Thursday, 21 July 2011

Project 4: An Active Portrait

  • A subject in a natural activity
  • Concentrate on the person and the facial expression

This shot is one of a sequence from a photoshoot in May of this year. Charles is a hip hop and artist asked me for some ideas on how he should pose. I know that most hip hop artists gesture a lot with their hands while singing but it would have been difficult for me to describe what I had in my head and he would have appeared quite wooden.

I asked him to sing one of his songs (not necessarily at full volume), and he immediately started gesticulating in a natural and spontaneous way.

What have I learned?
I found that once the subject was engaged in an activity, he almost forgot about the camera and didn't have to think about how to pose (nor did I!).
This wasn't planned, but his right hand acts as a leading line taking the eye to his facial expression. I also like the slight blur in his fingertips which shows that he wasn't static.
One of the things to be careful of when photographing singers is getting shots of them with their mouths wide open or 'pulling faces'.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

I'm Back!

I haven't been here for quite a while, but I have been busy from a photographic point of view.

I've worked really hard to improve the quality of light in my portraits - experimenting with various camera and flash settings, using light modifiers, going to workshops and reading books. I'm also comfortable working in studios to produce a pure white background.

There has been a steady increase in demand for my work which has enabled me to work with a wider range of subjects in numerous settings. I've also put considerable time and effort building up the number of 'fans' on my Facebook page, albeit at the expense of my website (and my studies).

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Posing Techniques

I need some ideas for posing models so I have purchased the following from Amazon:

Posing Techniques for Photographing Model Portfolios

Most of the models I've worked with have clear ideas about poses and the looks they want to achieve, but thinking ahead to the photo sessions I will be doing with friends I will have to give more direction.
I'm particularly interested in learning about ways to place the hands and using the body to create shapes that look natural.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Project 1: Portrait, scale & setting

Four scales of portrait in one session:
  • Face cropped in close
  • Head and shoulders
  • Torso, taking into account arms and hands
  • Full figure

    These were taken recently for an urban styled photoshoot with a model and make-up artist, on London's Southbank. The location was chosen to provide a vibrant backdrop and the challenge for me was to try to prevent it from becoming the main focal point. I moved the model around to alter the background and varied the distance between her and the walls to enable me to throw them out of focus. I recently acquired an 85mm 1.8 lens and this was my first outing with it. I used available light and a silver reflector for the close-up shots.

    What have I learned?
    Image 1 - In this shot I found a way to make the eyes prominent (with the aid of make-up) even when the model is looking away from the camera.
    Image 2 - In order to keep the eyes prominent, I have blurred the foreground whilst cropping the background to a minimum. I usually concentrate on simply throwing the background out of focus, but this photoshoot really made think about different ways to use it.
    Image 3 - In this shot I was trying to provide some separation from the background by using a section of wall that contrasted with the model's clothing. I also angled the camera to produce some leading lines.
    Image 4 - I debated whether to try and lose the detail in the background of this shot and finally settled on this with only a slightly soft background. Both myself and the model ran out of ideas with regard to the placement of hands. I didn't want the hands hanging limply by her sides, but found hands on hips or hands held up to the head becoming quite repetitive.