Friday, February 26, 2010

The Chair Portrait

Any amateur can set up this shot with just 2 elements. One light source and a chair.

Many professional portraits on location have been done using a backwards chair. It helps the subject's posture and if the camera is set to a 45 degree angle, the shoulders
set up at a pleasing angle. Of course the subject can look at you or not and the hands can do what ever you want. Woman can claps them together for a more feminine look and man can just hang them over the edge - for a manlier look. As for the light source? Well I used one inexpensive strobe, but since you don't have to worry about color cast by converting to B&W, you can use any bright spot (or even work) light.

I used my black background for this shot. You can put up a black blanket, or a brick wall, whatever you like - just make sure to underexpose it! That will make it dark and allow all the light (and attention) on your subject.

Simple portrait. And it was fun to do. (photographer's secret: He was wearing sweat pants). Might as well be

POST: converted to B&W. Adjusted contrast.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Stop the Madness

I needed to put up a brief post today for all of my amateurs and beginners. A friend of mine put up a new website recently. He asked me to use my graphic artist eye to check it out. One page was a slew of photographs of his employees. They were all headshots done quickly.

I am all fine with quick and dirty BUT the photographer committed a cardinal sin. There were dark creepy shadows behind all the heads because they were standing 3 inches from the wall behind them. One simple change would have solved the problem, MOVE AWAY FROM THE WALL. Unless you are looking for shadows, always be at least 5 feet from your background when using a flash. Especially if you are stuck using the on-board flash. Whether inside, outside; pro background or natural candid....always be at least 5 feet away. Thank you. Rant over.