Thursday, November 4, 2010

Portraits~ "technique will never let you down..."

At the Expo in Manhattan I got to sit in a session taught by Clay Blackmore.  I forget the official title of his class, but it was SO good.  I learned a lot about portraits, as he did a Live Photo Shoot right in front of us and would tell us about the techniques that he was using. 
Here are some notes from the class:

* When taking portraits of men, always have them going in one direction.  If they cross their arms, or lean on something make sure their whole body is going in one direction. A change of direction makes the subject appear "cutesie" and you don't want that effect when you're shooting a male.  (Hopefully that's not the look they're going for, anyway!) 

* For Women it's the exact opposite.  It is more feminine when shooting females to have their hands one way and their head or body facing or leaning a different way.

* He said that if you touch your models one time to manually show them what you want, they will do it themselves from that point on.  So one time re-adjust their angle, or fix something and then clearly tell them what you want from that point on.  I did hear another photographer disagree with this later, but right now I am just writing his advice.

*He said NEVER have your portrait subject's shoulder's level.  He said that proves your an amateur right away.  Adjust the camera's height so that you have a different angle or perspective so that the shoulders are not straight.

*His big thing was to get multiple portraits from 1 pose, using ONE light pattern.  It goes like this:
Profile shot,  2/3rds angle, Full face, etc. 
Keep the light basic- Head and Body towards the light
Keep the light from behind (Lighting from front is very amateur)

* Technique will never let you down:
   ~Decide which side the lighting should go on.  Depends on hair style, and best facial features.
   ~Don't have models lean backwards, have them lean forward "over the belt buckle"
   ~Camera Height: Around your waist for full length pics
                              Chin Level or below for 3/4 shots
                              Face/ Eye level for Close-Ups

* Four Steps for portraits:

Mr. Blackmore was all about technique, and he taught me so much in just the short time I watched him photograph.  I am looking forward to using some of what I have learned in taking portraits.

Hope you may have learned something too!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you posted these! I'm going to type up my notes on children's photography today...I'll send them to you.