PART 13: THE JOY OF PHOTOGRAPHING PEOPLE:

LEARNING TO TAKE GREAT PEOPLE PICTURES:

WE HAVE REACHED THE FINAL IN THIS SERIES.  AND HOPE YOU HAVE HAD FUN IN COMING ALL THE WAY FROM LEARNING HOW TO GO OUT AND BUY A CAMERA, LEARNING HOW ALL THE CONTROLS OF YOUR CAMERA WORKS, HOW YOU CAN GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR CAMERA’S APERTURE, SHUTTER SPEEDS, AND SO FORTH (IF NOT GO BACK AND REVIEW ALL THOSE PARTS SO EVEN THIS PART MAKES SENSE).  AND THEN PART 12 WAS THE FUN ONE:  COMPOSITION RULES.

NOW I KNOW YOU WILL GO OUT AND TRY SOME OF THIS FUN STUFF, AND GET CREATIVE.  BUT, OF COURSE YOU WILL WANT TO MAKE YOUR “PEOPLE PICTURES” LOOK BETTER THAN NORMAL.  IMAGINE IF YOU STARTED TAKING PHOTOS OF PEOPLE NOW AND THEY JUST TURN OUT BETTER THAN EVER, BECAUSE YOU ARE NOW GOING TO LEARN A FEW MORE INTERESTING FACTS.

FIRST OF ALL, I AM GOING TO TEACH YOU BASIC PRINCIPLES OF TAKING GOOD PEOPLE PICTURES, BUT NOT PROFESSIONAL PORTRAIT TECHNIQUES.  MY WHOLE GOAL IN THIS IS FOR YOU TO TOTALLY BE A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER.  IF YOU WANT TO GO OUT AND MAKE MONEY IN PHOTOGRAPHY PROFESSIONALLY, THEN THAT IS A WHOLE NEW SERIES OF LESSONS, AND I THERE ARE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS THAT YOU SHOULD ASK TO TEACH YOU, AND TO MENTOR YOU IN THOSE FIELDS.   BUT, IF YOU WILL JUST FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE GUIDELINES NOW ON TAKING GOOD PEOPLE PICTURES, YOUR EVERYDAY PHOTOS OF PEOPLE WILL JUST MAKE YOU FEEL PROUD OF YOUR PHOTOS.

1-  TURN YOUR CAMERA AROUND:

I ASK THIS TO A LOT OF PEOPLE:  DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL?  SORRY, THIS SEEMS LIKE A SILLY QUESTION, BUT IT IS A VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION IN PHOTOGRAPHY.  REMEMBER THIS IN GENERAL PHOTOGRAPHY:  SCENERY IN GENERAL SHOULD BE SHOT HORIZONTALLY, AND PEOPLE PICTURES SHOULD BE SHOT VERTICALLY, OR UP AND DOWN.  TURN YOUR CAMERA SO IT FRAMES THE SUBJECT VERTICALLY, NOT HORIZONTALLY.  IT FILLS THE FRAME BETTER, AND YOU WON’T CUT PEOPLE’S FEET OFF.  THE ONLY TIME I WOULD TAKE PICTURES OF PEOPLE HORIZONTALLY IS WHEN THERE IS A LARGE GROUP.  JUST DON’T EVER EVEN THINK ABOUT DOING PEOPLE PICTURES HORIZONTALLY.  THAT IS RULE NUMBER 1.

2- GET CLOSER:

YOU WANT TO GET SOME GREAT REACTION OF YOUR PHOTOS, THEN GET CLOSE TO YOUR SUBJECT:

CAN YOU SEE THE CHARACTER IN THE FACES OF PEOPLE?  DOES NOT MATTER WHAT AGE OF THE PERSON YOU ARE TAKING.  BUT IF YOU GET CLOSE TO THE SUBJECT, THE PHOTO WILL TELL A STORY OF THE PERSON’S CHARACTER THAT NO OTHER PHOTO WILL.  IN THIS TYPE OF PHOTO, LEAVE VERY LITTLE BACKGROUND AROUND THE PERSON.  YOU ARE TRYING TO CAPTURE THE EYES ESPECIALLY WHEN TAKING THIS TYPE OF PHOTO OF A PERSON.

