a good thing. (Except in the case of celebrity models – which is a completely different ballgame.)

So all of this has already been said – covering the arms and chest in portraits. Your clients will like them much better!

If you are planning to go to your next vacation without your camera – you are missing out on some incredible photo opportunities!

Parties, family gatherings and so on are the perfect opportunity to get some portraits where your friends and family will look at them and say, “Wow, you did that?”

It’s time to finally close down that “uber-successful” smack that always brags about the latest deals he’s single-handedly put together that saved the company.

Trust me, she won’t be able to make portraits like you do, and EVERYONE would rather see portrait photography of themselves than listen to her other adventures! Use these photo tips starting today! For more information, check out the resource box!

Photography Portrait

These photo tips break the rules of portrait photography!

Today I have a photo tip that really breaks the rules. I’m going to talk about including hats in portrait photography.

Hats can say a lot about a person’s personality and are good props to use – if they really do suit the personality of the subject.

But, be careful with the lighting. You don’t want your eyes to be shadowed so you need to lower the light. But if you lower it too far, you can get “horror movie” lighting and shadows. Watch Out.

If you’re doing a quick snapshot just for fun let your models go and wear whatever they want. If they want to wear a cute looking clown hat or a jester hat with jingling bells – or even a deerstalker for Sherlock Holmes fans … Go for it! (I have done it all.)

People and Portrait Photography Tips

In this article, I’m not talking about funny snapshots. I’m talking portrait photography telling the story of who this person is – and will stand the test of time.

If you are trying to make something special that will be on the wall (and be liked) 20 years from now, you need to be careful and plan every detail. You DO want to show the personality of the model and who they are – so hats sometimes come into play. Make sure you NEED it to tell the story.

BTW – if you’re not aware, the reason to be careful is that hats have the capacity to draw the viewer’s eye away from the face and that’s the worst thing.

If you shoot a professional baseball player – can you imagine telling their story without a baseball cap?

How about a rodeo cowboy? Can you really tell the story of who they are without the cowboy hat? They wear hats all the time.

As well as the hat’s ability to disguise the radical difference between tanned cheeks and the white forehead of a fish belly – that’s a natural part of this subject. They will look like something is missing if you shoot them without their hats.

Now I think about it that could become our rule. Do they look like something is missing without the hat?

I’ve written several articles where I constantly harp on the fact that you shouldn’t put something that would draw the viewer’s eye off the face … but a hat can be an exception to that rule.

What about the young girl who NEVER wears a hat, but has a bad hair day! You guessed it – no hat. Find ways to fix her hair or even postpone the shoot. No matter how “cute” she looked, the portrait wouldn’t make it onto the wall. It’s just not him.

There was a time when you HAD to shoot a model with a hat, even if it was the only hat they ever wore!

This is a mortar board that graduated seniors wear. That’s a must! (And that would make it to the wall – no question.) As I write it is graduation time – which is why I am thinking of what may be the only exception to the hat problem.

By the way, do you know how mortar boards come from? It’s kind of an interesting story.

Back in the days – (renaissance era), the only two ways for an artist to make money were to be assigned by a church or a very wealthy patron.

If they are doing a religious painting for the church, the most important and most holy people in the photo are emphasized by placing them in the center and placing a gold, circular shape behind their heads – indicating a hello. It’s a solid shape, not the ring shape we now associate with the halo.

This immediately separated them from the crowd and defined them as very important people.

When rich people come and want portraits. They want hello too! The ego of the rich man is every bit as above then (or even more so) as it is now. They want to be the center of attention and “important” too!

Unfortunately, placing hello on a non-holy subject is considered blasphemy. The rich have the cash and power to stay out of trouble, but starving artists have a way of being burned at the stake. (Or tortured and killed in other gruesome ways.)

What to do?

This problem was solved by using solid circular shapes for saints and solid squares for the rich and famous. If you look at one of the paintings, it looks like they are wearing gold mortarboard!

And so it happened. The mortar board is a symbol that shows importanceyes day and graduates!

In portrait photography, avoid hats unless absolutely necessary to “tell a story.” But if it’s part of their personality – put it there even though it might technically be against the rules. Just be careful setting your lighting and you’re good to go. Photo tips are a guide and should be broken from time to time.

Photography Portrait

Orange County Associate Photographer: How to Promote

You are an Orange County Photographer who has experienced great growth. You have hired an associate photographer. You now want to promote him in a profitable way.

Associate photographers can be a great addition to any photography business.

They allow businesses to take advantage of job opportunities that would otherwise have to be turned down because the owner was booked or busy. They can bring new perspectives. However, the form of the relationship and the means of promotion are items that a business owner should consider and deal with before promoting other photographers publicly. This article provides a list of ideas to consider when a business owner takes this step.

1. What is the legal relationship between you and the new photographer?

Will a new photographer be hired as an employee or will you contract work for this photographer? There are advantages to both. With hired employees, you have more control over how the job will be accomplished. With contractors you have less control but you don’t have to deal with benefits, taxes and other administrative duties.

2. How broad will the role of the new photographer be defined?

Will she be meeting with clients before the wedding or photoshoot? Will he do the photo selection and editing? Will he take orders? Clarity about the answers to these questions will prevent many misunderstandings in the future.

