Portraits (1/2)


so i want to talk about shooting portraits and what I look for. this is my opinions, and okay, i am a FRESH photographer, but what i see on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK is that portraits dont have to be one thing. so lets dive in to it…


Reference photos for this post:


i like to think about framing last, but i want to talk about it first, because, for every portrait you take you will notice that its really person-specific. WHO are you shooting and what type of PERSONALITY do they want to portray. i find this harder if i know the person.

  • photo 1:
    • the lines: the grass is leading its way to the «payment» in the photo wich is me, ang the gravel tracks from the tires are also building up the lines and gives the photo more structure.
    • midpoint: i stand in the middle of the photo, or it is clear that i am the point of the poto.
  • photo 2:
    • the handrail: you can use elements surrounding your location like handrails, streetlights and walls as frames in your photo, it may be preferred to ues manual focus here as the auto-focus can mess up your photo real quick. been there and done that.
    • props: in the photo i am holding a guitar, and in a portrait like this it might be smart to know where its important to crop or cut the photo in post.
  • photo 3:
    • not quite in the middle: did it work? yes, it works, even tough my OCD is giving me a hard time.
    • posture: i am leaned back, relaxing, smiling and my surroundings are on a different axis from me, i am not close to the wall. i repeat not close to the wall. often you see all of these photos where the subject/person is standing into the wall, either leaning in or just standing there, the person will the disappear in to the wall and the dynamic range will get smaller.


so as a hobby light tech i know the importance of good lighting in your photos i think everyone who´s been to some shows have seen a stressed out light tech and some «bad lighting». trust me, i´ve delivered bad lighting, not many times, but its a part of the game, getting better. and what i know from failing is that its better to not be complicated and have something cool if the main part isn working either. so focus on the important stuff first, and then you can advance up as you get better.

so background and foreground, what do you want your subject to be surrounded by, if you are shooing a product witch we will get ore in to in another SATURDAY SPECIAL, we need to be careful, but for today, lets talk people-portraits.

surroundings is important. what is your subject wearing, what is the contrast, whats making your subject blur in to the background, or stick out from the foreground.

as a photographer we have to think about a lot of things, lighting which is controlled by ISO, APERTURE and EXPOSURE TIME. test these out and see what they do, there is also a lot on this on YOUTUBE.

ISO is how much light you want on your photo, ISO 100 is often the lowest and the natural light of the «camera», if you dont want grain on your photo you want to keep it low, in the ISO 100 to ISO 400 area, but thats not always possible, and alot can be done in post to save it and make it at least decent.

APERTURE of f as it says on the lenses is how wide your lens can open to let in light, it is important to understand that this will have a huge effect on your photo, some will just have set it to auto, but knowing how you control it can be important for you to get the best photo.

EXPOSURE TIME is how long you open your sensor or mirror and let the light get on to it. so the longer it takes the more light gets in, if you try setting it to 30 seconds and not changing any other setting in a normal lit room you will see that it will get white and overexposed.

FOCUS is the most important factor beyond these three already mentioned. i would say that if your subject is out of focus you dont use the photo, so train yourself with the focus, from when to really rely on auto-focus to when to use manual focus and rely it and know how to work it.

thanks for reading


Good luck. If you know all this, and i have said something that is completely wrong give me a comment and i will fix it first hand.

Todays question: what is your favourite camera and lens? 


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