More Fantastic Family Portraiture Tips

Shooting group portraits, especially those of your family, can be challenging since you are dealing not just with a single model, but several of them. Each member would be different in height, looks and personality and not only will you be focusing on how to create the shot but also how to successfully direct the family to pose. We previously explained some tried and tested family portraiture tips, and here are some effective suggestions you can use as to how to take great family portraits:

presto44 P1050391BW More Fantastic Family Portraiture Tips1. Vary the eye levels of your subjects – visually pleasing group shots usually have the subjects at different heights. Have some people sit while others stand. This will lessen the sense of monotony in the shot.

2. Make subjects interact – have the subjects in your family photographs get closer together. Minimizing the gaps between the subjects provides a sense of closeness. A family setting should connote a sense of intimacy and love. Ideally have each member hug, hold hands, or touch the person closest to them. Body language links people together and this is the perfect example to relay feelings or emotional impact when looking at the photograph. When your subjects are lined up for a photograph, position them at slight angles to each other and make sure that their shoulders overlap so that they will not look awkward. When dealing with large groups in a single shot, break them down into smaller groups to make it easier for you to coordinate the shot. You can arrange them in a diamond, zigzag or triangular formation.

family6 More Fantastic Family Portraiture Tips3. Make sure your subjects do not blink during the shot – when shooting group photographs, the hardest part is not having at least one of them blink. It is easy to reshoot for small groups but for larger groups, it is next to impossible. It does not help to shoot in continuous mode because one is bound to blink. Do a countdown to make sure that everyone is aware that you will be clicking the shutter button any moment so that they will be conscious and will not blink. A really useful tip is to tell all your subjects to close their eyes at the same time and do a countdown, then open their eyes all at once. This will surely guarantee that they will all have their eyes open at the same time without needing to blink.

4. Choose a lens that has the right focal length – the most eye-catching portrait images are created using lenses without zoom, known as prime lenses. Some zoom lenses can also give you great close-up shots. Wide-angle lenses can make subjects wider than they actually are while telephoto lenses have the reverse effect and can make your subjects appear flat. Beautiful portrait images can be captured using lenses with focal range of 50mm-100mm. Having a shallow depth of field blurs the background and brings the focus to the subject. 

family2 More Fantastic Family Portraiture Tips5. Get your subjects’ attention – when you are dealing with grown-ups and teenagers, getting their attention for a few seconds will not be as difficult compared to when you are dealing with babies, toddlers and older children. You will need to capture the attention of younger subjects to get a good shot. You may have to try hard to make them laugh, to the point of being silly. You can ask a whole group of children to do something fun together. This will give you a candid as well as a fun image. Best of all, this can make the children comfortable for the next shot. 

On a final note, remember to include yourself in your shots because you are also a part of the family. Use your tripod, a cable release or a camera with a shutter timer. While composing the group position, leave a space for you to fit in before the timer starts counting down. 



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How to Shoot Family Portraiture

With the new year just starting, you can look forward to the many birthdays, dinner parties, trips, anniversaries and yearly holiday gatherings and plan ahead for the perfect family portraits. These photographs will serve as a celebration of your life and will be a memorabilia of priceless moments spent with your family and friends. Family portraits are probably the most treasured keepsakes handed down to you to remind you of your lineage. Nowadays, with the convenience of digital photography, you can record images of the happy gatherings you have experienced to keep the tradition going. 

Shooting the whole family within a single frame is probably the most challenging thing you may encounter in family portraiture. Especially with a growing brood of children running around all over the place, you cannot just ask them to sit still for a few minutes for a photograph.

Here are a few tips to help you capture the bond between the family in the form of an image:

family4 How to Shoot Family Portraiture1. Familiarize yourself with your subjects – since your main subjects are friends and family members, you may already be familiar with what they are conscious of and what they do not want to be glaringly obvious about themselves in a photograph. Reassure them that you know what they want and that you will try your best to get the outcome they expect and you are sure to have genuine smiles.

2. Be stealthy, move swiftly and have fun – candid shots make for great shots. Make sure your subjects are comfortable and are in their element. Allow them to move spontaneously and be ready to capture those rare moments. Have your camera ready at all times and check battery life and camera settings so that you are always prepared.

cjsun How to Shoot Family Portraiture3. Pay attention to the background  -neutral and solid colors are ideal for backgrounds. If you are shooting outdoors, make sure that you use a variety of angles for your shot. A low or high angled shot can remove unnecessary clutter in the background that can be distracting. 

