photography posing secrets by malcolm boone

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Photography Posing Secrets is a fantastic guide written by Malcolm Boone revealing some of the most powerful techniques you can apply to your photography for instant approval.A quick look at the contents will tell you just what is in the book:-SEVEN TIPS FOR BETTER PORTRAITS-THE IDEAL KIT-TYPES OF PORTRAIT-FORMAL PORTRAITS-LIFESTYLE PORTRAITS-ENVIRONMENTAL PORTRAITS-GROUP SHOTS-BABIES AND CHILDREN-POSING YOUR MODEL-IMPROVE YOUR PORTRAITS WITH PHOTOSHOP-PRINTING YOUR PORTRAITS-USING PHOTOSHOP-USING A PHOTO LAB-ALTERNATIVE PRESENTATION METHODS-FRAMINGPlease download this free book and recommend it to all your photography friends.


Secrets of Better PortraitsBy

Malcolm Boone

Proudly brought to you by Geoff Beattie

Secrets of Better Portraits Please Read This First You do have permission to pass this book on to others as long as you a) do not change the contents b) do not misrepresent the book c) do not attempt to distribute the book using SPAM.

Important Disclaimer The author, publishers and marketers of this information disclaim any loss or liability, either directly or indirectly as a consequence of applying the information presented herein, or in regard to the use and application of said information. No guarantee is given, either expressed or implied, in regard to the merchantability, accuracy, or acceptability of the information.

Although the ideas given in this book are offered in good faith and after extensive research, no responsibility can be accepted for any consequences arising out of the use of this book or from any inaccuracies, omissions or errors.

Reading beyond this point constitutes acceptance of the above.

Secrets of Better Portraits is 2010 Malcolm Boone

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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION......................................................................................4 SEVEN TIPS FOR BETTER PORTRAITS..........................................5 THE IDEAL KIT........................................................................................7 TYPES OF PORTRAIT ...........................................................................9 FORMAL PORTRAITS.................................................................................9 LIFESTYLE PORTRAITS ............................................................................10 ENVIRONMENTAL PORTRAITS .................................................................11 GROUP SHOTS .....................................................................................12 BABIES AND CHILDREN....................................................................15 POSING YOUR MODEL.......................................................................17 IMPROVE YOUR PORTRAITS WITH PHOTOSHOP.....................19 PRINTING YOUR PORTRAITS ..........................................................21 USING PHOTOSHOP.................................................................................21 USING A PHOTO LAB ..............................................................................22 ALTERNATIVE PRESENTATION METHODS ..............................................23 FRAMING ................................................................................................24

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IntroductionThere are over six billion people in the world. Each could be a subject for a portrait photographer. Of all the photographs taken each day, the vast majority include images of people. Yet only a small fraction of these are true portraits.

A good portrait is described as a picture with a quality image that captures both the physical features and character of the subject. To produce a good portrait you have to be familiar with your camera and the other equipment you need to produce a good image. You have to know the techniques of producing a good portrait. You have to be able to interact with people so that they will reveal some aspect of their character for the camera.

This may suggest that only photographers with a long list of skills and abilities are capable of good portraiture. However, there are some easy steps any photographer can take to improve the quality and range of their portraits.

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Seven Tips for Better Portraits1. If there is not enough light indoors for your portrait shot change location, wait until its brighter, or use professional studio lighting. Do not use your cameras pop-up flash as this can destroy atmosphere. Only use your cameras built in flash for exterior fillin.

2. Focus your camera on your subjects eyes. When people look at a person, even in a photograph, they tend to look at the eyes. Focus on the nearest eye when taking a three-quarter shot.

3. Even if your camera is locked to a tripod your stationary subject can still move. Use at least 1/60sec shutter speed and preferably 1/125sec for a blur-free portrait. If you need a slower shutter speed either open the aperture or increase the ISO rating.

4. Make sure the background is not too cluttered or busy. The subject should be the focus of the picture. Keep distractions to a minimum. Also check that there is nothing behind the subject that could ruin the shot. No one looks their best with a lampshade apparently balanced on the top of their head or with a tree growing out of their shoulder. Also check the background if the subject is holding an object. I once saw a school textbook photo of a girl holding a test tube with a distant pupils head lined up with the top of the tube. They dont really do experiments on shrunken heads do they?

5. Crop the shot above or below body joints. Cropping at neck, knees or waist looks unnatural. If you are shooting digitally you could 5 Specially presented by

Secrets of Better Portraits sort this out with software, but doing it before you press the shutter button will save pixel memory and time.

