When you make a portrait, your aim should be for maximum impact. Emotion, lighting, and movement all lend impact to a picture, but the way you frame the photo also makes a huge difference. the closer you get to your subject, the more intimate and impactful the picture will be. Off With Their Heads! Considering that most headshots are viewed on very small screens and business cards, the more impact the better. By cropping off the top of the heads you give more room in the frame for the eyes, which are the most important thing in every … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Crop the Top
I totally understand that there are people out there who picked up a camera at the same time they picked up a laptop just so they could edit images. I, however, wasn't one of those individuals. I actually didn't buy any retouching software until a couple years after I picked up my first DSLR. I really was so fascinated with being able to understand everything my camera could do and trying so hard to get things right in the camera that adding in the editing part was almost too much for my brain. I was completely content with just capturing what … [Read more...] about Perfectly Clear: Beginning Retouching for the Non-Retoucher
As photographers, we often put the focus on our client's image, rather than our own. But having something as simple as a professional headshot shouldn't be something we only recommend for clients — after all, we're professionals too. A headshot is often the first impression someone has of you, so be sure to have a professional yet engaging portrait to show your network. Make it Clear and Professional Just like your clientele, you want your headshot to look professional. This means staying away from a busy background. I personally opted for … [Read more...] about Photography Marketing: Make Sure You Have a Headshot Too!
For me, photography is all about light and having full control over that light. It is why I am obsessed with studio light. Being able to create a shadow here and a highlight there brings me so much joy! Lighting can make or break your image especially when it comes to portraits. That's why I think understanding lighting patterns is so important. What are Lighting Patterns? So what are lighting patterns? For me, it's the design the light creates when it shines on your client's faces and each pattern has a different name. There are 6 main … [Read more...] about 7 Portrait Lighting Patterns and How to Achieve Them
It's important to keep a shoot moving along, keep your subjects engaged, and keep up appearances that you know what you're doing, right? We all want to appear to be in confident control. However, it's also important to pay attention and make adjustments so that you don't waste time making pictures that are going to cost you more work to finish than they may be worth. Let me give you some examples. Lint & Pet Hair You will spend decades of your life retouching lint and hair off suits and jackets if you don't catch it before you start … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Fix It Now, Not In Photoshop
From the course: Improving Your Photography and Portraits with Lighting Modifiers Shooting with a beauty dish from Improving Your Photography and Portraits with Lighting Modifiers by Robert Vanelli Course transcript Once we start to really understand light modifiers, we can have a lot of fun with it. For this set here, we have the beautiful Erin, and she's going to play the assassin. To get this shot, if you think about what an assassin is, they're rugged, they're rough. Even though she's beautiful, we want her to have a … [Read more...] about Shooting with a Beauty Dish
Here's a quick tip that will help you be more creative while shooting and manage details. You need to know your software tools at least as well as you know your camera and lights. This has been on my mind, lately, behind I've been demonstrating Luminar for lots of folks and it's amazed me how quickly I've been able to integrate it into my workflow and understand how it can affect my pictures. Photoshop isn't New "Getting it right in the camera" is often invoked as the hallmark of a good photographer, but it's a big misconception. Ever since … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Know Your Software
I should have followed this rule the other day. I photographed 50 people in a row and I need to finish all of those pictures for delivery. It’d be a lot easier to get a great starting point if I had shot a white balance target to begin with. Why Not Use Auto White Balance? Auto white balance reads the colors in the scene and makes a judgment about how to compensate for those colors. It’s supposed to make the color of light look great, but there are a couple of problems when shooting a lot of portraits with a flash. First, if you’re not … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Why You Shouldn’t Use Auto White Balance
https://soundcloud.com/photofocus/infocus-interview-show-photofocus-podcast-march-30-2018/s-uuin1 Remember to check out our great sponsors including TruLife acrylic, MPB.com, ThinkTapLearn In this episode: Eddie Tapp I had a chance to sit down with Commercial Photographer Eddie Tapp while he was in Florida giving a lecture to The Camera Club of Brevard Florida. Eddie talks about Learning to see the delicacy of light, The 4 Qualities of light--Spectacular Highlights, Diffused Highlights, Diffused Shadows, and Hard Shadows– and he gives a … [Read more...] about The InFocus Interview Show | Photofocus Podcast March 30, 2018
