BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Melissa Papaj
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/28/2005

Creative portrait photography this is my do you get "creative" or "artistic" with simple portrait photography, ie. weddings, engagements, bridals, etc? Does anyone have some great ideas? Iam finding that the majority of critiques that I get is that they are not artistic enough...

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8/2/2006 5:18:51 AM

Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   You have posed the question that I had a hard time with, and why I haven't started doing any portraiture until now. I, for one, HATE the posed portrait. Nothing about it is natural. Knowing this, and having a style all my own, I wanted it to be incorporated into any portraiture that I did. So, one good example is a drug a fancy crushed red velvet armchair out into a field and had the child play around on it, in it, etc. Do things people don't expect. I don't think artistry lies in the props, after effects/editing, it's the "unposed-ness" and the photographer having a creative, imaginative eye to begin with. I don't know if this helps, just thought I'd offer it.

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8/2/2006 7:39:45 AM

Kerry L. Walker  
  standard portrait pose
standard portrait pose
© Kerry L. Walker
Pentax 645N Medium...
  my choice
my choice
© Kerry L. Walker
Pentax 645N Medium...
I agree with Sipho here. I will post two photos I shot for a bride. The first is the standard "watch the birdie" shot - and the one she chose for the paper. The second is less posed. She had turned that way and I just asked her to stay there and lift her eyes a little. I like that shot better myself.

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8/2/2006 9:48:00 AM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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John's Gallery
  In my opinion, a "portrait" is simply a picture of a subject [person or favorite pet, etc.]

We all are familiar with the standard shot; Kerry showed it above. But, there are any number of other things you can do. At a wedding, use your tele zoom and snap that facial close-up of the bride talking with friends.

Then, there's those "environmental portraits" - where you shoot your subject at work or play, in uniform or costume, playing a game of baseball or horseshoes. It really doesn't matter.

If you need to make the formal, make it - but, you can't complain. They've been done for years and most people like a well executed image. If you don't want the formal, shoot anyway you wish but, make sure you're using a telephoto that's well focussed and an exposure that let's you hand-hold your camera and still get the shot.

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8/2/2006 1:59:19 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Personally, I think the fundamental art in portrait photography is getting your subject to relax enough to allow you to engage them in casual conversations about things they're interested in. When you do that, you disarm their fears (showing them a good polaroid of how they look is a big help) and get them to stop looking like a moose in the headlights.

Poses? The best ones are the ones where the subject feels most natural. If you ask someone when they look awkward and uncomfortable whether they feel that way, they'll likely say "yes" and that adds to their angst.

In the long run, I think the subject provides the creativity, the photographer recognizes it and knows when to hit the shutter release. It's timing, comfort levels, humor, and even telling a couple of jokes helps get people to loosen up. Asking a corporate CEO how he's going to explain the make-up I just smeared all over his shirt collar to his wife when he gets home gets some interesting expressions.

The same is true too, I think regardless of where you're working, whether it's in your studio, on location, wherever.

In essence, I think the photographer's attitude is reflected in the subject and that's what you're capturing. If you're up tight and nervous doing this type of work, it's going to show. In that case, YOU need to practice alot on willing friends and family and relax. Get the cameras off the tripods, grab a stool and talk to your subjects, after awhile, THEN start shooting. AND the faster you become at engaging your subject, the faster you'll see positive results in their facial expressions.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

[For those who've asked, I'm working on getting some of my work scanned to load in a gallery here.]

Take it light

Take it light.

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8/3/2006 11:37:05 AM

Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  If you need ideas or inspiration - take a look at past winners/finalist here in the people category.
Then do some research either on-line or in your library... That's all good for getting ideas - then you have to bring them to your session... Making the subject feel comfortable is most important... Sometimes the best shots are the unplanned ones.

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8/3/2006 5:24:17 PM

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