Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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121

Not an odd question at all. As a large man myself, I constantly find myself on the lookout for ways in my portrait business to help people look their best (no particular order... just as they came to mind): No broad lighting. This is a 'basic' for portrait lighting, but I'm always amazed when I see inexperienced photographers who simply throw light all ...


68

Long lenses are typically used for portraits as the greater working distance they allow flatters the subject. This is due to the effect of foreshortening, the perspective is compressed when shooting further from the subject using a long focal length, making features like noses stick out less. You can shoot portraits with a wide lens, but you're going to get ...


33

What is a catchlight? A catchlight is is what is used to describe the highlight that can appear in a portrait subjects eyes. This is generally a desirable thing to have because it brighteness the whites of a subjects eyes, brings out their eye color and generally adds 'life' to a subject. Here is a 100% crop from a recent photo shoot I did using all ...


32

There are some different styles, and a variety of poses, but for classic portraiture, it's all about the face. Posing the body helps the overall composition and visual interest, but if you forget all else, make sure the face, and particularly the eyes are captured well. No football shoulders. Start with the subject, whether seated or standing, point their ...


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 ...


31

Yes, absolutely. The 50 f/1.8 is outstanding value for money providing a very wide max aperture for portraiture compared to other lenses in the same price bracket. I have the 1.4, but borrowed a 50 f/1.8 when my lens was being repaired. Although it was 2/3 of a stop slower and lacked an ultrasonic focus motor, wide open it was sharp, and can produce ...


31

Firstly, you should pose your model. There are ways to accentuate parts of the body naturally. Try posing her arms so that they squeeze the bosom. Another option then is to break all the rules of portrait photography, and instead of using a long lens (that flattens features) use a wider angle (around 24-35mm on full frame maybe) and get closer! By getting ...


29

So, a couple of additional thoughts (from Jay's post) I would have on this would be: Shoot from above, even moderately so. This will tend to minimize certain features (especially under the chin, etc.). Arrange legs and arms to "screen" a little. Consider, for example, a portrait where the subject is on the ground, you could have one leg pulled up and an ...


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 ...


25

Yes, this can work. I know because I've taken photos of children lit only by their birthday-cake candles and they've come out nicely. First, some general tips, without regard to your specific camera. These are probably most appropriate for a DSLR or other advanced camera which gives a lot of photographer control: Use manual exposure. The camera's ...


25

This picture, and others similar to it, aren't pictures of the woman. These are travel snapshots, with some landmark and a woman in the same frame. There's nothing wrong with such snapshots per se. In fact, they're pretty great: they show where you were, remind you of the good times, and they're not anything like the travel postcards you could buy, even ...


23

It depends a bit on the kind of portrait you want to take, but there are two key things you want to do regardless: Not distort your subject. If you're too close to the subject things get warped, so whilst using your wide-angle and getting right up to the nose of your subject may produce an amusing result, it's seldom what you want (but as with all things, ...


23

To get a pure black background you need space, not material. The easiest way to get a black background is to shoot outdoors at night. It doesn't matter what your background is like, provided it's not too close and doesn't have it's own lightsources. This was shot in my garden: Distance is always key. If you are working indoors, even with a specialist ...


22

I don't agree that pricing should only offset your costs. Photography was a hobby before you started making money with it, so the cost of your equipment isn't exactly an expense of your photography business. Instead, I think the end product you produce is the only factor in pricing. There is no reason for a client to have to pay for your expensive DSLR if ...


22

I personally have the 1.8 and my friend the 1.4. Obviously the 1.4 is much better build quality and fairly better optically, but the 1.8 is a bargain and still a good lens as long as you don't plan on throwing it around. Also more easily replaced if it breaks. Both give pleasing pictures and both will be better in low light than your current lens... but.. ...


21

A couple other tips: Bounce flash, and don't use red-eye reduction mode for your flash Don't be predictable with when you take the shot. Some folks have a special talent for blinking at the wrong time, so don't let them know when the shot is happening Try to avoid having a bunch of other folks taking pictures at the same time. All those other flashes will ...


21

The macro lens is capable of focusing on things that are really close. How close? (Magification ratios explained) A 1:1 magnification means that a lens can focus on something so close, its image on the film/sensor is the same size as the subject itself, so you can imagine that's probably about as close to the lens as the lens is long (depending on the lens ...


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 ...


19

Well, a classic lens for portrait is 80mm to 135mm on a 35mm full frame camera. If you do the math, on the 2Ti it's around 50mm to 85mm for the same field of view. So, in that sense, you're at the wide end of the portrait "sweet spot" as it were. Does that mean anything? Well, it does. A shorter lens will often have a greater depth of field and that tends ...


18

To add to what Jay Lance said (mostly different phrasing, but also comments on background & accessories) My grandmother used to teach corrective posing & lighting years ago, and her short 2-page handout is in the back of "The Art of Bridal Photography: Techniques for Lighting and Posing", which Google has conveniently scanned. The relevent items ...


18

Photography is about telling a story. Start there. Think about the message you want to send, and then craft a picture around it. Technique wise, there isn't much different about photographing a newborn that wouldn't also apply to other portraiture (much of which, in turn, applies to all photgraphy). The only things I can think of that might be different ...


18

Usually, people are aware that they have it, but don't want it to be so pronounced. If you can use Gimp, there is a plugin called Wavelet decompose. In this site there is some information on how to use it to retouch pictures. I like that technique because you don't need to complete remove what doesn't please you, but you can minimize it so the picture ...


17

You've got plenty of megapixels... don't worry about that. Here are some other tips for photos of children: use props: kids love to play with toys, balls, chairs, tables, etc. In addition to helping to occupy their attention you can add an interesting visual element to the photo. shoot from their eye level. Far too many photos that parents take have the ...


17

Smoothness often comes from a large lightsource (i.e. a softbox or umbrella) The first link you posted isn't what I'd call crisp fashion photography so I'm not entirely sure what you're after. Crispness comes from the lens, and from post processing. The balance switches as you reduce the image size. Don't be swayed by sharp looking but tiny images! For ...


17

Tilting forward may help, if you can use those types of poses. Also, if you can use angle light, or angled behind lights, the shadows will accentuate the bosom. However, getting this right may be tricky, because the face may need different lighting, or will show bad face texture or shadows. So you will have to have her turn the head to a different ...


16

As someone who has gone through this very exercise just recently, I can safely recommend the Canon 35mm f2.0 Firstly, you definitely don't want to blind the baby, and even bounce flash causes his/her eyes to close tightly. You also definitely want a fast lens - and here I wouldn't recommend anything slower than f2.0. I first bought the highly rated Canon ...



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