I spent yesterday making portraits at a corporate event, and several people tried to insist that they wanted to remove their eyeglasses for their portraits. This happens a lot, and it's usually because your subject has had a bad experience wearing glasses in portraits before. Here are a few good reasons your subject should wear their glasses in portraits. Recognition There's a picture of my family at my parents' house, and there's a guy I just don't recognize in that photo: it's my dad. But my dad has worn glasses every day since he was in … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: 3 Good Reasons You Should Wear Your Glasses
What is a Layer? Layers are a powerful way to “build up” your images. They allow you to add filters--or stack several filters together--to apply corrections or enhancements. Changing blending modes, adding a layer mask and adjusting the overall opacity (revealing or hiding the layer below) will give you the freedom to experiment until you achieve exactly the look you’d like for your image. Base Layer Luminar creates a base layer when an image is first opened. Think of this as the background layer. Since there isn’t a layer beneath it, you … [Read more...] about Tips and Tricks for Using Layers
I shot this photograph at WPPI in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago. I was at the ClickProps Studio Backdrops booth. This company makes over 500 backdrops in various designs and sizes, and we got to test out a number of them. This photograph was shot against the "Brick Natural" backdrop. Our shooting space that was only about 5 feet by 10 feet. A Collaboration Between Two Photographers The photograph was a collaboration between 2 photographers: the model, Kat Armendariz of Hush Hush Shoot Studio in Las Vegas and me. Kat is one of Las Vegas's … [Read more...] about Lights, Colors, Fractals
What is a snoot? A snoot is just a funny name for a piece of equipment, generally a tube or similar objects such as a conical, cylindrical, or rectangular shape, that fits over a studio light or portable flash. It allows you to control the direction or area of coverage of the light. Basically, it makes the light more focused and concentrated by directing your light and focusing it. This makes the coverage very narrow and the light falls-off very sharply giving you a harsher or harder light. Adding a Grid Personally, I like the snoot and grid … [Read more...] about How to D.I.Y. a Snoot & Grid
You can double the unique pictures you make during every shoot by utilizing the No-Look portrait. Most portraits include the subjects looking at the camera smiling. But every pose you set up and each location should also include shots with the subject looking someplace other than into the camera. Don't Look Ahead One key to the No-Look portrait is that the subject should rarely be looking right where their body is facing. When the subject is looking downward in-line with the rest of their body it looks a little depressed or like they're … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Include the No-Look Look
Have you ever been in a room and looked around and felt like you didn't belong? Just felt like you were a fish out of the water and your hoping no one noticed that you're drowning in the corner. That is the story of my life! I can't tell you how many times I have actually fallen into a job or mistakenly taken a great photo. For instance, I saw a local ad for an event photographer for the grand opening of the local Paul Mitchell school. At that time I was shooting for the local paper and thought, "I'll apply, why not?" Worst that could happen … [Read more...] about Is Opportunity Knocking? Are You Ready?
At weddings, you shoot portraits as quickly as possible so that your couples can spend as much time with their families as possible. I was an assistant shooter at this wedding with Lisa Robinson a while ago, and she set this portrait up and shot from one angle while I shot from another. It was a pleasure to work with her and see her processes. When I shot this, I was wishing I was in her position so I could crop out the bright spot at the bottom right corner. However, I also knew my tools well enough that I was confident I could salvage this … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: If You Know Your Tools You Can Relax
Work made with 3 speed lights Here's the equipment used to create this photograph: Nikon D810 Nikon 105mm Macro lens 3 Nissin Di700A speedlights Nissan Carbon Fiber Light Stand Nissan Air 1 transmitter Rogue XL2 Flashbender Rogue large Flashbender Rogue Grid set Rogue Gel set Click Props "Factory Floor" backdrop https://youtu.be/cIrX4qx8iUE … [Read more...] about Photographic Test Kitchen: 3 Light Setup
I look at a lot of portraits and I can confidently offer a general critique of 99% of them. I see work from photographers who make very good portraits with great lighting and terrific wardrobe and beautiful people, but they lack this one thing that would turn an otherwise well-made portrait into an intriguing piece of art. The problem with most portraits is that they lack engagement. What the Heck Is Engagement? By this, I mean that the subject of the photo looks a little blank. Looks like they don't care, or like they don't have any opinion … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: You Gotta Make ‘Em Engage!
