Portrait Photography Tips with Bella West FBIPP FRPS


Okay, well I’ve selected this locations because it’s where the family live, and i want to incorporate the environment into the portrait, that’s really important. uh.. not only am i going to do a portrait of Lauren here, i want to almost make it a piece of art. so.. er like a landscape. so if we look out over here we’ve got the black morale, the sun is going to be right behind Lauren, which is fantastic. We’re going to have a nice back-lit image. So if you come on over here Lauren, good girl. Erm clothing wise, I’ve just kept her really really simple, nothing too fussy. Erm no frills and certainly no heavy logo arsenal team shirts and things like that and just something really simple and clear which is exactly how i want my finished product to be, with simple lines. Okay Lauren so just bring your, cross your feet over for me and just bring your hands down to here. Just look down to the left. Okay, Lauren is twelve and so she’s at the age were she’s kind of slightly on the turn of what she will and wont do. and we kind of, she’s going beyond that little girl stage so she might want something a little more edgy. But having said that mum might want something still quite child like. So we’re going to do both but you do have to erm, erm, access children on the day. You never know what they’re going to do. If they don’t want to get something, you just don’t force them to do it. Because you will get them completely unnatural and an unhappy child. that can show in your images. So actually Lauren we’re going to take you away from that little girl, we’re going to hook your thumbs into your jeans, but keep your legs crossed, good girl. Do you want your glasses on? are you happy with glasses on? We’ll do both shall we? okay. Yeah okay, cool. You look good with glasses. okay So we’ve got lot’s of graphic elements going on here in this image. Such, er an easy place to take a portrait, because you’ve got natural framing of the tree, in the summer, we’re taking this sort of in early spring, but in the summer that tree will have fantastic leaves, naturally framing the subject. I’d also like an introduction of the graphics left leading into Lauren as well. So, there’s a lovely soft sunlight coming through, from behind Lauren, the sun is a little bit high in the sky, it’s about midday. Midday isn’t the ideal time to take portraits, because it’s when the sun is kind of at it’s highest. Erm, and in the summer you’re going to get really really harsh light. Ideally, if you want nice soft light, early morning or early evening with some summer light, autumn light again is lovely. Autumn light, sort of late afternoon can be quite tricky. uh… you know, you need to experiment maybe a little bit with that. What i’m going to do here is, because the suns coming out now, and it’s quite strong i want to keep the deep end all in place he cared for something behind to protect
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meeting but if you know concrete he’ll annual meeting leading to the table with our markets a priority i make sure you keep your shutter speed high enough that if your subjects going to be moving you’re subject will be sharp. As it i here we can go quite low, it could go down to iso one hundred and get a much smoother looking image. Okay. So i’m also going to do something now with Evey, i’m going to bring Lauren out and i’d like to do individuals of each child, if you’re doing a family shoot we’ll do each individual child with each parent as well as a group picture. Okay so Evey if you come on in, Eve is slightly younger and more immature. haha okay, she’s also got a stronger character, and it’s quite if you’re photographing your own children, you’ll know their characters and you’ll know what you can make them do to bring that out of them. And so Eve is a lot more uh… bosy’s the wrong word, ugh, stronger character. so i’m just going to get her to fold her arms and just bring her foot out. That’s it, we’ve got exactly the same composition, so when you put these images on the wall together they’ll look fantastic. But what you’ll have is elements of personality from those different children. okay and i just want you to look a little bit over there for me. Good girl. Just look a little this way. Good girl. little bit more. That’s it, okay. So again i’m going to come back, right out and you can see that lovely natural framing, get the environment where Evey lives, which is really important in the future um… and also again, get this bench in. Yes please. be very careful when you’re shooting there’s lot’s of sky and you’re shooting on aperture priority, your camera may decide to um, over expose and you’re going to get a very very bright sky. And Evey will be in the dark, which is why i manual meter, so that i can meter it off her face. Okay, Evey i want you to just go back against that tree for me. Good girl. Hook your hands into your jeans looking down like that. just got the little bit of hair coming down, which is lovely. We’re just going to adjust that slightly. Gonna keep the face, the hair back of the face this side and just have it hanging down here. Okay, and that will look lovely with the light coming through it. Even nicer when she smiles. we’ve got two or three pictures in this area, we’ve got one arty picture, where we’ve got all of the hills in the background, we’ve got the bench, we’ve got the natural framing. We’ve also got an up righting image, a portrait And then we’ve got a head and shoulders. The reason i’m going to do everything here is because the lights good, so there’s not a need for us to move anywhere else. You don’t have to have a great area, if the light is nice and soft, and it’s right then you can do a lot in one area Just through different composition set ups. Evey just turn your head towards me quickly, a bit more. more. I don’t know which way it goes, that’s it. and it doesn’t matter, i like it when the hair goes across the face. The face is just looks much more natural looking. Just turn your body this way, just a little bit more, turn your body not your shoulders. That’s it good girl. We’ve got a nice bit of light just coming in. Just going to demonstrate, if mike could, can you just keep the reflector on Evey there. You can get in a pickle with reflectors, now i only recommend you use them when you’re a sort of static environment, when you’ve got children running around. You’re getting lot’s of natural shots its very difficult, and you end up losing an image because you’ve tried to do too many things at once. If you’ve got an assistant, that’s useful. Erm, you can also use too much reflector which we could demonstrate here as well now. Mike could you just, yeah. And that almost gives the impression of flash which for me flash completely kills the portrait. uh… and i never ever use flash on my portrait work. I’d much rather use, i’d rather incorporate movement even if the lights quite low and have something a little bit more atmospheric. Lauren we’re going to take your glasses of now, if that’s okay? Again i’m going to play safe and have a
