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Portrait Posing

“By the book”, here are the usual practices of taking portraits. Naturally, the photographer ought to master the standard techniques, and then will be free to explore their own new ways of interpreting the theme. The theme in portraits is always one person or a group of people, to the exclusion of all distractions.

Composition

Are you taking a close-up? That’s from the scalp to the point of the chin. How about a cameo? That includes the whole head and neck. A bust? That’s everything from the mid-chest up. And then there’s full-body and environment; the latter will include some scenery and objects.

Medium Portrait Posing

“By the book”, here are the usual practices of taking portraits. Naturally, the photographer ought to master the standard techniques, and then will be free to explore their own new ways of interpreting the theme. The theme in portraits is always one person or a group of people, to the exclusion of all distractions.

Composition

Are you taking a close-up? That’s from the scalp to the point of the chin. How about a cameo? That includes the whole head and neck. A bust? That’s everything from the mid-chest up. And then there’s full-body and environment; the latter will include some scenery and objects.

Medium

Black and white photography is considered more artsy than color. Black and white has the considerable advantage in that it can be processed at home, which gives you more control. Using a large format and shooting in color usually is necessary if you’re going to digitally retouch the final image.

Location

If you are shooting in a studio, try to have something that looks better than what they could get at the mall. Avoid gimmicky backgrounds, as they detract from your subject. You can also shoot in other indoor locations, such as pictures in an office or the living room of the home. Shooting outdoors will be hard because of the difficulty of light control. A good technique in shooting outdoors is to have the subject in front of a building or structure, with the light facing the scene.

Lighting

Lighting is half the creativity you can put into a portrait, but the standard setup is:

* A main light at a 45-degree angle to the photographer’s left.

* Fill lights, usually being a couple of half-stops weaker than than the main light and placed to the photographer’s right. The purpose is to fill in shadows and soften features.

* Optional hair light. This is placed in the orientation of the sun, way up high and out of the frame. Its only purpose is to create a highlight reflection on the subject’s hair.

Black and white photography is considered more artsy than color. Black and white has the considerable advantage in that it can be processed at home, which gives you more control. Using a large format and shooting in color usually is necessary if you’re going to digitally retouch the final image.

Location

If you are shooting in a studio, try to have something that looks better than what they could get at the mall. Avoid gimmicky backgrounds, as they detract from your subject. You can also shoot in other indoor locations, such as pictures in an office or the living room of the home. Shooting outdoors will be hard because of the difficulty of light control. A good technique in shooting outdoors is to have the subject in front of a building or structure, with the light facing the scene.

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