4. Get color coordinated – it would be ideal to have family members wear color coordinated outfits. It can be quite tricky, though, but pastels and vibrant colors can enhance the final outcome of your photographs. If celebrating a birthday party, you can have the birthday celebrant wear a bright colored garment while the guests can wear muted tones to make the celebrant the main focus of attention. Keep in mind that a lot of clashing colors and busy patterns can be an eyesore.

family1 How to Shoot Family Portraiture5. Have adequate lighting – lighting is always important in any type of photograph. Even lighting is ideal but may not be available all the time. The best times for even lighting are at 8am and 5:30pm. These times are known as the golden hours, when natural lighting is warm and soft and can flatter any subject. Remind yourself to notice that the faces of your subjects are equally lit. When shooting indoors, utilize a flash or any type of natural soft lighting emanating from the windows. Try to arrange the subjects close to the light source and position them slightly to one side of the direction of the light. This will create the illusion of depth through shadows as well as highlights. Another tip: frontal lighting is the most common way to shoot family portraits. However, the image could come out flat and dull. The best way to avoid this is to use sidelighting with a reflector such as a white sheet or cloth to bounce back the light to the group. This will lessen hard shadows and further enhance your subjects. When shooting outdoors, try to position yourself and your subjects under a tree or a shady area to get even lighting.




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5 More Fabulous Fashion Photography Tips
The fashion photography genre is full of tips and tricks to make your images stand out and the viewer take notice. For those who have intentions of creating fashion photographs, there are some simple but essential points to remember. We discussed 5 fashion photo tips in a previous article and here are five more to help get you going.
 
fashion4 by WagneN 5 More Fabulous Fashion Photography Tips1.  Use make-up and lighting to enhance the effect you want to project – if you seek a more natural look, choose light pastel tones, not too heavy make-up and hair that will softly frame the face. For a provocative or seductive look, use dark, heavy make-up and an over styled hairdo. Unique looking models convey personality and curiosity to the shot while female models with symmetrical features, huge almond shaped eyes, full lips and tiny chins are considered to have a more commercial appeal.

2.  A mirror can be a helpful prop – fashion shoots often make use of storytelling images to present the garments. The materials or props used in a shoot add depth in the portrayal of a character by the model and at the same time the telling of a narrative. A mirror is one of the simplest, yet most fashion6 copy djones76 5 More Fabulous Fashion Photography Tipseffective props you can use. It is a valuable instrument to show your model’s full profile and can inadvertently be used to tell a story. Try to position your lighting equipment, yourself and anything that may get in the way of shooting, from being reflected by the mirror.

3.  Focus on the fashion – since fashion photography is all about clothes and aesthetics, make sure that all the elements in your scene support and complement the garment; from the model to the props to the background. The most elaborate setup can be used but remember that the fashion pieces should be the point of focus. Although garments are usually presented in a neat and immaculate fashion, they can also be shown in a less common way such as wet, dirty or crumpled. fashion5 by djones76 5 More Fabulous Fashion Photography TipsWhatever way you choose to depict it, the result should still be the same, which is that the garment is the main attraction.

4.  Use available space – renting a professional studio and extra equipment might not be within your budget.  You can make use of the available space you have in your home. Use a corner in a spare room that has windows that let in a lot of light and hang a white sheet across the window. This would create a soft box effect on a sunny day. This is excellent for creating even lighting.

5.  Get an assistant – fashion photography is work that can be done solo but it would be easier if you had an assistant. More often than not, photographers will always need help in moving the equipment around such as umbrella stands, or to reset lighting equipment, or to arrange the clothing on the model and later on pack up the scene. Photography students, a friend or a family member might be glad to help you out.


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Wedding Portraiture Tips

Wedding portraiture begins as early as when the bride and groom are just getting dressed up. It is ideal to take the series of portrait shots at the beginning of the wedding before the ceremony begins so everything from the make-up, hair, clothing and emotions are all fresh. This will also prevent any delays in the ceremony and it’s easier to round up members of the family for family portraits.

weddingkiss Wedding Portraiture TipsOrchestrating the perfect wedding portraits entail dealing with a client base that comes in all shapes and sizes. This also goes for the venue and the weather. It would take a lot of lighting skills and different poses to achieve fantastic shots. Make sure you’re familiar with the types of lighting you can use in different types of weather and a variety of traditional and not so traditional poses for your subjects in any given situation.

Although candid shots can make the poses appear natural and sweet, it would be important that you include static and formal shots such as the bride and groom looking straight at the camera. These are the more typical shots families would like to have. One such pose is the classic portrait of the bride and groom in solo shots, as well as shots where they are together. Typical sizes included in this type of portrait shots are full length, 3/4 and close-up forms of all the portrait shots.

weddingsign Wedding Portraiture TipsOnce the traditional yet important portraiture portion is completed, the fun part of showing your creative side now comes into play. Start by taking a succession of informal and relaxed portraits of the bride and groom. Try to make it fun for the couple and treat the next sessions as part of their own collection of their memories.

