Today is my tip finale for photographing people (rounds 1 and 2 can be found here and here)! I do hope you've enjoyed the information and are now better equipped to capture those special moments with friends and family this summer. Both comment sections for the aformentioned posts have great feedback as well. Without further adieu, my final thoughts on the matter (for now) are as follows . . .
1) Focus on the Eyes. If the eyes are out of focus in a portrait, the whole thing looks off. The lips, chin, hands, ears --— all the other features can be soft, but the eyes have to be sharp in order for the photograph to read well. So while you're photographing your subject, make sure you point your focus at the eyes. Far better to see you with my pretty!
2) Get Closer. You can usually tell when someone has photographed another person from afar and not been brave enough to just go up and ask to make a picture of the subject. As I've said before, ask and you shall receive. If you just cordially ask to photograph a person in a certain stance and give them a hair of direction, most people say yes. So be confident and bold and pretend you've done this a million times, this whole getting close to strangers thing. Life is more interesting when you've got a camera!
3) Anticipate an Emotion. I like to say something really stupid, and I mean really stupid, then wait for the reaction I know I'm going to get, usually a smile or a big laugh... Then shoot continuously for 10 seconds and my shot's going to be in this series. It won't be the picture where I direct the subject to turn towards me and smile, it's all about catching them off guard and getting the person to react in a natural way.
4) Photograph Your Subject without showing their Face. This can be a very cool prompt to create an interesting photograph. Hands, eyes, even feet can say a lot about someone — vary up your perspective by getting tight onto these personal details; they can add to the canon of imagery of the subject and be very poignant.
5) The Background is a Subject Too. Make sure to pay attention to the placement of your subject within the space. So if you're in a really busy kitchen or a lowly lit space, just take a walk around the block with your person. Place them outside if you need a good fall back, or even a different room with better light. The point is look at where you are and how to improve the space within the photograph, if it needs it!
Hope you learned something here these past few weeks!
Leela the Photo Magician
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)