Shoot A Portrait For A Mothering Sunday Pressie
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|Category:||Portraits and People|
Portraits For Mother's Day - A picture is worth a thousand words, so make someone very happy on Mother's Day by giving her a new portrait or two and here's some advice on how to shoot it.
The first thing is to decide whom you are going to use as models. This depends on your personal circumstances but obvious candidates are your kids and grandchildren.
Gear Suggestions And Set-Up:We are talking shooting at home rather than a professional studio, so you will be using daylight or a battery powered flashgun. Of course, if you do have studio flash it would be silly not to use it. Bright days are best for indoor portraits so there is a good amount of light around, but position your subject away from direct sunlight because contrast will be a problem and your subject/s will be squinting.
You will need a tripod to hold the camera steady and Vanguard have plenty of tripods that are perfect for indoor and outdoor photography if you're in the market for a new model.
Your DSLR with a telezoom is perfect for flattering portraits and allows you to shoot from a little distance that will help your subjects relax. Even if you know the subject it's your responsibility to make them feel comfortable in front of the camera and that will result in better pictures.
A lens popular with portrait photographers is a fast 70-200mm f/2.8 telezoom. It can be used at f/4 or f/5.6 for high quality results and still throw the background nicely out of focus. Adjust the ISO to allow decently fast shutter speeds, say 1/60sec and above, and you can shoot away handheld if you have to.
Techniques To Try:Books have been written about posing but you can learn a lot by seeing how professional portrait and wedding photographers pose their subjects.
If you're producing formal portraits your subject can sit or stand, but posing them too much can make them feel uncomfortable and tense which will show in the final image – and this applies especially with children. Given the nature of this project your subjects are more likely to be young and formal rarely suits. A little fun can make them more comfortable or better still, shoot candids as this often produces more interesting images.
If you need faster shutter speeds to stop any movement and avoid camera shake, just increase the camera's ISO setting. Most modern DSLRs have good noise performance at ISO 800 and above so don't be afraid to try this technique.
Simple backgrounds always work best, inside and out. If you're working on location blown out foliage makes for a good background. A widish lens aperture for minimal depth-of-field will help draw the viewer's eye towards the person in the photograph.
Shooting outside, try using a burst of flash as a fill in light. On bright days pictures of people can be ruined by heavy shadows but using flash will lighten up the shadows, giving you a better-looking portrait.
You can use your on-camera flashgun, although it is not very powerful, or a separate flashgun. The challenge with mixing flash with daylight is getting the balance right. Too much flash and the effect is unnatural; too little and you might as well not bother. Many camera/flash combinations do most of the technical work for you and you can just fine-tune using the flash exposure compensation feature.
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