3- FIND A PLAIN BACKGROUND:

IF YOU HAVE TO CREATE THE PLAIN BACKGROUND BY USING YOUR LENS’S APERTURE, THEN DO IT.  BUT, CHECK OUT THE BACKGROUND CAREFULLY.  THERE ARE MANY PHOTOS THAT HAVE BEEN TAKEN WITH BACKGROUND CLUTTER THAT MAKE FOR BAD PHOTOS:

WATCH OUT FOR THE BACKGROUND BEHIND THE PERSON.  DON’T HAVE A TREE OR A POLE OR SOMETHING GROWING OUT OF THE PERSON’S HEAD.  OR MAKE SURE THE BACKGROUND DOESN’T TURN OUT TO BE THE MAIN SUBJECT AND IN FOCUS RATHER THAN THE MAIN SUBJECT.

4- WATCH THE SUN:

light 4

IF I HAD MY CHOICE OF LIGHTING OUTSIDE TO TAKE PICTURES OF PEOPLE, I WOULD PICK A CLOUDY DAY.  NO SHADOWS TO WORRY ABOUT, AND MOST PEOPLE WOULD END UP NOT “SQUINTING”.  IT IS PROBABLY MY MOST PREFERRED TYPE OF LIGHTING.  HOWEVER, YOU USUALLY DON’T GET THAT TYPE OF LIGHTING ALL THE TIME.  HOWEVER, YOU CAN TAKE THE PEOPLE UNDER A TREE, WHERE THERE MAY BE SHADE.  BUT, BE CAREFUL OF SCATTERED LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT IF THE TREE DOESN’T COVER THE SUBJECT ENTIRELY WITH SHADE.

4-13-6

THIS SUBJECT HAS A STRONG BACKLIGHT BEHIND THE SUBJECT.  SO YOU MAY HAVE TO USE YOUR SPOT METER TO GET THE CORRECT LIGHT METER READING ON YOUR SUBJECT.  IT IS NOT A BAD IDEA WHEN YOU ARE DOING PHOTOS OUTDOORS, AND YOU HAVE A VARIETY OF CONTRASTY LIGHTING, TO HAVE YOUR METER SET TO SPOT METER.  THEN YOU WILL ALWAYS GET IT RIGHT ON YOUR SUBJECT.

3-30-2

THE SAME WOULD BE IF THE SUBJECT HAS A DARK BACKGROUND.  USE THE SPOT METER ON THE SUBJECT SO YOU GET THE EXPOSURE RIGHT ON THE SUBJECT.  CONTRAST LIGHTING IS HARD TO WORK WITH.  THIS TYPE OF PHOTO LIKE THIS IS ALSO A GREAT WAY TO GET THE PHOTO OF A PERSON IN THEIR NATURAL AND PROFESSIONAL STATE TOO.

5- GET ON THEIR LEVEL:

people-photography
photo by Thomas Leuthard

THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE OF CHILDREN PHOTOS.  I JUST DON’T LIKE TO SEE PHOTOS OF CHILDREN’S HAIR ALL THE TIME.  IF YOU GET DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL, YOU WILL HAVE PHOTOS OF THEIR LIFE.  GET TO EYE LEVEL WITH ANY PERSON IF YOU CAN.  IF A PERSON IS TALLER THAN YOU, THEN YOU SHOULD ASK THAT PERSON TO SIT DOWN, OR DO SOMETHING THAT WILL GET THEM TO EYE LEVEL THAT YOU CAN WORK WITH.  THEY WILL APPRECIATE IT, AND YOU WILL BE PROUD OF YOUR PHOTOS AS WELL.

This concludes our regular series of learning from all the way to buying your first camera, to becoming an artist.  Over the next few weeks, now, I will just be running a few blogs on different things that may inspire you on different types of photography, or explain more in detail of some of the things we may have already discussed.  I am sure that if you stick to this website, you will learn more about the great many things you can do in photography. 

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One Comment on “PART 13: THE JOY OF PHOTOGRAPHING PEOPLE:

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