6. Unless your subject has to be in the center of the shot try placing them to one side of the frame. It makes a more interesting picture.

7. The photo shoot should start when the subject is comfortable and at ease with his or her appearance and surroundings. Never shoot if the subject is tense or uneasy, because it will reflect in the pictures. There is no rule that says a conversation should stop when shooting starts; it can still continue especially if it makes the subject open up more to the photographer. Remember that the subject does not need to smile to make the portrait look good. Oftentimes, a thoughtful or a serious expression is preferred since it reveals more of the subject's character.

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The Ideal KitFirstly let me point out the title of this chapter. We are talking about the ideal kit for taking portraits. If you use a film camera or a digital compact you can still produce great results. However a digital SLR gives you excellent control over depth of field, shutter speeds and ISO settings. This gives you flexibility in focus and different lighting levels.

Ideally you should have two lenses. One with a focal length of about 50mm is ideal for half and full-length shots. You also want another lens of focal length 75-135mm for head and shoulders portraits. Please note these focal lengths are for 35mm film. A digital SLR will have a converter value. Multiply the focal length by the converter value to get the focal length you need. The converter value for Minolta, Nikon and Pentax is x1.5, Olympus is x2, and the converter for Canon cameras depends on the model, but varies between x1 and x1.6. Essentially you need a lens between 50mm and 100mm on the zoom after converting.

Most compact cameras have the correct range of focal lengths for portraiture. If you have a basic point and shoot model with some scene modes, use the portrait settings and turn the flash off. If you can, switch your compact to aperture priority and reduce the aperture to the lowest f number.

A tripod reduces the possibility of camera shake and releases you from behind the camera. This enables you to move around more, perhaps stepping forward to adjust your sitter or group, or making your subject feel more at ease. A tripod also keeps the subject accurately framed while you adjust lighting, backdrop, or other elements. 7 Specially presented by

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Another piece of useful kit is the reflector. Ideally you want a doublesided circular 20in collapsible model with white and silver or gold surfaces to reflect light where you need it. There are stands for clamping the reflector in place, but the model can hold the reflector if you just need some light from below for head and shoulder shots. A correctly positioned model and reflector can make all the difference to your portraits and are definitely worth the investment.

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Types of PortraitWhatever type of portrait you are shooting, remember you are in charge. You should have a particular effect in mind and be able to direct the subject in terms of background, posing, and props. You should also be ready with answers if your subject asks about different locations, lighting effects, clothes and accessories, etc. Show your subject you have thought this through and you will start gaining their confidence and enable them to relax a little. Ideally your camera should be set up in advance, or at least you should have a very good idea of the apertures, shutter speeds and other technical variables you are going to use so you can concentrate on arranging the subject. There are essentially three styles of portrait shot. Each shows something different about the subject.

Formal Portraits

Usually this is a head and shoulders or half-shot with a simple background that does not distract you from your subject. Lighting is usually diffused and hits the subject at about 45 degrees. If you are using light from a window and it seems too harsh, try placing sheets of tracing paper over the panes to diffuse the light.

Seat or stand your subject facing to one side of the camera and turn their head so the face is about three-quarters on. Now have your subject move their eyes so they look straight into the lens. Set up your camera so it is focused on the eyes and the shot is cropped just above the head.

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Secrets of Better Portraits Check that clothing looks right and that jewelry is hanging correctly. Sometimes clothes pegs are useful for arranging clothing.

If your subject looks a bit tense ask them to breathe out and take the shot as they relax.

Lifestyle portraits

A lifestyle portrait is usually shot as if the subject it not aware of the cameras presence. This candid, reportage look is a fresh, natural alterative to formally posed shots. They are often taken outdoors with the subject in casual clothing.

Ideally you need a location to provide a simple background that says something about the subject. Look at fashion adverts and flick through clothing catalogues to get some ideas.

Avoid the harsh light of sunny days. Shoot on an overcast day or pose your subject in the shade. You can control the light by positioning a reflector outside the shaded area to bounce diffuse light towards your subject. If you have to shoot when its sunny, place your subject in front of the sun. This means they will not have to squint and if you can position yourself right you can even achieve rim lighting around their hair. Use a lens hood to shield your lens and avoid flare.

