Portrait photography tips?

Question by asdfhjkl;: Portrait photography tips?
All I currently have is a Canon Rebel XTI with the standard 18-55mm lens. I have a love for long-exposure pictures, but I want to branch out and try shooting portraits. I stumbled upon this woman’s work and I absolutely love it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7583816@N04/

Do you have any tips as to how I can imitate her style? And what about post-processing? I’m really good at Photoshop, but what do you think works best for portraits? Thanks!!

Best answer:

Answer by fhotoace
It is mostly about how the photographer lights the subject, but I think I see some dodging and burning going on in post.

You certainly have the right camera gear to shoot portraits, now you may want to invest in some lighting and backgrounds

Lighting tips


What do you think? Answer below!

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4 Responses to Portrait photography tips?

  1. ✰VanGorkum◈Photography✰ says:

    She uses a grey studio backdrop, and from this photo ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/shannonsoule/4604961485/sizes/l/in/photostream/ ) I can see she uses a Strobe light with a large softbox off to the side.

  2. Conor C says:

    first off, find your own style. second, photoshop and photography are two different things. learn to get it right in camera. probably the thing you have trouble with is getting sharp images. learn to manually focus, i prefer the old split ring focusing screens. use a tripod, as this lady’s photography is in a studio. then learn lighting. get your flash off camera.

    using post as a crutch will lead you to a plateau really fast.

  3. Doctor Facepunch says:

    You might want to look at the Canon 50mm lens, much sharper and inexpensive, only around $ 99. Also look at lighting equipment and a bounce reflector, lighting is the key aspect of a great photo. Also a backdrop if you are looking for a studio look in your photos. There are also a lot of great tutorials online for post processing portrait photos through Photoshop.

    lighting example:

  4. Rudy H says:

    Yes she does nice work. But I don’t quite know what style you mean. While there are similarities to many of the picture the primary one is that she shoots close. Other than that she is sometimes shooting with soft light. Sometimes hard light. While she has consistencies she also has more flexibility as far as styles go. (and thaks to you she is now in one of my Favorites folders 🙂

    Look at the shadows cast in order to determine the direction of the light. View the largest image and look at the eyes. The reflections in the eyes often show the light position shape and the relative size. The larger the reflection in the eyes the softer the light and this is produced by a relatively large light source.

    Your camera and lens are good enough for you to start producing images like this. Usually you would like a larger aperture to blur the backgrounds but if you are close with a longer focal length (use 55mm) you should get decent results (make sure you focus on the eyes) You will want a different lens eventually but what you have now will work. .

    As has been mentioned, go to http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/02/welcome-to-strobist.html There is a lot there for you to learn. And its all free. Lighting is a big part of these images. That is what you need to learn the most. Then just start shooting. The more you shoot the more you will learn.

    The post editing is important but you first have to get a good image otherwise hours of photoshop will not make the image into what it should have been.

    So start with the Strobist site. Look through the assignment section and lighting 102. You will also have to go through lighting 101 but I like to see some of the results before having to learn the basics. It gives you incentive to learn. Not all the stuff is portrait or people photography so some you may want to skip for now. But there are important things to learn there too even though it may not be images you want to produce.

    While that site is focused on using hot-shoe camera flashes you can also do some work with regular household lights. You may have to shoot at a higher ISO due to the lower intensity, or shoot with a longer shutter speed (and a tripod if you have it).

    But again, go read, deconstruct the images you like (composition, feel, lighting camera position, etc.), and then shoot, shoot, shoot.

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