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Monday April 05, 2010

Jack Hollingsworth

Jack Hollingsworth

is easily one of photography's most well know names in commercial lifestyle, world and stock photography. Known as @photojack on twitter, he has over 14,000 followers and that number is growing daily. WeFollow.com has Jack listed as the 11th most influential photographer on twitter. Long before the twitter boom, Jack was a well-known name in stock photography helping to found BlendImages, PhotosIndia, RedChopsticks and 40260. Jack travels the world shooting, teaching, lecturing, and blogging, as well as leading phototours, workshops and seminars. You can see more of his portrait work at here. You can also find him here, on jAlbum.

You cannot depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus

Mark Twain

PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

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ortrait Photography is capturing pictures of people. Candid and posed. All shapes, sizes, ages, genders, ethnicities, cultures. I've been shooting portrait photography my whole life. Commercially and for fun. Here are a few lessons I've learned along the way to get remarkable portraiture.

Lens choice

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ven though I'm partial to fixed, prime lenses, I think that, for most of you reading this post, that it's probably a better choice to stick to a good zoom for your portraiture work. Maybe something in the 70-200m/f2.8 range. Optimum focal length, for most portrait work, falls in the 70mm-135mm range. Some great prime lenses, from Canon, that I own and use are the 50mm/f1.2, 85mm/f1.8, and the 135mm/f2.0.

Aperture: Go Wide Open

Get eye level.

Drop down to same plane as your subject.

70-200mm lensed used.

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n your portraiture work, you want your people to be the main subject of the photograph. So that means you need to minimize distracting background elements. To minimize unsettling and bothersome backgrounds, try apertures in the f1.2 to f5.6 range. This will create pleasing background 'bokeh' (out of focus elements).

Focus on Eyes

Shot with a 50mm f1.2 lens. with special focus on the eye.

If eye is out-of-focus then you missed the shot.

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n portraiture, eyes are truly 'windows to the soul'. So it's important that you make sure your focus point is on the eyes. The eyes are usually the first part of a portrait photograph that a viewer will migrate to. Focus on the eyes first and let every other plane of focus fall in line.

Candid vs. Posed

5 models were placed together in beautiful end of day light for casual but authentic group portraiture.

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Creating candid (unposed) shots is ideal. But much more difficult. Especially for the beginning photographer. Try shooting candids first, when subjects are unaware of your camera. Then, once you've cut your teeth on candids, try a few 'posed' or 'set up' shots.

Creating and directing posed photography is the difference between taking (candid) and making (posed) a photograph. Incorporate both in your portrait portfolio.

Get Permission

Be sensitive when shooting sensitive moments

I'm not at all a big fan of sneaking around, like a sniper, and trying to get portraits. I prefer a direct approach. Ask permission to photograph your subject. People are usually quite flattered that you've asked. And are generally more than willing to generously pose for you.

Get a Model Release

200mm lense used to throw foreground subjects out-of-focus.

Model releases were secured for all three ladies.

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f you plan on submitting your portrait works as Stock Photography, then get a model release. Here's a sample of what I use. Having a model release, on file, of the subject you photographed, potentially increases the stock value of that photograph ten-fold. It's worth the trouble to get a photo release. Make sure to check your local regulations on model releases.

Not About You

This was a classic case of "following" the action of the subjects and looking for that peak "moment"

I learned this lesson years ago. Want to get great portrait work like no other? Then make the portrait session about your subject. And not about you. Your goal is to focus 100% of your energy and attention on the subject. Be invisible. Be seamless. Be in the background. Focus on the person your photographing.

Diffused Light

By far, diffused light is best for flattering portraiture. Direct sunlight is too harsh and intrusive. And it flat out doesn't look good. Because the contrast between highlights and shadows is too severe for the sensor to record. So the goal of the outdoor portrait is to lower the contrast range by either diffusing or reflecting light onto your subject.

This nifty Westcott 6-in-1 reflector kit is what I use on location. And I'm rarely seen without it. Another good one is the Lastolite Trigrip reflector. Both are indispensable tools for making your portrait work more flattering.

Steve McCurry: Portraiturist

Check out the work of my favorite contemporary portraiturist Steve McCurry. This amazing journalist almost single handedly has redefined contemporary world portraiture. Amazing work. Be inspired.

Ben Larrabee: Fine Art Portraiturist

C

ool three minute video on the zen of fine art portraiture work by Ben Larrabee.

Gallery

Beautiful off-camera look of model makes subject look and feel more real

Asymetrical cropping of subject adds a unique look to a otherwise predictable pose.

I asked the models to close their eyes and "dream" about each other and the location they were at. it worked!

Gorgeous portrait of small girl looking directly at camera. i added the hat to scene to make it more playful.

One-light, simple, studio portraiture is often most effective.

A combination of candid and posed shot. 85mm, fixed lens.

 

Open invitation to join the Portrait Photography event

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o now that you have all those stunning portrait shots...share them with the world. Share them with us. Join me and the rest of the jAlbum community in this round of the Theme Shoots. Anyone can participate. It's free. Join and help make this another fun learning event! Let us see your stuff!!

Join the group Portrait photography with PhotoJack now! →

Sponsor

Westcott , is a worldwide manufacturing leader in professional Lighting equipment for the photography and video industries. i'm a huge fan and ardent supporter of Westcott Portrait products-both in the studio and in the field. For general location portraiture i use their nifty 6:1 reflector. And for alot of my Studio portraiture i use their new Fluorescent SpiderLites. Great products. Great company. Worth checking out.

Posted at 02:52PM Aug 25, 2008 by Björn Fant in Tips & Tricks |

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1 minute agoBjörn Fant

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41 minutes agoKristoffer

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22 minutes agoLaza

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22 minutes agoDor

Nice albums. Congratulations.

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2 hours agoDavid

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7 hours agoLaza

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