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Secrets of Better Portraits Environmental portraits

This style of portrait uses location and props to reveal more about the subjects interests, livelihood and attitude. A picture of a teenager listening to his i-pod, wearing his favorite top and pants while holding his skateboard tells you much more about him than his formal school photo.

Firstly your subject needs to decide what they want the photograph to show. Hobbies, pastimes and jobs are topics you can build a shot around. You can easily take a job related shot without being allowed into their place of work. Just include what they do, not where they do it.

Next decide how you can use location and props to convey what is required. Simple often works best. If a job or hobby demands the use of many pieces of equipment just pick one that can convey the activity.

The environmental shot often has strong eye contact and it is not even necessary for your subject to be holding the prop. Placed to one side and defocused, an object can still convey a message.

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Group Shots

Perhaps the most overlooked but critical aspect of taking a group shot is timing. Not only do you have to keep your subjects enthusiastic and responsive but you also have to compose and capture the best possible image. Take a shot too quickly and you dont give yourself or your subjects time to prepare, take too long and the boredom or frustration will show through in the final image.

Plan what you are going to do before the people assemble and let them know your plan when they arrive. A group shot should capture the groups identity and the relationship between its members. If there is a hierarchy within the group make the senior person the focal point. This does not necessarily mean putting them in the middle of the group. The focal point can be nearer the lens, higher than others or to one side. If there is no senior person you could use a prop that is related to the group instead. Try to avoid uneven gaps between members of the group. This can suggest a lack of bonding between some members.

Direct each person courteously, clearly, and with a businesslike pace before you get your finger on the shutter button. Ensure that the face of each person is seen clearly and that shadows cast by one member of the group do not fall across anothers face.

Forewarn them you will take a few shots to account for the ones where someone blinks, make sure they are all ready and take the shots.

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Secrets of Better Portraits Try to avoid the obvious when composing a shot. Instead of standing face on to the camera have your subjects stand side-on and turn their heads to the camera. Try to arrange them in a crescent instead of a straight line then pull some people out of the curve to make it less obvious. Consider introducing different heights by having people stand on different levels of the landscape, or arrange some sitting, standing, kneeling and even lying propped up on elbows. Try using the different heights of faces to form a triangular or M shape. Just experiment. Try positioning the camera to one side of the group or above them.

As well as arranging the group around a prop you can also use props for your subjects to hold or lean on.

Another thing you can try is to take some shots just before the group is completely arranged and just after you have finished the last arranged shot. These can produce more revealing and enjoyable images as the group relaxes and interacts.

Plan ahead and try to be inventive. It should make the shoot more enjoyable for you and your subjects, and produce a much more interesting image.

If a group is big enough it becomes a crowd. The challenge when photographing a crowd is picking out something of an individual to prevent the image being one of an anonymous mass of people. Try to break up the crowd or show a section of people that represents what the rest of the crowd is doing. Place a small group dancing in the foreground in a field of revelers; shoot along a row of graduates waiting to collect

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Secrets of Better Portraits their certificates; shoot down onto a crowd from a high vantage point and include an unusual costume or banner.

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Babies and ChildrenNewborn and very young babies should be made comfortable on a safe, flat surface or cradled by a parent. Use natural light for a softer result. If you have to use a flash bounce it off a reflector or ceiling.

Tiny feet and hands are often the subject of some of the first pictures of a baby. Try to give a sense of scale by having an adult hand in the same shot.

As the child grows you will need to be familiar with your camera and keep it nearby so it is quickly available for a number of firsts. These sitting, crawling, wobbly first step shots can be taken at low level to give a new perspective. If possible have the camera ready the first time your child sees their reflection in a mirror, or realizes that arm waving around in front of them is under their control. You can also take shots that show a typical behavior like sucking fingers, or sleeping in a certain position.

As children grow they become aware of the camera but can still be spontaneous and uninhibited. They may be able to follow simple posing instructions, but some of the best shots come from everyday situations like dressing, playing and eating. Many pictures are taken of special outings and events, but dont forget the trip to the shops, getting the hair cut or watching TV. Each can capture different emotions and aspects of their lives.

Most childhood shots tend to focus on the joys of being young, but dont be reluctant to capture those moments of frustration, irritation and tears.

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Secrets of Better Portraits Also dont try to force a shy child to show their face. A picture of them hiding behind their hands is an honest image of their character.

Older children may be more willing to dress up and show off for the camera. They will make more friendships and become involved in team or group activities. These give more opportunities for photography.

