Posts Tagged ‘Portrait’

Get Started with Photography Books

July 14, 2009

Photography books are helpful when you’re getting started with photography and need the fundamentals.

Photography books are also helpful when you want to learn more about a specific type of photography, such as portrait photography, night and low-light photography, and HDR photography.

After you’ve learned everything you can from books, you can learn even more online, such as by searching the Photobird Daily.

Here’s a chronological list of photography books that we’ve written about here in the Photobird Daily. The list of books is separated between beginner’s books and advanced books.

All of the photography books are available from Amazon.com, and if you’re one of the winners of the Photobird Photo Contest for July 2009, you can buy the books with your $50 Amazon.com gift card! The Photobird Photo Contest is free to enter. Enter here!

If you’re looking to purchase only one photography book to get started with, I recommend either Understanding Exposure or Photographer’s Exposure Handbook.

For beginners:

Digital SLR Handbook, by John Freeman

Photographer’s Exposure Handbook

PhoDOGraphy, by Kim Levin

Excerpt: How to Photograph Dogs and Cats Together

Hands-On Digital Photography, by George Schaub

Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson

Excerpt: The Importance of Exposure

The Art of People Photography

Excerpt: Posing Basics

Beyond Portraiture, by Bryan Peterson

Baby Face

More advanced:

Fashion Photography, by Bruce Smith

Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait

Night & Low-Light Photography, by Jill Waterman

Mastering HDR Photography, by Michael Freeman

Understanding Shutter Speed

Before you buy Understanding Exposure or anything else on Amazon.com, please click one of our links to Amazon.com on this page or anywhere on Photobird.com. For each product you buy after your click, we receive a small referral fee, at no additional cost to you. Your clicks and purchases allow us to continue to publish the Photobird Daily and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your support!

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See more great photos and photography articles in the Photobird Daily.

Sign up for the Photobird newsletter.

Visit Photobird.com, the easy way to share your photos.

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Posing Basics

June 30, 2009

Photo © Copyright Michael Van Auken

The text and photo in this article are excerpted from The Art of People Photography by Bambi Cantrell and Skip Cohen. Copyright © 2007 by Bambi Cantrell and Skip Cohen. Reprinted by permission of Amphoto Books, an imprint of Watson-Guptill Publications. All rights reserved.

To read more about this book, read the article in the Photobird Daily entitled “The Art of People Photography“.

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Posing Basics

Position your subjects so that they create pyramid shapes or triangles. Put people in small clusters. Stay away from the firing-squad approach (everyone standing straight in a row). And, don’t be afraid to leave a little space between your subjects.

If any of the subjects are to be seated, the art of communication is critical; you’re not just a photographer any longer, you’ve graduated to director. You want to make sure your subjects don’t sit flat on their backside. Instead, have them turn or shift so that they sit on their bottom thigh (more on their side than on their bottom) and have them lean forward, toward you, so that the majority of their weight is behind them.

If your subjects are standing, have them turn approximately 45 degrees away from the camera, separate their feet, and push their front hip away from you while turning the front foot toward the camera.

Remember, you can always break the rules, providing you understand them up front. For example, there may be times when you’re going to set up a “group hug” and create the infamous bunch-of-grapes pose, perfect for a message that screams “We love you, Grandma!”

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The text and photo in this article are excerpted from The Art of People Photography by Bambi Cantrell and Skip Cohen. Copyright © 2007 by Bambi Cantrell and Skip Cohen. Reprinted by permission of Amphoto Books, an imprint of Watson-Guptill Publications. All rights reserved.

To read more about this book, read the article in the Photobird Daily entitled “The Art of People Photography“.

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Before you buy The Art of People Photography or anything else on Amazon.com, please click one of our links to Amazon.com on this page or anywhere on Photobird.com. For each product you buy after your click, we receive a small referral fee, at no additional cost to you. Your clicks and purchases allow us to continue to publish the Photobird Daily and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your support!

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Get Started with Photography Books

June 16, 2009

Photography books are helpful when you’re getting started with photography and need the fundamentals.

Photography books are also helpful when you want to learn more about a specific type of photography, such as portrait photography, night and low-light photography, and HDR photography.

After you’ve learned everything you can from books, you can learn even more online, such as by searching the Photobird Daily.

Here’s a chronological list of photography books that we’ve written about here in the Photobird Daily. The list of books is separated between beginner’s books and advanced books.

All of the photography books are available from Amazon.com, and if you’re one of the winners of the Photobird Photo Contest for June 2009, you can buy the books with your $50 Amazon.com gift card! The Photobird Photo Contest is free to enter. Enter here!

If you’re looking to purchase only one photography book to get started with, I recommend either Understanding Exposure or Photographer’s Exposure Handbook.