3. How will new photographers be paid?

Are you going to pay him a piece – where he gets paid so much for editing, so much for shooting and so much for meeting clients or will you pay him by the hour? Will you offer incentive payments – say 5-10% of any order? Incentive payments can pay for themselves with larger orders. This will give the photographer enough motivation to produce an excellent product so that the order size is increased by more than 10%.

4. What is your policy on non-competitive agreements?

Are you going to be looking for an agreement that prevents the photographer from doing work on the side while he’s working for you or Will you just require him not to contact clients who come through you. It’s a good idea to get advice from a lawyer before making a decision at this point.

Promoting new photographers in your business is very exciting. This is proof of successful growth. Taking the above ideas into account will help make the trip more enjoyable for you and your new photographer.

Photography Portrait

Portrait Photography Tips and Tricks

Are you looking to improve your portrait photography? Knowing how to set up your camera and lighting to take quality pictures is just one of the many steps. You should also pose your subjects while helping them feel relaxed and comfortable. Having great technical skills is a great start, but personal skills will also go a long way when photographing people. Let’s take a look at some of the things you should consider taking good portraits.

If you’re taking portraits in a studio make sure to set everything up before your subject arrives. Keeping your subject waiting can make them feel anxious and even upset. These negative feelings will show up in photos. Get the right lighting. Has several props. Props can be used to make your subject feel more comfortable. Many people will relax more quickly if they are given something to do with their hands. If you’re using a background, have it before the person arrives. If you are shooting outside of a studio, try to familiarize yourself with the location before shooting. Walk around the area and get ideas for pictures.

You should plan the general look and feel for portraits before shooting. When your subject arrives discuss those ideas with them and get feedback. These original ideas change frequently, but they are good for setting you in the direction for photography sessions.

Don’t be afraid to give your subject direction.

Most people need to pose for photos. Many, if left to their own devices, will appear bent in the image. Having your subject lean slightly forward will help stop them from slouching. While you are taking pictures talk to our subjects about their interests. Getting to know them better will help them feel more comfortable. Finally, they may forget about the camera together. If someone isn’t comfortable having their portrait taken it really does show up in the picture. It is important that you go out of your way to help them relax.

Get creative. Creative portraits that break the rules can be very effective.

Try a different camera angel. Change lighting. Use filters. See what’s best for the mood you want to capture. Some portraits may include only the person’s hand. In some portraits fill the entire image. Photography is a creative art. Once you know the rules don’t be afraid to break them. When you make changes, be confident without being bossy. This will help your subject trust your decision and be more willing to follow your instructions.

Combining these skills with the technical skills you already have will help make you the most popular portrait photographer in town.


Photo Tips – Why You Need Portrait Photography Fill Light!

In the last few photo tips articles, we’ve covered portrait photography lighting patterns … Short light, wide light, split light, loop lighting patterns, Rembrandt and finally butterfly lighting patterns. Today’s photo tip is all about controlling the shadows of lighting patterns with fill lights.

Each of our lighting patterns have their good and bad points and will be perfect for some faces and terrible for others. If you haven’t done any experiments to get the hang of it, I suggest you create your own weekend project!

These patterns are essential building blocks for mastering portrait photography.

As photographers, we tend to care about ourselves with light, almost to exclude everything else – but shadows are just as important! In fact, each of the lighting patterns we’ve discussed are named for the type of shadow the light source throws in!

This series of lighting patterns has been about building them with one light – the main (or key) light – and how to position them to get the most pleasing lighting patterns for certain types of faces.

While no matter what the light looks like, it can be a studio flash, a sun, a window, a reflector even more than a flashlight – it’s important to have shadows to add depth and life to our portrait photography.

However, when we look at portraits done by professional photographers, we note that they almost always have more than one light source. Usually they have three and as many as five or six!

Why? And how do we know when more lights are needed and where to place them?

Once again, everything returned to the shadows!

Suppose you are using a short exposure pattern to help visually narrow the face of the subject. This works because – visually – the shadows tend to recede and the lit areas move forward. Because the shadow is closest to the camera, it makes the face appear thinner.

But color and depth of shadow can add emotion and feeling to a portrait that we don’t want! If we use a single light, we will have sharp lines dividing the highlight and shadow areas and we lose all the details in the shadow areas.

Shadow areas can be very dark – which if we want a lot of drama and emotion in our portraits, that’s a good thing … but what if we don’t want all the drama? Obviously, we need to lighten the shadows, while still maintaining our slimming light pattern.

To do this, we add a second light. This is called a “fill light.” It’s named for the fact that this light fills the shadow!

With the fill light, we can now have complete control over the shadow! We can turn it off and have a completely black shadow or we can change it and have the shadow almost disappear – and anything in between!

Portrait Lighting Tips

Note: if we have the same amount of light intensity on the fill light as the main light the shadow is lost. If we have more light on the fill light, it will cast a shadow on the (previously) lit side. If you do this, it becomes the main light and the other one is the fill light. In other words, the fill light is always the same or lower intensity than the main light.

To get an understanding of fill lights and what they do, look through your favorite magazine and try first to determine the lighting pattern, then where the headlights are positioned and whether or not they use fill lights. If they use one, why? If not – why not?

In portrait photography Science Articles, depth of shadow is just as important as light quality and will make a big impact on your viewer’s perception. We control the depth with a fill light.

Use photo tips today to start thinking about how you can use lighting patterns and fill lights in your portrait photography to start controlling the emotions of your viewers – and you’ll be well on your way to consistently winning photo contests. …