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Tag Archives: Portrait

How to shoot portraits that tell a story about your subject

From Digital Camera World

Reading through this tutorial on environmental portraiture I wonder if the author had attended our Portrait Photography Course as all of what is said sounds like it came from my mouth, maybe they just agree with me. We are aiming to run our next Portrait Photography Course in November, get in touch for the dates

Discover how to shoot and enhance a portrait that ‘tells the story’ of your subject at work or at play.

How to shoot portraits that tell a story about your subject

Environmental portraits are photos of people in their everyday surroundings, whether at work, home, or play.

The idea is to include things that tell us something about the person, and the background becomes their ‘backstory’, so we need to show details and objects that help to explain who they are and what they do.

Of course, it helps if you’ve got an interesting subject and environment to shoot, and we went to the Bath Aqua Glass glassmaking workshop to photograph talented glassblower Will as he produced one of his beautiful and delicate creations.

We began the shoot by taking some candid shots while observing the glassblowing process.

See the rest of this article here


Top Ten Tips for Posing Couples

If you are an aspiring wedding photographer or just like taking pictures of couples this article could be valuable to you, it talks a bit of sense and of course a bit of dogma but is well worth the read. You might also think about our Portrait course which spends time talking about posing and making your subjects feel comfortable so that you get the best images.

Top Ten Tips for Posing | Professional Photography Blog | Pictage.







How to Plan the Ultimate Family Portrait

Most people spend sometime with their families during this holiday period and it is the best opportunity to get a family portrait.

The reason very few people are excited about having a family portrait done is because they usually lack creativity, involve standing around with fake smiles and wearing a matching outfit with the rest of your family.  BORING! So how are you going to get a less boring picture of your family?

Taking the ultimate family portrait is about capturing moments within the family dynamic, it goes beyond lining family members up from tallest to shortest or putting on white button down shirts, khaki pants and sitting on a beach.  Think outside the box and look beyond normal standards for ways to get a group shot unlike any other your family, or your client has ever seen!   Read more: Light Stalking » How to Plan the Ultimate Family Portrait

If your family is less typical maybe a shot like this

The Art of Travel Portraiture: 10 Tips to Get You Better Shots

Aloha Lavina is an Asia based photographer and has contributed this article to Lightstalking

Capturing travel portraits is one of the hardest assignments you can undertake as a photographer. Traveling to a new place where you may not be that familiar with the customs, there is no way you can predict who you’ll meet, and even less chance of developing some definite expectations of what images you can make and take home. You need to be open to anything and flexible enough to change focus at a moment’s notice.
To help you maximize your chances of capturing memorable portraits that have impact, there are some things you can remember.

Here we have just a few of the 10 tips, go here for the full article

1. Wait for the decisive moment.
Cartier Bresson once said, “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.” Finding this decisive moment is one of the most exciting things you can search for in your quest for portraits. Being patient and waiting for moments can result in expressive portraits.


2. Provide context for your subject.
Using the environment can help you tell the story of your subject. Whether it is about work, play, or other themes, giving bits of the surroundings can add impact to the story because the elements around the subject add to the narrative of who they are, what they do, linking their story to the viewer’s story.


4. Interact with your subject.
It helps a traveler to interact with their subject. Some would argue that interacting with your subject changes the image; that by imposing yourself into their lives, the photographer changes the natural way a local person would act. But you could also argue that travel is one way to get to know other people whose lives are different from yours and make new friends, and that certainly doesn’t hurt anyone.





Easy Ways to Spice Up Your Self-Portraits So They Stand Out

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


How to Capture Authentic Emotion in Portrait Photography

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  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

A Portrait Photographer’s Guide To Coaching Clients

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

How Self Portraiture Can Make You A Better Photographer

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

The Secrets to Successful Black and White Portraits

This article on Lighstalking by   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:

©Keith Barnes

©Keith Barnes

Forget Mugshots, Make Stronger Portraits

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.”