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Photography Question 
Thomas P. Masty
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/6/2010
 

Portraiture Cliches


Are there trends in portraiture photography similar to trends in fashion? Somethings are too trendy and others seem to timeless.

Some say girls sitting in the meadow back light is a cliche, but I kinda still like it.

What about railroad tracks?

Used to see more family pictures done with everyone overly coordinated in their jeans, white tops and shoes. Yet sometimes it still works.

What are you tired of seeing? Any new trend that's super hot?

I always like to hear what people think. (And trying not to be the Queen of cliches.)

Linda


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12/7/2010 9:42:30 AM

 
Lynn R. Powers   Yes, just like fashion portrait photos styles do change. Now and then I do see a good RR track photo but most of them look cliche'. I am seeing more of people up against a wall which is in perfect focus along with the model.
Extreme flare seems to be the "in" thing now. For an advertisement it may be OK but for a portrait, even glamor, it doesn't work for me. Some people are adding color to the flare and then add some blur to it. The trouble is that it takes the proper photo for this to look good. Some are excellent but most of the time it is a gimmick.

It is amazing how many of the models have the angst look. What is their problem? I am not saying that the models have to have a toothpaste ad smile but just a relaxed face will do quite nicely.

The white shirts bit is still being taught today. When I do a family or group, VERY SELDOM, I let them wear what they want and insure the background is neutral or highly blurred and take a light reading from a gray card. The colors will all come out fine and if it looks garish at least everyone is comfortable. It is better than taking photos of men all dressed in black tuxedos and looking like penquins.LOL

Lately I have seen some excellent photos in B&W that used back light and rim lights that have been spectacular. I wish I had a studio to learn how to do it.


Lynn



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12/7/2010 12:25:08 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
 
 
 
Hi Linda,
I have noticed a trend with Senior portraits in urban settings with many including artistic graffiti (urban art) as the backgrounds. I have used train cars, RR tracks, and other settings and I think you should just work with what you have available. I have waterfalls & mountains nearby and my backyard has lush green trees which make for nice backgrounds.
The most important thing is to capture the person/subject in the best light and as long as the background is uncluttered & provides a nice color contrast, you can focus on capturing the person's expressions. I still think using natural beauty is the best backdrops for beautiful portraits..
Here is one of my stiltwalker friend with just trees behind her :)
Carlton


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12/7/2010 4:34:40 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
 
 
 
Hi Linda,
I have noticed a trend with Senior portraits in urban settings with many including artistic graffiti (urban art) as the backgrounds. I have used train cars, RR tracks, and other settings and I think you should just work with what you have available. I have waterfalls & mountains nearby and my backyard has lush green trees which make for nice backgrounds.
The most important thing is to capture the person/subject in the best light and as long as the background is uncluttered & provides a nice color contrast, you can focus on capturing the person's expressions. I still think using natural beauty is the best backdrops for beautiful portraits and I dont think this will ever go "out of style".
My .02,
Carlton


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12/7/2010 4:35:55 PM

 
Thomas P. Masty
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/6/2010
  I was ordering some filters from BH Photo today and said, maybe I'll get one of those star filters. And he said, uh you mean the ones they used to use in the 80's? (cough cough....has it been that long?)

Yes the last time I used a star filter was in the 80's. I didn't really notice nobody has found a modern day use for it. Sheesh....

So star filters are a cliche I'm told.
No I didn't order than darn thing....


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12/7/2010 7:18:20 PM

 
Dennis Flanagan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005
  I feel too many spend so much effort on the perfect background that they forget the photo is about the person, not the location. Make sure to pick locations that compliment the person, not distract. A trend made easy via Photoshop is selective color. It's a cool tool. I do feel too many pick the wrong thing to color and it takes away from the person. For instance, a person on Railroad Tracks in Black and White with the red crossing lights colored. I think that distracts from the model to the point that it is no longer about the person. Roses and balloons are commonly colored. They stand out, but all too often distract.


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12/7/2010 7:52:25 PM

 
Lynn R. Powers   Linda,

The guy from B&H sounds more like a salesman than a photographer. There are still times to use it as a "star" filter.

If when taking portraits you are able to open the lens wide, large aperture, it will help soften the skin and any highlights, such as jewelry, give them a nice soft blur also.


Lynn


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12/9/2010 6:24:30 PM

 
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