When doing group portraits, include the families of both the bride and groom as well as the wedding entourage. Make sure that you are familiar with the guests and the important members of the family as well as friends that the couple would like to include in the group portraits. It would be handy to have a list of names and their relationship to the bride and groom to keep you up to date on such a busy day.

Pay particular attention to being equal in terms of covering both sides of the couple’s family. Make sure that whatever portrait shots the bride has from her side of the family, the groom also has on his side.

Most times, individual shots of key figures are also essential. Don’t miss out on having enough portraits with parents, grandparents, siblings, and key members of the wedding such as the best man and bridesmaid.

weddingnew3 Wedding Portraiture TipsThe venue plays a major role in a wedding shoot. It’s important that the full glory of the place is captured in the photographs. Place emphasis on the beautiful areas in the location so you can position the bride and groom here for a few poses.

Wedding portraits are mementos that the bride and groom and family members will display and share with everyone else. This would be the time when your shots have to shine since your clients depend on you to record their most special day. You can let the photographs speak for themselves and satisfied customers will want to refer you to others. 


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A General Guide to Portrait Photography

portrait1 A General Guide to Portrait PhotographyPortraiture is one of the most popular approaches in photography since people as subjects are just naturally interesting. Whether it’s our loved ones or complete strangers, we seem to gravitate towards images of fellow human beings, especially if the photographer has managed to capture their distinctive appeal. A portrait is generally defined as a posed image of a person (or persons, if a group portrait) with the face as the main point of focus. However, the term ‘portrait’ now has evolved and has a looser meaning which can include candid, animal and partial portraits.

Focus on the eyes – as the saying goes, ‘the eyes are the windows to one’s soul’. Eyes are very expressive and you can take advantage of this in your image. A person looking straight at the camera can give an impression different from someone gazing off-camera.

Show the subject’s mood – the human face is capable of expressing a myriad of emotions which can evoke a response from the viewer. More than that, other body parts can similarly show one’s mood. The hands, for instance, can be very expressive and can portray what the person is feeling at the time.

Be creative with the camera viewpoint – the usual camera angle when shooting portraits is straight forward at eye level. Changing the camera angle and portrait2 A General Guide to Portrait Photographyviewpoint can make the image look more dynamic and can present the subject in a more uncommon manner.

Show the subject’s personality – the subject may be filled with life and cheer but if your composition is drab and dull, it will hide any signs of life. Work the subject’s personality in your composition. Make full use of lighting, secondary elements, the environment, colors; whatever you can include that will help reinforce your image’s intended effect.

Play with lighting – lighting has a major impact on mood of the image. Soft diffused lighting is often used with baby portraits since it enhances their aura of fragility and softness. Dramatic lighting with hard shadows can make the subject look more dynamic and edgy. The direction of your light should also be considered. Sidelighting can show off the textures of the skin and backlighting can turn the subject into a silhouette. Experiment with different light sources. Although sunlight and studio lights are most often used, try lighting your subject’s face with some candles, or the glow from a TV screen or a flashlight.

portrait3 A General Guide to Portrait PhotographyTry partial portraits – instead of making the subject’s face entirely visible, try framing only half the face or just the eyes or the feet. By showing only a part of the body, it adds a sense of mystery and drama since it is less conventional than the regular portrait. 

Include a prop – take advantage of items or objects that support the subject, either just visually or also physically. Props can be anything from small things such as toys or household items, to large furniture. Using props can give the subjects something to relate to in the shot, which in turn can present a story.


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Fantastic Tips on How to Photograph Children

Taking photographs of children can either be great fun or a huge challenge. Some children enjoy posing for the camera and while others are camera shy or too hyperactive to sit still for the shot. Here are some useful tips you can use to get that perfect shot even with the most reluctant child:

children baby Fantastic Tips on How to Photograph Children

Go closer – instead of taking a whole body shot, try moving up close and filling the frame. By isolating a portion of your subject, such as the face or the hands, more details can be seen. This is also great for babies where close up shots plus diffused lighting would be ideal to show their tiny features. 

Take advantage of their expressiveness – Children can be very expressive with their chian by dhindo copy Fantastic Tips on How to Photograph Childrenemotions since they have not yet learned to rein their feelings. This trait of vulnerability is also what makes them enchanting. Capture their expressions quickly since they can go from being silly to angry to pensive in the space of a few seconds. 

