Sunday, May 12, 2013

How to…

Take portrait photos

Source: Richard I’Anson, executive summary by darmansjah

Capturing close-ups of people can be a daunting proposition, but there’s no need to be shy with this quick guide to the art of portrait shots

Asking permission results in more satisfactory images than trying to sneak them from a distance. You have to be fairly close to get a frame-filling portrait, and it’s best to be open about what you’re doing. If you don’t speak the local language, simply smiling and holding up the camera is usually enough.

In popular destinations you could be asked to pay to take a photo. Don’t hand out money if it’s not requested, but if it is, be prepared to pay or walk away. Agree any price beforehand, and if you promise to send a photo, make sure you follow it up.

Approach the person with confidence and shoot quickly. People soon become self-conscious and go into their ‘camera pose’. They often relax a little after the click of the camera.

Compose the photo vertically to minimize empty, distracting space, and concentrate on filling the frame with your subject to get a stronger image. Avoid backgrounds that are too busy or have very light or very dark patches of colour.

Always focus on the eyes. It doesn’t matter if the other features are out of focus: if the eyes aren’t sharp the image will fail. Overcast weather is ideal for portraits, providing soft, even light that eliminates heavy shadows.

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