The Sleeping Giant's Sea Lion

by Jakub

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71

[This answer is a community wiki. Please contribute any other interesting and relevant articles or examples to list at the bottom.] In a slightly different vein to answers so far: don't approach people first, just shoot them. This is mostly for practical reasons; you don't get good street photography by asking permission first (though you will get some ...


32

Use a wide angle lens and position yourself low down, as others have stated: Giant legs on even the shortest subject guaranteed! This was shot with a 10mm, the effect is more subtle at longer focal lengths. Wide angle lenses accentuate perspective, they increase the distance in size between near and far objects. By getting low you are making the ...


31

The most natural looking portraits is usually taken when the subject is not aware of it. To consiously look natural isn't very easy, and untrained people generally can't do it. One method is to simply "wear them out". After a while they will become accustomed to the camera and stop making a face, either because they grow tired of it, or because they simply ...


25

I find the cheesy smile comes out when the subject is uncomfortable. Depending on the style of photo you're after your options fall into distinct groups: The "When did you take that?" photo Sometimes referred as the paparazzi style (although the circumstances are generally more favourable), but the method is very similar -- long lens, wide aperture, and ...


19

People like to see smiles in photos because that implies that the subjects were happy at the time. But getting photographed does not always make people happy. So getting better photos often means helping people relax, get used to the camera (or forget about the camera if necessary), and actually enjoy themselves. Different techniques will work with different ...


18

The problem with fluorescent lighting isn't the color temperature, exactly. You can generally adjust white balance to account for that. If there's a green tint, that can usually be compensated for with manual white balance. But the poor color rendering is harder. The problem is that by their nature fluorescent tubes only produce light in narrow ranges of ...


15

If you are taking a fairly formal portrait and are using a tripod, stand a bit away from the camera, carry on a conversation, and trigger the shutter with a cable release or a remote. As the subject relaxes, you will be able to get more natural seeming shots.


15

I think there are many small steps you can take, but it will depend on your personality how fast you move through each. One thing that helped me a lot was going to public events. During public events people are more inclined to be photographed, so that will help you break the ice. Try not to go to a G20 protest though :) Maybe Mardi Gras or something like ...


15

You want to be shooting more or less dead on to the subject, not to the side. The rule of thumb is that the line of the nose should not 'break' the line of the cheek, and this is doubly true for nasally well-endowed subjects. Avoid wide-angle lenses like the plague - you need to be looking at a 100-135mm lens ideally, as it will flatten the photograph ...


14

A number of answers have focused on the photographic side of things. Another point is simply how the woman dresses. The more of the legs that are visible, the longer they'll tend to look -- just for example, the shorter of skirt she wears, the longer her legs will generally look. Regardless of whether they happen to be popular at the moment, swimsuits that ...


14

No one has mentioned lighting yet: bright pixels are sharp pixels. Are you using an off-camera flash, exposing the subject and background properly, and capturing one round catch light in each eye?


13

I think the best thing you do is be honest, straight up and provide a way for them to verify and possibly receive the photo later on, watermarked, low-res or not. I've only actually done this once, but I explained precisely who I was, gave them my card and made sure to not include any identifying marks in the photo. I took a long exposure shot of a ...


13

I've also tried using CFLs in clamp lights for photography, and I've also been disappointed with the color rendering. Color temperature is a measurement that properly only applies to black body radiators, which produce a continuous spectrum. CFL bulbs aren't black body radiators and don't output a continuous spectrum, so the color temperatures claimed for ...


12

I use this technique and so do several events photography friends of mine. When we are doing group shots we often invite everyone to close their eyes and think of a beautiful memory and happy thought. And then we tell them that we'll count to three and have them open their eyes, and smile for the camera--on three. What happens is the smile is more natural, ...


11

A lot of it depends on the ability to engage and develop a bit of rapport with casual conversation. Ask a person about what they're doing. Compliment them on something they're wearing. Ask them if they have email and offer to send them a copy of your photo


11

There are several aspects of your example that work together: Viewpoint: Get down lower so that the camera is looking slightly upward. This will make your subject seem taller, and it also gives them a more powerful look. Lens: Use a wider angle than you would normally use for portraits. Something in the 35-50mm range would probably be good. Posing: In ...


10

The easiest is if you have the sun behind you, but not exactly behind you, but at an angle. That will give a slight side light to the faces, and they don't have to squint so much because of the sun. If you use a flash in daylight, it's mostly to push away shadows, so that is useful if you have the sun from the side or behind the subject. The direction isn't ...


10

If this is the kind of thing you are going for: Get close to your subject. Get a light source behind you. It will be reflected in the eyes. The center focus point is special, it's more accurate. Use it to focus on the eye. Open your lens up (all the way to 1.8). Shallow depth of field can help you bring the viewer's attention to what's in focus (ideally, ...


10

First of all asking before taking a shot often ruins the natural scene you want to capture so don't do it. Best way I have found is to use a fairly long lens so you can take the shot from some distance (this is the reason many photo journalists use 70-200 lenses). You may be noticed but because your a good distance away the subject is rarely too affected by ...


9

Become a super spy photographer. It is a filter attachment that allows you to shoot around corners, or look like you are photographing somewhere else. Available from Photojojo. OR... I know it is hard approaching people, but if you are polite, 9/10 people would be okay with it. If they do have a problem with it, go to the next market stall. Having a ...


8

Make sure there is someone even shorter in the photo.


8

I always tell people to make the ugliest frowning face possible and make them hold it for a while. After about 30 seconds I say "ok, now you can smile" and the smiles that come out are usually great. But you have to be quick, the smiles will revert back to the fake smiles within seconds. This works on almost anyone, it must be the novelty of frowning in ...


8

I have a relative who behaves like that. The only methods I have found so far basically try to catch him unprepared by:fast surprise snapshotphotographing without raising camera to an eye, either using live view or just trying out luckusing a telephoto from somewhere outside immediate visibility Of course, none of that works for staged portraits.


8

Looking at the images you posted, the focus is not on the eyes. The two images are really not that sharp in general. Who knows what the AF selected, but it wasn't the eyes unfortunately. You need to do two things 1) When taking the shot, use a center focus point, focus on the eyes, then reframe and shoot. I would suggest taking several shots to improve ...


8

I've just started doing a 100 Strangers project in order to improve my (non-existent) portrait skills. Basically you have to go up people you've never met before and ask to take their picture (you can see the results so far on my Flickr stream. My experience so far is that most people don't mind you asking. I asked about 15 people on Saturday and only one ...


7

ahockley is 100% right. Your ability to get those sorts of shots depends on your ability to engage people in conversation. I got this shot while chatting up a large group of people at a company picnic. Also, be prepared for people to say no sometimes (some people really don't like to be photographed). People who are having a good time tend to be more ...


7

In my own opinion, this is a tricky question because : If you ask the person, you just change his mind set and the innocence of the picture is gone. If you take the picture, then ask the person, they can be mad at you to have taken such picture. Sadly, I think it's a case-by-case situation where you must figure out by yourself. But a good rule of thumb ...


7

If it's for a staged portrait, just shoot and keep giving directions. In order to not embarrass the subject, snap a picture with the cheesy smile, say "Great!" and then follow up with "Now let's try a soft smile" or similar. If they get a serious look because they're uptight or trying to figure out your instructions, just say "Try to look like you don't ...



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