Photographers love symmetry. We like things neat and we like horizons straight. That's great for landscapes and products, but when you photograph groups of people you need to rein in your symmetry bug and set things a little off-kilter. If you line up faces side by side with eyes and mouths at the same level it looks static and the people don't look cozy or comfortable. Sometimes you can solve this simply by tilting the camera a little bit, which will misalign their eyes and mouths and it gives the image more energy. A rule of thumb is that … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Avoid Symmetry In Groups
When you make a picture--any kind of picture--you should think, "What word would I use to describe this picture?" From what I've seen on the interwebs, lately, the word most people seem to choose for their portraits is simply "sexy." If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then surely we should expand our vocabularies to include more words and elicit more expressions and moods. Even if sexy is the word you're going for, look it up in a thesaurus and use other words to get there. If you talk with your subject about this and discuss various words … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Expand Your Vocabulary
When people see your picture, they should say, "Wow, that's a great photograph," not, "Wow, that's a well-lit photograph." Once you start using flashes, it's like having a hammer in your hand: everything looks like a nail that needs to be lit. That's ok, and it's fun. The trap is feeling like you need to crank the flash up so that it's apparent and obvious in your photographs--and there's a place for that, and it's fun, too. But instead of using your lights to overpower the sun and the ambient light every time, try augmenting the existing light … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Subtle Spice Not Ketchup
When the eyes are visible in a portrait, they should usually be the point of focus for the viewer--your viewer should snap right up to those eyes and linger there. Many things can distract from the eyes--hands, earrings, noserings (the worst!), necklaces, hairstyles--but you can use your photofinishing tools to mitigate the distractions and bring the attention back to the eyes. Simply providing sharpness, a little luminance, and possibly some saturation will help the eyes to remain the hero of the image. Be careful not to go overboard with the … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Finishing Great Eyes With 3 Different Apps
Having photographed thousands of people, it's true that most people have a 'camera smile', and most people desire 'natural expressions' in their pictures. Whether you're photographing children or adults or groups, there are two tools you can use to elicit natural expressions: props and prompts. How to Use Props Using the birdie over the camera is an age-old device that gets kids' attention or hitting yourself in the head with a rubber chicken. But in this case, I don't mean that the photographer should use props, I mean that the subject … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: How Do You Get Natural Expressions? With Props & Prompts
A quick google search told me that at least 60% of people wear glasses or contacts, and that means your next client probably does, too. I wore glasses for many years (I had LASIK, so I don't anymore) and can attest that when you're a glasses wearer, photographs can make you a little more anxious than usual because you've experienced really bad glare in the lenses. The thing is, photographing people with glasses is simple. Let me show you how. Reflection Direction Glare in glasses comes from light reflecting off the lenses and into the camera. … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: How Do You Photograph People With Glasses?
There is nothing like using holiday lights to set the mood for a photograph. When you see those little lights twinkling in a picture, you immediately know what time of year it is and it immediately brings lots of warm feelings to the photo. However, over the last decade, LED's have replaced tungsten lights as the primary kind of light you'll see adorning houses and trees. These lights last longer and use less power than traditional lights, but they have a major downside. Let me show you how to conquer the problem of photographing LED's--it's … [Read more...] about How Do You Photograph LED Holiday Lights?
Category: Sports Photograph: Allan Jones "Lindsay Harris" With sports portraiture, it's all about capturing emotion without the action. Allan's photo of physique competitor Lindsay Harris does exactly that. By using a dark lighting scheme and black background, Allan creates a mood that really makes Lindsay pop off the screen. But the flag adds so much to the image here — without it, the color and interest just wouldn't be there. Kudos to Allan for the way he shot this sports portrait, as he was able to mix great principles of emotion … [Read more...] about Photographer of the Day: Allan Jones
The Holidays are one of the best times to make pictures. (Check out Bryan's and Lauri's articles for some terrific ideas.) And it's a great time to photograph kids--if you haven't discovered it, yet, a simple truth is that the Holidays are better with kids. Here are two simple tips to help you make better pictures with kids, and you should do these everytime you make pictures with children. Get Down Your pictures will be much more engaging if you get the camera on the same level with kids, at the same height as their perspective. In fact, you … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Always Do This When Photographing Kids
There are so many things to think about when making portraits that leaving your white balance set to auto is a tempting proposition. Especially when everyone raves about how good each new camera's auto white balance settings are. Don't fall into this trap, though. Auto white balance reads the colors in the scene before you take the picture and makes adjustments. But there are two things that foul it up, and there are two simple ways to ensure you get consistent color. Why Do My Pictures Look Different? The camera has white balance settings so … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: How Do I Choose White Balance For Portraits?
Join Levi Sim and Vanelli Live for a free Webinar on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, as they explore "How to Get up and Running with the New Perfectly Clear 3.5". Athentech unveiled Perfectly Clear 3.5. with lots of great new features. It’s also a FREE update to existing Perfectly Clear version 3 owners. If you don’t own the application/plug-in (or own an older version) we’ve got a time-limited special offer here. Perfectly Clear is Now A Stand-Alone Application! Perfectly Clear version 3.5 has removed the need for using a host application. … [Read more...] about Live Webinar: Get Up And Running With The New Perfectly Clear 3.5
https://soundcloud.com/photofocus/the-mind-your-own-business-podcast-photofocus-podcast-december-8-2017 Get the show here or get it on iTunes — Please post a review on iTunes. In this episode, Skip Cohen and Chamira Young chat with photographer and educator Tony Corbell about running a brick and mortar photography studio. We discuss in detail: - The in’s and out’s of having a studio space - The advantages and also challenges of running a brick and mortar studio - Work/life balance - Realistic pricing when running a physical … [Read more...] about The Mind Your Own Business Podcast | Photofocus Podcast December 8, 2017