It’s failry easy to tell a real smile or fake, a realsmile spreads to the eyes. When you need your subject to look happy you should try to capture laughter naturally as it happens, rather than asking the person to smile. So yuo try to be friendly and funny. So for a for a natural looking portrait, be natural, engage with the person and try to make them giggle!
Rule of thirds
A simple but effective rule of photography is the rule of thirds. Look through your cameras viewfinder and mentally try and divide the image you see in to thirds, not only across the image but top to bottom. You’ll find the image will appear to sit easier on the eye. When viewing a landscape try and have interest in the foreground, split the view in to thirds and try to make a more intersting image by leading the viewer through all elements of the enviroment. Many modern digital cameras have a dislay on the back of the camera with a grid provided.
Animals can be unpredictable, especially wild ones! Make sure you don’t miss the shot by using continuous burst mode and don’t be afraid to press the shutter as soon as you sense that something may happen – that’s the beauty of digital that it doesn’t cost you anything!
If you are shooting on a windy day weigh your tripod down by using a carrier bag filled with rocks hung from the middle column. Also use your body as a protective shield around the top to stop gusts of wind shaking the camera and ruining your image.
Lowlight shooting -Shoot half an hour either side of the sunrise or sunset in order to capture the most dramatic colours in the sky. Make sure you take a torch when out on location and make a mental note of your position as it can be hard to navigate your way back once the light has disappeared.
Look for naturally occurring leading lines, such as this textured wall found down an unimposing alleyway. A 50mm lens is ideal for portraits, creating an attractive shallow depth of field that maintains focus on your model.
Using wide lens apertures and being more selective with focusing helps to make more of interesting subjects such as alliums. This image was taken with a Tamron 90mm macro lens at its maximum aperture.
Pro photographer, Will Cheung says, “Your garden might have a few wild poppies and these colourful flowers are very photogenic. Shoot them when they are in flower for colour but they look great when there is just the seed pod left.”
Mix old with new technologies and shoot flowers with a pinhole lens on your digital SLR. The soft, vignetted images have a very individual look. Double-etched pinhole lenses cost £12 from P&L Solutions, phone 0121 434 3321 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0121 434 3321 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, www.pinholesolutions.co.uk, and are fitted to a body cap with the centre drilled out. Exposure instructions are supplied with the pinhole.
Move in close and even a mild breeze can cause major problems with macro subjects. This brilliant gadget called the Wimberley Plamp (£29.31 from Warehouse Express) can help keep your subject steady. The Plamp is a flexible arm with clamps at both ends, one for the tripod and the other to hold your victim still.
Pro photographer, Will Cheung says, “Your garden shed or gardening toolbag is a rich vein of subjects for your camera. Place them on a suitably rustic background in some brightly lit shade for flat lighting and there are plenty of still-life photographs to be had.”
Gary Walsh says, “With the camera tripod mounted I was able to play with a slow shutter speed and introduce the lady dancing. When working with children you have got to bring an element of fun to the shoot to keep them interested. I then converted the image to Black and White as the warm wood laminate flooring distracted from the feel of the shot.”
Soft directional light is perfect for portraits – here is how to achieve this look using on camera flash: flashgun on camera set to TTL, with the camera composed for your portrait, point the flash directly at the subject and then twist the flash head 90 degrees so it’s pointing to the side. This is the important bit – place your hand next to the flash head so there is NO light from the flashgun hitting the subject, instead the flash is hitting the wall (or anything else around the room) and bouncing beautiful, natural, soft directional light across your subject – voila!
Positioning the group close to one another and encouraging physical contact can help express unity. If the group is large, make sure you bring a stepladder to capture a high angle shot, and a tripod can give you more creative freedom to experiment with poses. Ask everyone involved to wear similarly toned clothing ahead of the shoot.
Nikki Hill says, “Timing is of the essence in newborn photography. To add strength to a baby portrait, it’s important that little hands and arms feature close to the baby’s face. This is achieved much more easily in the first 10 days of life when babies are more prone to deep sleep and hands can easily be manoeuvred into place.”
Pro photographer Nikki Hill says, ” All too often, baby portraits are taken in black and white or with soft pastel colours. Buck the trend and bring in some strong, brightly coloured accessories to experiment away from the ‘norm’.”
Nikki Hill says, “A chocolate, mono or ‘warm’ Black and White can give your baby portraits a vintage feel with timeless appeal. The simple composition adds to the strength of an image like this and means it can stand the test of time as a framed portrait in any home.”
Pro photographer Jo Hansford says, “Asking your model to focus on something or someone out of the frame can often give a photo an element of intrigue and interest – what are they looking at? It can create a slightly dreamy, alternative dimension to an image.”
Jo Hansford says, “Don’t be scared to photograph a model up close and fill the frame. This can show beautiful eyes, eyelashes, cute noses or features, and works well with younger models who have unblemished skin which will photograph well.”
To create portraits with a more dynamic feel, try to think about shooting from different angles. Get down on the floor and shoot upwards to create some really strong shapes, or stand on a box/wall/chair and shoot downwards for a completely different feel to your pictures. Using these techniques can really add variety to a shoot.
f you’re photographing people outdoors, position them in a shady spot then add light with your flashgun or reflectors as necessary. This will prevent your from having to contend with potentially harsh light from the sun and allow you to control the direction and quality of the light more easily.
Phil Barber says, “As a portrait photographer, a great place to position yourself for indoor shoots is between a window and your subject. Doing this will ensure your model is flooded with natural light, creating a beautiful flattering image with none of the harsh effects or shadows that a flashgun gives.”
Look for pattern and structure in surfaces, objects, buildings etc. By coming in close to a tight composition the image will appear abstract. Repetitive patterns work well in the monochrome medium.
Jodie Tyley says, “The black and white medium is a flattering approach for portraiture photography as it eliminates blemishes on the skin. Old people and babies work particularly well in this style and using a narrow depth of field will enhance the detail in their features. Direct eye contact with the camera can look effective.”
Pro photographer Gary Walsh says, “The impact of this shot is the expression. In colour there are quite a number of distracting colours in the composition. Black and White gives a timeless quality and you eyes are drawn to the subject’s expression. I always shoot in colour and convert to Black and White later. The trick is to learn to see your composition in Black and White, paying more attention to the contrast and texture of the shot.”
Did you know that the direction you’re facing in a photograph and the direction that the light strikes your face can make a significant difference in how you look in a portrait? For example, if you have a slightly crooked smile, the smaller side of your smile should be positioned further away from the camera lens. If you part your hair on one side, you’ll look more slender if the part is closer to the camera lens. Conversely, if you’re thin and would like a fuller look, the part should be farther from the camera.?? Gittings photographers are professionally trained to analyze facial structure in order to best determine which side to photograph from. This enables them to discern the most flattering angles and employ lighting techniques that are most becoming. With study and experience, Gittings consistently puts “your best face forward.”