For beginners:

Digital SLR Handbook, by John Freeman

Photographer’s Exposure Handbook

PhoDOGraphy, by Kim Levin

Hands-On Digital Photography, by George Schaub

Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson

The Art of People Photography

Beyond Portraiture, by Bryan Peterson

Baby Face

More advanced:

Fashion Photography, by Bruce Smith

Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait

Night & Low-Light Photography, by Jill Waterman

Mastering HDR Photography, by Michael Freeman

Understanding Shutter Speed

Before you buy Understanding Exposure or anything else on Amazon.com, please click one of our links to Amazon.com on this page or anywhere on Photobird.com. For each product you buy after your click, we receive a small referral fee, at no additional cost to you. Your clicks and purchases allow us to continue to publish the Photobird Daily and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your support!

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See more great photos and photography articles in the Photobird Daily.

Sign up for the Photobird newsletter.

Visit Photobird.com, the easy way to share your photos.

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Get Started with Photography Books

May 19, 2009

Photography books are helpful when you’re getting started with photography and need the fundamentals.

Photography books are also helpful when you want to learn more about a specific type of photography, such as portrait photography, night and low-light photography, and HDR photography.

After you’ve learned everything you can from books, you can learn even more online, such as by searching the Photobird Daily.

Here’s a chronological list of photography books that we’ve written about here in the Photobird Daily. The list of books is separated between beginner’s books and advanced books.

All of the photography books are available from Amazon.com, and if you’re one of the winners of the Photobird Photo Contest for May 2009, you can buy the books with your $50 Amazon.com gift card! The Photobird Photo Contest is free to enter. Enter here!

If you’re looking to purchase only one photography book to get started with, I recommend either Understanding Exposure or Photographer’s Exposure Handbook.

For beginners:

Photographer’s Exposure Handbook

PhoDOGraphy, by Kim Levin

Hands-On Digital Photography, by George Schaub

Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson

The Art of People Photography

Beyond Portraiture, by Bryan Peterson

Baby Face

More advanced:

Fashion Photography, by Bruce Smith

Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait

Night & Low-Light Photography, by Jill Waterman

Mastering HDR Photography, by Michael Freeman

Understanding Shutter Speed

Before you buy Understanding Exposure or anything else on Amazon.com, please click one of our links to Amazon.com on this page or anywhere on Photobird.com. For each product you buy after your click, we receive a small referral fee, at no additional cost to you. Your clicks and purchases allow us to continue to publish the Photobird Daily and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your support!

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See more great photos and photography articles in the Photobird Daily.

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Visit Photobird.com, the easy way to share your photos.

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Beautiful, Natural, Genuine Portraits

April 29, 2009

Photo © Copyright Natalie Norton

Natalie Norton is a busy mother of three young boys. She is also a professional photographer, sought out by families and brides-to-be for her exquisitely natural-looking portraits and light, human touch. Her theory on shooting is as simple as it is true: You can have the best equipment in the world, perfect lighting, and a strong creative vision, but it won’t mean a thing if you’ve got a subject who refuses to cooperate.

Interestingly enough, it was Natalie Norton’s own uncomfortable experience in front of the camera that finally led her toward a new way of working with people to create, in her words, “beautiful, natural, genuine portraits that make our hearts sing.” Well said.

In her article, “The Human Side of Photography…” at the Digital Photography School website, she offers the following four tips for budding photographers interested in getting more naturalistic portraiture:

1. Handle the Hands. Give your subjects something to hold. If their hands are busy, it can offer a “cognitive distraction” to curb their camera anxiety.

2. Pull up a Chair. When people sit, they’ll often lose their nervousness and rigidity. The setting instantly feels less formal and the resulting photographs will feel more casual.

3. The Attraction of Distraction. Distract your subject by getting them to talk about something they’re interested in. Ask them questions about their family, pets, or favorite superhero.

4. A tip from Aretha: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Your subjects deserve your respect. Seek out privacy. If a setting isn’t working, drop it and try something else. The picture above is of Natalie Norton’s four-year-old son, taken after he started coming to her to ask to have his photograph taken.

Check out the article for more great pictures and advice from Natalie Norton.

If you liked this article, you may also be interested in “Simple Tips for Photographing Your Children”.

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4 Essential Portrait Photography Tips

April 27, 2009

“Andi 2″
© Copyright Ed Krimen

Photography tips often come with a lot of baggage. There’s often so many details to learn that we get overwhelmed and find it difficult to improve our skills. I’m guilty on both ends: Some of my articles have a lot of detail in them and, at the same time, I find it difficult to learn new things from others because I feel there’s often too much to learn. Obviously, practice is very important and is key to improving our skills, but we are often impatient. We want immediate results!

