People and Place

Friday, 16 December 2011

Portrait - Scale and Setting

The brief for this exercise is to take four scales of portrait:
  1. Face, cropped in close
  2. Head and Shoulders
  3. Torso, taking into account arms and hands
  4. Full figure
Also consider the background.

Face, cropped in close

To me an image that is very close on the face is an intimate image. You are connecting with your subject and have to make them feel very comfortable.  I am using a 50ml lens so I am close to my subject.  I also found that the face can distort when you are this close so I chose a very wide aperture (1.4) so I have only the eyes sharp and the rest of the face softly out of focus.  Of the four images I am presenting in this exercise this is the one I like the most.

Head and Shoulders:

Although we were told the eyes should be the main attractant in our images I opted for for an image where this is not the case.  Expression is also very important.  I feel I have captured that moment we can all relate to 'don't let the soap get in my eyes!' I have the fingertips at the bottom of the frame to anchor the portrait. I have used a zoom lens and fill in flash.

I prefer whenever possible to use natural lighting. Which means most of the pictures I take feel more natural. I find it difficult to pose people so would rather have them where they feel comfortable and chat with them until they aren't bothered by the camera.  Here I have used side lighting from a large window and a reflector on the other side to reduce the dark shadows on her face.  Arms and hands present a problem when more of the body is included.  This shot came when we were about to take a break she leant back twirling her hair at the back.  I asked her to hold it and took the shot.  It resolved the problem of what to do with her hands without looking overly posed.

Full Figure

I played around with the full figure I needed a wider angle to get the entire figure in. It is also easier if the model is occupied. Having a prop whatever it is relaxes the person quicker than just standing not knowing what to do with their hands and feet. Taking a full figure i find the hardest to avoid the 'snapshot' look. For this shot I have needed a bit of fill in flash even though it was outside in broad daylight to ensure that her face wasn't to dark and with strong sshadows on her face.

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