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Chris Gampat Film scans from pinhole and personal 2014 (2 of 17)

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When it comes to shooting portraits, your aim for the final image should be to distinguish the person more so from the rest of the scene. This can be done in a number of ways and one of the primary ways is to use the bokeh effect. By blurring out the rest of the scene organically, the viewer is forced to focus on the subject that you photographed. While this is true, there are elements of the image that can make the subject blend in more with the rest of the scene. For example, their clothing type is extremely important. If you’re photographing a person dressed in camouflage against a background of similar colors, it may be tough to spot them and make them stand out. So for starters, try coordinating the wardrobe with the portrait subject.

But beyond that, adding lighting to the scene is a great way to make your subject stand out even more. The image above is from some of my personal work featuring my friend Dane in a suit. To make him stand out from the rest of the background, I added artificial lighting in just the right spot. The light made him and his clothing stand out from the otherwise dark background. The light also hit the wall that he was leaning on and separated that from his body.

Add into the scene the fact that the light also illuminated his skin and you’ve got yourself a portrait subject that stands out from the scene and forces you to focus on them. But you don’t necessarily need artificial light to do this–you just need to provide lots of contrast. If you’re outdoors, you can backlight a subject and expose for the shadows to make them stand out from what will otherwise be a very bright and washed out background. Sure, you’ll lose the highlight details, but all that matters is that you make your portrait subject stand out.


EmericPratt-5-0-Grind-Minneapolis

All images by Sam McGuire. Used with permission

Sam McGuire grew up very punk rock. Those origins influenced his love of skating until later on he embraced his creative side to combine it with photography. Today, he shoots and does loads of tutorial videos for a living. Though skaters are only part of his portfolio, they’re a major passion of his that stems from his roots in Iowa. Sam’s dedication stated while he was young and lead to his learning lighting, composition, and marketing your images.

Along the way, he’s taken quite a few bumps. But he always got back up smiling.

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Chris Gampat Samantha Grossman's first shoot with me (13 of 15)ISO 32001-100 sec at f - 1.4

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When photographing women, working with the hair is always a big priority. That’s why many shoots often have a high price for hair and makeup artists. If the hair is in a specific style, then embrace what the makeup artist has done because they worked quite hard to get it to look that way. But when that hair is let down, it’s best to make it easier to work with. One method that we’ve found to work well and is fairly simple to do is parting the hair to one side based on how you’re composing the image, the lighting direction and the person’s facial features.

At the time of publishing this tip, this particular style is a trend. But parting the hair to one side makes it easier to control and work with so that you can focus on other things like the subject’s posture, how their nose will be seen in the image, and many other important details that you’ll need to pay attention to in order to deliver a better image.

Where (camera left or right) you put the hair is entirely a case by case basis but what we prefer to do is place it in the opposite direction of the key light in the image. For example, in the image above the light was camera right. Putting the hair to the left worked well because Samantha is leaning into the wall and it would have otherwise made the hair look puffy and maybe even cast shadows on her face. If that was my creative intention then it would have worked–but it clearly wasn’t.

Another big factor to consider is the person’s shoulder height. Everyone has a higher and lower shoulder because of the way that we wear our bags and sleep. Traditionally, the hair is placed on the lower shoulder–but again it also depends on the lighting direction.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essentials the Location Shooter (10 of 10)ISO 2001-80 sec

Are you excited? You’re about to make your first big photography purchase. When purchasing a new camera, lens, lights, or anything else photographically related you’ll most likely be spending quite a bit of money. Photography is an expensive hobby and an even more expensive profession, so you’re going to need to hunker down and do quite a bit of research. We’re not just talking about gear purchases–we also mean that you’ll need to do a lot of learning. But before you even get started in doing that, you’ll need to figure out the answer to a lot of questions.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon G1X review images (18 of 28)ISO 1001-8 sec at f - 2.0

The Golden Hour is one of the best times for you to go out and shoot photos. But this weekend, you only have a small window to time to go out there and do it. So make the most of it! Here are some projects to get you started! [click to continue…]

The Photographer_Joubert_Loots

Creating the Photograph is an original series where we interview photographers about a photo that they shot and how it was achieved. The results are some knowledge passed on to you. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com.

We found Joubert Loots via the recent EyeEm Awards. The image above featuring levitation was entered in as one of the finalists for the Illusionist category. Joubert’s EyeEm and Instagram accounts are filled with inspirational images–and not all of them are of the surreal/conceptual style that we see above. He is mostly a documentary street photographer but like most photographers, he tried his hand at other things in order to be experimental and grow.

Joubert’s image involves working in Lightroom and Photoshop–and it also involves using very rudimentary camera gear.

Here’s his story.

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