Here’s four essential portrait photography tips, but if you can remember only two of them, remember the first two. These first two tips are specific to portraits and you should always remember them when shooting portraits.

The last two tips will definitely help keep your portrait photos from being boring, but the tips aren’t specific to portrait photography and will help you with all types of photography.

These four tips were written by Randy McKown in his article entitled “4 Quick Portrait Photography Tips” at XposurePro.com.

First, two portrait-specific tips:

1. Focus on the eyes. Keep the face of your subject in focus as much as possible, and especially the eyes. Randy McKown advises: “A good rule of thumb is to always focus on the eyes, then recompose your subject in the frame for your desired composition before pressing the shutter release all the way down.” The fundamentals of this tip seem to be ingrained in our human reflexes. Without knowing it, we usually react to people’s eyes whether in person or in photographs to see where they’re looking and to try to sense what they’re feeling.

I would add that 99 percent of the time, yes, you should focus on the eyes. But don’t be afraid to break the rule. For instance, your subject might have other unique features, such as extraordinary lips or cute earrings, that stand out on their own and deserve their own close-ups. But yes, 99 percent of the time, focus on the eyes.

2. Stay in the shade. Bright outdoor light can be great for landscape photos, but not for portraits. Direct sunlight on your subjects will result in harsh shadows, raccoon eyes, and squinting. Plus, if you put your subject in half shade and half direct sunlight, then your camera won’t be able to handle this wide range of light and you won’t be able to get a good exposure.

Randy McKown recommends: “Find a shaded area to keep the sun off your subject. The shade from a building works great but any solid shaded area will work.” You can use a tree to shade your subject, but make sure there are no rays of light coming through between the leaves and branches, which can result in blown out highlights.

You can shoot in the sun, but if you don’t have special equipment, it’s best to shoot around sunrise or sunset when the light is not direct and bright as it is at mid-day.

This photo of Andi shown above was shot in late afternoon with the sun blocked on the other side of this brick wall.

Next, two tips that will help with all types of photography, but especially portrait photography:

3. Experiment with angles. Portrait photos shot straight on can be boring, such as the photos on driver’s licenses. Not only are they dull, lifeless, and without depth, but your subject will probably feel awkward and uncomfortable if there isn’t more creativity or a natural feel to the shot. Even people who don’t like getting their picture taken will feel like it’s just another boring photo if the photo is shot straight on.

To liven up the shot, climb up on something, such as a chair or a bench, to shoot down at your subject. Or, get down on your knees or sit on the ground and shoot up. As Randy McKown suggests: “Experiment and have fun with it. Whatever you do don’t stick them dead center right in front of you, ask them to say cheese and expect a masterpiece.”

4. Eliminate distractions. This tip goes to the core of what I stress here in the Photobird Daily: the importance of composition, which you can read more about in the article “Composition Is Key“.

Randy McKown writes: “Remember you are shooting a portrait. You’re not photographing everything around them.” You don’t need to photograph the person from head to toe and you don’t need to photograph the landscape. For more on this concept, read the Photobird Daily article “Simplify“.

If you find a lot of good photographic opportunities for your subject and your location, don’t try to capture everything in one shot. Instead, shoot a series of multiple photos that focus on individual, interesting elements of the person and your surroundings. Then you can show them all together in an album. For some portrait examples of what to do and what not to do, read my article in the Photobird Daily entitled “Portrait Posing Tips and Composition Tips“.

One of the best ways to eliminate distractions is by moving in close and filling the photographic frame with your subject. Read more about this composition technique in the Photobird Daily article “Get Closer. Closer. Even Closer!

Be sure to read Randy McKown’s complete article with examples entitled “4 Quick Portrait Photography Tips” at XposurePro.com.

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Get Started with Photography Books

April 21, 2009

Photography books are helpful when you’re getting started with photography and need the fundamentals.

Photography books are also helpful when you want to learn more about a specific type of photography, such as portrait photography, night and low-light photography, and HDR photography.

After you’ve learned everything you can from books, you can learn even more online, such as by searching the Photobird Daily.

Here’s a chronological list of photography books that we’ve written about here in the Photobird Daily. The list of books is separated between beginner’s books and advanced books.

All of the photography books are available from Amazon.com, and if you’re one of the winners of the Photobird Photo Contest for April 2009, you can buy the books with your $50 Amazon.com gift card! The Photobird Photo Contest is free to enter. Enter here!

If you’re looking to purchase only one photography book to get started with, I recommend either Understanding Exposure or Photographer’s Exposure Handbook.