Add a prop – an object such as a security blanket can greatly improve the mood of a child. Including their favorite teddy bear or pet puppy in the shot can make them more at ease and give them something to focus on as well.

chiara by dhindo copy Fantastic Tips on How to Photograph Children

Shoot them in action – most children can’t seem to stop moving. They are so full of exuberance and are always running and playing games. Taking a photo of them at play instead of in a formal pose will portray them in a more natural and relaxed manner. Also, a setting such as a playground or the garden will provide a great background. A fast shutter speed is needed to freeze them in action but a slower shutter speed can catch lines of movement and make the image dynamic. You can play around with panning, zoom blur or motion blur to further spice up the shot.

Patience is a virtue – if you have a child, or remember what it was like to have been one, then you know how short children’s attention spans can be. They are always curious and the slightest interesting thing can catch their attention and they then forget all the instructions you’ve given them to pose the way you want them to. Don’t try to force them to pose since you might get them to sit still but you will also receive a glare that will not be pleasant to capture. Instead, make it a fun shoot by talking about their interests and allowing them to explore the surroundings. Show them the shots you’ve taken of them and they’ll probably direct themselves and think of various creative ways to pose for you.


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A General Guide to Street Photography

The objective of street photography is to capture subjects doing regular and candid activities in public settings. This style has two, rather opposite, approaches. The first is that photographs taken this way present society in an aloof way. It follows the concept of straight photography where the photographer tries to be as objective as possible in documenting the subject in the scene, using no in-camera effects or manipulation that might affect its reality. The other approach is very personal in the presentation of the subject. The photographer tries to show through the street1 A General Guide to Street Photographyimage his or her impression of the culture of society, and an interpretation of moments of interaction or disconnection between people in their environment.

It is one thing to take photographs of subjects in a studio or at home where you are comfortable and where all the elements are controlled by you, and quite a different experience to be out in the street among strangers in an environment where you do not have much control. Practicing street photography, where you have little control over the surroundings and the people, can be both a nerve wracking and an exhilarating experience for the beginner photographer.

As you walk the streets looking for subjects, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Be inconspicuous – do not go out and stand in the middle of the sidewalk to shoot pictures of people. Aside from obstructing traffic, majority of people will not like their picture taken, especially not without warning and permission. Instead, try to blend in with the scene. You do not have to try to hide behind a tree or a telephone post. That is just as bad because people will still notice you and think you are crazy.

Know your light sources – sunlight is usually the main light source in street photography. The light changes depending on the hour so the same scene can appear different. The area you might want to shoot might be very well lighted in the morning but might appear very dark in the afternoon when it is hidden in the shadow of the nearby huge building. At night, there are a lot of light sources that can create mood and tension such as a bright moon, lamplights, street signs, and lighted windows.

Know the effect of time of day – as mentioned earlier, the light changes at various hours. But aside from that, the street scene itself may also change. The surroundings will look different in the early morning when only a few people are up and about compared to lunch time when it is rush hour and there are crowds of people milling and resting in the shade.

Ask permission to shoot – some people appear so interesting that you really want to take a closer shot of them. If you ask nicely enough, some people might consent to having their pictures taken. This solves the problem of you trying to get a good shot without letting yourself be noticed. Be relaxed and friendly when you approach them, and be genuine and sincere in your intent. Strike a conversation to make them (and you) relax. Listen to their answers and stories as you take your shots, do not pretend to be interested by nodding your head every few seconds at everything they say.

street2byardelfinmorgue A General Guide to Street PhotographyTravel light – bring as little gear as possible so you can move more flexibly as you roam around taking photographs. Aside from weighing you down, they will draw more attention to you.

Enter the side streets – there is much to be seen in the less travelled areas where tourists rarely enter. This is your chance to show what goes on behind the main thoroughfare.

Use different angles – break away from your usual viewpoint when you shoot the scene. Climb one floor of a commercial building and shoot the scene from the high vantage point, or sit on a bench and tilt the camera upwards.

Attend street events – parades, street performances, rallies, and the like would make great points of interest. The everyday street scene transforms into a stage and these occasions are a splendid opportunity to capture the richness of society’s culture.

Get a model or property release if needed – if you are planning to use your photos commercially by selling them, you will need model releases for recognizable faces and property release for structures showing in the images. Some places have anti-photography laws prohibiting you to take pictures. Know the legalities of the area to avoid any issues that might occur.

Black & white or color? – the impact of an image changes when presented in monochrome as compared to colored. Some scenes convey more meaning in black and white and there are others that are more striking when in full color. The advantage of digital photography is you can always shoot in color and convert to monochrome in post processing. 


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Shoot Yourself: A Guide to Self-Portraiture

Taking a portrait of yourself can be a challenge because it is hard to be both photographer and subject. You do not really know how you will look through the lens until the camera has captured the image. Running back and forth adjusting your camera timer, the camera settings, the camera angle, and so on can be quite draining. Focusing might also be hit and miss because you, the point of focus, might be moving a lot to check if all is in order with the background, the camera, your clothes and the light.

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