Portrait Photography is an art. Portrait Photography is one the reason of its long success. Portrait Photography measures a Photographer’s various skills. Today we can not imagine a World without photography. But there was a day, when people in core business were thoughtful about the success of Photography. If Photography was not made popular, the companies would see no profit and the technology would have not been progressed. It was the Portrait Photography, which was used a tool to ‘catch clients’. Like today Apple makes your head dizzy with various looks and features in their Ads, Photography was also promoted in that way to get a market. Number of books, articles, techniques still far exceeds for Portrait Photography than any other sect of Photography. The basic reason is – some takes great Portrait Photography but most fails. Most fails to take good Portrait Photography of their mother, wife and daughters. There are reasons why the failure rate with closer females are higher. The subtitle like part “Communicate with your subject” is the answer.
Portrait Photography : Have a Look a Previous Articles for Technical Reasons
Before communication with your subject, obviously you will want to have a quick look in some articles as a part of homework, which might be a base of your technical background :
- Portrait Photography in the Era of Digital Photography
- Candid Photography
- Self Portrait Ideas and Tips (probably you will be communicating with yourself !)
- Portrait Lens for DSLR
- Studio Portrait Photography Setup
In fact, the natural expression and pose that distinguishes a successful portrait has nothing to do with aperture and exposure time ! It is directly influenced by the relationship between you and the subject you are photographing. Unfortunately, the transition to digital photography has changed some aspects, as many photographers as professionals have adopted the strategy of shooting endlessly to do a lot of pictures to try to get someone from the “pile”. A matter of statistical fact. That sometimes, it must be said, gives acceptable results, but does not go beyond this point.
Portrait Photography : Communicate with your subject
There are two distinct categories of Photographers. Professional and Amateur. Amateurs will not require many points which are must for the professionals. You came with a broken hand to me crying like a kid, if I start to cry with you it will not look professional. Universally taken professional attitude is a kind of neutral attitude. Some overdoes it to take it an unsuccessful drama, some make it a real non scripted drama. Where you will start and stop has normal social limits.
Instead of you, if your wife breaks a hand and you bring her to me and I hold her hand hours after hours in the name of ‘assurance’, that is a bad drama. The reason to mention these practical point from my own profession is that, Portrait Photography can be a challenge to anyone (unless you are a playboy) if the photographer is young male and the model is young female. It demands eye to eye contact. It is better to envision the person with some relationship specifically for the starters. Older females can easily be mother like. Younger is not much of problem. Younger definitely not mean a 25 years good looking unmarried female. There is no country or place in this World where eye to eye contact does not make a young male a bit apprehensive about own reputation. Its true for any creatures – eye to eye contact is one of the closest non verbal contact.
If you are too much shy, your model will also feel uncomfortable (unless she is not really ‘very easy’ with any kind of males, it does not point towards a good thing, definitely). If she is uncomfortable, the portrait will reflect the attitude. Treating the relationship you have with the subject is the best way, since it not only allows you to obtain images of far more effective but also to add a value of you as a photographer and as a person. It begins well before taking the camera in his hand. Just like I feel comfortable to talk with a young unknown girl in my office or OT but I feel very much uncomfortable in shopping mall. If it was same or reverse, that was abnormal. The tools of trade make us comfortable.
Even if you know exactly who you are photographing, do not immediately take your camera in hand but let the other speak, ask and listen carefully. Try to predispose the individual to be relaxed, put at ease in any way, even with a trivial thing like offering something to drink as per norm of the society you live in.
Do not let the long silences make over but speak almost constantly. And do it with proper manners: if you are doing a close-up in a room and you are two meters from the subject does not use a tone of commanding voice. Conversely speaking almost in a whisper, it also helps to create a more intimate relationship. Do not try to do anything what you are actually not but trying to follow this guide. There is enough chance that again, you will be overdoing.
You can talk about a computer or flower vase, it is an art to understand what the other person is used with. If you have requested a pose particularly complex, be sure to do a few shots and then let the subject rest for a few seconds before resuming the same pose. Do not tire the person you are portraying by forcing her exceedingly. Never touch a female without asking her, particular if you want to touch hair to adjust. For these uncomfortable situations, talking about your mother’s habits, your wife or girlfriend’s habits can ease the ways.
‘I am going to take your photograph, I am not going to fall in your love.’ I can say this, because I know how funnily it can be said. My body language will support it. These are matter of practice, more and more you will get used with such situations; you will know what you are doing. If the model is female and has accompanying husband or boyfriend, your work is to impress that person towards you; a smallest tint of anything towards her can spoil everything.
Never ever point out a physical defect of your subject.
Portrait Photography : Taking pictures of own wife or girlfriend
Females will try to fly away, this is a natural phenomenon. They will never surrender so easily than you can think. Some evergreen words were said by Darren Rowse – fake as if you are not taking her photograph, catch her to get a Candid. Never apply this on others’ wife or girlfriend. It obviously means something else. The reason to mention these points is – there are innocent peoples, who get in to trouble without knowing what the hell he / she is doing.