If you want to freeze the action as the child runs about use a shutter speed of 1/125sec or 1/250sec. Shots of children running about indoors will also mean a wide aperture. Slower shutter speeds will blur the subject and convey the motion of the child.

Many teenagers would do almost anything to avoid posing for a camera held by their parent, but are much more willing if a friend is wielding the equipment.

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Posing Your ModelThe first step to posing a model is to plan before they arrive at the location or studio. You must have in mind the style of portrait you want and the mood of the shot. Think of your model as a shadow or silhouette. If you have a chance to spend some time practicing poses try shooting against a bright background so the images produced are silhouettes. With figures devoid of any surface detail it is easier to concentrate on the positioning of the torso, limbs, head, etc.

Imagine a line running from the top of the head to the tip of one foot. If you want a pose to express strength, masculinity, or regality it is best to pose the model so the line is straight. For an impression of femininity and grace, curve the body so the line forms a C shape.

Having decided on the general shape the body is to make you need to consider the legs. Often a standing pose will require one leg (known as the basic leg) to take more of the bodys weight than the other. Position this leg first, and then you can position the foot of the other leg at any point around the basic leg, rather like positioning the minute hand of a clock. The positioning of this leg can suggest many qualities including grace, movement, strength, and confidence.

Having positioned the legs and feet you need to consider the arms and hands, then the head and lastly the expression of the face.

People are probably more aware of the positioning of their limbs when standing in front of a camera than at any other time. A prop is a good way

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Secrets of Better Portraits to position the limbs naturally. Try a jacket slung over a shoulder, or a table or chair to lean on.

If you want your subject seated, give some thought to the type of chair to use. Low chairs raise the knees and hide the figure. High seats and stools allow a clear view of the torso and encourage correct posture. Armrests provide a surface for the forearms or elbows to rest on.

One way to get posing ideas is simply to look at adverts, magazines and catalogues that use models. Look at how the different aspects of the body are used to convey certain moods and qualities. Pick the ones that impress you most, get hold of a volunteer model and see if you can reproduce, and then vary, the images you have selected.

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Improve Your Portraits with PhotoshopThere is not a camera on the market that is ideal for every type of shot. The great thing about digital cameras is the software that can address this problem. The most popular image manipulation software is Photoshop. There are so many things this software can do that there are books, manuals and even workshops dedicated to revealing its capabilities. Here I am going to look at four basic ways you can use Photoshop to improve a digital portrait.

I mentioned earlier that cropping a shot before pressing the shutter button could save you time, but the Photoshop Crop tool can give you further variations to your image. With the image on-screen, hit the crop icon or C on the keyboard to select the Crop tool. Click and drag the tool to crop the image. Once you have cropped the image the unwanted portion is usually hidden behind a black area. However, if you want to see what you have not selected you can change the opacity of the shield area by selecting the opacity on the top tool bar and use the drop down slider to select opacity of about eighty per cent. To rotate the cropped area simply click near a corner handle and move the mouse to rotate. The rotation will happen about the target symbol in the center of the cropped area, but you can move this symbol by simply clicking and dragging. Now the crop will rotate about the symbols new location. These simple techniques can make a great difference to the image. However, if you do not like the changes you have made and want to return to the original image, just hit the Esc key on the keyboard.

You can adjust the range of tones in your image by hitting Ctrl+L to open the Levels palette. This displays the Histogram for the picture. This 19 Specially presented by

Secrets of Better Portraits shows the number of black and white pixels in your picture, as well as the number of pixels between those two colors. To improve the tone of your picture, move the outside black and white pointers to below the edges of the histogram. You may notice the darker areas of your picture becoming darker and the lighter areas lighter. Then move the middle slider to lighten or darken the mid-tones in the picture.

If you dont like what your changes have produced move the pointer over the palettes Cancel button and press Alt on the keyboard. The Cancel button changes to a Reset button, which you can press to undo the changes you have made.

You can also adjust the color balance from the Levels palette. Select the middle eyedropper icon and click on any part of your image. For best results click on a neutral gray in the image. Check out any shadows in your picture if such an area is not obvious. Click around in your image until you find a balance you like, and then click OK. This is an easy way to adjust the skin tone of your model.

Lastly, try changing the tone of your picture to see how you can adjust the character of the portrait. Hit Ctrl+U to open the Hue/Saturation palette. Tick the Colorize box and move the Hue and Saturation sliders to obtain different effects. To get an idea of what is possible type in the following: 238 Hue and 25 Sat will give you a cool blue tone effect, while 30 Hue and 25 Sat will produce a warm sepia tone.