For beginners:

Photographer’s Exposure Handbook

PhoDOGraphy, by Kim Levin

Hands-On Digital Photography, by George Schaub

Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson

The Art of People Photography

Beyond Portraiture, by Bryan Peterson

Baby Face

More advanced:

Fashion Photography, by Bruce Smith

Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait

Night & Low-Light Photography, by Jill Waterman

Mastering HDR Photography, by Michael Freeman

Understanding Shutter Speed

Before you buy Understanding Exposure or anything else on Amazon.com, please click one of our links to Amazon.com on this page or anywhere on Photobird.com. For each product you buy after your click, we receive a small referral fee, at no additional cost to you. Your clicks and purchases allow us to continue to publish the Photobird Daily and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your support!

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Get Started With Photography Books

March 10, 2009

Photography books are helpful when you’re getting started with photography and need the fundamentals.

Photography books are also helpful when you want to learn more about a specific type of photography, such as portrait photography, night and low-light photography, and HDR photography.

After you’ve learned everything you can from books, you can learn even more online, including by searching the Photobird Daily.

Here’s a chronological list of photography books that we’ve written about here in the Photobird Daily. The list of books is separated between beginner’s books and advanced books.

All of the photography books are available from Amazon.com, and if you win the Photobird Photo Contest for March 2009, you can use your $50 Amazon.com gift card! The Photobird Photo Contest is free to enter. Enter here!

If you’re looking to purchase only one photography book to get started with, I recommend either Understanding Exposure or Photographer’s Exposure Handbook.

For beginners:

Photographer’s Exposure Handbook

PhoDOGraphy, by Kim Levin

Hands-On Digital Photography, by George Schaub

Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson

The Art of People Photography

Beyond Portraiture, by Bryan Peterson

Baby Face

More advanced:

Fashion Photography, by Bruce Smith

Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait

Night & Low-Light Photography, by Jill Waterman

Mastering HDR Photography, by Michael Freeman

Understanding Shutter Speed

Before you buy Understanding Exposure or anything else on Amazon.com, please click one of our Amazon.com links anywhere on Photobird.com. For each product you buy after your click, we receive a small referral fee, at no additional cost to you. Your clicks and purchases allow us to continue to publish the Photobird Daily and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your support!

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Get Started With Photography Books

February 10, 2009

Photography books are helpful when you’re getting started with photography and need the fundamentals.

Photography books are also helpful when you’re looking to learn more about a specific type of photography, such as portrait photography, night and low-light photography, and HDR photography.

After you’ve learned everything you can from books, you can learn even more online, including by searching the Photobird Daily.

Here’s a chronological list of photography books that we’ve written about here in the Photobird Daily. The list of books is separated between beginner’s books and advanced books.

All of the photography books are available as prizes for the two winners of the Photobird Photo Contest for February 2009. The contest is free to enter. Enter here!

If you’re looking to purchase only one photography book to get started with, I recommend either Understanding Exposure or Photographer’s Exposure Handbook.

For beginners:

Photographer’s Exposure Handbook

PhoDOGraphy, by Kim Levin

Hands-On Digital Photography, by George Schaub

Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson

The Art of People Photography

Beyond Portraiture, by Bryan Peterson

Baby Face

More advanced:

Fashion Photography, by Bruce Smith

Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait

Night & Low-Light Photography, by Jill Waterman

Mastering HDR Photography, by Michael Freeman

Understanding Shutter Speed

Before you buy Understanding Exposure or anything else on Amazon.com, please click one of our Amazon.com links anywhere on Photobird.com. For each product you buy after your click, we receive a small referral fee, at no additional cost to you. Your clicks and purchases allow us to continue to publish the Photobird Daily and the Photobird Learning Center. Thank you for your support!

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5 Tips for Natural Looking Portraits

February 4, 2009

Photo © Copyright Natalie Norton

There’s different types of portrait photography and each has their own unique style and approach. For example, corporate portraits are usually starchy, serious, and professional-looking. Fashion photography is also serious-looking, but more artistic and has unique creativity applied to each photo. Fashion photography usually focuses more on the location and the clothing than the model. Glamour photography is like fashion photography, but less artistic and has more focus on the model than the location and clothing.

Casual portrait photography is like none of those because it focuses on the subject’s personality and tries to bring out those traits in the photos. Casual portraits are the most natural of the ones I mentioned above, but they can also be the most challenging because most people are not comfortable nor able to be natural when someone is taking their picture right in front of them.

The Command “Act Natural!” Doesn’t Work

If you’re sitting across the table from me and I pull out a huge DSLR camera to take your picture and say “Okay, now act natural!”, you’ll probably duck away from the camera and cover your head. That’s actually a natural reaction, but I don’t want a photo of the back of your head with one hand covering your face and the other hand trying to cover my lens.

Therefore, to get natural-looking portraits of people who usually try to avoid getting their picture taken, here are some helpful tips from Natalie Norton, a wedding and portrait photographer, in an article at the Digital Photography School.

(more…)


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