Photography News | Issue 53 | photographynews.co.uk
Get more daring with your portraits for pictures with punch New faces There are so many rules for portrait photography; use these lenses, stand like this, look this way, focus here, light like this… andmost of the time they’re used for good reason. Sometimes though, for the most expressive results, you need to throw off the shackles and experiment. That’s why this month we’ve put together a list of rule- bending portrait tips. From changing the way you frame and focus, to using light in new ways, and shooting with non-portrait lenses, there’s plenty to discover. Even if you use only one of these methods on your next shoot, you’re sure to come up with an image that stands out from the crowd. Give them a try and see what you can come up with. Words by Kingsley Singleton Pictures by Kingsley Singleton and Will Cheung Get more creative with your portrait work and reap the rewards with people pictures full of intrigue and impact. Here are eight ways to do it... 2. Use some strong shadows
1. Try lots of distortion
Normallywhen shooting portraits we try to minimise distortion. The less there is, the more lifelike and flattering the shot will likely be. For that reason we use lenses with short telephoto focal lengths, like 70mm, 85mm or 105mm, which show a very natural, undistorted view of the face. On cameras with sensors smaller than full-frame, like APS-C or Micro Four Thirds chips, you might use 35mm or 50mm lenses for the same look. But shorter focal lengths can add lots of distortion. A wide- angle lens has the effect of forcing perspective so that anything close to the lens is enlarged. Apply this to a human face, focusing
closely and the face will become bulbous looking, enlarging the nose, mouth and eyes. It can look comical or grotesque, depending on the expression and is a good way of adding something unusual to your portfolio. You can get the effect using the wide-end of a standard zoom (usually 18mm or 24mm), but try going wider and using focal lengths of 14mm or below and there’ll be even more distortion. The uncorrected view of a fisheye lens like Sigma’s 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal is another great way to push the effect to the maximum, and the closer you position the subject the more distortion there’ll be.
Above You wouldn’t want to shoot every portrait with a fisheye lens, like the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 above, but it can produce eye-catching results.
Above Shoot window-lit portraits without a reflector for drama.
Most of the time, for flattering portraits, even lighting is essential. The more even the lighting on the subject, the less contrast there’ll be and that reduces shadows, hiding imperfections, and smoothing skin tones. It’s for that reason photographers try to shoot in diffused light. But you don’t need to work this way all the time, and if you ramp up the highlight and shadow quotient, you’ll get more dramatic effects. Contrasty lighting can still be flattering, too. In the example picture, Emma was sat just to the front of a large
window on an overcast day, but turned away from it enough to feather the effect and leave her with mainly side and rim lighting. Shooting in aperture- priority mode and using multi- zone metering, I knew the camera would underexpose her but get the window right, leaving the picture much too dark. For that reason, I used some positive exposure compensation, adding it using the +/- button, and setting +2EV to give me an settings of 1/320sec at f/2 and ISO 200. It would have taken about +4EV to correctly expose Emma. Finally, I added a little more contrast in Lightroom.
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