really lovely soft happy image that perhaps grandma would like as well. Because i am thinking about that. I’m also thinking not only from an artistic perspective but also from a business perspective that i want to be able to sell more images. You have to please everybody, so including grandma. So, we’re going to do a lovely soft portrait of the two of them. They may not like it, again you have to access kids on the day. They may not want to be together, it doesn’t matter you can get them running around and being happy. But these two love eachother so much. Go on hands behind her back, give her a cuddle. I’m just going to bring this hair forward, okay, things like that i really hate, dirty nails a bit of old nail varnish will hide that. I just want you to turn into each other a little bit. It’s literally going to be a head and shoulders shot. Again because we’re in this great light we’re just going to stay here, that’s it, lovely. Chin down a little bit, Evey you just need to bring your legs all the way round you’re almost got your hips joining together. Bring your leg forward Lauren, just forward and that will get your body into the right shape. Even though i’m not going to photograph your legs, but what it does is it changes your body so just put your feet back again, like they were before. Okay, and you’re not really together you’ve got this big gap here. Bring your legs forward. Okay, now that brings you nice and close. Okay, we’re going to have this nice and smiley, so whilst they smile we’ll make the most of it. It doesn’t happen all the time. There’s a little too much reflector there mike. I know, it’s all over the place today. That’s lovely. Grandma’s going to love that. hook your fingers in Lauren, because i can see your chipped nail varnish. I’ve also got the tree here, i’m also using negative space just to add a little bit of texture and a little bit of the image as well. Now one nice and close up. Can see all their bogies. Good. I just got one shot then, sometimes when you ge into a situation, you see an image and er Lauren i’m just going to ask you to walk out the way a minute. I’ve just got a shot here of Evey sorry i know you got your hair cut yesterday didn’t you, Okay, i’m just going to just put one hand here for me okay, now soft hands. Evey’s got lovely freckles, and that kind of want to make the most out of them, because freckles don’t really last when you’re older, so it’s something that it would be lovely to look back on, and think aw you had freckles. Okay, just cross your feet over again. Finally the reason i always cross the feet over generally, is because it gives them er, the children a better shape, bar them being completely square on. We’re not looking for a feminine shape at all, because these are children. But just a little bit more, dimension. Okay, i’m just going to let the wind do the work here, and that’s lovely. Absolutely gorgeous. You’re quite pretty really aren’t you. I think when you’re directing children and trying to get expression, you’ve really got to use your own personality. To create the emotion that you want. That can sometimes take a little bit of time. In fact, can you just out your hands behind your back please. That’s it, lean forward just a little bit. That’s it look straight into my camera, good girl. That’s beautiful. Lovely, good girl. The reason why I’ve got her in this simple dress top is because i didn’t want something too distracting what she has got here, is a really nice little sort of flower. In black and white that’s going to give a lovely sort of image. Which is completely timeless, and this is the only accessory that we’ve got here. And erm that looks really nice, can you just tip forward again to me. That’s it, good, gorgeous, forward a bit more. Bit more light mike please. Yeah good. Okay just close your eyes, good. and open, good. we’ll go back to doing the two of you again. Sorry, i’m going to have you facing right out that way. Feet apart, just hold hands. That’s it a little bit wider apart. not your feet, the two of you, Lauren the left more. Feet wider apart please eve Okay, cool, so really graphic shot here. of erm, we’ve got a leading line of a bench, we’ve got the up right here, and then we’ve got a triangular shape here, with the legs and the arms. With the reflector Okay, Lauren i’m going to just sit you on the bench please. I’d like you to come and sit on here, the most brilliant shot of a bench, is to do the book end. A chleshay book end shot which is fine and you know it’s a quirky uh… popular kind of image were we’d put one child each side, but but i don’t want to be that um… i’m going to probably sit Evey up on here please, keep you as you are. that’s it that’s lovely. Good girl, well done. Evey bring your head round a little more and compositionly, i’ve got the girls to the left, with the graphics of the chair, of the bench. But then my negative space is not negative actually it’s beautiful, So, i’m keeping that within the portrait still. although the girls are still the main subject matter here. Okay, lauren can you lean back a little bit into evey just relax back. cross your feet over if you’d like. that’s it, and just lean back into her, that’s lovely,

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