July 16, 2013
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I’m not sure self portraits are ever easy but there are some good tips here and if you feel like doing more than a “selfie” this would be a good place to start looking. The article by Jason Little is a photographer (shooting macros, portraits, candids, and the occasional landscape), part time writer, and full time lover of music. You can see Jason’s photography on his photography blog or on Flickr. is on Lightstalking
Most people, especially when starting out in photography, find self-portraits to be a nerve-wracking venture; and some, to be sure, never really get over the disquieting dread that accompanies having to get in front of the camera when they’re so accustomed to being behind it.
It’s normal, I guess. We could probably engage in a lengthy and ultimately convoluted discussion about self-esteem, body image, and a whole host of other psychological implications related to why some people don’t like looking at themselves, but that’s not going to fix anyone is it? I doubt it. There are plenty of websites you could visit to try and work all that stuff out, but before you go, allow me to run a few ideas by you; ideas that might ease you into making self-portraits or, if you are already making them, some ideas on how to improve them. You never know, it could be the creative spark you need to help you overcome your fear of self-inflicted photographs.….MORE
Telepathy by Daniela Vladimirova, on Flickr
July 4, 2013
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We have just completed another successful Portrait Course with some great students and exceptional images. We teach the technical aspects of portrait photography but also the, as important, working with the subject to get the best out of them, we call it ‘posing and all that’. The next course will be in the autumn but if you want some tips before then this article by Jason D. Little on Lightstalking would be useful to you.
If you shoot portraits on a regular basis, I’m sure you have an informal checklist of sorts that you consult — at least mentally — both before and after you click the shutter. You want to make sure the composition is interesting, the desired part of the face is in focus, the lighting is flattering; all important things, to be sure. And on some level, these are easy things. What’s not always so easy is capturing emotion.
When you’re shooting street shots or candids, capturing genuine emotion isn’t too difficult because you’re recording moments as they happen and your subjects are often unaware of or unconcerned with the camera’s presence. But when it comes to actually posing for a portrait session, getting authentic emotion out of your subject can be a tricky course to navigate. Many otherwise easy-going individual tend to tense up once they get in front of the camera while, on the opposite end of the spectrum, others go overboard with exaggerated smiles or all manner of unpredictable and unflattering facial expressions.
It takes a little effort — mostly in the form of simply being a thoughtful photographer — but getting your subjects to display some unfiltered emotion is certainly an attainable goal and one with a huge payoff. The following tips apply whether your portraits are formal or spur of the moment, for pay or for fun.….MORE
©Tony Haupt OSP Portrait Course
Click Here: How to Capture Authentic Emotion in Portrait Photography
March 27, 2013
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Lightstalking is a site that offers lots of advice and ideas for photographers. Often we find that what their contributors writes about directly echoes what we teach in our classes so we feel we are in touch with what Lightstalking has to say. This article by Tiffany Mueller, a professional music and fine art photographer, she blogs at Life Is Unabridged, is about helping clients to pose better when they are having their portrait taken.
In our Portrait Photography course starting on June 6th we spend quite a bit of time explaining how important this is, we give tutorials on how to pose people and how to show people how to pose, that sounds the same thing but it isn’t. You might not be lucky enough to live in Oxford and so have the chance to attend one of our courses so this article by Tiffany will be of help.
©Keith Barnes Portrait of John Duggan
Click Here: A Portrait Photographer’s Guide To Coaching Clients
April 11, 2012
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On our Portrait course one of the assignments I set is that students in the class pair up and take pictures of each other in a formal portrait way. The idea is that until you have experienced being photographed by another photographer you might not know what the experience feels like. In gaining that experience you are much more likely to have empathy with your future subjects. I really believe this is an important lesson. This article on the Fuel Your Photography blog by Brooke Snow hints at the same, this is what she says:
“It was frustration that eventually led me to self portraiture. Frustration and jealousy! I was excited about the images that I was creating both professionally, and personally, and kept telling my family “Do you know how lucky you are?! You can get fabulous images of you and your family compliments of me!”
But who was there to photograph me and my own family? The challenge wasn’t so much about not being willing to pay someone (I totally believe in hiring a pro for yearly portraits), it was more the frustration of the everyday things that happen. My heart is drawn to lifestyle photography and the storytelling power of photographing everyday life. I’m not going to have access to another professional every time we have a family gathering, go on a family adventure, or I just plain took the the time to get ready and put on a new dress for no special reason! As I’ve come closer and closer to knowing who I am as a photographer and how I uniquely see the world, this longing has only increased. The longing to not just document how I see other people and their life and relationships, but how I personally see my own life. My view of my family, my relationships, and even myself, will not be the same view as someone else. This isn’t to say another person’s perspective doesn’t have as much value, it’s just going to be different. And there is something deeply rewarding and enlightening behind uncovering your own vision of yourself and your family. Afterall, you know these relationships better than anyone.”
