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Photofocus Episode 76
Host: Scott Bourne (www.scottbourne.com or www.twitter.com/scottbourne) and special guest Tamara Lackey (www.tamaralackeyblog.com or www.twitter.com/tamaralackey)
Show notes by Bruce Clarke (www.momentsindigital.com or www.twitter.com/bruceclarke)
Welcome to Episode Number 76 of Photofocus with Scott Bourne and special guest Tamara Lackey. Photofocus is the show devoted to your questions about anything photography related including gear, technique, locations, etc. Your questions will shape the direction of this show so be sure to send your questions to email@example.com. We will try to answer as many as we can but we get a lot of questions so we’ll try to take a collection of questions that represent a particular topic and present them together.
This week we kick things off with a question about a trend towards not having subjects smile in portraits:
Question One – Disturbing Trend in Portrait Photography
As someone who is 50, I am disturbed by the trend I see in people making portraits where the subject not only doesn’t smile but looks downright mad. Am I missing something? Clair Macintosh from Lexington, KY
Tamara: There is a huge trend towards this in editorial and advertising which influences portraiture. I think some of it is to show an attempt to show a range of emotions.
Scott: I’ve noticed it too. This tends to be cyclical. If you study photography history, you will have seen this trend back in the Civil War times. Then we had a time where people were smiling. I don’t mind serious but I’m not a big fan of portraiture where people look angry.
Question Two – Advice for Night Photography
I was wondering what advice you could give to a new photographer concerning night shooting. Randy Arthur
Tamara: Consider whether or not you want to use lights. If you’re not going to use lights, then you will need a fast lens, a tripod, and a camera with high ISO. If you don’t want to use a tripod then learn some good techniques to hold you camera and keep it steady.
Scott: If you’ll be shooting at night and doing long exposures, enable your long exposure noise reduction on your digital camera.
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Question Three – Sharpness Tips
Camus from Columbia wants some sharpness tips.
Tamara: I do like to see sharpness in the eyes but I also like to see some softness in areas to create contrast. If I’m photographing an older subject, I might not want it overly sharp as that will show off imperfections.
Scott: I posted an article on sharpness recently that you can check out. An image doesn’t have to be sharp the whole way through. When I photograph birds for example, I generally want the bird sharp but generally I don’t want the background sharp. Also consider subject movement vs camera movement. Mirror bounce can also cause some camera movement so if you’re doing long exposures you can use the mirror lock-up feature.