Select an image and just try some of the techniques I have mentioned. Itll be fun and you may find something youll want to use more often to enhance your shots. 20 Specially presented by

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Printing Your PortraitsUsing Photoshop What use is a portrait stored as a string of binary code? You want a classy, ready to frame print that your subject can share and you can proudly add to your portfolio.

Once you are happy with the Photoshop image, go to the File menu, then hit New and create a document that matches your paper size at 240-300 pixels per inch. Make sure Contents is set at White. Click on the portrait and use the Move tool to drag it onto the canvas while holding down the Shift key. This will place the image in the center.

If you need to enlarge or reduce the image size, press Ctrl+T then drag a corner handle while holding down Alt+Shift until you are happy with the resizing.

Apply a thin black border to your image to improve its appearance. Open the Window menu and select Layers. Click on the Create a New Layer icon. Hold down the Ctrl key and click on the layer that has the portrait. Select D to set the foreground layer to black. Then go to Edit, then Stroke in the dialog box. Set Width to 10 or 12 px and set Location to Inside. Click OK and then Ctrl+D. You can compare the image with and without the border by clicking the eye icon. If you want to resize the image and border click the link icon beside the eye icon and follow the resizing instructions above.

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Secrets of Better Portraits As a final visual check before printing, hit Enter and the software will show you a print preview. The last thing to check before printing is the quality of your paper. Make sure it is between 280 and 290 gsm.

Using a Photo Lab But is printing your own the cheapest option? Many large chains have jumped into the printing market, and this competition has been reducing prices. A typical 4x6 print from a big chain is cheaper than the retail cost of the do-it-yourself paper that the same chain sells in their photography center. And at home you still have to pay for the ink!

Here are 6 things to consider when getting a photo lab to print your digital pictures.

1. Price. All the major players have priced their 4x6 size very competitively. The larger sizes though, like 5x7 or 8x10, are usually higher in cost than you can do it for at home.

2. Drop off. Can you upload your digital pictures to them via the internet (very convenient) or do you have to deliver them on a floppy or CD?

3. Delivery. Does your photo lab let you pick them up in the store, or do you have to wait for the mailman or courier? Picking them up at the store should be a no-cost option. If you pick them up, is the location easy to get in and out of?

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Secrets of Better Portraits 4. Timing. How fast do they work? One photo lab may have a reputation for having most orders ready in one business day, while another may be a bit cheaper, but takes a week.

5. Quality. You may have to talk to relatives, friends, and co-workers about this one. Find others who have already tried various printers. Find out if the photo lab will refuse to print a picture with too law a resolution. This should assure you of a quality print.

6. A standard picture for a photo album is 4x6 in size. That is a ratio of 1.5. Most new cameras have a ratio of 1.33! What happens if you send a 1.33 picture to a photo lab and ask for a 4x6? They crop part of the picture you took, making it shorter on its longest side. You may want the part they cut off! The best internet upload systems for photo labs allow you to indicate what can be cropped. Alternatively, use an image manipulation program to make the digital picture the correct size and ratio before uploading.

Alternative Presentation Methods As technology has progressed a variety of alternative ways to display photographs have developed. Your subjects may want to attach their portraits to an email to relatives or friends on the other side of the world. They may want to view the pictures on their TV. They may even want their images uploaded to a family website, or saved to CD for viewing on their PC or laptop.

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FramingA correctly selected frame can enhance a picture. The most common frames are made of wood, and often unpainted. Black frames can work well with black and white photography. Metal frames work well if they match a color in the photograph.

If you are going to frame a picture it always pays to consider using a photo-matt too. This will add depth and can emphasize colors in your image if chosen correctly. The best effect will be achieved by

considering the photo, frame and matt together.

When it comes to selecting color combinations try to imagine the colors of a rainbow. These are, in order, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Now imagine these colors pulled round to form a circle. The colors that work best will be opposite each other on the circle. So yellow works well with blue, green works with red, and so on.

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Secrets of Better Portraits Also by Malcolm Boone

Posing Secrets The Photographers Essential Guide Vol. 1Take your portraiture to another level. In this 120-page book Malcolm Boone shows you how to produce the right pose every time. He explains how to focus on the body to aid posing and gives you the key to duplicating or creating any pose. This practical resource for creative posing will quickly show you clear and comprehensive steps to produce and communicate a perfect pose for any situation.

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