Self portraiture for me, is loosely defined as any image that:
1. I create a vision for
2. That I’m in.
I don’t care if someone else pushes the shutter button, or if other people are present in the photograph. Those two things alone should be considered an achievement!....MORE In the rest of the article she explains her process and gives tips on how you can do it better
March 20, 2012
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This article on Lighstalking by Tiffany Mueller gives sound advice on getting better black and white portraits. We run a very successful Black and White digital photography course that covers all this and more, details are here
“Black and white photographs can portray a higher level of timelessness than color images. The lack of color also gives us a better sense of the time and mood behind a portrait. Because of these characteristics, black and white photography has maintained a strong presence in portraiture. Since the eye perceives black and white photography differently than color photography, the process behind creating compelling black and white portraits is also a little different.” Here are a few pointers to get you started:
March 13, 2012
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David DuChemin over at the Pixelated Image blog has another book out, you can download this for a paltry $4 if you use the discount code on offer.
Forget Mugshots won’t make the process of making portraits less scary, but it will help you make stronger people photographs. It’s available today as a PDF for only $4 for the first five days. See below for details. And if you’re a member of the Craft & Vision Community, listen for the next podcast, because Matt Brandon and I are planning to spend it telling stories and talking about this very topic, including more tips and tricks.
Special Offer on PDFs
For the next five days only, use the promotional code MUGSHOTS4 when you checkout so you can have the PDF version of Forget Mugshots for only $4 OR use the code MUGSHOTS20 to get 20% off when you buy 5+ PDF eBooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST March 17, 2012.
“Forget Mugshots, 10 Steps To Better Portraits, is a 35-spread course in improving your people photography. I always laugh when the odd review comes back with sage comments like, “there’s nothing new here.” No, there isn’t. Of course there isn’t. And anyone who pretends to teach “new secrets” is just after your buck. I’m not telling you which aperture to use, or letting you in on some new technique that no one else knows and will rock your world. It’s sound teaching about the priorities, thoughts, and techniques I’ve used to create portraits of people at home and around the world. It’s the “if I could teach you only ten things to focus on when making portraits and people photographs, what would those be?” book.”
FULL DETAILS HERE
March 13, 2012
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By Mike Panic over at Lightstalking
“Family portraits that may be hanging in your grandparents house probably don’t look very fun, but you still enjoy them because they are photos of your loved ones. It seems that having a formal family photo taken every year or every few years comes into vogue as soon as it goes out and right now the trend is on the uprising. Shooting family photos don’t have to be so static and boring, like what you have seen in old albums or on the walls of your relatives homes. Here’s some tips to ensure you don’t make catastrophic mistakes shooting families.”..…MORE
Photo by: morgan.cauch
February 24, 2012
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This really excellent article on Photoshelter is full of advice and help in how to get great portrait images, even if some of the examples are outside most of our opportunities. Photoshelter is a great blog and one worth bookmarking and following
“Jim Jordan is a widely sought-after fashion, celebrity, lifestyle, and kids photographer based out of Los Angeles and New York City. Some of his notable clients include Vogue, Elle, J.Crew, and Mercedes Benz. He’s also taken portraits for major celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Drew Berrymore, and Charlize Theron.
We wanted to learn more about Jim’s creative process from start to finish – so I picked Jim’s brain and walked away with his top 5 tips on how to shoot killer portrait photography.”
February 7, 2012
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The Julia Margaret Cameron Award will be given to 12 women photographers which will be invited to exhibit (and sell) their work in a very selective collective exhibition in Paris during 2013, honoring one hundredth year of the birth of Robert Capa, co-founder of Magnum Photos and famous war photojournalist. WPGA will take care of the framing and matting, as well as all gallery expenses. Exhibitors will receive 40% of the sales, 20% will be reserved for the gallery/organizers, and 40% will be donated to a charitable organization selected by the awardees.A catalog will be printed, and all 12 awardees will receive one free copy.
As in the two previous editions, WPGA invites women photographers working in all mediums, styles and schools of thought. Traditional, contemporary, avant-garde, creative and experimental works that include old and new processes, mixed techniques, and challenging personal, emotional or political statements will be welcome.As Mary Ellen wrote in her statement after jurying the first edition of this award, we will like to see, in a time when we’re inundated with imagery and media that is commercially-driven, images representing purity in photography that is inspiring and hopeful.
Open to professional and non professional women photographers from all countries. On this occasion there will be only one section: pro and non-pro will be juried together.
Landscapes and Seascapes
Street Photography and Cityscapes
Nude and Figure
Documentary and Editorial
Only Single images will be accepted; no portfolios in this edition. Closing Date December 31th, 2011, at 11:59pm PST
Charles Darwin JMC
Dina Bova (Israel) , awarded photographer in the 2nd edition of the JMCA, and juror of this edition
January 25, 2012
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We run a Portrait Photography course the next one starts on March 1st. Our course covers all you need to understand about natural light portraits, we cover finding the right light, modifying it to suit your purposes, camera settings, subject preparation and posing, environmental portraits, candid portraits and all the other bits you need. If you can’t wait until the 1st March for our course to start this on line tutorial will give you some basics to consider
“Are you looking for portrait photography tips so that you can improve your picture taking skills?
At first thought, portrait photography would seem easy, yet the results are often disappointing.
Many of our pictures often include people, and whether you are photographing a model, taking a family photo, or capturing some candid shots while on vacation, you have probably discovered that great photography is a little more than just pointing a camera and pushing a button.
In fact, a really good photo should convey the subject’s character and personality, and communicate something distinct or identifiable about who they are as a person. Following a few key tips will help you learn how to take great portraits so you will never be disappointed again.”….MORE